Making new analogies is like making a key for a lock you haven’t seen before. You can learn some rules to help dream them up, but ultimately it’s a creative act and can’t be fully controlled.
New key designs take a lot longer to learn than borrowing old ones. When you’re learning something abstract, first try to look for other analogies people have generated. That process can be daunting, but there are a few steps to make it easier: Examples are easier than making imaginative analogies which hop domains. I always found economics and philosophy to be more amenable to examples than more cosmopolitan analogies which travel beyond their native subject. Speedometers aren’t just an analogy of derivatives, that’s what they actually are!
Nothing will be more representative of an idea than an example of the idea itself.
I appreciate good analogies like art or inventions.
An analogy compromises between familiarity and representativeness, with good analogies choosing just the right amount for the context. They pour color into a featureless void and breathe life into something static.
Therefore, a good analogy can be impossible to make when it is needed most.
I want to share my thoughts on what makes an analogy good, as a learning tool.
In my analogy, children are presumably stealing from a specific person, not a general pool.
Going meta, keys and locks are an analogy of analogies and ideas.
The odometer and speedometer on a car are a good analogy for a function and its derivative, because we all understand how speedometers work, but maybe not calculus.
Concrete experiences are good breeding grounds for analogies because they can be appreciated by anyone.