Metaphor as a Principle of Composition
In a variety of impression-formation experiments, Asch ( 1946) demonstrated that some personality traits exert a pervasive influence upon an impression (e.g., warm), whereas others do not (e.g., polite). While politeness might be more central in other cultures and warmth more peripheral, the point remains: some notions have pervasive organizational implications, and others do not. Some notions seem more capable of serving as regnant stances than others.
A regnant stance is a model for self-synthesis and self- building. We adopt a position that organizes the potential within, and gives the whole a form of being. Partially, this might involve discovery as we give special emphasis to certain abilities, feelings, ideals, and so on that we have. Partially, it is creation, for we draw upon something we are not in order to become. Models are outside and must be adopted. We are not born with the being of a martyr. We are only born with the potential to be a martyr.
What is capable of serving as a regnant stance is a model for the whole. Only a whole can properly serve as a model for a whole. And for personhood, this entails a vision of a person, a unified character in a dramatic context. This is hardly restrictive, for as Rosch ( 1977) has shown, what constitutes categories are prototypes, and the prototypes for ideals, values, attitudes, and so on are persons enacting a way of being, not merely just demonstrating a way of acting.
This chapter stresses one type of adoption, an adoption of a metaphor. There are other types of adoption, but I have sin-