Thou Art This, That, And The Other

by Leonard Pierce

Jose Ortega y Gasset called the metaphor “the most fertile power possessed by mankind”.  He compared its potential to reshape the world to that of magic, a divine implement somehow handed down to mere humanity.  Indeed, one could argue that the metaphor is humanity; it combines two of our most unique qualities — language (the ability to transform the world into the word) and abstraction (the ability to see a thing as something other than what it is) — into one transformative capacity possessed by everyone.    Further, it is in fiction that metaphor finds its greatest purchase; and it is in the fiction of the unreal, in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, that the potential power of the metaphor is greatest.

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