Dead Bird as Metaphor
I love metaphor and its compliment in the parable. Nothing gains more control over, or impacts the mind more than these two idea structures. Therefore, it has its own category, not just in the sense of this site, but also in the sense of how I perceive my work. Sometimes, images are larger than life. They tell a wider story, a greater tale, than their elements do at face value. So stay with me a moment while I wax philosophical in describing this “category” which I from time to time will place images in.
- The metaphor
The metaphor can be described, in image, as two parallel and horizontal lines. At any given point along the bottom line (the line representing reality) there are points, or instances of reality. At the same point in the upper line, there are parallel points. Here is something other than reality, so that a metaphor becomes a duplicate reality. Aspects of the real have some representative but alternative meaning in the upper line that is of greater significance. It is the case in literature, it is the case in film, it is even the case in my description of two parallel lines illustrating the metaphor. On the lower line there is a form at any given point. On the upper line there is a meta-form, which is a form or pattern that is higher, or more subtle.
- The parable
The parable on the other hand is parabolic. The facets of a story do not get replaced by an equal number of facets on some parallel line. Each piece does not represent something else. In this case, each piece is a ray that, within the parable, points at one, and only one, concept or truth. I think this distinction is one that ought to be made, and seldom is, when interpreting for instance the parables of Christ. There is a definite tendency, I have noticed, for people to want to interpret them as metaphor. The good seed represents the believers, the seed on the rocks represents another sort of people, the seed snatched up by the birds is another sort of people. Categories. What a mistake! Parables point at one thing alone, and can only be understood by taking into account the whole.
So this post is about what metaphor is and is not. It is about objects and imagery as parallel representations of other things. Those images found in this category are those that I place here to ponder over. These are items or works of discovery. Enjoy them as you will.