Why must we dream in metaphors?
Try to hold on to something we couldn’t understand. – Seal
The Johnny Denovo Mysteries are based on emerging theories of how we think, how we reconcile internal realities with external stimuli, how we make decisions, how we blend rational and emotional thought, and how we express ideas, both intentionally and unintentionally.
The Boston Globe recently published an excellent article by Drake Bennett that provides an overview of the research and hypotheses fueling these explorations of the human mind. As he writes:
Metaphors aren’t just how we talk and write, they’re how we think. At some level, we actually do seem to understand temperament as a form of temperature, and we expect people’s personalities to behave accordingly. What’s more, without our body’s instinctive sense for temperature–or position, texture, size, shape, or weight–abstract concepts like kindness and power, difficulty and purpose, and intimacy and importance would simply not make any sense to us.
In my professional life, I still recall vividly my first encounter with these theories and findings. I’d become frustrated at traditional approaches to gain insights into how people were thinking about our products and services. Then, with the help of some gifted practitioners of these new approaches, I was able to see just how powerful and meaningful they could be.
Picking up the paper today, I wasn’t expecting to encounter these theories yet again, so it was exciting to see an excellent overview of these theories in the mainstream media. These approaches to understanding human thought have real pragmatic value in everyday life, as well as providing a very interesting substrate for some mystery stories.