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Towards an Ecology of Spiritual Traditions

Articulated by a dynamic system of metaphors (Part #1)


Part of Towards Transformative Conferencing and Dialogue: Collection of papers and notes, problems and possibilities on the new frontier of high-risk gatherings concerning social development
Towards an image-based language: the current socio-political function of metaphors
Cognitive function of metaphors
A new inspiration: the spiritual function of metaphors
The importance of keystones
A transcendental spiritual identity
How to proceed ?
In search of an adequate system of metaphors
Conclusion
References

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Towards an image-based language: the current socio-political function of metaphors

The implications of a pattern of spiritual traditions are more and more a challenge to comprehension. In order to clarify understanding of such complexity, use is made of notions which are both simple and symbolic. "The House of Europe" and "European Space" are examples of this approach in the political arena. Such metaphors serve as vehicles to suggest approaches with many strategic implications. They fulfil the function of codes to communicate among cognoscenti and as key phrases in the interaction with public opinion.

The fundamental problems of spiritual concord raise the question of the extent to which metaphors currently used are of adequate richness to articulate strategic options which are both useful and viable. The dilemma remains the necessity, on the one hand, to reflect the richness of the complexity of which any spiritual concord must take account, and, on the other, to make available an integrative image capable of "enchanting" people seeking some sense in the development of their personal and professional lives. This dilemma is made all the more problematic by the multiplicity of spiritual traditions and schools of thought, as well as the diverse marginal groups.

Media communicability has become increasingly important to the life of political and social initiatives. It is the ultimate constraint in social and political transformation. It is therefore useful to note the developing role of metaphor in articulating or opposing social transformation. Boris Yeltsin chose to describe Mikhael Gorbachev's compromise reforms as a "marriage between a hedgehog and a snake". Such imagery, of which there are many examples, easily undermines the best of initiatives.

It would seem that the struggle has shifted from the world of ideas to the world of images. Commentators everywhere remark on the sterility of proposals in the eyes of the general population, and especially of voters. Instead of the "power of imagination", there is a bankruptcy of imagination.

voters. Instead of the "power of imagination", there is a bankruptcy of imagination.


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