virus: Lakoff lecture, part 4

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Wed, 12 Mar 1997 22:43:49 -0800 (PST)

{I don't know why my intro to the lecture notes came after the first
bunches of notes. Sorry about that.}

Some more examples of general mappings of one realm of experience onto
another, found around the world:

Concepts of Time. Two basic ones appear in every culture.

1.) TIME is SPACE we move through ("We've gotten through the week at
last". In English, the future is in front of us, the past behind. Some
languages have the reverse)

2.) TIME is a MOVING OBJECT ("Monday is approaching")

In the first case, we move in time; in the second, time moves with respect
to us. Both metaphors, which contradict one another, show up all over the
world. Why? Because in our experience, motion of objects corresponds to
the passage of time. Examples in the book _Hopi Time_ show that even Hopi
has the two time/motion metaphors.


MORE is UP in all languages. Corresponds to our universal experience:
piles get higher as they get bigger, etc.

Our minds work in ways derived from bodily experience. Our minds are not
separate from our bodies.

Event Structure Metaphor: STATES are CONTAINERS: "I'm deeply in love."
Changes are movements in and out of the containers: "I pulled myself out
of a depression." Causation is forced motion: "I made him go crazy."
Actions are self-propelled motions. Aids or impediments to action, kinds
of action, are aids/impediments to, and kinds of, motion.

There are five types of metaphorical difficulties in English:
Blockages, features of terrain, burdens, counterforces, and lack of an
energy source. They are all impediments to physical motion. Why? Because
goals are destinations, means are paths to the destinations.

Three common kinds in English: Things. "Things are going my way."
Fluids. "Go with the flow." "We're in the
same boat."
and Horses. "Keep a tight grip on the
reins." "Hold your horses." and..."Whoa!"

There are lots of common metaphors for MORALITY.

"I owe you one" "I'll get him back" "Let's even the scales",
concepts of restitution and retribution, concept of karma.
...STRENGTH (evil is a force in the world which we must be strong
to resist)

All these are common around the world. Why? They arise from our physical
experience. We're better off, physically, if we're rich, safe, strong,
healthy, in the light, upright, not lost, have pure food, etc. So they
all relate to morality, because morality relates to conditions of basic
physical well-being. We can't think of morality without thinking
metaphorically. And the metaphors for morality are not randomly
distributed in our culture. There are two major clusters, based on
different models of the family.

"Strict Father" model: Dad's in charge, powerful, the goal is survival.
Obedience to authority is the main force. At maturity, kids are on their
own and expected to be self-reliant and disciplined.
Morality metaphors that come from this experience: Morality as
Strength, Keeping Within Bounds. Authority is good, happiness is

"Nurturing Parent" model: Through being nurtured, kids learn empathy and
how to nurture in turn. Parents are mainly protective, communication is
Morality metaphors that come from this experience: Morality is
empathy, nurturance, building social ties, health, and happiness--happy
people are more likely to be empathetic, and to help others to be happy.

The "Strict Father" model tends to lead to conservative politics and the
"Nurturing Parent" model to liberal politics. See Lakoff's book _Moral
Politics_. Our politics are governed by our moral metaphors, which are
formed by our bodily experiences with parenting.

(see part 5 for metaphors about thought)