(This web-version was considerably revised.)

Then, how do we manage to cope with things we don't understand? And, how do we ever understand anything in the first place? Almost always, I think, by using analogies––by pretending that each alien thing we see resembles something we already know. Whenever an object's internal workings are too strange, complicated, or unknown to deal with directly, we try to extract what parts of its behavior seem familiar––and then represent them by familiar symbols––that is, be the names of things we already know which we think behave in similar ways. That way, we make each novelty at least appear to be like something we already know from our own pasts. It is a great idea, that use of symbols. It lets our minds transform the strange into the commonplace. It is the same with names.
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