Jan 15, 2024-- "On the surface, the language we use to describe landscapes and buildings has little in common with the ways we think about our social worlds. A mountain range has little in common with a family; the design of a city is nothing like a colleague or so it seems. But if that is true, then why do we use spatial and architectural metaphors to describe so many of our human relationships?" asks postdoctoral scholar David Borkenhagen. "Good, trusted friends are described as close, regardless of their physical proximity, and a loved one on the other side of the world may feel nearer to you than someone you live with. You might have an inner circle of friends or feel left out from the circles of others. A colleague with higher status may seem to be above you and those with lower status may be below. There is even something architectural about the way we speak of setting boundaries or walling someone off. ... Why do social relationships form distinct geometries in our minds?" In recent decades, research indicates that these metaphors are more than just figurative language. They actually may reveal something foundational about how we experience our social lives spatially -- and that could hold profound possibilities. (1958 reads)
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