łThe notion of metaphor sometimes replaces agreement.˛
The Emergence of Everything (with thanks to Alan Baker)

Okay, so I've been mulling over these matters...and here's where I've gotten so far. Yep: War is a Bad Metaphor. So: let us find a better one. http://serendipstudio.org/local/suminst/bridge02/dalketable.html I'm impatient (as I often am) w/ the insistant binarization of these vexed matters: religion vs. science, fundamentalism vs. relativism, faith vs. skepticism, comfort vs. rubbing against, "too much affirmation from the outside" vs. "living comfortably alone in our thoughts." I want to unsettle the binary by muddy-ing the waters, by laying alongside the proposal that that it is very important to tell stories in an assailable form...as clearly and directly as possible so that it can effectively and productively rub against the stories of others-- w/ all the implications of friction between two intact bodies, of pressure put against that which is impenetrable (not only those who have faith in doctrine, but those who have faith in skepticism--another metaphor, one which admits to the possibility of penetration, of alteration on the inside. And which does so, not by direct assault. Cynthia Ozick, who once read a parable to a group of doctors, tells the story well:

They wanted...plain speech. They were appalled by metaphor (the shock of metaphor), by fable, image, echo, irony, satire, obliqueness, double meaning, the call to interpret, the call to penetrate, the call to comment an diagnose. They were stung by..."ambiguity...." But the parable Ozick told, her willingness go beyond being skeptical about existing stories to take the risk of telling a story, constructing a metaphor that

relies on what has been experienced before; it transforms the strange into the familiar.../Metaphor uses what we already possess and reduces strangeness. Metaphor is the enemy of absrtaction....it is the way of metaphor to transform memory into a principle of continuity....Through metaphor...those at the center can imagine what it is to be outside... We strangers can image the familiar heart of strangers.

I want to pull out of Ozick's account the possibility that imaginative, associative language can do the connecting that clear, direct assailable stories cannot. War is a Bad Metaphor, but there are better ones. I have frequently played the game (most recently in The Evolution of Stories this past month) of asking my students what metaphor they would use to describe their (ideal/actual) classroom experiences. What inevitably arises in the course of that exercise is that they realize, through the web of associations that metaphors invite, the implications of their own self-conceptions for the roles of others (if you are a pearl-diver, are you alone in the ocean? if you). So: instead of "fundamentalism vs. relativism," how about one or 'nother of these metaphors? emulsification: the suspension--not the mixing--of small globule so f one liquid in a second...to have always a consciousness of the larger world in which it is suspendted. Liable to stir things up in or to be stirred up by what happens beyond. But liable, too, to separate out...all emulsions are unstable...a matter of different degrees of coalescence. (Kaye Edwards, in Teaching to Learn/Learning to Teach it seemed as if this were the Loom of Time, and I myself were a shuttle mechanically weaving and weaving away at the Fates. There lay the fixed threads of the warp subject to but one single, ever returning, unchanging vibration, and that vibration merely enough to admit of the crosswise interblending of other threads with its own. This warp seemed necessity; and here, thought I, with my own hand I ply my own shuttle and weave my own destiny into these unalterable threads. Meantime, Queequeg's impulsive, indifferent sword, sometimes hitting the woof slantingly, or crookedly, or strongly, or weakly, as the case might be; and by this difference in the concluding blow producing a corresponding contrast in the final aspect of the completed fabric; this savage's sword, thought I, which thus finally shapes and fashions both warp and woof; this easy, indifferent sword must be chance- aye, chance, free will, and necessity- wise incompatible- all interweavingly working together. The straight warp of necessity, not to be swerved from its ultimate course- its every alternating vibration, indeed, only tending to that; free will still free to ply her shuttle between given threads; and chance, though restrained in its play within the right lines of necessity, and sideways in its motions directed by free will, though thus prescribed to by both, chance by turns rules either, and has the last featuring blow at events. Herman Melville, "the Mat-Maker," Cahpter 47 of Moby-Dick How 'bout this as an image: there are the fixed threads of what is fundamental (those foundational needs: being loved, having good work; and the genetic package we come with); there are the free threads of what is new, surprising, not known; and there is the chance, which turns the final, which weaves together faith and skepticism, the keeping of stories and the sharin gof them. It's not necessarily the most stories--best ones felct different perspectives committeed assailable rub against: rub donw, wear down: immersion/interprentration stay true confidence rubbing against maintina skepticism self-organized stability faith does not depend on response conversation stoppers rubbing vs. penetration Linda Kauffman, "Against Personal Testimony," Am Fem'st Thought At Century's End w/ the so-called authenticity and sincerity of personal testimony, & encourage us to be satisfied w/ that. This is experience as a conversation-stopper. remaining essentially intact/in permanent disagreement taking the risk of telling the story key presumption is that the greater the number of perspcetives from which one can look the better off we all are. I question the valorization of quantification. Sometimes: fewer deeper wiser views, sometime silence, will get us further.