This paper presents a brief essay illustrating the use of metaphor. This is followed by a discussion of the role of language in critical thinking and a discussion of the ability of language to limit or empower thought as well as outcomes related to these limitations and empowering effects.
I once went to Yosemite National Park. Yosemite National Park, with its spectacular mountains, valleys, meadows, and waterfalls, all watched over by giant, silent sequoias, is Heaven; and I needed to be in Heaven. My best friend, Ron, had just died. My grief was a prison, locking me into a small, lonely cell of pain that isolated me from the rest of the world, a world that seemed happier than I would ever be again.
My first night in Yosemite I had a dream. In the dream I was sitting on a bus bench late at night. My friend was there beside me, his skin as pale as the moonlight that shone upon us. He said, "I just came to say goodbye."
I told him that I didn't want to say goodbye but he replied that for now I had to do so. As he said this, the bus bench lifted off the ground and began to fly upward. Swiftly, earth slipped away and we were among the stars, small cold jewels, gleaming in the darkness.
I asked Ron not to go just yet. I said that, instead, he should remain that we might talk awhile; but he just kept repeating that I had to say goodbye to him. With each repetition of these words, he faded. Within seconds, he was gone.
I shouted for him to come back. My shout woke me up. I looked at the buttery morning light pouring through the window of the little cabin where I was staying and thought: Life is a journey and on this journey we have a variety of different destinations. For me, at that moment, I had arrived at a destination that was a place of pain. I had to now learn how to walk away from that place by conceiving of a new destination, one that motivated me to keep on traveling and promised to replac