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Reinventing Your Metaphoric Habitat


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Originally published in The Book of Visions: the Encyclopedia of Social Innovations (London, Institute for Social Inventions, 1992)
edited by Nicholas Albery and subsequently incorporated into the Global Ideas Bank.


Most people do not question the obligation to live in a world whose nature and structure has been articulated by the experts of today and of the past. From this comfortable perspective realities are imposed upon us and our universe is designed for us. Like the fish in the depths of the ocean, we live under a weight of explanations and received opinions which tends to crush the slightest gleam of imagination and alternative understanding.

But maybe the world we think we live in can more fruitfully be understood as a metaphor in which we have got trapped.

For those labouring in a bureaucracy, it can be reconfigured imaginatively as the Court of Louis XIV -- replete with courtiers, courtesans and people pissing in the corners!

Many corporations are locked into a pattern of military, sporting and physiological metaphors.

And who obliged you to think of yourself as 'human'? Feel free therefore to consider yourself a visitor from a distant galaxy and enjoy the amazing behaviour of the range of species you encounter during your visit here.

Are you despairing over your degree of spiritual enlightenment? Explore the fact that you have already achieved full enlightenment and are simply indulging in the illusion of searching for it - rather like a cat chasing its tail! If the 'insane' can be Napoleons and God, what is to stop you enjoying a change of status, provided it does not trap you? Try being an unrecognised genius or a billionaire from Sirius. Cultivate those who belong to the same species as yourself and develop your own unique language and garb.

How does casting metaphors differ from casting spells? Or maybe you can be a shapeshifter, modifying your form to respond to different environments. How about re-imagining the vehicle in which you are travelling as a spaceship? Do you have any contract requiring you to buy into realities which you find alienating - and to whose design you have not consciously contributed?

Join the metaphoric diaspora (Slogan: 'Have metaphor, will travel'). The product of the future will be intriguing metaphors that rearticulate your lifestyle.

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