There are many metaphors we use in our daily lives, whether we realize it or not (Lakoff and Johnson, 1). During conversations that I have with people throughout the day, there is at least one metaphor mentioned. Sometimes they come out naturally without noticing, and others are done on purpose to illustrate better what the person is trying to describe. As a musician and composer, I utilize metaphors to describe almost everything that I want to say. If I was to limit my writing to a more literal format, it would take me a long time to describe my thoughts and feelings in a song; it could become a blog instead of art. The first two chapters of the book “Metaphors We Live By” by Lakoff and Johnson mention how metaphors are utilized in society and their main function. I will try to give my points of view on some particular parts of the chapters that strike me as meaningful or important.
As a music student, I am required to listen to music compositions during most of my day. I have found that the majority of modern music is full of metaphors; only certain genres use a more literal format to reach their audience. Music can be analyzed in many ways, since it can carry many dimensions which the artist created on purpose to make the audience think more deeply and find their own meaning to the song. Some artist create imaginary worlds or situations with their lyrics combined with poetry and music, this confirms the idea that a “Metaphor is for most people device of the poetic imagination and the rhetorical flourish--a matter of extraordinary rather than ordinary language” (Lakoff and Johnson, 2). We can limit our imagination without the use of metaphors in music, or even in our daily conversations. There are so many metaphors used to describe so many situations, people always chose to view them based on their own personal experiences. In this book it is also mentioned that “our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.” (Lakoff and Johnson, 2). They describe and contrast this idea in such simple way where it is easy to understand; I could not explain it any better. As mentioned before, our conceptual system thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities (Lakoff and Johnson, 3).
In my point of view, the human language in general (English, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.) can be very limiting. We sometimes have difficulties describing certain events in our lives, especially something out of the ordinary. Past civilizations had the same problem when they wrote about what was going on during their time; we have different theories from researchers on what was the true meaning of certain ancient writings. A good example is the Mayan calendar; only they know what it really means. “Primarily on the basis of linguistic evidence, we have found that most of our ordinary conceptual system is metaphorical in nature. And we have found a way to begin to identify in detail just what the metaphors are halt structure how we perceive, how we think, and what we do” (Lakoff and Johnson, 5).
It is hard to picture a world without metaphors; they are used widely to express ourselves in a more imaginative way. As I mentioned before, me being a musician and composer makes me analyze things in a metaphorical way automatically. I noticed it shortly after writing my first few songs, and as Lakoff and Johnson say: “Some people do it without noticing”. The more I think about it, the more I can look back and see that I had done it almost all my life. But it was not until I became a composer when it became more obvious than before; it opened new ways to view to world. In general, I really enjoyed reading both chapters of “Metaphors We Live By”. It triggered a lot of personal points of view that I already had on metaphors, but never felt confident on them since the opportunity of studying the subject came across until now. I can say I am more knowledgeable in this subject, now it will be easier for me to express myself better in my lyrics with more confidence than before.
Lakoff, George/ Johnson, Mark. "Metaphors We Live By", 1980.