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Metaphors and sight


Techniques > Use of languageMetaphor > Metaphors and sight

Visibility | Understanding | Complexity | Goodness | Badness | See also


Light is magnetic radiation, a portion of which is visible to us.


By making things visible, they become real. A visible thing is concrete and makes sense. We thus use the fact that something can be seen to call it into existence and give it meaning.

I see what you mean.

That looks like a good idea.

When something is not visible, it is not here, not available for us to experience. We thus use lack of visibility to explain something that does not make sense.

He's out of sight, man.

I don't see it that way.

As through a glass, darkly.


Light can be used to describe understanding, with increasing light indicating increasing understanding.

I don't see the value in that.

Can you shed a little more light on that argument.

He was suddenly enlightened.

It suddenly dawned on him what was happening.


Darkness is the absence of light and hence tends to be used to indicate obscurity and a lack of understanding.

His face was opaquely unemotional.

Sorry, I'm in the dark here.

My memory is a bit cloudy today.


Light can be a single color and can thus be used to explain

it can also be revealed through a prism into into a full spectrum. This principle can be used to explain complexity. By the reverse, we can select

This is simply black and white. You are wrong and I am right.

That's rather in the gray zone.

There is a whole spectrum of possibilities here.


Light is also used to indicate goodness and purity. A white dress is often used in weddings for this purpose, for example.

He was a shining example to them all.

Oh light of my life!

That's a bright idea.


A lack of light can imply a lack of goodness and hence something that is bad. As with light, the darker the shade, the more bad is implied.

Black magic. Black knight.

He grabbed her, darkly dangerous.

She thought dark thoughts.

See also


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