Title 3 – KQ 5 : How are Ways of knowing involved in using explanations that are not true?

KQ 5 : How are Ways of knowing involved in using explanations that are not true?

Simple explanations using tools like Metaphors , though not true , carry us into the realms of Imagination , evoke feelings and memories that relate and establish similarities and analogies with a familiar physical world and experiences. Through the influences on how we conceptualise and act , metaphorical context influence our reasoning.

More commonly , these explanations point out similarities that are objectively true and also apply structure to what we perceive.These similarities are created by either downplaying or highlighting certain aspects meant to attribute specific meaning and in turn shape our sense of reality. These simple understanding tools carry the power of the language that influences the way we see the world.

Lobbyists , advocates , speechwriters, recognise the power of metaphors to exert influence on Emotion , opinions and Imagination. For instance, ‘crime as wild beast of prey’ encourages people to think about how to cage or kill it, whereas ‘crime as virus’ stimulates a scientific alternative and yet painting a fearsome picture. Similarly , a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on terror’ besides being emotive , insinuates a militaristic retaliation.

Nevertheless good explanations help us to know the abstract aspects of Emotion , Faith including Imagination and Intuition. Not to forget few celebrated exemplars from literature: Hope by Emily Dickenson where Dickenson compares the abstract idea of hope to a bird and The Road Not Taken , here Robert Frost uses an extended metaphor to compare two roads to the wisdom of how choosing one’s path will affect the rest of one’s life.

There have been occasions when metaphors have been changed or removed when found incoherent with basic Imagination and Reason. Darwin toyed with the metaphor ‘wedges ‘ for describing the evolution process in the species as “packed closely together and…driven in by incessant blows,” as though they were wedges being struck again and again by a mallet. The wedges-as-species comparison appeared in the first edition of The Origin of Species,published in 1859 but was later removed. Modern scholars have described the ‘wedges’ pounded by blows of an unseen hammer idea as bare , alien and more so grotesque. Now imagining the History and evolution of life through a dreary , mechanical and violent language and idea does seem to be unappealing .

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