Especially for business modelling the choice of the right metaphor can have benefits you would not have expected. This is because modelling in general and business modelling especially suffers from symptoms caused by an endemic use of the wrong metaphors.
The unconscious use of metaphors is detrimental, and handicaps us in exploiting the possibilities a specific technology or invention offers, to be creative, find new ways of using them, but also hinders us in realising the negative effects it might have, and the ethical and political implications.
This article describes the role of metaphors and how insight in how they function can help you in become a better modeller. For many years the prevailing metaphor has been mechanical: To illustrate the pervasiveness of metaphors, when the steam engine became popular, and industrialisation ruled western society, the tendency was to view everything as steam engines or machines.
Textbooks on the digestive system explained the workings of the intestines in terms of a factory. The working of the brain was explained as mechanic. In a way this is still the case now. This metaphor is starting to become more and more of a hindrance for real changes in the way we use new technologies like the web and pervasive computing or ubiquitous computing.
Like an article in the ACM Sigplan Notices tries to show a significant change in the way we think is required if we want to reap these benefits. The von Neumann architecture of computer hardware is based on the old sequential and mechanical metaphor.
It is extremely difficult for example, with this prevailing mindset, to write software programs that utilise the possibilities of massive parallel computing. John von Neumann in his fundamental paper on the architecture of a computerbasically defines a computer in two parts: Data is fetched from the memory, placed in the processing unit, processed that is, mutated, combined, or whatever algorithm and put back into memory.
And this in an endless and ever speedier cycle. As I try to argue in another white paperthis sequential mindset is also prevailing in the way we model organisations. This is important, because we need tools to describe the world in another way than we used to do.
Our old tools and languages are not up to the challenge. Language determines, as Benjamin Lee Whorf stated in his hypothesis of linguistic relativity see below for the bookthe behaviour and the habits of thinking of that culture.
|Architecture audit||Metaphor and Second Language Learning:|
|Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)||What is a Metaphor, and Why is it Important?|
|It undermines the argument that human minds can reveal transcendent truths about reality in transparent language.|
Even, as for example General Semantics stated see belowlanguage determines the physical structure of our brain. An interesting modern book on the co-evolution of language and the brain is The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain.
In evolutionary theories there always is the problem how man evolved from some kind of pre-human animal-like state, and this book successfully argues that the development of symbolic thinking could be one of the main driving forces in this critical change.
My thesis is that this revolution was the first in a sequence of equivalent revolutions, which are: Language enabled human beings to tell stories about what happened to them in the past. Writing enabled them to do this but transcending space as well because writing was persistent, although it still was mostly a one-to-one communication.
Printing enabled us to do this one-to-many. And the web offers us all this instantly. These paradigm shifts show an interesting exponential curve… These inventions all initiated a paradigm shift, but the necessary re-evaluation of the previous stages lagged behind or was simply omitted.
So, this being the case, is there anything we can do to change the way we look at the world, to change the way we think?
Well, a way to accomplish this is through changing the metaphors we use to tackle the problems we encounter.Metaphors are omnipresent in language, the title of this essay, for example, contains a metaphor, but for the sake of accuracy, let us define exactly what a metaphor is.
According to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, metaphor is “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literal. The thesis analyzes the usage of metaphor in English poems through many aspects, concerns about how the poets express their feelings and thoughts with metaphor, and talks about some theory of cognitive science through the study of metaphor, showing the importance of English poetic metaphors.
Conceptions of Language Teachers Larisa Nikitina/Fumitaka Furuoka, Universiti Malaysia Sabah metaphors about language teachers was distributed to 98 students at Universiti Malaysia Sabah.
Factor analysis was employed as a research technique to identify the dimensions In the field of language pedagogy the importance of uncovering metaphors. In line with studies that highlight the importance of metaphor in L2 learning, another line of research demonstrates how difficult it is for language learners to grasp metaphors in the target language.
Since Antiquity, scholars have appreciated the importance of communication: as social beings, we cannot exist without communication.
We need to interact with people around us, to make sense of the world and to position ourselves in a wider social and cultural reality. Introduction 2 2. Metaphors ’ basic definitions 2 Definitions 2 Why using metaphors? 3 Further functions 4 3. Another metaphorical understanding 5 A last chapter is dedicated to an own little investigation of everday language for metaphors which is suppose to be a support for the theory presented before.