Americanism’s Universe Metaphor

Humans are understandably concerned with the nature of the universe that is their home. The cognitive metaphor explaining the universe is important because it’s so foundational. Our ethics; our spiritual outlook; our view of human nature; our judgement of other individuals and societies; our societal values; our attitude toward the human body, emotions and mind – the universe metaphor shapes all these and more.

The universe metaphor of Americanism – the traditional American worldview – was the God’s Universe metaphor:

God’s Universe Metaphor
• The Universe is a Home.
• God is the Father.

Cultures don’t necessarily view the universe as primarily a home. The ancient pagans, for instance, seemed to see it as a play land for powerful deities in which humans were mere pawns. But Americanism inherited from western civilization, and ultimately from the Old Testament, the God’s Universe cognitive metaphor: that the universe is a home, and God is the father. In reality, the universe is where we live, but it isn’t a home in the individual human sense. Yet metaphors allow us to understand and experience one thing (the universe) in terms of another (home). And so traditional Americans understood and experienced the universe in homelike ways.

The God’s Universe metaphor sprouted unconscious entailments like “people are the children,” “father has a plan” and more – all of which were unconsciously believed and acted upon.

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