Antidotes to the metaphors we live by

Posted by  Andrew Rixon —March 31, 2006
Filed in Business storytelling

A book that has found its way into my den as a result of our reflective practice on the language of facilitation is Metaphors we live by. It’s great.

Some examples of metaphors we live by are:


Consider argument is war, As Lakoff explains in Metaphors we live by:

Try to imagine a culture where arguments are not viewed in terms of war, where no one wins or loses, where there is no sense of attacking or defending, gaining or losing ground.

Imagine a culture where argument is dance, the participants are seen as performers, and the goal is to perform in a balanced and aesthetically pleasing way.

In such a culture, people would view arguments differently, experience them differently, carry them out differently, and talk about them differently.

I think you could view argument is dance an antidote to the argument is war metaphor.

Another example is time is money. I wonder how things might be different if an antidote to this, say, time is play, was more prevalent in our society. Maybe that’s what the slow movement is about.

What are some other metaphors you live by?

What are some antidotes?

About  Andrew Rixon


  1. Bruce Williams says:

    Love the idea of antidotes to the metaphors we live by. Argument as dance is genius. My antidote to ‘time is money’? Time is food! It’s not a commodity to trade and exploit, it’s an organic substance that sustains us. We consume time to live, and it’s subjective, some tastes fabulous, some not so great, but it’s all fundamental to our growth. We are what we eat, so the past is formative, but the future is a menu to select from with relish.

  2. Andrew Rixon says:

    Thanks Bruce!
    Time is food. Great one. I will savour it. 🙂

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