Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Is Your Brain on Metaphors

My friend Bruce, in the middle of reading my book, has kindly alerted me to this article by Robert Sapolsky.  Here is a sample:

'This neural confusion about the literal versus the metaphorical gives symbols enormous power, including the power to make peace. The political scientist and game theorist Robert Axelrod of the University of Michigan has emphasized this point in thinking about conflict resolution. For example, in a world of sheer rationality where the brain didn’t confuse reality with symbols, bringing peace to Israel and Palestine would revolve around things like water rights, placement of borders, and the extent of militarization allowed to Palestinian police. Instead, argues Axelrod, “mutual symbolic concessions” of no material benefit will ultimately make all the difference.'

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