Re: virus: Aikido, Objectivism, and Other Metaphors

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Mon, 17 Mar 1997 23:57:58 -0800 (PST)

On 17 Mar 1997, D. H. Rosdeitcher wrote:

> Objectivism is for identifying which metaphors are based on objective
> reality and which contradict objective reality. This is important because one of
> the major problems with the world is that there are powerful destructive
> institutions which function through metaphors which are not based in objective
> reality. Such institutions, which include current governments, religions, and
> the academia, control and regulate information and resources, blocking progress
> on personal and global levels. One example is academic institutions which have a
> force-backed monopoly on certain knowledge and professions like medicine. People
> entering such fields are stifled and stagnated by bureaucratic red tape. As
> powerful as such institutions seem, however, they are based on a "house of
> cards"--metaphors with no basis in reality.

Most metaphors capture some aspects of reality while missing others.
Maybe I should make that 'all metaphors'. Some metaphors capture more
useful aspects of reality, for a given purpose, than others do.
It is indeed important to notice which aspects are being attended to and
which neglected, in the metaphor one has chosen.

> Here's a specific example of how such institutions depend on non-objective
> metaphors. There were recent posts on a lecture given at a major university
> about topics such as reason, free-will, metaphor, etc. by George Lakoff.

Actually, the lecture was at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, as
part of a series of speakers on technology and thought or some such

> Lakoff's position was that reason is useless and he used a combination of valid
> empirical studies and corrupt distortions of truths to prove his point. One of
> the things that the empirical studies showed, was that concept formation is
> based on sense perception. He then tried to prove that philosophy and reason are
> useless, because many philosophies based on reason came to the wrong conclusion
> about concept formation and sense perception.

No it wasn't. No he didn't.
Lakoff did not say that reason is useless, but that reason has a nature
different from that which has been claimed by philosophers for a long
time. He said that reason is not independent from the body and emotions,
but rooted in it, and that the way we reason is derived from the way we
live and perceive.

> He did not mention Objectivism, which explains that concept formation is
> based on sense perception, before empirical evidence showed this fact. The
> presentation was a way of giving incomplete information to support the idea
> that people helplessly need some big institution to get knowledge, credentials,
> jobs, money, etc.

Personally, I walked into the box office and bought a ticket, on the
basis of a personal interest in his books and what else he might have to
say. I think most of the rest of the audience did too. From the age mix
and the question session, and conversation afterwards, I don't think most
of the audience was affiliated with or dependent on any particular 'big
institution'. I certainly did not get the impression from Lakoff that he
wanted us to become informational vassals. I have no idea where you got
that, since I understood him to be in fact encouraging personal
independent inquiry.