Monday, December 07, 2009

Thinking about language as metaphor

I was looking up something else by Nietzsche today and came across this:

We believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things — metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche

It reminded me of a story I once read about two Tibetan lamas who are simply sitting outside together in companionable silence. Suddenly one of them starts laughing as he points away from himself. "They call that a tree!" he exclaims to the other.

It also reminds me of the great Jewish existentialist philospher, Martin Buber. In his ground breaking book, I and Thou, is a chapter that begins with these words: "I consider a tree." Recommended.

Extra: I just found a wonderful sermon about Buber and the I-Thou relationship called "My Favorite Philosopher". Do read it. It's very good!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:17 PM

    That IS a wonderful sermon. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

    annie c


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