- Language (particularly metaphor and story) shapes how we see the world, and how we think and act.
If you think this is esoteric, think of the consequences of the language used to target particular groups of people – as parasites, as swarms, floods, and marauders, as pollutants – to see the real world consequences of the language and metaphors we use.
This new book Metaphor, Sustainability, Transformation is an exploration of how this is the case when it comes to the challenges of climate change and ecological and environmental destruction – an exploration of how metaphor and story matter.
- In the discussions among the book’s authors, two things quickly became evident that formed the foundational ideas for the book.
First, it became evident that we all shared a belief that the series of crises we face
– not only climate change, but also the erosion of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism, increasing geopolitical tensions and the threat of war that accompanies them, socially destabilizing levels of inequality, and – as the pandemic has shown, a persistent gulf between the rich world and the majority world
– that these crises require a transformation not only in technology but also more fundamentally in how we think and act.
The second thing we as authors agreed on was that, because of this profound uncertainty, it is essential to have the insights from every discipline around the table. Conversations and connections across discipline are not option, they are the way we will create a future that is both workable and crucially ethical
- As the Introductory Chapter of the book says:
“The book is based on a belief that metaphors and stories we currently use can lead us to act inappropriately and that an active reimagining of our language is needed. In this spirit, the book offers a wide range of metaphors to illustrate the possibilities for such a reimagining”.
Please listen here to the launch event where wonderful story teller Jo Blake joins some of the book’s authors to discuss how story can change how we think and act, and might even safe us from ourselves.