The essay presents a description of two metaphors, that of the threshold and that of the barrier, each characterizing a different, but complementary, fundamental attitude toward the world. The metaphor of the threshold addresses a human world of conversation centered on the question: "Who are you?" The metaphor of the barrier describes work-oriented human situations that reflect a never-ending human struggle with a resistant nature. Natural scientific approaches guided by the metaphor of the barrier are allied to technology and to the profane workaday world. Human science understood as an inquiry guided by the metaphor of the threshold makes possible an understanding of festive reality and of human encounter.