Saturday, August 27, 2005

We are all persuaded to cast off our private illusions for the community standard. A metaphor.

We mumble about it to ourselves and think it's a good idea. Hey, why don't we do it.

The form of the metaphor is a ball of string. It is huge, and it is growing. We each tie our stray string scraps to a central ball...which sits there.

That's it, it's a metaphor which does not move. We all variously and singly come up to the big ball on the square and we tie our pitiful short lengths to it and it grows, inexorably, inexplicitly it grows, and that's all it does. It does not move or mean anything else except it is our community metaphor and it does not even know that. It doesn't know anything, it's just a dumb metaphor.

Once in waking time I had a housemate named Crazy Pam. (My name for her; she only answered to the second part.) She wanted to be a science writer and so she was taking a class up at the University in writing stuff. I think it was called Writing Stuff 101. She actually became an assistant TA or something for the class.

So she needed to know what the parts of writing stuff were. She asked very simply, "What's a metaphor? What's an allegory?"

So I told her. "A metaphor is only a static symbol. The other side of the coin. Screaming headlines. An allegory is an extended replica, like a fairy tale of the tortoise and the hare, or the grasshopper and the ant. It teaches us a lesson in large-print, easy-read symbols we can understand and plug our own days into. If it's a holy lesson, it's a parable."

I think it's significant perhaps in the dream that the simplest form of representative speech is what we all gave up our separate stories for.

The moral for this story is -

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