The art of metaphor can serve us very well if we let it in. Many works of art or attempts to pass on valuable insights have been conveyed through the vessel or container of the metaphor. Analogies can been constructed very carefully to allow us to understand an idea or message. The interesting thing about ideas is that they are often rounded and expansive, ever changing form from one moment to the next in order to adapt and apply themselves onto higher or lower dimensions, different facets and new vantages. We are often opposed to admitting this active quality to the vehicle of ideas, trying our best to box them up into packages with nice, neat bow-ties wrapped around their definitive edges.
We strive to make everything clearly defined and formulated so that we can move on to the next chore. This tendency creates in all of us the habit to want to think in either-ors, where one thing is right and the other is wrong. A truth, we think, has to be categorical and objective, unblemished by contradictions or exceptions. A reality which supposes both yes and no to be correct and right is one in which we are made awfully quiet. It can be somewhat uncomfortable to be left in a state where we do not know what to say or what to do. In a world where pety arguments fill a significant amount of our free time, such a reality would eliminate much of the material we use to keep our minds busy.
Most of us still remember the grammatical tools of metaphors and similes as they were taught in english class. The articles to be used were ‘like’ and ‘as’ and this served as the distinguisher between what was one or the other. They are instruments which trace around ideas like careful archeologists who brush off the sand from fossilized discoveries. A man endowed with this facility would not run around staking claims on what appears to be newly found, endeavoring to patent and proclaim ownership over it. It is rather a fool’s errand to believe that a single man can ever be a sole prioprietar of anything on this earth — ever.
There is an unspoken philosophy and belief which foretells that men can only re-discover the same ageless laws and principles, and convey them through the current of society by the use of metaphor. This is done through the formation of myths, legends, folk tales, koans and even the clever jokes which allow friction and tension to dissolve from a situation, and thereby allow both the affirming and denying roles of men to mesh towards one another in a common embrace. Sooner or later — and hopefully sooner — people realize how futile it is to attempt to claim nobility through efforts to outdo one another.
Old age often accompanies an attitude of quiet acceptance to the events of life as these men watch it run on by itself at an accelerating rate, quite far from their control. We are left rather open to a witnessing of life and its endless associations, coincidences, synchronicities and repeating dramas as the human race ventures off in seemingly new directions, always accompanied by a scent of old timeless flavours. The gist and message to the story appears to always return to a very simple approach, where how we approach the simple and otherwise trivial tasks in life, like a sincere smile, a deep gaze, or an attentive ear, outweigh in significance any flights of personal grandeur.