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Why Warfighting?

“The battle for public opinion” is a metaphor. So is “I’d like my life back.” Metaphors matter. Metaphors trigger worldviews and set expectations. As the Berkeley cognitive linguist George Lakoff notes, we tend to live our lives in metaphor, but are generally unaware of the metaphors we live by (see Chapter 8, “Content: Word Choice, Framing, and Meaning,” for more).3

Take, for example, the word “strategy.” We may think we know what it means. But it’s actually a metaphor. In ancient Greek, the word strategos meant a general or the leader of an army. That word derived from two other Greek words: stratos, or army, and agein, to lead. So stratos (army) + agein (to lead) = strategos (one who leads an army). Note that stratos, army, was itself a metaphor. The literal meaning of the word is “organized formation,” as in the layers of rock on a cliff wall.


  

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