In 2002, during the run-up to the Iraq war, Susie and I took an Adriatic cruise. It started in Athens and we flew in several days before the ship was due to leave. Athens was busily preparing for the 2004 Olympics and the streets were jammed with cars and trucks. On our second morning there we took a little walk in downtown Athens. We stood for a while watching the traffic and I noticed a large moving van idling on a side street while the driver waited for the traffic to ease up so that he could pull into the main street. On the side of the truck was a word in large Greek letters which I assumed was the name of the company. I do not read Greek at all but a lifetime in the philosophy business has taught me enough of the Greek alphabet so that I can make out words like demos, kronos, and of course philosophia. Having nothing better to do, I spelled out the word on the side of the truck: mu, eta, tau, alpha, mu, omicron, rho, phi, omicron, sigma, iota, sigma – “metamorphosis.”
And then I had an epiphany. “Metamorphosis” in Greek means “moving.” So a metaphor is a figure of speech that moves meaning! As I smiled and gave a metaphorical fist pump, I thought I caught a glimpse of Socrates sidling along among the pedestrians.