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Metaphor Itself

What is metaphor? If we look at the term closely, we see it's derived from the Latin metaphora, meaning "a transfer", indicating a figure of speech which denotes one idea in the place of another in order to illustrate their similarity and by virtue of the association implied, succeeding in getting the intended message across.

The roots of the word suggest a "carrying over" of an idea, a particularly fascinating concept as it just so happens to parallel the process of gaining knowledge. But where does knowledge come from? Strangely enough, the compounded term "meta-" ("over, across, after, behind, higher, beyond") + "-phor" ("being carried"), if translated literally, would roughly translate to "something being carried over (or across, after, behind, higher, or beyond)", and that something is always meaning, which is "the thing one intends to convey (usually via language)."

Tracing the etymological roots of the word meaning will pass us through a thicket of variants (from Old English m├Žnan "to mean, intend, signify; tell, say; complain, lament," through Old Irish "wish, desire" and Welsh "enjoyment" stemming most likely all the way back to the root "men-", meaning "think", from "mind", stemming from Old English "gemynd" which means "memory, remembrance, state of being remembered; thought, purpose; conscious mind, intellect, intention."

Metaphoric. Euphoria. To mind something (as a verb) rather than the mere objectification of the "mind" (as a noun) shows us a distinction in how we may regard the idea behind the term "mind". For being immersed within the forest of reason, we are most likely limited to choosing between which of the two modes of expression we intend, rather than backing our perspective away from our "rational thicket" and seeing the word MIND as being intended to convey both senses of the word simultaneously. It only takes a quick reminder that all matter and energy in the universe is in a constant state of motion and flux to easily see that existence itself is a verb (as well as an objectified noun).

Coming to our senses like this illustrates the inherent enjoyment of understanding that thinking with our minds necessarily entails. When we have immersed our thoughts this deep into the denoted essence behind all these terms—leading us straight back to the one we started with, "metaphor"—we are led along a series of analogies which, in a grand, unified chain linked by interconnective associations gradually reveals for us the real underlying significance behind it all.

We use metaphors so often in our daily conversation, that we've long since forgotten they don't so much represent a "symbol" by which we may begin to "compare reality to"; but rather, quite the opposite. The symbols (words) we glibly exchange in our daily speech among ourselves represent but shadows or reflections of reality. Therefore "reality" appears to be, in the overall scheme of things, nothing less than metaphor itself.

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