George Lakoff language theory

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  GeneKrupa 6 months ago.

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    I’m wondering if socialists have critiqued the language theory of George Lakoff alongside the materialist conception of history.

    His theory is that thought is mostly metaphorical and he brings the ideas behind religion and politics as merely psychology. His basic premise is that politics and religion is not really about politics and religion. It comes down to what kind of a person you are, which is based on how you believe in organizing the world, which is based on how you believe in organizing your family.

    Being a strict and ridged person, or nurturing caring person, can have an influence in how a family is shaped and how a child who grows up in such a family can learn to interpret the world.

    It seems to make sense when discussing socialism with conservatives in that they have such a difficult time grasping how socialism could work if they are the product of a strict and ridged hierarchical upbringing as opposed to growing up in a nurturing and compassionate household.

    The reason I bring this up is because I am in a conversation with a fellow socialist asking questions about the nature of nationalism and religious fundamentalism. The best I can do so far is to redact and attach it to psychology and that the problem is in our brains. Then of course, our brains within society are shaped (Generally) by how we organize for production of wealth, which currently, is hierarchical.

    Can part of creating socialist consciousness be found in discussing how we create a nurturing family environment to raise children in? Conservatives seem to have a well-organized idea of how this should be done with a heavy emphasis on employing corporeal punishment to create conservative thinking.

    I have also come across a term called “narcissistic abuse.” There seems to be an interest with psychologists connecting this to capitalism, but are confused as to what to replace capitalism with.

    It does seem to come down to getting an idea of who a person is by listening to their opinions about political and religious matters.

    I have taken the amateur, lay person, non-peer reviewed, liberty of adding Narcissistic Personality Disorder to Lakoff’s “strict father” and “nurturant parent” notions of morality that shape our society, or better, society shaping our psychology.  Strict father = conservative politics and religious fundamentalism. Nurturant parent = progressive politics and finding more empathy in religions and maybe socialists as we put a lot of emphasis on empathy. NPD = cults/fascism.

    Again, I’m just a lay person who studies trends and attempts to put pieces of the puzzle together.



    Gene,  What you say sort of has echoes of an old pamphlet by Maurice Brinton – The Irrational in Politics.  I dont agree with all of what Brinton says but he makes some interesting points.   Here is the link



    The psychological conditioning in capitalism goes much deeper than is implied by your outline of George Lakoff’s theory (which I have not read). Here’s what I believe to be one of the definitive works on the subject:



    Thank You robbo203 and Wez. I will look into those links.

    • This reply was modified 6 months ago by  GeneKrupa.
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