Jose Carillo's Forum


This section features links to interesting, instructive, or thought-provoking readings about the English language. The selections could be anywhere from light and humorous to serious and scholarly, and they range widely from the reading, writing, listening, and speaking disciplines to the teaching and learning of English.

How metaphors shape how we make sense of the world

It probably will come as a surprise to people who are unfamiliar with how languages evolve, but the fact is that metaphors are at work in most everything we think about, say, see, and do. Metaphors get embedded in our brain and influence in such big but often subtle ways how we learn, discover things, and make day-to-day decisions.

In the book I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World (HarperCollins, 304 pages), bestselling book author James Geary makes a fascinating and insightful study of metaphors from Aristotle’s study of them in ancient Greece all the way to the latest scientific findings on how metaphors function in the human brain. He also explains how a life without metaphor, as experienced by some people afflicted with autism, greatly changes the way a person interacts with the world.

Is on the Cover

“Metaphor is a way of thought long before it is a way with words,” says Geary in I Is an Other. “[It] lives a secret life all around us. We utter about one metaphor for every 10 to 25 words, or about six metaphors a minute. Metaphor conditions our interpretations of the stock market and, through advertising, it surreptitiously infiltrates our purchasing decisions. In the mouths of politicians, metaphor subtly nudges public opinion; in the minds of businesspeople, it spurs creativity and innovation.”

In a review of I Is an Other, John Ottinger III says: “By looking at metaphor’s use in various spheres of human life and activity, Geary argues poignantly yet simply for the universality of metaphor. From the basics of thought, to etymology, money, the mind, advertising, politics, pleasure, psychology and more, Geary writes a succinct, easily readable yet intellectually provoking work.”

Read an excerpt from James Geary’s I Is an Other in the Ode magazine website now!

Read John Ottinger III’s review of James Geary’s I Is an Other in the Grasping for the Wind website now!

James Geary, an American-born writer based in London, is the former Europe editor of Time magazine. He is editor at large for Ode magazine and writes online for The Huffington Post and He has previously written three books—the New York Times bestseller Geary’s Guide to the World's Great Aphorists, which he says is the largest collection of aphorisms in the English language; The World in a Phrase, which has been translated in Brazilian Portuguese as well as in Korean; and the popular science book The Body Electric, which surveyed cybernetic projects attempting to replace or enhance human biological senses.

In “The Death of the Book,” an article that came out in the April 18, 2011 issue of the Los Angeles Review of Books, book author Ben Ehrenreich laments what he looks upon as the on-and-off demise of the paper-based book: “Books were once such handsome things.  Suddenly they seem clunky, heavy, almost fleshy in their gross materiality. Their pages grow brittle.  Their ink fades. Their spines collapse. They are so pitiful, they might as well be human.” Ehrenreich then traces the book’s downfall when, after centuries of steady climbing, book sales leveled off toward the end of the 1900s due to the advent of cable TV programming and video, the Internet, and now the Kindle.

Read Ben Ehrenreich’s “The Death of the Book” in the Los Angeles Review of Books now!

Click to read comments or post a comment

View the complete list of postings in this section
(requires registration to post)

Copyright © 2010 by Aperture Web Development. All rights reserved.

Page best viewed with:

Mozilla FirefoxGoogle Chrome

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!

Page last modified: 24 April, 2011, 2:45 p.m.