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Strict Father morality, with its sharp division between good and evil and its need for the setting of strict standards of behavior, naturally gives priority to the metaphor of Moral Boundaries.

It is common to conceptualize action as a form of self-propelled motion and purposes as destinations that we are trying to reach. Moral action is seen as bounded movement, movement in permissible areas and along permissible paths. Given this, immoral action is seen as motion outside of the permissible range, as straying from a prescribed path or transgressing prescribed boundaries. To characterize morally permissible actions is to lay out paths and areas where one can move freely. To characterize immoral action is to limit one's range of movement. In this metaphor, immoral behavior is "deviant" behavior, a form of metaphorical motion into unsanctioned areas, along unsanctioned paths, and toward unsanctioned destinations.

Because human purposes are conceptualized in terms of destinations, this metaphor has considerable consequences. Since action is self-propelled motion in this metaphor, and such motion is always under the control of whoever is moving, it follows that any destination is a freely chosen destination and that the destinations chosen by others have been rejected. Someone who moves off of sanctioned paths or out of sanctioned territory is doing more than merely acting immorally. He is rejecting the purposes, the goals, the very mode of life of the society he is in. In doing so, he is calling into question the purposes that govern most people's everyday lives. Such "deviation" from social norms goes beyond mere immorality. Actions characterized metaphorically as "deviant" threaten the very identity of normal people, calling their most common and therefore most sacred values into question.

But "deviant" actions are even more threatening than that. Part of the logic of this metaphor has to do with the effect of deviant behavior on other people. Metaphorically, someone who deviates from a tried and true path is creating a new path that others will feel safe to travel on. Hence, those who transgress boundaries or deviate from a prescribed path may "lead others astray" by going off in a new direction and creating a new path.

The Moral Boundaries metaphor thus interacts powerfully with one of the most important metaphors in our conceptual system: Life Is a Journey. Choosing a particular path, a "direction" in your life, can affect the whole rest of your life. Imagine a parent who says, "Our son left the church; I can't understand why he turned his back on our way of life like that.'' The paths you choose can be life paths, and if morality is seen as going along a particular path, then deviating from that path can be seen as entering an immoral way of life. It is for this reason that the very idea of "deviance" is so powerful. In creating new paths, the "deviant" can make those paths appear safe to others and thus lead them to change their lives.

Thus, the actions of people who are "deviant" have effects far beyond themselves. Their acts call into question traditional moral values and traditional ways of leading a moral life, and they may make the "deviant" way seem safe, normal, and attractive. If someone smokes marijuana, has no ill effects, and leads a happier, less stressed life, then he has forged a path that others who know him will feel safe going on. If a young woman has sex out of wedlock, has no ill effects, and goes on to have a happy life, then those who know her may feel safe taking such a path.

People who "deviate" from the tried and true path arouse enormous anger because they threaten the identities of those who follow traditional "straight and narrow" moral paths, but also because they are seen as threats to the community. For the protection of the community, they need to be isolated and made outcasts.

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