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What's in a name?

"Metaphors are the organizing tool for cultural communication and political discourse. No political or social change takes place without effective use of metaphor."

The Metaphor Project

(born at a Natural Step Open Space Conference in Berkeley, CA, 1997)


“Metaphors are a special form of presentation natural to many cultures. They are of unique importance as a means of communicating complex notions, especially in interdisciplinary and multicultural dialogue, as well as in the popularization of abstract concepts, in political discourse and as part of any creative process. They offer the special advantage of calling upon a pre-existing capacity to comprehend complexity, rather than assuming that people need to engage in lengthy educational processes before being able to comprehend.”

Governance through Metaphor Project


Models, analogies and metaphors, from Physics to Poetry, of which involve a SourceTarget relationship. There is a translation from the established aura of facts, regularities, mechanisms and meanings  of the Source to those of the Target. This translation suggests a means of transferring inferences for the Source into inferences for the Target.

Paraphrased from Emergence-From Chaos to Order by John Holland

LAP: the METAPHOR - The Meanings of "Lap”

There is an “installed base” of meanings for the word “lap.” All have appropriate meanings for different aspects of LAP.

Lap: Good place for teaching/learning, storytelling and conversation. The part of a person formed by sitting. “She learned it in her mothers lap.”

Lap: A place, environment or situation of rest or nurture: “lap of luxury, Lap of the Lord”

Lap: A metaphorical area of care, charge, control, or responsibility: “drop the problem in my lap.”

Lap: One time around the circle maintenance, improvement, accomplishment and evaluation.  “We ran a good lap.”

Lap: A process of taking in sustenance; to receive enthusiastically. “The kitten lapped up the milk.”

Lap: The rotating wheel that gives the lapidary its name...used with abrasive or polish to bring out the facets or beauty in stones and gems.

Lap: A process in which multiple layers are bonded or pieces are fit with such close tolerance that they effectively become one.

Lap: A process of overlapping material, such as wood, to weather proof a house or make a vessel sea worthy.

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(C) 2000, 2001 Full Circle Productions, SEE-LAP, LAP.ORG

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updated 9/25/01

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