Loved these thoughts about Mimesis and Conceptual Blending!
Do you think something like Jobs-to-be-done would fit, where mental models fail? Namely finding and describing small (micro) tasks someone tries to achieve with a future thing?
I think these thoughts on conceptual blending are even more important when thinking about new technologies. An AI might behave in a way that is new and incomprehensible to us. However, if we find a way to describe it through different concepts (well ideally, a blended new concept) that fit such micro tasks the design can be successful.
Material design, and thats maybe true for any visual design patterns, probably works so well because it describes everything as a clear visual ‘object’ in a defined space, that is similar to our physical world. I think the use of language to describe less visual, conceptual concepts would be a fantastic theme for another post as well!