Metaphor Cards

Last updated 1 year ago

I’ve been thinking about how books can be transformed into different forms to create different kinds of experiences: decks of cards (like Schell’s deck of lenses), exploding the text onto the walls of a room to create a spatialized reading experience, book as a jigsaw puzzle of ideas…

While reading Metaphors We Live By there was a voice that kept nagging at the back of my mind that I’d like to turn the book into a deck of cards, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like…

My current hypothesis is that a deck of cards would be a useful thinking tool for thinking about and exploring different possible metaphors. Perhaps each card could lay out a different metaphor and its transferrable meaning, so that you can perhaps understand what situations that it might best apply to, and which it may not…

Lakoff tries to get us to imagine a world with different metaphors, what if for example we think of ARGUMENT AS DANCE, what would that world look like? what kinds of new metaphors could we use and how could those shape our thought? I wonder how a deck of cards might be able to let us explore a space of as-of-yet unexplored metaphors…

I should also note that certain metaphors can have both FUNCTIONAL and FORMAL meanings, perhaps these can be noted differently on the cards. For example, the metaphor of an ORGANISM might functionally mean a complex system, but formally is something interconnected, fractal, separated by function, or endlessly repeating (cells)


I personally imagine this to be an incredibly powerful metaphor, particularly in the lens of thinking about cities and urban planning

Functional Meaning: Something from which things can grow and flourish, comes with connotations of a cycle—that which grows from it will eventually decompose and “give back” to the underlying soil beneath

Formal Meaning: Importance on landscape, analysis of nutrients, a flat-ish ground on which things can grow



Functional Meaning: A complex system of inter-related parts

Formal Meaning: Stretching on and on in every direction, something large and beyond human scale, one person cannot be expected to walk all the streets in their lifetime


Functional Meaning: A complex system which in some way leads to a kind of “life”

Formal meaning: Something interconnected, fractal, separated by function, or endlessly repeating (cells)


Functional Meaning: Something that can be transacted, spent, or that leads to an economy of sorts

Formal Meaning: