The fun thing about analogies is, that once you have set one up, everyone can talk about an abstract concept in a central way. At least, they all start out on the same page and can define, or refine, as they go along. Then, others can see what each person is talking about, even if they don’t totally agree with them. It’s also very creative to see how far such a story can be taken. These are very handy when planning a speech or a class. A little analogy goes a long way.
My blogs these days, are trying to resurrect a few yellow-pad analogy notes I jotted down a little while ago:
1.) Life as a boot camp, rather than a school: That life’s purpose is actually more focused, and deliberately a lot tougher, than simply enrolling for classes and aiming towards some degree or other and then maybe using it in a career…or not.
2.) Life as a boardwalk carnival: That our everyday behavior and casual choices do add up to affect, not only our future, but that of the whole society, the whole planet. Also, that hidden consequences may pop up at any time.
3.) Which chakra are you working out of? Which apartment would you choose if you had to live in a very tall high-rise apartment building, considering the advantages, costs, and qualifications of each? Tomorrow’s subject.
All analogies contain weaknesses, or exceptions to the rule, that can sometimes be used to prove the very opposite. But that weakness gives flexibility, so that a point can be examined from many sides. Take yesterday’s blog about the boardwalk, for example. I actually ended it in a manner that I don’t wholeheartedly believe in. If you recall, the jury was out, as to what the New Millennium owners were going to provide in their rebuilding of a future boardwalk, and the indication was that the people might get exactly what they had “voted” for in their unthinking consumerism.
If the Market had the deciding vote, perhaps all future eateries would be fast food establishments, heavy on the grease and corn syrup; and there wouldn’t be an organic restaurant among them. Similar, common-denominator tastes might hold in all of the activity and entertainment venues. Perhaps that might still be the case, if we’re thinking of the material world alone. Unless folks who value the better stuff take an energetic stand and do what many public warning voices are urging us to do.
Actually and truly, I don’t think that yesterday’s example is where we are headed, but that is one probable outcome for the analogy. What if the boardwalk’s New Millennium Owners were actually taking things in hand for themselves rather than counting the purchasing-power votes of the people? What if they were only going to provide venues of the highest order? Places displaying the finest arts and symphonies, appealing to the more rarefied tastes; restaurants serving the best and healthiest foods; and children’s activities that were great fun but also educational. What if the Market didn’t matter to them, at all? And, what if it were all free?
Oh, but who is going to supply the common taste? Where are the beer and pretzels? Great agitation. But, if it’s free, who cares?
Then, on opening day, the crowd assembles at the gate. Great consternation! Only those whose old ticket books proved that they had always been patrons of that upper end of the boardwalk: of those concert halls and specialty restaurants, would be admitted. Sorry, other folks. Go home! It’s not for you.
Doesn’t this sound a great deal like St. Peter’s Gates? The great elimination? Could be, because this has been spelled out in most Holy Books as a cautionary tale, that what you do today will make a big difference in where you find yourself tomorrow. Pearly Gates, Golden Streets, Mansions… They are all analogies. But, they all carry the same warning about the future. There is a great deal to them, even though their realization might not include the actual, physical description in the story.
Don’t forget, the millennial rollover carried quite a set of these analogies. Don’t cross them off too early in the game. Visuals are very handy. But, they are also easy to pass off as “just stories,” until suddenly, events start adding up. Most of the morals to these stories have everything to do with refining character and becoming spiritualized. Come to think of it, that’s how most children’s stories end, as well, isn’t it.
P.S. In case I’m sounding too snootier-than-thou, let me say that I’m not a heavy patron of the arts, nor do I eat at swanky restaurants, (I’d love to, if I could afford them…but so would everyone) though I do tend towards organic eating. I’m right in the middle with the rest of you folks. But, analogies often have extremes at either end, as does life. Can you take this point any further? This sort of open-ended story is a lot like Silly Putty and can be worked and re-worked. The point is really to get people thinking about outcomes and possibilities.
Okay, tomorrow I’ll leave the boardwalk behind and try to sell you a condo. See you then!