Metaphor, Utility and Limitation

Our existence is like a wave. Simile or metaphor? Our existence is a wave. Statement or illustrative analogy?


Whatever… associative thinking is useful in building understanding. It can lead to a radical shift in perspective. Take the statement  “our existence is like a wave”. We typically ground our sense of self in the material. And yet.. the cells in our bodies are constantly changing. There are very few molecules in you now which were in your body at birth. You, we, are not material. What then? Certainly existence seems to me to be validated in relation to other. Without – other – there is no existence. Indeed existence as relativity (see AN Whitehead) seems logical to me. In that case – is there not a wave of influence that we have on other and it has on us? And does that wave of influence (on our children, our friends etc) not continue after our material body seizes up and degrades? In fact, isn’t the influence and therefore real existence of Michelangelo more apparent now than when he was “alive”?

Existence is like a wave. Metaphor has utility. But, limitations too.


There are many ways that existence is not wavelike, but granular. Influence stems from individual tiny acts, which stem from individual thoughts.


Anyway, there you have it. Metaphor appears, to me anyway, to have immense utility. However we need to be ready to abandon a particular metaphor or association by recognising when its limits have been reached. Perhaps this is immediately when it has achieved the objective of fracturing and shift our set thought patterns?

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