Law of Analogy

Law of Analogy

Analogies are bridges. They span from the known to the unknown, taking us from what we see into what we only begin to perceive. Through metaphors and approximations, we leap from one step to another on an infinite staircase of understanding. We grasp what is larger in terms of what is smaller and come to know the unfamiliar by way of the familiar.

Without analogies, it is hard to move. It is difficult to jump all the way into full awareness without incremental translations and reductions. The more concepts and models, the easier this progression becomes. Reading, alternative hypotheses, and diverse world views all provide building blocks for new bridges.

Total knowing requires merger of essence—you know the thing because you are the thing. Anything short of this is an approximation. Growth is trading one approximation for another that is a little fuller. None is complete. If you think you have it right, you no longer progress. You arrive on a stair and declare the end of your journey.

Cultures across time came into relationship with the same powerful principles in different ways. They communicated their insights through mythic stories, parables, and legends. In some cases they coded meaning in symbols, alchemical formulas, even carvings on buildings, because to speak the truth directly was to risk death. These hidden meanings could only be known by those with the requisite consciousness.

If analogies are seen literally, their power is lost. Sulphur in alchemy is not just a chemical. Flood stories found in nearly every culture are not just about water, but about how a planet can go out of balance and bifurcate. These stories convey larger ideas about mass karma, encapsulation, and new seeding. Even in the simple story of a man swallowed by a whale are profound themes about an appointment with destiny, the dark night of the soul, and the womb of transformation.

An analogy too far below you seems naive and unbelievable. One too far above appears abstract and incomprehensible. Because of our diversity, we need many more metaphors now than in previous times. Without better analogies, we risk loss of meaning as we outgrow traditional understandings and discard the sacred.

Analogies enable us to come into relationship with larger principles and energies. Even something like a labyrinth is an analogy for more expanded patterns. By entering the form, greater meaning unfolds.  

Analogies enable us to touch what is beyond our reach. Through them we climb the tree of wisdom. We learn and then leap, learn and then leap.

(copyrighted art by Deborah Koff-Chapin)