I love language. I’m a reader, a writer, a person who loves ideas.
I recently watched Tolkien and loved this line from the movie.
Language isn’t just the naming of things, it’s the lifeblood of a culture, a people.
You can catch that clip for yourself here.
Language is definitely my own lifeblood. (That, and music.)
Language helps us explain the world. Know the world. Name the world. And we’re often trying to improve the language we use to describe the truth, to explain exactly what happened.
We want language to be specific, precise. Literal.
I’m grateful for this specificity of language. Our ability to name, sort, and label our experiences and interactions with the world.
Without this, our lives would be a soupy mess.
But literalism has limits where it bumps up against another tool of language, something even more powerful at explaining reality – metaphor.
Metaphor engages our imagination, it opens possibilities, it invokes play.
Carl Jung said,
The great joy of play is that for a time we are utterly spontaneous. In a state of pure being, no thought is unthinkable, no image is unimaginable. Every good idea and all creative works are the offspring of imagination. (emphasis mine)
Metaphor is the language of our imagination. And it speaks the truth in ways not possible with literal language.
Join me in this episode as we explore the limits of literalism, consider the power of imagination and metaphor, and play with these ideas in the context of the Christian tradition.
Music by Matt Wigton.