• Playing A Violin Solo

Metaphors are among our principle vehicles for understanding.                                                                     George Lakoff and Mark Johnson

This favorite metaphor is probably unfamiliar to most readers. It has personal meaningfulness to me. And I think a great lesson for all of us. This blog is Metaphor Memory #2.

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as yougo along.* Samuel Butler

I don’t remember when I first discovered this but it was early in my life, at a time when I was playing cornet solos in the eighth grade and high school. I didn’t know the author until recently. It is a powerful lessen in the learning and unlearning process and accepting mistakes. Learning as you go along has been a theme of all of my writing, speaking, blogging. And I hope even in my behavior during and after high school.

To imagine playing any instrument solo in public, and learning as you along, brings up some interesting visions. We realize we will make mistakes. This causes us to accept that in life, mistakes happen. The question is: Will we admit it? and/or Will we profit by it? That means, will we learn?

Mistakes help us learn. So much has been written over the years about the value of failure. A number of  popular books about failure have become best-sellers. For example: Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success, John Maxwell, 2007. If at first you don’t succeed, you’re above average. Failure is part of growing up. Everyone does it, but everyone doesn’t do it well. To do it well means to learn.

Living life means constantly learning to learn and to unlearn as you go along. We must continuously unlearn much of what we have learned, and learn to learn what we have not been taught, R D Laing. For me, this metaphor has brought me to thinking about my blog writing. So I am now writing a blog about “Why I Blog”. I blog to learn.

Unless you are educated in metaphor, you are not safe to be let loose in the world.                Robert Frost

*I  know this is actually a simile, a synonym of metaphor.



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1 Response to METAPHOR MEMORY #2

  1. Marianne says:

    I like this metaphor. When I taught Jr. High, I really learned more than the kids, I think. I learned more about grammar and history, etc. Terrible to think the teacher is learning as she goes, but I did. All of the workshops I facilitated helped me become more knowledgeable in the subject. Sorry that in cooking I did not progress, and in child rearing I wonder if a parent ever gets it toally right. Now, I am learning how to become a successful elder–so far it is not working well. Just hope I live long enough to become mentorish.

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