graphic: MetaSelf Logo

The mind is
inherently embodied.

— Lakoff & Johnson





  1. that everyone (i.e., all English speakers) will arrange the spaces and lines the same way.  But it’s not arbitrary. It’s constrained by the regularities in the way our body is built and works in gravity.  Let’s research how much variation there is.
  2. that every culture or language would use spatial terms just the same ways. Some cultures do not use right and left at all.  Some other cultures have very strict contrasting meanings for right and left, while in English the contrast is not so strong.  I’m not claiming anything like universality.
  3. that this is a complete picture of the self. Rather, it summarizes and expresses many centrally important features.
  4. that it gives easy answers to difficult moral choices. Rather, it does provide bodily phrases that express a number of important virtues, making it easier to be aware of our conceptual metaphors and of how we are thinking.
  5. that the vertical axis should be ignored.  Rather, it should be counterbalanced by the other two axes.
  6. that there is one-to-one correspondence between any spatial feature and any one meaning.  But context will often tell us which meaning is intended.

Peter Carleton