Metaphorical Knowing, Embracing our broken filters.

Leila Raven Post in General

Everything we ‘think’ is a metaphor. We can ‘think’ no other way.  We experience life through our small human mind.  A little gray box of flesh and chemicals and electricity. We understand through the limited filters of our senses, through our body and mind filters.

The language I’m using right now is a metaphor, we ‘process’ in metaphors, symbols that are meant to represent ‘reality’.

Until people grasp that what they hold so strongly as some ultimate truth,  religious truth, scientific truth, personal truth, is really just a child’s metaphorical scribble with a crayon of what is.  That that is the best we can do in our understanding, little movement can be had in terms of moving towards a world of real understanding, and tolerance.

We are dealing with theories, and the theories are metaphors, for that is how we see everything and know everything. Thoughts based on our senses are metaphors for reality.

The words and language we think in, are again our symbolic metaphors we have been taught, different languages shaping our metaphors differently.  So many filters we put ‘reality’ through…

We need to humble ourselves to the reality of our limited capacity to mentally understand things, even very simple things. Never mind complex huge concepts. Such as the nature of the divine, the infinite, the highly spiritual.

Remember, we are dealing with the filter of the human mind.

We strive so hard to wrap the mind around things that are far beyond it, which is wonderful, natural, instinctual… however, we need to understand what we are experiencing as we embrace our understandings. In comparison to a mind capable of divine infinite knowledge, our mind is a rough primitive tool, like a broken box of crayons in the hand of a toddler.

We can think we can draw out our understanding, our metaphorical understanding of the great divine, the infinite, the workings and pinnings of the cosmos… we can’t, well we can, but we have to recognize it for the inherently flawed metaphor it has to be.

We can barely understand our own broken box of crayons. How our own human mind works. We know some things, sure, but in the grand scheme of things, we know so very little, and what we don’t know vastly outweighs what we do know still.

However, like a child with crayons, it doesn’t matter that the representation, the metaphor, the understanding we hold is so fantastically primitive, limited, restricted, simple, infantile, it is as precious as any other great work of art. Because each child IS a part of the divine, the infinite, the creation of the cosmos, as is any crayon scribbling they may produce. We are a part of the infinite divine all. A piece of the universe, intimately connected with every other piece.

We are children with crayons, scribbling our truths out, and bickering with each other over who has drawn a better apple tree. Whose apple tree is most like a ‘real apple tree’?  The reality is they are all crayon scribbles and no crayon scribble will really depict an apple tree better than another to a really significant extent.

Yet people are fighting over whose representation, and metaphorical understanding is more correct. People will kill other people and other beings over such nonsense.

Not only that, but there is a great deal said for creative licence. *smile*

As an artist, I believe ‘creation’, comes from taking liberties with ones interpretation of reality. As artists depicting reality metaphorically together we are co-creating something with our vastly different interpretations that is far more beautiful and interesting than any one piece of our art.

Even if we have seen, touched, smelt, eaten from an apple tree, we still don’t really ‘know’ everything there is to know and understand about that tree.  Even the things we probe deeply and scientifically, we are still processing it through our limited filters, through metaphors.

The tree would be perceived completely differently by an ‘alien’ non human mind… insect, canine, off planet, yada yada. A dog would ‘see’ the tree primarily in scent. An insect may have a total chemical understanding of the tree we don’t. Another being may see into the light spectra of infra red or ultra violet and visually see aspects of the tree we cannot.

Now, those are only the metaphors of our limits of trees I can conceive of because mankind has discovered dogs can smell more than us, other animals can sense chemicals we can’t, and light spectrum vision occurs outside our own. There are probably who knows how many other ways of  perceiving, sensing and understanding an apple tree that my mind is completely unaware of and may never ever grasp or may never be grasped by any human mind. In fact, I’d be disappointed if their wasn’t. We’re not even thinking of perhaps the most authentic understanding of an apple tree, how the apple tree experiences itself.

The problem is, we get so caught up in the power of our own belief, that we refuse to see how terribly primitive and silly and limited all of our beliefs are. We have no problem laughing at other peoples or attacking them.. “Hey, can you believe these people? they believe in heaven and hell, and no sex before marriage, and pro life, and they’re killing people over it!, nut bars!” ” Hey, can you believe these people? they believe reptillians are running governments, nut bars!” Hey, can you believe these people? they think the world is coming to an end in 2012 and that they come from planet Chewbaca, nut bars!”.  It doesn’t matter what you believe, someone out there thinks you are crazy for believing in it.

What makes you so sure your apple tree drawing is SO much better? Does it really matter so much? What about creative licence? Is this person happy with their apple tree? All our beliefs are crayon drawings. We are primitive naive children passionately playing with rough tools trying to capture the essence of things far beyond the scope of an apple tree. Yet how many of us can accurately truly deeply passionately understand an apple tree, draw an apple tree, know an apple tree? Yet many of us profess to know great secrets of the universe… Do we? Do we REALLY?

Of course we like our version and certain other versions of peoples metaphors much better than others… but it doesn’t necessarily make them more ‘correct’. What captures reality better? When everything we think and do is in metaphors anyways? Maybe abstractionist art actually embraces truth more accurately because we are dealing with metaphors and abstractionists are not afraid to be looser in their interpretations? No… I’m not arguing one apple tree style is better… I’m just giving an example. About… expanding our thinking a little.
So back to the question of do we really understand anything then? can we really understand the great divine infinite universe around us through our metaphorical knowing, through our broken filters? Of course we can, we do, not just through thought but through being. We ARE great secrets of the universe, we are divine children, we need not bother with trying to understand the infinite through broken filters, we simply are it.  We’re part of it, connected, plugged in.

When we play with the metaphors, with thoughts and language, we are playing, we are creating, we are making art, like children with crayons. As long as we realize that, that we are expressing something symbolically and playing with it conceptually, and no one’s drawing is any better than anyone elses, we may be able to move on to the next stage of our social and spiritual development.

We need to learn our limitations as well as our divinity. We are infinite, eternal, sacred, divine, and gods… yes, and we are also finite, momentary, profane, mundane, and peons. We are the spectrum. We are nothing and everything, the alpha and the omega, as are all things are. We need to learn humility in equal measure to divinity, there must be balance in truth, or there is stagnation.

Will we be quibbling tantrum blowing toddlers with broken boxes of crayons for ever. Possibly. Until we mature enough to realize the reality of our situation, embrace one another and ourselves, and move on.

Live in Love

Everything I say is my personal theoretical truth, I hold it as no more correct or valid than the truth of any other, whether in contradiction or agreement to my own.

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