[lit-ideas] Metaphor & the Psychological Interpretation of Culture

  • From: "Orion Anderson" <libraryofsocialscience@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 17:42:09 -0400

        



Metaphor & the Psychological 
Interpretation of Culture
Richard A. Koenigsberg



I. IDEOLOGY AND METAPHOR

II. CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS
III. FANTASY AND THE EMBODIED MIND 
IV. PSYCHIC DETERMINISM
V. THE HUMAN BODY AND THE BODY POLITIC

        


IDEOLOGY AND METAPHOR


Ideologies contain and articulate psychological meanings. How is it possible
to decipher the latent content of ideological texts? I have developed a
method, "analysis of metaphor," that consists of identifying recurring
images and metaphors within writings and speeches of individuals who have
been significant in defining an ideology and bringing it forth onto the
public stage.



  _____  

Read the online publication:
Analysis of <http://www.psych-culture.com/docs/rk_metaphor.html>  Metaphor:
Method for the 
Psychological Interpretation of Culture

  _____  

 

CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS



The theories of George Lakoff and Mark L. Johnson have become highly
influential.  According to the concept of "metaphorical mapping," slots in a
"source domain schema" get mapped into slots in a "target domain," shaping
our perceptions within this domain. Target domains are abstract, conceptual
domains, whereas source domains are familiar ones, most often in the
physical world.

My method grows out of research on Hitler and Nazism, presented in
<http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=jwnfrncab.0.0.85y8w8n6.0&ts=S0337&p=http%3A%2F%2Fww
w.richardkoenigsberg.com%2Fhitlers_ideology_promo.pdf&id=preview> Hitler's
Ideology: Embodied Metaphor, Fantasy and History (2007) and in online
publications such as
<http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=jwnfrncab.0.0.85y8w8n6.0&ts=S0337&p=http%3A%2F%2Fww
w.ideologiesofwar.com%2Fdocs%2Frk_ipg.htm&id=preview> "Ideology, Perception
and Genocide" and
<http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=jwnfrncab.0.0.85y8w8n6.0&ts=S0337&p=http%3A%2F%2Fho
me.earthlink.net%2F%257Elibraryofsocialscience%2Fgi.htm&id=preview>
"Genocide as Immunology" Hitler's world view--his perception of
reality--grew out of his belief that Germany was a body and Jews pathogenic
organisms. The Final Solution represented the acting out of an immunological
fantasy as the Nazis sought to destroy the source of Germany's disease in
order to prevent the death of the body politic.

Hitler's rhetoric demonstrates how a source domain (the human body) may
become mapped onto a target domain (the body politic). In
<http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=jwnfrncab.0.0.85y8w8n6.0&ts=S0337&p=http%3A%2F%2Fma
rkturner.org%2Fmtcrx.html&id=preview> More Than Cool (1989), Lakoff and
Johnson observe that when a source domain gets mapped onto knowledge in a
target domain, this allows us to draw inferences about this domain. Because
Hitler projects the idea of a human body into the body politic, this permits
him to infer that Germany suffering from a disease that requires diagnosis
and cure. 



  _____  

Please send comments or commentaries via email to Orion Anderson at
oanderson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or call (718) 393-1081

  _____  


FANTASY AND THE EMBODIED MIND



Mark Johnson claims that bodily experience works its way into the mind
through imaginative projection. According to Melanie Klein, fantasy never
loses its connection to the body. Fantasy content is traceable to thoughts
and feelings about the "working and contents of one's own body in
relationship to the workings and contents of the body of the other."

If ideologies articulate fantasies and fantasies derive from the body, it
follows that ideologies are bound to--not separate from--our bodies. By
virtue of embodied metaphors, the body with its fantasies makes its way into
discourse. The target domain (ideological rhetoric) comes to be conceived or
structured according to a source domain (the body and its fantasies).

PSYCHIC DETERMINISM



Metaphors are contained within ordinary patterns of language. Lakoff
suggests that a community's world-views are articulated through figurative
language. Perhaps metaphors are the vehicles through which unconscious
fantasies and desires make their way into everyday life. Unconscious
fantasies (about the body) continually enter into language and
consciousness--through the vehicle of metaphor. Thus, there is no clear
distinction between fantasy and ordinary mental operations.

 

THE HUMAN BODY AND THE BODY POLITIC

 

If ideas about a target domain are derived from experiences in a source
domain, it follows that ideas about bodies politic cannot be separated from
the experience of our own body. Hitler's rhetoric about the German body
politic contains a narrative about Hitler. When Hitler speaks about Germany
as a body containing a disease, he also is speaking about his own body with
a disease contained within it. What was the nature of Hitler's disease that
led him to devise the Final Solution as a means to kill the disease within
the body politic?

        
        
        

 

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