Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘rhetoric

“War on Rhetoric”; (Nov. 28, 2009)

The romantic period in literature of the 19th century imposed conventional styles and modes of grammars that restricted clear discourse. Victor Hugo wrote “war on rhetoric” in 1858. Three decades later, rhetoric was scraped from the curriculum in the public schools in France till mid 20th century.  Victor Hugo was following in the footsteps of Plato who condemned the oratory techniques of the Sophist philosophers: they were the main teachers of the elite class destined to politics and city administration.

Basically, the Sophist philosophers used techniques of argumentation, controversial dialogue, and emphatic discourse to win over the audience to their programs. Plato contended that the Sophists’ pedagogy manipulated the truth, the good, and the beautiful; that they didn’t account for reason, dialectic method, and the art of dialogue, and that they encouraged speeches to be wrapped up in myths.

Aristotle categorized the art of rhetoric and distinguished among the political deliberate discourses with the objective of saying “what is good”, the demonstrative judiciary discourse targeted to rendering justice or “what is just”, and the epidictic discourse to enhancing the values of individuals. The Roman Quintillion marked the western rhetoric tradition in academia via his book “The Oratory Institutions”.

Rhetoric is currently hotly applied to various fields of interests and businesses; it has been diversified to specialties such as amorous “how to seduce”, pedagogic “how to convince students; or how to win students over in class”, gastronomy so that the text of menus in restaurants read like poems with plenty of metaphoric expressions, exotic inventions, analogy with high fashion, and figure of speeches evoking thinness and lightness. The military, religious sects, advertising, and artistic fields are heavily reliant of rhetoric or “communication” specialists.

There are two major rhetorical sets of values: the collective and the individual values. The discourse links three entities: Ethos (Identity), Logos (the world), and Pathos (the others). In the collective values we recognize examples of the Ethos such as (respect of the dead), (health, age, and body), and (hope and intellectual satisfaction). These collective values of Ethos are recursively linked respectively to the Logos values of (primal religion), (economic acquisition, and (extreme end results). The Logos values are recursively linked respectively to the Pathos values of (family), (political gains or respect for norms), and (social purpose or general interest).

In the individual sets of values we have: in the Ethos (status), (rights such as freedom), (desires), (virtues), and (opinion).  The ethos values correspond respectively to the Logos values of (revenue), (power), (needs), (capacities), and (facts).  The Logos values correspond respectively to the Pathos values of (Power), (responsibilities), (demands), (passions), and (questions).

Consequently, we can generate a cyclical adjustment in rhetoric from the projective ethos or “what the audience imagines” to the effective ethos (the speaker), to the projective pathos or “how the speaker imagines his audience”, to the effective pathos (the individuals in the audience asking questions).

The late Fernand Hallyn published “The rhetoric structures of science” in 2004; he demonstrated that classical physics is fundamentally metaphorical and analogical figures of speeches. Thus, most instances of discoveries or “Eureka” of great minds were generated by analogical pictures that were registered in personal experiences.

Rhetoric was the primary tool or excuse for the elite classes to acquiring whatever knowledge that was available at the time such as literatures, poetry, and geometry. You may talk to an audience on empty stomach (that would be recommended to shorten a speech and get to the point quickly but you cannot talk with an empty mind! You have got to have, at least, a few subjective notions of what you are conveying.

My contention is that our frontal brain developed a specialty of sorting out and categorizing mind’s associations and images in what was called “scientific methods” in the 18th century.  For example, the processes of identifying qualities and attributes among objects, living species, or phenomena and then establishing coherent taxonomies of relationship in each field of sciences.

I may go even further and claim that the techniques of induction, deduction, and various logical systems were not created but they are a long process of describing the rhetorical mind that generated metaphors, metonym, and analogies by the processes of associations among our various memories.

A Few Good Politicians (February 6, 2009)

  

Our problems with politicians stem from three factors:

First, most of the politicians inherit their jobs, one way or another.  They realize soon that they are not up to the requirements of the arduous job, and don’t want the hassle; and thus, they delegate their responsibilities to people who were not elected in the first place. 

Second, politicians don’t work for the long-term success because they “Don’t find the time to read, reflect, and grow their inner power“.  

Third, most politicians didn’t walk the streets, and reluctantly communicate with potential voters: they are not people oriented, which should be the main job description for a politician. 

Among the very few politicians who satisfy the 4 criteria of proven records of people oriented, capable providers, continuing education, and mastery of verbal intelligence, only those who realize the need to strengthen their inner power through reading and reflection, and actually taking short “sabbatical” away from the media have the potentials to become leaders of people.

 We all want to be “providers”, the Patriarch, or the Matriarch.

Only the minority of us can be providers and are willing to take on this responsibility and dedicate their time and nerves for that constantly demanding job.

Among this minority we have people with good “verbal intelligence” or orators who can be candidates for political career.

In “Hiroshima my love” Marguerite Dora says:

Human political intelligence is a hundred folds lower than scientific intelligence”  

On the face of it, many would be nodding their heads in consent.  We have got to analyze political intelligence from a different perspective to appreciate that the previous statement is not correct. 

When we deal with human behaviors that are extremely complex because:

First, characters are in the hundreds of varieties and ever-changing with time and conditions Second, the inability of human cognitive powers to assimilate the different interactions of even 4 factors or variables at the same time and t

Third, juggling these interactions in real-time and under pressure then, we can grasp the far complex intelligence requirements of doing and thinking politics. 

 

Democracy, without prior selection of politicians based on cognitive and emotional testing for mental capabilities, is tantamount to more of the same repeated errors and mistakes for the public good.  

Political intelligence would be vastly appreciated to its own merit when candidates satisfy cognitive and emotional criteria before submitting their applications to public political posts.

 

We all agree that doing politics is a serious profession.

And yet, candidate to “serving the public” are not taught and trained in schools like all the other professions.

Actually, most of the students in high schools and in universities, graduate with a terrible bad connotation for the term “politics”. 

People enroll in political science thinking that this field will train them for the political arena; wrong! 

The field of political science does not train people in the social and psychological behavior of people, which are the right tools for doing politics. 

Acquiring sketchy understanding of the macro politics by lumping whole nations as a single entity or entire regions as potential enemies is not the correct way for training politicians to thinking rationally and for the good of the people in the long-term.

 

The vote of the people would make much more sense when people are initiated and exposed to the complexities of serving the people and offering a higher value for the term “doing politics”. 

A professional politician is necessarily pragmatic because he works toward consensus as he communicates extensively with citizens and listen carefully and seriously to their demands.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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