Life as Art or Science

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced’ the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard declared – something marketers should be all too familiar with. It’s the experience that sells, not the car.  It is the spectacularly beautiful hike in the mountains with your friends that sit better with you than your new pair of jeans sit on you. The many feelings and emotions of awe that a person experience can be quite abstract and hard to express. The brain’s way of wiring neurons together ‘that fire together’, assists us in thinking of abstract things in terms of other things that are more concrete and familiar. It is metaphors we use to link the psychological with the physical. Such as ‘affection is warmth’ (e.g. a warm person or a cold person) or ‘money is a river’ (e.g. cash flow, liquid assets, revenue streams). 

To make life easier, we use metaphors to link the psychological with the physical.

I think two (perhaps fundamental) metaphors are particularly helpful for personal development.

There are those that have an ‘art mind’ or a ‘science mind’. It can be said, then, that those with an ‘art’ mind see ‘Life as a Story’, with

  1. a character
  2. who wants something and
  3. overcomes obstacles to get it

There might be ways you have helped others live a better story, overcame challenges that you hadn’t thought possible, or look forward in editing the story that you have been writing until now.

If you see yourself more scientifically-minded, then ‘Life is an Experiment’ to you. Your experiences are experiments; changing as few aspect of your life as possible when making big changes (e.g. a new job, relocating, getting married etc.) to see the effect one aspect has on the others. Or you might ask a general sample of people their opinion on something before deciding for yourself.

Which one of these metaphors describes you best? What obstacles have you overcome that can write a great story? What have you learned from small, incremental changes that you have made in your life?


Further Reading and References

James Geary – I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World

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