Friday, November 30, 2012

In the Giant Wound People Talk in Images

What I have found in many settings of conflict is this: People rarely talk about conflict analytically, unless they feel they are compelled or required to do so in the formality of explaining the mess they are in to a specialist who is analyzing their conflict. People talk in images. Much literature has attended to the importance of metaphor for creating and shaping reality and experience. But less has been discussed about the aesthetics of metaphor. I have come to treat metaphor as if it were a canvas. Metaphor is a creative act. The spontaneous way it is formulated brings something new into the world. This something new interacts with the world and has a life. It creates an image of what the experience of living in the world is like (...) In conflict conversations I don't just listen for metaphors, I watch them (...) Metaphors are like a living museum of conflict resources.

John Paul Lederach from The Moral Imagination