miércoles, 11 de diciembre de 2013

Generalizing is good and also bad

Metonymy is a mental operation that expands us knowledge, but also leads us to erroneously generalize.

Those who know me are in agreement that I have several obsessions that keep me out of some very disturbing ideas I prefer to ignore them distracting me with these obsessions.

In this sense I'm normal: all obsessive embrace was fixed ideas to focus attention and not perceive unpleasantness.

One of my obsessions regards metonymy. This linguistic and mental phenomena is to designate an object by mentioning some of its features, or the cause or the author.

Examples: "John Doe, and has gray hair" It's a way of saying that Fulano entered old age, but mentioning this only a feature of their hair; "Jane Doe was affected by excess sun", instead of saying which was affected by excessive solar radiation; "Mengano bought a Picasso" instead of saying you bought a four painted by that artist.

This way of functioning of our brain may be valuable because it allows us to extend our knowledge from unique experiences. For example, if you stumbled upon a stone, by metonymy thought all the stones could make us fall and thus learning through experience is enhanced.

When metonymy can become a performance counter? When, for lack of knowledge, generalize indiscriminately. For example, not all stones will cause our downfall but those that are in our way, we have not seen further, which protrude enough.

During our childhood and adolescence receive much information generating metonymy because we lack sufficient knowledge: if our father scolds us, we ceased to love us forever, if a girl rejects us, we will never have children, if we are poor, always will be.

Note: Original in Spanish (without translation by Google):  Generalizar es bueno y también es malo.

(Este es el Artículo Nº 2.090)

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