Metaphors and reasons of engagement
For 30 years of HIV epidemic, to be all the time at the forefront is a hard task to manage: all the time you need to be ready to react or -harder to do- to anticipate the enemy’s strategy. Some people could be hungry with the word “enemy”, because it is claimed that a war metaphor is negative and misleading when it is applied to health. Who is reacting about this very often is referring to Susan Sontag Aids and its metaphor: a classical book in which the writes tries to sat that metaphors are a negative burden that makes more diffi cult to live with a illness. Modern neurosciences together with philosophy and linguistics suggest that metaphors are the way we think and we make experience of the world, as stated in their crucial study by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson “Metaphor is for most people device of the poetic imagination and the rhetorical fl ourish–a matter of extraordinary rather than ordinary language. Moreover, metaphor is typically viewed as characteristic of language alone, a matter of words rather than thought or action. For this reason, most people think they can get along perfectly well without metaphor. We have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature. Th e concepts that govern our thought are not just matters of the intellect. Th ey also govern our everyday functioning, down to the most mundane details. Our concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Our conceptual system thus plays a central role in defi ning our everyday realities. If we are right in suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we thinks what we experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor” (1). Th is is the reason why language as conceptual system we use to communicate –to act and to react- “is an important source of evidence for what that system is like”. Now it could be easier to make clear the reason why I used the word “enemy” referring to the virus that causes AIDS. Many years ago I started to make interviews to key people around the world that have been in a privileged position to tell me about what the HIV epidemic was and still is in terms of impact, meaning, eff orts, and research. Every year I make news interviews to some of these persons in order to underline diff erences and novelties in the fi ght against AIDS (“fi gth”: a metaphor).
In one of these interview I asked to Julio Montaner to define for him as scientist what is HIV. He answered “the enemy”, underlying trough this word his personal, professional and public involvement in this fi eld. Th is fact could be the fi l rouge the three interviews that constitute the K factor of this HAART Journal: during the IAS conference in Rome we met Françoise Barrè-Sinoussi, Anthony Fauci and Julio Montaner in order to set up a triangle as the ideal shape that could stop AIDS: basic science perspective plus policies of research plus evidences from strategic studies. All together against HIV, to stop AIDS.
Articolo presente in – HAART and correlated pathologies n. 12 –