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Posts Tagged ‘and fiction of reality

Everyone has his rhetoric style; (Nov. 22, 2009)

 

Let us consider the mechanism of rhetoric in delivering speeches. You have the square of fundamental values such as shared values, analyzed reality, wished utopia, and fiction of reality; these values intervene in most speeches and are focused on intermittently.  The top left corner represents the “subjective” shared values (SV) by a community and expressed by empathic “every one of us; or we, the working people; or we the citizens of this great nation.”

The bottom left corner represents the analyzed reality (AR) or the attempt to giving objective statements for facts and statistical results of data from surveys and other community research experiments. For example, replying to his question (Why are we in so much pain to preparing for our future?” Sarkozy answers “Because we have to account for the principles of a politics that encircled us in contradictions that are no longer sustainable”. Another example is generated from the extreme right opponent Jean-Marie Le Pen “This system, beast with two faces, with strange and worrisome names, the Gang of Four”.

The top right corner represents the wished utopia (WU) for transforming a community such as what the community should strive and act for; for example “another world; passion for equitability; simple and honest; the real name of the Republic of France is togetherness; or America strong.”

Then, the fourth corner on bottom right represents the imagined fiction of reality (FR) which usually brings forth historical figures or extracts texts from classical literature of the nation; for example “French, prompt at detesting your history, hear the voice of Jaures.  It is the nation that synthesized patriotism and universality”.

 

When we speak we start by focusing on a value that is dear to us or we think is dear to the audience and the speech converges in the directions of any one of the other three corners. For example, the socialist candidate to France Presidency, Segolene Royal, usually starts her speeches in (SV) by maintaining the illusion of intimate communication with her voters “You have told me, I am hearing you”, or “I want it because you want it”. Royal then shift to the (WU) “I believe in the expert capacity of the citizens.  I am convinced that each one of us is better placed than anyone else to know and express his problems and his hopes” and “I want a democratic revolution founded on the collective intelligence of the citizens. Politics has to change.” After establishing the (WU), Royal tries to focus on the (AR) “I wanted that the citizens speak again so that I may carry their voices. This is the best way to talking right and mostly to acting right”

Another example is President Nicolas Sarkozy’s rhetoric style. Again Sarkozy starts from (SV) “We do not become President by hazard.  It is a choice for a life and a long struggle. For me, France is not a hazard, it is a will. It is the will of various people to living together and sharing common values.”  Then Sarkozy reverts to (AR) “Why the French have no longer the urge to live together? My answer is: because there are a few citizens who believe that nothing is possible for them. I feel the force, energy, and wish to propose another vision of France. I refuse to find answers in ideology”.

 

Suppose now that you are debating or in negotiation then consider the “semiotic square” that was conceived by Algirdas Jullen Greimas.  For example, in the framework of the law we conduct our behavior according to two sets of opposing poles such as (Required or Prohibited) and (Allowed or Optional). The negotiations are thus conducted between contradictory poles of either (Required or Optional) and (Allowed or Prohibited). The “semiotic square” is used extensively in analyzing political discussions in order to comprehend how meanings in discourse are constructed. There is another method that might supplement the “semiotic square” with valuable intelligence such as generating statistics on most used key words (lexicometry).

The “semiotic square” is almost identical to the square of fundamental values.  For example, we have the two opposite sets of values (Subjective Shared Values or Utopia) and (Analyzed Reality or Imagined Fiction).  In general, the directions of the speech access the contradictory poles (Shared Values and Imagined Reality) or (Utopia and Analyzed Reality) but there are occasional movements from Shared value to Analyzed reality.  It seems that movements from Utopia toward Imagined Reality or vice versa are rarely used mainly because the speaker will feel totally disconnected with his audience who is mostly down to earth: he wants answers based on some subjective or objective sense of reality.

 

Note: The topic was generated from the French monthly “Sciences Humaines”.  The last paragraph is my synthesis of rhetoric mechanism.


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