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Thread: Evolving metaphors for Clean...

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    Default Evolving metaphors for Clean...

    Like webmaven, I feel one single metaphor would be inadequate.
    Here's my thoughts as they've evolved following the time line of my own learning process.

    For background, when I learn/teach some brand new concept I break the experience into 3 phases. Roughly: Huge, Medium, and Microscopic.

    When I first encounter or wish to convey what a new concept is all about, I search for an example that is so huge, often outlandish, that the concept can hardly be mistaken. After reading David's description in:
    I wanted a forcefully contrasting example, so I asked myself: Self, what is an example that would be totally opposite to 'clean' as I currently understand it? Self replied: when a hypnotist plants a post-hypnotic command in one's subconscious. This strikes me as most un-clean. So I guess my first metaphor would be, roughly, Clean is like minding your own business.

    Next, I seek out everyday experiences that demonstrate the new concept.
    Because of both my personal & profession area of interest is forensics, especially forensic psychology, I thought about the situation of investigating a crime scene. You don't want to go through a house with muddy boots, nor grab everything that fascinates you, thus leaving behind your own fingerprints, DNA, etc..

    So a second metaphor for me would be Clean language is like the forensic examination of a crime scene. Don't muddy the clients world with your own muddy boots. The article that helped me most at this point was "Whose map is it anyway?" by Phil Swallow and Wendy Sullivan:
    They introduced what I needed on a daily level: Examples of Gradations:cleanest, cleaner, cleanish, dirtyish, dirtier, & dirtiest.

    Now that I, or my students can recognize both gross and everyday examples of the new concept, we move to the 3rd area: tiny, almost microscopic manifestations of this new concept. This is where we turn the task over from conscious analysis to intuitive perception.

    What is the smallest manifestation of this new concept? One that popped into my mind, while preparing my morning coffee, was the small packets of artificial sweetners. We use either 1 or 2 packets, never 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 or god forbid 1 1/3. The coercion is most subtle, but applies to almost all medical dosages.

    Another example jumped out at me while writing this post. I had the TV on in the background, and one of the speakers did what frequently frustrates me to the point of hitting the MUTE button. He raised the volume of his voice every 4th or 5th word. To me, IMHO, he is not presenting information for me to accept, reject or modify, but rather he wants to forcibly ram his beliefs into my mind. A NO-NO.

    Modifying this to a 3rd metaphor, I created a metaphor derived from the subtle dynamics of dancing. Taking a fast dynamic dance like the Polka, we see the seamless rotation of leader & follower. So perhaps, for me, Clean is like dancing the Polka.

    Last edited by phil; 28 April 2008 at 11:18 AM. Reason: highlighting Bob's main metaphors for clean
    God gave us grapes;
    Entrepreneurs gave us wine.
    Bob Gorman

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