Metaphorical Concepts of Energy

12 February 2006 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

Ever since reading about the metaphorical concept “Love is a Physical Force” in Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By, I have tuned in (there’s another one!) to the use of physics in the (supposedly) dead metaphors of our language.  The examples that Lakoff and Johnson offer include “I could feel the electricity between us”, “I was magnetically drawn to her”, “They are attracted to each other” and the like.  As I have suggested in previous posts, my exploration into “energonomics” points to there being something more to such usage than mere comparison.  I want to suggest that there is actual energy transferred among individuals, and I’m interested in any science that tries to identify and trace such energy transfer.  While it is possible that some of the more speculative new-age concepts of “energy healing” and “energy fields” surrounding the body are actual phenomena unmeasurable with current scientific instrumentation, I am interested in what can actually be said to be scientifically true, given what we know via current science.

What prompted this entry today is a book I’m reading today by a famous Japanese novelist, Shusaku Endo.  The book is actually a non-fiction account of Christ titled A Life of Jesus.  Something about the book (can’t find the passage right now) made me think of Jesus as a magnetic personality, and I remembered some basic science project whereby when you coil electrical wire and run electricity through it, the coil generates a magnetic field, creating an electromagnet.  So my question becomes this:  how is it that Jesus was “wired” such that the energy flowing through him creates a “magnetic” personality which attracted so many followers?

If the mention of Jesus and therefore the invocation of religion is distracting for you, think of any “magnetic” personality who led a movement:  Hitler, M.L. King, whoever. 

Endo mentions other phrases that I tuned in to:  he speaks of how the death of John the Baptist “generates waves” which were to “affect his favorite disciple Jesus” (36) and how despite his death the rebellious “sentiments of the common people. . . remained in force like burning coals” (40). 

If you start to pay attention, you’ll begin to see this language everywhere.  I’m hoping that the concept of energonomics leads us to consider what is actually, scientifically happening within and among people when such social phenomena occur.

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Entry filed under: books, energonomics, metaphorical concepts, science.

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