Digging Up the Metaphors

Are you so skilled that both of your hands are right ones? That doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it? But people who are especially skillful at certain manual tasks or physical arts are said to be ambidextrous. If you look up the etymology of ambidextrous you will find “from Latin ambi, both + dexter, right-handed,” so it meant originally that you were so skilled as to have two right hands? How did that come to mean skillful? Well, perhaps it never was meant to mean skillful but perhaps “blessed” enough to possess such skill.

Until fairly recently, left-handed people were historically maligned for superstitious or religious reasons because of the association of the devil being on the left side of God. Until the early 20th century, left-handed elementary school students might have had their hands smacked with a ruler in an attempt to “correct” this and force them to write with their right hands. This would be shocking and intolerable to us today and literally gives new meaning to ambidextrous.

Etymology, from Greek etymon “true sense” and logia “study,” in a way gives a truer sense of a word because it reveals more than just the current definition, which can naturally evolve and change over the years with usage and circumstance. Understanding how a word was formed can say a lot about its true origin and how it may reflect social prejudices and in the case above, even religious beliefs. This takes us back to the roots of a word or term in a way that adds history and depth to it. It tells us where a word “comes from.” It is good to know where your cannabis company “comes from” as well.

There is a reason we borrow language, use slang and metaphors. We might understand something better if we think about it in a different context. It helps us to clarify or think about something in a different form, much like charts use color and lines to simplify the numbers and data of a company. Try to think about your history in a similar fashion. If your files were a visual image, would they be only a sketch or a more complete painting?

One of the first pictorial skills you learn in art school is how to create perspective—”from Latin perspicere,” “look through, look closely at,” “from per-, through + specere, look at or see through.” It is an optical illusion that gives a sense of depth to a picture. Horizontal lines from the foreground converge in the background at a point in space that optically replicates what we see in real life. It is only successful if the background and foreground have a believable relationship to each other.

You could think of the background of a company as its history and past performance, the foreground as its current news but if you have both you are better prepared to look at the larger picture. You can’t assess the history of a company by only looking at the foreground. Knowing the history of a company helps understand where a company comes from, which can often tell you much about where it is going.

If you are trying to create a picture of a cannabis company, you will definitely need perspective. You might consider these art-related metaphors when compiling your files for the companies you research. What you first learn is only a sketch and needs more detail. Is it flat and non-dimensional? This would not be sufficient information to justify investing. You would not be wise to buy a painting based on a sketch so don’t invest for that reason either. Consider your file as a work in progress and observe that progress.

Any information that rounds out and gives depth to your data at this early stage is important because the history of this emerging and unpredictable sector is shaping in front of our eyes. You may not be able to uncover the exact origin of a company you are interested in, but the more you know of its history, the more of a reason you will have to start investing, or not. Perhaps the best strategy in the cannabis sector is not to invest until you have given your company a past, or at least learned about it.

Painters have different ways to begin a picture and different techniques to fill in details leading to the finished artwork. The evolution of the picture of a company may not follow a straight line, but instead, gradually take shape through trial and error. Your research may have stops and starts, corrections and deletions and the relevance of it all may not be appreciated until you gather more information.

As you gradually fill out the picture and the perspective becomes more apparent you will see a more realized image of the potential for investment. Once you start collecting information about these cannabis companies, even if you don’t know how they began, you will at least see the path they have taken since you started following them. This sector is growing fast and new companies are forming while others are beginning to merge. That also means names are changing so digging up the past could be very important to understanding the true identity of a “new” company.

Unless you can actually visit the company, you will have to rely on your own mental picture of it so continue refining your skills of perspective. Most cannabis companies are only beginning to create their history, a good reason to be cautious and an even better reason to maintain your research. You can choose how much to dig into the history of a company but at least try to form an image that has some dimension to it. Many artists work alone and stay focused on their vision, ignoring trends and fashion. You should have that same dedication to your research.

You might not discover a great work of art in this gallery yet, but discovering a forgery could save you money. Embrace the metaphors. They could work for you.

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