reflection on academic life

the phrase "close to me" is an interesting use of spatial deixis to encode an emotional deictic notion of intimacy. it lets us conceive of two people as points on a line; spatial nearness implies emotional closeness. we see this metaphor used freely in language: we have close friends, distant relations, come-here-go-away patterns in our relationships, we have sad songs about how someone is right there but so far away.

the metaphor breaks down when more than two people are involved. if two physical points are far apart in space then a third point may be close to one of them, but not both. this is an entailment of euclidean geometry that does not map into the emotional domain, wherein persons 1 and 2 may detest each other (or whatever emotion carries the greatest sense of emotional distance; for some, a relationship characterized by hate is closer than one characterized by apathy because it means there is still engagement) while person 3 is a close friend of both.

the best way to negate a presupposition that rests on a broken metaphorical entailment is to negate the metaphor itself. that is, it's more effective to counter "john is closer to me than he is to you" not with "no, he's closer to me" but instead with "john is close to both of us." thus ends the unnecessary schematic tug-of-war.

this is the kind of stuff that professors love, but sometimes i wonder if these realizations are anything other than pointless wankery.

i think i will go take a walk now.
the sun is setting.