Part 3: Morality That Divides Us
“I loathe nationalism. It is a form of tribalism–the idolatry of the century”
When many of us hear the word “morals”, we often withdraw, flinch, find someone else to talk to or another place to be. In fact, morals, in the simplest terms, only refers to what we consider “good” (or “bad”). All of us hold them (moral positions, that is). We might not talk about them much (in a metacognitive, that is, self-conscious manner) but we express them constantly.
We know from neuroscience that most thought is unconscious, carried out by neural circuitry. In Metaphors We Live By, Mark Johnson and I showed that much of that unconscious thought is metaphorical, and further, that we often live our lives according to those metaphors.
So says George Lakoff, neuroscientist and linguist. Mr. Lakoff recently posted an article in which he presents his take on the nature and implications of a primary metaphor driving the person currently occupying the oval office. Mr. Lakoff’s central premise is that POTUS 2017 operates according to the assumption “the president is the nation”. The “meaning” of the phrase itself, out of context, presents very little significance. However, the true meaning of such a metaphor only appears in the expressed attitudes and behaviors that ensue from it. Assuming the Lakoff depiction is accurate, an important question arises: how might a person who suddenly finds himself in the most power office in the world behave as a result of the validation offered by the new found title “President of the United States”? (more…)
Truth and communication represent two major themes here at seekingGood. Cognitive scientist George Lakoff has commented frequently in recent months regarding specific statement and the general presentation of the current “Loser President”. Communication can be a tricky business–all the more so when the speaker has no intention of either presenting truth or allowing the truth to be presented. Lakoff has highlighted four specific tactics (depicted below) the current president uses in his tweets. Each is designed to evade the truth in any given situation. None of them are particularly unique. However, each is a tactic well worth understanding such that you can watch for them as you read or hear anything from anyone.
via Trump’s Twitter Distraction — George Lakoff
(Posted by Academe Blog)
Most of us are unaware of the many layered aspects of language. The relative absence of such awareness can often cost us in ways of which we will never be aware. When attempting to influence opinion using words (or sometimes behaviors) in the public sphere, a heightened awareness of our use of language can significantly increase the success of our efforts. In a Feb 07, 2017 Travis Smiley interview, George Lakoff, a distinguished linguist, shared some ideas for effectively reaching the broadest spectrum of individuals. You can also read Lakoff’s comments from July 2016 regarding the current president during the campaign.