Saturday, July 09, 2005
Foot and Shoe Metaphors
As early hominids took to bipedal walking two million years before they developed the brain we now accept as our own, it gave them plenty time to think on their feet. A residual aspect of our primitive existence is the inclusion of reference to the foot and shoes into our common language. So the spectrum of life is subconsciously caught from the ‘patter of tiny feet’, heralding the beginning of life to the inevitable, ‘popping your clogs’ and ending up in ‘Boothill’, in our lexicon. All languages contain more metaphoric reference to the lower limb than any other part of the human body, including the naughty wobbly bits. The foot still fascinates the bipedal primate, no matter how sophisticated and superior the species becomes, we need to concede the sage words of Bernard Breslaw “You need feet”. Life is to do with getting from A to B and from beginning to the end that depends on feet. Let’s start at the very beginning when we ‘take out first step’, sure footedness is something we learn and getting there can cause our parents some concerns but once we have our foot on the first rung of life’s ladder there is no stopping us. Of course there are rules and we need to be good foot soldiers. The quicker we learn to control the Id (ego), then the more likely we become productive members of the tribe. To integrate we need to do the leg work and must be mindful not to lose our footing on the way. Trying to keep our foot out of our mouths can be a challenge at times, especially when young and impetuous, but through length of days and treading the hard road, comes understanding and the ability to listen more than talk. No one can do more harm to ourselves in life than, ourselves especially when we put our foot in it and trip over our own feet. Pick your steps wisely, is good advice. Some succeed by standing on others’ toes, but a good footnote is to remember the people you step on, on the way up the ladder, will be waiting to trip you up when you inevitably come tumbling back down. A good idea is to foot the bill and take the responsibility for your own mistakes. In life’s journey when you recognise others are taking advantage of your good nature you need to learn to say no, and put your foot down. Laying our troubles at the feet of others is the tactic of a heel. The primary function of the species is to leave our footprints in the sands of time. Hence the circle of life continues as our offspring follow in our footsteps. But let us not forget the pathway of life may not always be rosy and trouble free and hence the need to get footloose once in a while.