The Power of the Metaphor
I have often pondered about the existence of metaphors. In a world where it is often better to explain technical topics using the 'layman's' words, why then do metaphors exist? I mean metaphors only serve to make things appear more complicated than they actually are, right? As time goes by, I have begun to see metaphors more as a simplifier of profound ideas. The metaphor serves as a useful human tool which can bring with it, two over arching benefits. The first is that it can help the orator expend less energy. When an idea is profound it will often take a lot of explaining in order to become comprehensible to the receiver of the message. In direct parallel to this, the second advantage is that it helps the orator reach his tribe. The orator will begin to see, overtime, who comprehends the meaning he wishes people to obtain from the metaphor, which will signal who is more or less on his wavelength so they can begin to see each other as allies.
When I first heard Robert Frost's famous poem 'The Road Not Taken', all those years ago, I could never see past the physical nature of being in a forest and choosing a path. I couldn't comprehend the depth of that message until I had acquired some life experience. Reading the ending of the poem once again, I now see clearly how it relates to life and how choosing your own unique path, while wandering slightly from the masses, is where we can obtain satisfaction and purpose.
I know in years to come I will revisit many a famous metaphor and hopefully uncover more depth to them. The beauty of a metaphor is that it enables a person to tell many stories in as little as a single line. It is art in its purest form, there is never one correct answer, only endless interpretations. The great thing about a metaphor is that anyone is capable of using it, and it can be passed down from generation to generation, within a family, in order to help that family and those around them prosper with the same values.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.