Hello, again! One of the great things about Shimer is the option to take a summer course, which I did! How'd it go, you ask? Well, it went just swimmingly. (What your mind has just done to make that sentence make sense is positively fascinating. I'll explain below.)
The first book we read for class was The Way We Think by Fauconnier and Turner. Their major concept is "blending," something our minds do automatically to make language make sense.
I found the discussions to be very interesting. The class dynamic itself was a little strange at first, but worked out great in the long run. I was the only fourth year in the class. Everyone else was soon to be a second-year or, in the case of one student, it was their first Shimer class. This in itself turned out to be a bit exciting. There was a fresh attitude and approach to discussion. Many people were still finding their discussion type.
So, like I promised at the beginning of this post, I will explain why your mind has done something amazing.
The sentence "it is going along swimmingly" is not a literal statement. The class did not all get into a pool together and start to swim to some finish line. And yet, you understood what I meant. Your mind created a mental space, my class, and another, a swimming arena, connected the dots between those two ideas (considering what matched up from both sides), and blended them together to understand that my class was going well.
This proved to be one of the simpler concepts to understand, and one that we came back to many times over the course of the class. In addition to Fauconnier and Turner, we read works by Lakoff and Johnson, Aristotle, Black, Davidson, Searle, Schroder, and many more.
Stuart, the facilitator of the course, also sent out articles about modern metaphor issues. I will share this one with you on the topic of the use of metaphor in law: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/272-39/12092-focus-the-power-to-make-metaphor-into-law
Part of what is so amazing about metaphors is how often we utilize them in our speech. It is almost impossible to communicate without them. And in class they are often essential to conveying the thoughts in your head into the thoughts in others heads. Since the end of the summer and the beginning of my fall classes I have thought a great deal about the metaphors present in all Great Books and how much the greatness of their ideas has to do with the greatness of their metaphors.