Metaphor Teaching Stories
by Silvia Hartmann
Apparently, 18th and 19th century
Europeans made much propaganda mileage out of the uncivilised act of primitive
savages to eat people, whilst at the same time chirpily ingesting all sorts of
corpse derived bits for various illnesses (known as Paracelsian remedies). As
fresh blood was supposed to be a cure for epilepsy, people with cups queued up
under the gallows in the streets when there was a public hanging.
The researcher went on to ask if the current cultural habit of removing corpse
parts and putting them into the living also constitutes cannibalism, and whether
the wearing of an organ donor card is permission for cannibalism.
Apparently, this question is still being debated as it also concerns blood
transfusions and it remains a matter of definition if "ingestion by mouth alone"
qualifies for cannibalism or if it is ingestion in general, which would cover
even more unconscious cannibalism such as stem cell injections and taking in
crèmes which have been prepared with human placentas through the skin. Or
breathing the dust of your ancestors in a graveyard.
Definitions, definitions ...
© Silvia Hartmann 2002
Being a successful human being is not about controlling your
environment but instead, by responding to it with extreme flexibility. A captain
of a ship cannot control the wind or the sea, and those who think they can, will
eventually hit an iceberg and die.
They do not seek to control the wind or the water, but instead, they respond to
that in such a way that the wind and water become allies to move them forward
towards their goal, to the ports on the other side of the vastest oceans.
It is in seeking a co-operation with the environment that we reach our goals,
and when we have learned how to do that, then we are free.
Free from fear and strong in the knowledge that no matter which way the wind
blows, we will know what to do to get where we want to go.
© Silvia Hartmann 2003
Once upon a time, a frog was sitting in his swamp and felt
mightily satisfied with the big fat fly he had just consumed, and the swampy
water in which he was bathing his webbed feet, and the soothing croaking of his
"Aaah," he said, "all's well with the world."
A passing stork came along and snapped up the fat frog.
"Ouw! Ouw!!" cried the frog. "Ouw it hurts it hurts! But how can this be - only
a second ago, I was so sure that all was well with the world!"
The stork finished eating the frog, clicked his beak a couple of times and
smiling, he replied, although quite well aware that the frog could not now hear
the answer, "You thought that, my tasty froggy friend, because you lacked the
© Silvia Hartmann 2003
On a visit to a big modern city, the old Sufi teacher noticed a
building called "The Dolphin Health Centre" and expressed an interest to see
what was inside.
So he was led through the various rooms where men and women in lycra were
sweating and with furious concentration on their stern faces, pounding their
feet on treadmills, jumping up and down to pounding music whilst being exhorted
loudly to "keep it up", lifting weights repetitively and doing many other things
the Sufi found quite incomprehensible.
"What IS this?" he finally asked in wonderment.
The young disciples explained that the people were trying to exercise their
bodies for health.
The Sufi shook his head and in amazement he exclaimed, "But - have they
forgotten how to DANCE?!"
© Silvia Hartmann 2003
There was a story about a woman who was abducted by a serial killer and in
order to survive, she pretended to fall in love with him.
He didn't believe her, so she had to try harder to seduce him.
Harder and harder.
Becoming more and more congruent in the process, and as her congruency
increased, his belief in her seriousness did likewise.
And she tried even harder to be more congruent in her seduction still for her
life was at stake.
She became so congruent that he believed her - only, she had then REALLY fallen
in love with him.
He let her go and she couldn't undo what she had done and ended up helping him
disposing of the corpses, and when he got caught, she got caught as well and got
25 to life.
He went to the gas chamber.
But she was still in love with him, and would always be.
© Silvia Hartmann 2005
Dr Richard Bandler, originator of Neuro-Linguistic
Programming tells a story of being invited to a feminist institute for a
So he gets up on the podium after the glowing introduction and says, "Hey babes,
and what a lot of pretty darlins we're having here tonite! Should have come talk
with the girlies earlier!" or words to that effect.
When the screaming had faded at last, the huffing and puffing had stopped and
the books, tables and chairs ceased to fly and landed in their new positions, he
said, "Words, ladies. Either you control them - or the ones who control them,
control you. Do you want to spend the rest of your lives like an automaton,
where just anyone can push your buttons and hey look! Camera, light, action! Or
do you want to learn something tonight about freedom, and choice, and power?"
They did not.