Saturday, October 01, 2005

Time to meet our new guest blogger

I’d like for you guys to meet my friend Jim Raffensperger, who I think is going to be guest-blogging for a while on the whole question of the metaphor wars.

I met Jim through the Yahoo group Parents Adopting Kazakh Kids (“PAKK”), in which heavily mom-driven environment he is one of the few men who post regularly, and entertainingly. He is a smart, thoughtful and articulate guy, and also a good and decent human being. Plus, as a bonus, whenever I think of him, I think of a ballerina.

Very usefully for me, he comes solidly and natively from what I call the Therapy orientation – and he has issues with the way I’ve formulated the whole metaphor-war topic. He doesn’t think “Therapy” is a good designation, nor “Fact,” and he wants to help me address the deficiencies in my theory.

I couldn’t be more delighted. My biggest problem in all of this is simply that I am a native Fact-speaker; I speak Family and Therapy (or whatever it should be called) only painfully, as acquired foreign languages, and I am sure I speak them very badly. I can tell from Jim’s remarks in our e-mail conversation to date that he doesn’t yet really see what I’m trying to communicate about the Fact perspective; I can also tell when I read his comments that I’m not really all that close to capturing his PoV. Clearly I’m not going to get this right without help; fortunately for me, Jim’s willing to pitch in.

So without further ado, let’s give Jim the floor...


Hey Kenny,

I am still working this out. I think your metaphors need a couple more dimensions. I think the dimension that is missing is around the Law. I think that many who we would call conservative religious have a strict adherence to the Law of the religious text, and what we would call liberal have a more relative adherence to the Law. For example the legalistic would live their lives using the biblical and religious rules as determining factors for what they consider moral for themselves AND others. The more relative would use the biblical law more as a guiding principle then a strict Must Be. I think religion as moral code, is missing from your list.

I think that this answers my difficulty with the question of "whose God" when you write about Fact Vs. therapy.

While I can agree that some people use religion for therapy - to make THEMSELVES feel better, I think that others use religion to make OTHERS feel bad. I think some extreme evangelical churches do this; you are damned to hell unless you repent. My college minister said that the suicide rate went up when the street preachers came to town for their revivals.

I am still struggling with how you use Fact, I almost interpret it more as Legal rather then Truth.

On a slightly different note I have a general comment about language, that I think you may want to consider. Language is vitally important. The words you use, and you realize this in this post, are often tied to other connotations. I think the Therapy term has a negative connotation, I think you may consider using pragmatic instead. I also think Fact can have a dismissive connotation from people like me, who I think you would link into the therapy group. I again ask, whose facts? Does idealistic fit what you are trying to say. The other difficulty I have with Fact, is that all of the metaphors you point to, would have their own set of facts.

I personally think that religion and science as schools of thought are almost mutually exclusive. You cannot measure faith scientifically and Scientists do not accept faith as evidence. I think there must be a better word, then Truth or Fact.


Jim R


At 4:47 PM, Blogger Alexandra said...

Welcome Jim,

It sounds like Kenny has met his match. I very much look forward to you guest blogging on 'Redneck'.

I look forward to the 'metaphor wars' debate.....with a ballerina et al....LOL

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Mark said...

This is going to be fun...


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