Towards a reconception of power

Modernising our magical thinking

Featured in

  • Published 20200204
  • ISBN: 9781925773804
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IT WOULD BE disconcerting to wake up one day and discover that everything we thought was real in the world we live in was simply a fantasy constructed out of some flimsy, mismatched old metaphors. Though most of us can go through life without ever noticing, the truth is many of the things we experience as reality, culturally speaking, are thanks to this subversive power of language.

Whenever we think things are looking up (why up, not down?), or when we look to the days and the weeks ahead of us (rather than behind, around, above), we enable language to shape our relationship to the world in fundamental ways. Every time we worry about wasting time doing things not worth our while (as if time is a limited resource that can run out, like money), or give people ideas or power over us (like finite objects or substances that can be lost once transferred), or shoot down their arguments (as if arguments were wars), we rarely see that these things could have been conceptualised differently. New ways of speaking may make us linguistically a little uncomfortable as we become more aware of how reality could work, but that can give us a certain power to act, to change our realities.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

About the author

Chi Luu

Chi Luu is a computational linguist, researcher and writer. She is the language columnist for JSTOR Daily. Her work has also appeared in The...

More from this edition

Best laid plans

FictionTHE KIDS IN Eleanor Hardy’s class are all still talking about the fight. They shouldn’t be – she heard the new deputy impose a strongly...

Less than 20/20 vision

MemoirEVEN A PERFECT metaphor runs its course. For decades, 2020 has offered a convenient label for conferences and strategic plans alike – perfect sight about...

Expert judgment on markers

PoetrySending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves a powerful culture. What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.