Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Logic of Analogy

On my mind this morning.....if you can churn out accurate, interesting and thought-provoking analogies on the spur of the moment, you will make a great trainer/coach, be capable of influencing people, sound intriguing and convincing, make for an entertaining speaker, and even stimulate more ideas. So, how can we possibly become good 'analogy generators'? There are two things that occur to me -

a) read a lot - vertically (specific subjects covered in depth) as well as horizontally (variety)
b) learn to be creative, that is, learn to make connections where they are not so evident!

On the other side, interestingly enough, even force-fitting an analogy between two unrelated fields may lead to surprising and exciting discoveries or perhaps - once in a long while - result in an innovative idea worth pursuing. Analogies can, I believe, create new paradigms.

Observation: I have noticed that Spiritual thought-leaders, more often than not, make good use of analogies. I guess they are forced to do so. Otherwise, they are likely to be perceived as vague and assumed to be in the realm of abstraction!

What is (are) your favourite analogy(analogies)?


Rakesh Poddar said...

I could not agree more, Nimmy. Analogies are the best tool to explain something abstract, something not intuitive. A lot of quotes we love are nothing but analogies. Medieval Indian saint-poets like Kabir and Rahim used analogies to great effect.

Atul said...

i quite agree with you, Nirmala. I have found analogies usually work quite well. like i used to use the analogy of Mom buying Rice for the month, to explain Min-Max Planning, and i found the analogy would stay with students long after they forgot Min-Max ...