The metaphor "me"

General discussion regarding consciousness and the bicameral mind. Post your topic here only if it does not fit into a more specific category below. Posts unrelated to the topics of this forum will be removed.
Post Reply
jamesadrian
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:58 pm

The metaphor "me"

Post by jamesadrian » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:42 am

I don't yet see how the word "me" is a metaphor.

Does anybody have a complete explanation?

Thank you for your help.

Jim Adrian

jamesadrian
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:58 pm

Re: The metaphor "me"

Post by jamesadrian » Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:59 pm

I noticed that there are 586 views but no reply. Maybe if I elaborate a bit on my thinking there will be something to talk about.

I sometimes use the word "me" to indicate who I am referring to. In the question "Is the document intended for Jane, or Robert, or me?" I do not see the word as a metaphor. It does not seem to satisfy the definition of a metaphor. It is just like the a choice between Jane, Robert, and Jim. The concept of me is a different and much longer story involving the properties of mind space. It seems that the word has at least two meanings. What do you think?

Thank you for your help.

Jim Adrian

DanBlocker
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:09 am

Re: The metaphor "me"

Post by DanBlocker » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:55 am

Me is a metaphor in the same sense that nearly all words in a language are metaphors. It just means that an existing word is used to express a new meaning. Instead of inventing a completely new word, people highjack an old word. Jaynes gives the word "be" as an example, the original meaning, if I remember correctly, was something like growing. So to have an abstract concept like existence you start from a more concrete word that gradually acquires the intended meaning. (It is a bit more complicated, the new meaning itself only emerges with the changing of usage.) Once the original meaning is forgotten, the word of course, is not a metaphor in a strict sense anymore.
So "me" is a more abstract concept than "Jim" or "Dan" or "the man speaking now". No idea how the word originated. In the context of Jaynes it means that in learning consciousness we gradually develop an inner self. Just like our Mother who seems to have an inner agent responsible for her actions ("I want this") we create this inner agent for ourselves. The me is a metaphor in the sense that it is a real concept, or rather a real "thing", developed out of thin air.

DanBlocker
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:09 am

Re: The metaphor "me"

Post by DanBlocker » Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:56 am

I just read this interesting https://aeon.co/essays/metaphors-grow-t ... -lose-them article on metaphors. The author quotes Emerson with "Language is fossil poetry" but even better he mentions Jaynes:
In The Origins of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976), the psychologist Julian Jaynes suggests that metaphor is an actual extension of our consciousness.
Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say that consciousness is an extension of metaphor. But it was a nice surprise to see Jaynes popping up at all.

Post Reply