The Language of Peace:

Constructing Non-Violent Metaphors

A Workshop with Dr. M.J. Hardman

Sponsored by the Community Coalition Against War & Terrorism

Saturday, February 16, 2002
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
215 Dauer Hall
The University of Florida


Background Information

Violence in the English Language

Much work has been done delineating the violence in the English language; the evidence is now overwhelming of the continual thread of violence through English, whether violence is relevant to the topic at hand or not. We are all also well aware of the damage that verbal violence does, to health and to general well being.

This workshop gives some attention to constructing ways of talking that lead to understanding, that are vivid, interesting, that can focus attention, and all the other things that are used as justification for violence in language but without the violence. We focus on the thread of generative violence metaphors, in the guise of war, sex and sports, that pervade our language, developing alternate generative metaphors that would also have cohesion. If we did not speak of most of our daily work as some sort of fight or battle, or hear others speak in a constant stream of their fights and battles, our overall health might be better, for example:

"Johnny don't fight at school. Your mother is helping the war on cancer. Your father has his battles everyday at work. Your sister has to attack her studies. We just can't have you fighting at school."


How might the above be redone? The workshop will draw on the creativeness of the audience to weave the threads that could lead us to non-violent, non-hypocritical language for those of us who would wish a non-violent or at least a less-violent society.

For example, to beat a dead horse involves not only futility but the notion that, if the horse were alive, violence would lead to success or compliance. Some suggestions, drawing on cooking, are to unbake a cake or to unscramble eggs; or we might use to blow up a popped balloon; or, drawing from weaving we might say to reknit cut threads.


Generative Metaphors

As metaphors for each other:

All three involve violence and ranking

Finding alternate metaphors

·         Combat violent metaphors

 

 

·         Fight for Peace / Conquer War

 

·         Battle ignorance

Alternate metaphors under specific domains

Our Domains

Example 1

Disagreement as Combat

  • My strategy in a disagreement is to get in there at the very beginning and attack.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • My strategy in a disagreement is to lay a careful foundation at the very beginning.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • My strategy in a disagreement is to cast on my stitches carefully at the very beginning.

Disagreement as Art

  • My strategy in a disagreement is to sketch out my objectives at the very beginning.
  • My strategy in a disagreement is to block in my areas at the very beginning.
  • My strategy in a disagreement is to gather my materials at the very beginning.
  • My strategy in a disagreement is to paint my position at the very beginning.

Disagreement as Travel

  • My strategy in a disagreement is to start out in the right direction.
  • My strategy in a disagreement is to consult an expert in the beginning.
  • My strategy in a disagreement is to lay out a map in the beginning.
  • My strategy in a disagreement is to get everyone on board in the beginning.
  • My strategy in a disagreement is to plan my itinerary in the beginning.
  • My strategy in a disagreement is to make sure there's air in my tires in the beginning.

 

Example 2

Disagreement as Combat

  • She shot down every one of his agruments.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • She took apart every one of his arguments.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • She unraveled every one of his arguments.

Disagreement as Art

  • She disarticulated every one of his arguments.
  • She painted over every one of his arguments.
  • She erased every one of his arguments.
  • She unglued every one of his arguments.
  • She recast every one of his arguments.

Disagreement as Travel

  • She rerouted every one of his arguments.
  • She detoured every one of his arguments.
  • She drove off every one of his arguments.
  • She remapped every one of his arguments.
  • She blocked every one of his arguments.
  • She caused him to backtrack on every one of his arguments.

 

Example 3

Disagreement as Combat

  • This is a battle over principles, not just opinions.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • This discussion is built on principles, not just opinions.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • This discussion is woven of principles, not just opinions.

Disagreement as Art

  • This discussion is drawn upon principles, not just opinions.
  • This discussion is a collage of principles, not just opinions.
  • This discussion is framed with principles, not just opinions.
  • This discussion is illustrated with principles, not just opinions.

Disagreement as Travel

  • This discussion is mapped out of principles, not just opinions.
  • This discussion is a journey of principles, not just opinions.
  • This discussion is a voyage toward principles, not just opinions.
  • This discussion is going towards principles, not just opinions.
  • This discussion is an itinerary of principles, not just opinions.

 

Example 4

Disagreement as Combat

  • Logic is not our most useful weapon in a disagreement.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • Logic is not our most useful tool in a disagreement.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • Logic is not our most useful pattern in a disagreement.

Disagreement as Art

  • Logic is not our most useful canvas in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not our most useful paintbrush in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not our most useful palate in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not our most useful medium in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not our most useful template in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not our most useful material in a disagreement.

Disagreement as Travel

  • Logic is not our most useful ticket in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not our most useful vehicle in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not the shortest distance in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not the fastest way in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not our most useful route in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not our most useful path in a disagreement.
  • Logic is not our most useful way in a disagreement.

 

Example 5

Disagreement as Combat

  • You can't let down your guard with her around, not even for a minute.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • You can't lay down your tools with her around, not even for a minute.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • You can't lay down your needles with her around, not even for a minute.

Disagreement as Art

  • You can't lay down your easel with her around, not even for a minute.
  • You can't lay down your brushes with her around, not even for a minute.
  • You can't continue to sketch your position with her around, not even for a minute.
  • You can't be distracted with her around, not even for a minute.

Disagreement as Travel

  • You can't guide the journey with her around, not even for a minute.
  • You can't lose your way with her around, not even for a minute.
  • You can't lay down the keys with her around, not even for a minute.
  • You have to keep your eyes on the road with her around, not even for a minute.
  • You can't take your hands off the wheel with her around, not even for a minute.

 

Example 6

Disagreement as Combat

  • That first argument was a real bombshell—it just tore our case apart.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • That first argument was a thunderstorm—it stopped us from building our case.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • That first argument was a knot in the yarn—it stopped us from weaving our textile.

Disagreement as Art

  • That first argument was a tear in the canvas—it stopped us from drawing our picture.
  • That first argument knocked over our paint can—it stopped us from drawing our picture.
  • That first argument was an inkblot—it stopped us from drawing our picture.

Disagreement as Travel

  • That first argument was a flat tire—it kept us from going on.
  • That first argument derailed our train—it kept us from going on.
  • That first argument was a stumbling block—it kept us from going on.
  • That first argument was a stone in the road—it kept us from going on.
  • That first argument was a detour—it kept us from going on.

 

Example 7

Disagreement as Combat

  • It's easy to shoot holes in her arguments.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • It's easy to find weak places in her arguments.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • It's easy to find dropped stitches in her arguments.

Disagreement as Art

  • It's easy to paint over the mistakes in her arguments.
  • It's easy to redraft the mistakes in her arguments.
  • It's easy to highlight errors and disharmonies in her arguments.
  • It's easy to washout the mistakes in her arguments.
  • It's easy to shatter her arguments.

Disagreement as Travel

  • It's easy to redirect the mistakes in her arguments.
  • It's easy to reroute the mistakes in her arguments.
  • It's easy to derail the mistakes in her arguments.
  • It's easy to take the wind out of her sail.
  • It's easy to take the leaks out of her boat.

 

Example 8

Disagreement as Combat

  • Every word she said was meant to cut like a knife.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • Every word she said was meant to cause serious damage.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • Every word she said was meant to break the thread.

Disagreement as Art

  • Every word she said was meant to unbalance the harmony.
  • Every word she said was meant to unbalance the symmetry.
  • Every word she said was meant to bring in dissonance.
  • Every word she said was meant to disfigure the sculpture.

Disagreement as Travel

  • Every word she said was meant to push me into the swamp.
  • Every word she said was meant to muddify the road.
  • Every word she said was meant to create potholes in the road.
  • Every word she said was meant to pour sugar into gas tanks.
  • Every word she said was meant to let the air out of her tires.

 

Example 9

Disagreement as Combat

  • I protected myself by using accurate facts and figures as a shield.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • I made sure my case would hold together by using accurate facts and figures.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • I insured the wholeness of my garment by accurately pulling together the pattern and the threads.

Disagreement as Art

  • I prepared my case carefully by choosing the right colors for my palate.
  • I composed my case carefully by using accurate facts and figures.

Disagreement as Travel

  • I composed my case carefully by using accurate facts and figures.
  • I mapped out my trip carefully by using accurate facts and figures.
  • I got a tune up before I left for my trip.

 

Example 10

Disagreement as Combat

  • She came charging in with statistics that cut our arguments to pieces.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • She started hammering her case down with statistics that pointed out every weak plank in our arguments.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • She started weaving her case with statistics that pointed out every weak thread in our arguments.

Disagreement as Art

  • She painted her case such that every disharmony in our painting was apparent.

Disagreement as Travel

  • She mapped out every wrong turn we had taken.

 

Example 11

Disagreement as Combat

  • You can't mount a successful attack if you're afraid to speak up.

Disagreement as Carpentry

  • You can't construct a successful case if you're afraid to speak up.

Disagreement as Weaving

  • You can't weave a successful proof if you're afraid to speak up.

Disagreement as Art

  • You can't design your case if you're afraid to speak up.

Disagreement as Travel

  • You can't get anywhere if you're afraid to speak up.
  • You can't complete the journey if you're afraid to drive.

 

Other Metaphors Discussed

Principles of Antipiotic Therapy

(medical metaphors)