Vi kommer altid att leva

Or something like that. It is Swedish, and I am not, though some may call me – have called me – a Scandiwegian (though this this nicely coined word says nothing of Denmark, where I am actually from, somehow, somewhere).

In Sweden they will say, if they are the funky jazzist Bo Kaspers, something like “Vi kommer altid att leva”, meaning we will always live.

Life goes on.

I am about to teach a class on language and writing, and tomorrow we will talk of metaphors because George Orwell does in his essay on Politics and the English Language.

He’s got me thinking about metaphors. The dead or dying, as opposed to the living ones. So, to paraphrase him, the dead metaphor is whatever doesn’t assist a thought with vivid and unexpected imagery. Once, in other words, the poetic quality of the phrase is lost because it has become too normal. And it’s fascinating to think of the amount of things that we say are in fact dead metaphors. Like “Life goes on.” “Life is a journey”. “He’ s crazy about her”. “I’m burning …”

The point about dead is not that anything ceases to have meaning, but that it loses its poetic quality. And how we say things should remind us about how we want to live, instead of how we have been trained.

Overuse of language is a sad and destructive thing. How are you really supposed to use the word love anymore?

Bo Kaspers:
Jeg skal slutta se paa TV
Jeg skal se efter om jeg kan

I will stop watching TV
I will see if I can

One response to “Vi kommer altid att leva”

  1. Quinn

    Re dead metaphors, and particularly the troublesome “love”, I’m reminded of Iris Murdoch’s gloss on Sartre’s account of love: two hypnotists talking to each other in a closed room.

    One of those metaphors it’s difficult to take are seriously as one would like to be able to, perhaps…

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