How metaphor and narrative interact in stories of forces of nature
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In this chapter, we shall present an example of a story and its use, point out the metaphors it contains, and argue that its conceptual structure is the same as that of its formal counterparts in physics. In other words, we claim that all of us can learn some good physics from stories of forces of nature. Moreover, we use the opportunity to contribute to the theme of metaphor and narrative by tackling the question of how the two interact in such stories. We find that, in general, analysts of metaphor or narrative treat one or the other of these cognitive tools but not both at once. Narrative is not commonly a theme in conceptual metaphor theory, and metaphors are not the main concern for the narratologist. We shall discuss three perspectives regarding the question of how metaphor and narrative relate to each other. First, and this may be the most directly useful for education, stories of forces of nature lead us back to what Kieran Egan has called mythic culture and mythic understanding (Egan, 1988, 1997). The interaction of physical phenomena and a mythic mind presents us with an experience where metaphors and stories form a natural unity. Secondly, we describe how the question of the relation between metaphor and narrative has been taken up in in modern philosophy and cognitive science. Finally, we briefly sketch a model of perception at different scales that shows us how, in stories of forces of nature, metaphors give (formal) content to stories and a story informs us about the meaning of the metaphors it contains.