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We need a new metaphor


Last updated 1/22/2009 at Noon

There’s a bumper sticker from the sunsetting Dubya Bush era that I just love: “At Least the War on the Environment is Going Well.” Kinda sums up a lot of issues in one short phrase.

It also makes me think about our tendency to use combat imagery for difficult social issues: the War on Terror, the Battle for Human Rights, the ubiquitous “we won the battle but lost the war” – shorthand for a Pyrrhic victory in everything from natural disasters to office politics.

Language shapes the way we think, the concepts we discuss and what we acknowledge about the world. If we don’t have...

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