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Rhetoric of Motives – Kenneth Bruke – Summary

  • Persuasion (classical) vs identification (using pretext to gain individual advantage)
Part I: The Range of Rhetoric
  • “Rhetorical” – written for a purpose with an audience in mind
  • Analyzing poems by Milton and Arnold – trying to bring them together as instances of the same motivation
    • Also insisting that the unique context of each makes the motive itself different
    • To connect to Coleridge as well, need a motive that can serve as ground for “both choices” – can ambiguously contain both
  • Poets identify themselves with their characters and ritualistically transform their texts
    • IE: “desire to kill” someone is the desire to transform the principle they represent
  • The “logical idea of a thing’s essence can be translated into a temporal or narrative equivalent by statement in terms of the thing’s source or beginnings”
    • Puns (?) of logical and temporal priority
    • Can also use “an ultimate of endings” – depict a thing’s end to identify its essence
  • Must consider “proportions of a motivational recipe”
  • Rhetoric is the region of insult, injury, bickering, squabbling, malice, lies
    • Killing, enmity, strife, invective, polemic, eristic, logomachy – all aspects of rhetoric
    • Also includes resources of appeal: sacrificial/evangelical love, sexual love, neutral communications
  • Imagery leads to transformation, and transformation leads to ideas and imagery of identification
    • IE: killing (imagery) something changes it (transformation), and the things nature before/after change (transformation) is an identifying of it
  • Where interests are joined, A identifies with B – or A may identify himself with B, even if there interests aren’t joined
    • They are simultaneously distinct and consubstantial
  • Identification is indicative of division – if there were not division, we wouldn’t need identification – identification proclaims unity in the face of division
  • Ethos: the properties (qualities) someone surrounds themselves with to establish identity
  • Invitation to rhetoric: place where identification and division come together ambiguously
  • The rhetorician and the moralist come together where the attempt is made to reveal identification in accordance with property
  • Even if an activity is reduced to intrinsic, autonomous principles, it could still be influenced by external motivation and thus subject to identification
    • Identification is for the autonomous activity’s place in the wider context
  • “Belonging” to a group via identification through a specialized activity is rhetorical
    • Science is not autonomously good – it is identified with motives and ethical attitudes
  • To sympathize with people greatly different from us, we need “imagery of a richly humane spontaneous poetry”
  • Ends justify means – politician can still be “rhetorically honest” if he lies, but means to do well – only thought he could get votes via the lie
  • Poetic language is a symbolic action (for itself and in itself); rhetoric is inducement to action
  • Rhetorician’s “tricks of the trade” are an art, not a science
  • Nothing is more rhetorical than deliberation – controversy = rhetorician’s forever “proving opposites”
  • Rhetoric is an art of persuasion, or means of persuasion available for any given situation
  • Realistic: when one symbol-using entity uses symbols to induce action in another; idealistic: consubstantiality established between being of unequal status
Part II: Traditional Principles of Rhetoric
  • Persuasion: choice, will (insofar as a person is free); rhetoric: formative effect on attitude
  • Range: rhetoric as “art of cheating” to rhetoric as power
  • The kind of opinion with which rhetoric deals is not contrasted with truth
    • Opinion is the moral order of action, not “scenic” order of truth
  • Topics must be timely
  • Tradition evidences of rhetorical motive: persuasion, exploitation of opinion, a work’s nature as addressed, literature for use, verbal deception, the “agonistic” generally, words used “sweetly,” formal devices, the art of proving oppositions
  • Most thoroughgoing rhetorical device is amplification
  • Three purposes of audience: 1) hear advice for future, 2) pass judgment on past, 3) or general interest in subject at hand
    • As such, Aristotle’s 3 kinds of rhetoric: deliberative, forensic, epideictic
  • “Titles”: ideas and images – rhetoric uses titles to identify someone/thing with whatever will call forth the desired response – select titles with bias of intention and opinions of audience
    • Image uses imagination to “contain a while bundle of principles”
  • Ideology is a kind of rhetoric – have led to social/political choices
  • Associating an idea with an image is mechanical, a conditioned reflex
  • Nonverbal elements persuade via symbolic character – “paper need not know the meaning of fire in order to burn” – the “idea” of it is persuasive
    • Thus, rhetorical motive lurks in every “meaning”
  • Rhetorical persuasion and identification: relies on social implications of the enigmatic
    • Acceptance of “enigma” as element in symbol’s persuasiveness leads us to note the place of “magic” or “mystery” as a passive reflection of class culture and an active way to maintain cultural cohesion
  • “Infancy” – empirical objects treated as symbols of a generating principle
  • An idea comprises personal, sexual, social, and universal promises
  • With symbol-using animal: logic of symbols must be “prior” to the effects of any “productive forces” in the socioeconomic meaning of an expression
  • Language can be used to deceive: rhetorical analysis seeks to expose mystifications
  • Theology is implicit in persuasion: it is the ultimate reach of communication between different classes of being
Part III: Order
  • Positive terms: name the things of experience – visible, tangible existence located in time and place
  • Dialectical terms: competing voice talk/argue with each other
  • Ultimate terms: competing voices placed in a hierarchy – arranged developmentally with relation to one another
    • Guiding idea/unitary principle behind diversity of voices
  • Bias is false promise, but still promise – if you eliminate all bias, you deprive society of its primary motive power
  • “Principle of courtship” – the use of suasive devices to transcend social estrangement
  • 3 motives: the order, the secret, the kill
  • “Pure persuasion”: saying something for the intrinsic satisfaction of saying it – not for extraverbal advantage – in fact, may seem to go against aims
    • IE: puzzle solver: either gives up or solves the puzzle – either way, is no better off than before – the value of the puzzle is intrinsic
  • Hierarchies:
    • 1) Constructed on basis of numerous negatives to the degree to which they are followed
    • 2) Hierarchic principle is inevitable, but no particular hierarchy is inevitable
    • 3) Hierarchies serve as motives – IE to rise or maintain socioeconomic position
  • Mystery – Three ways to create mystery via physical/experiential separation of individuals
    • 1) Occupational psychosis: particular way of thinking adopted from long term pursuits
    • 2) Terministic screen: specialized vocabulary that reflects selective view of reality
    • 3) Trained incapacity: development of limited view of reality via training/experience
  • Functions of mystery?
    • 1) Maintenance and preservation of hierarchy – encourages obedience
    • 2) Instrument of governance, cohesion, and preservation of the nature of a hierarchy
Things Which I Found Online but Are Important To Know
  • Rhetoric of Motives: showing that rhetoric exists in literature not purposely intended to persuade
    • Identifying real people with characters in literature story may be seen as an argument about how we can/should understand that person
  • “Wherever there is persuasion, there is rhetoric, and wherever there is ‘meaning’ there is ‘persuasion’”
  • “You persuade a man insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his”
  • Aristotle: persuasion is ethos, pathos, logos
    • Burke: new ways to see persuasion and identification (a broader process), not just gaining audience assent
      • Primary aim of rhetoric is to win an argument (Aristotelian) – it’s to make a connection – Burke shifts imagery of the persuasive encounter from a duel to a courtship
      • Goes both ways: audience to speaker, speaker to audience, but still audience-centered (New Rhetoric)
      • Individuals who try to form themselves in accordance with the cooperative communicative norms of society are also concerned with identification – individual must act upon him/herself
      • No use for rhetoric by yourself – need an audience, even if it’s only yourself
    • Booth: rhetoric is finding good reasons to change minds and being open to them
      • Booth also uses Burke’s Pentad – I think to argue against rhetoric of doubt
    • Pentad: Act, Scene, Agent, Agency, Purpose
      • Way of analyzing any rhetorical statement
      • Ratios: relationships between elements of pentad – examining ratios aids the critic in discovering which term in the pentad receives the greatest attention by the rhetor
    • Substances (common images, ideas attitudes) create acts – a process of acting-together
    • Substance: stands under the word (medieval in origin) – distinguishes substance (what holds up a word) from accidents (what you sense) – substance cannot be sensed by definition
    • Goal of rhetoric: consubstantiality – the substance that is you united with the audience
      • Consubstantial – individual, but part of a group by similar experience
      • Substance of acting together = consubstantial experience
      • Science can be perverted by consubstantiality (Nazis)
    • Most serious problem of humanity: alienation/separation – rhetoric find a common ground and brings people together
    • Identification – imaginary act in which you assume someone else is standing in your shoes
    • Identification: three ways it functions:
      • 1) means to an end (politics), 2) antithesis (creating identification via opposing entities through basis of common enemy), 3) persuasion on unconscious level (convincing someone to agree with specific action so they do not appear negatively
    • Identification is possible because we share consubstantiality – commonality of substance – physical body, aspirations, language)
      • Recognizing and building on this becomes a rhetorical possibility because it heals the wound of separation
    • Motive: motif, reason why, and something that moves along
    • Magic and socialization: to live in a social condition, you need rhetoric (Lanham)
      • Socialization means learning some kind of rhetoric to keep communication lines open
    • Terministic screens: set of symbols that becomes a grid/screen of intelligibility through which the world makes sense to us – we see the world as our symbol systems allow us to
      • Socrates: man as symbol using animal is unique
      • Weaver: calls these “god terms” – words that conceal the meaning and values behind them – words you don’t want to argue with
        • Culturally reflective: every culture has a terms that “screens out” differences you might attend to
      • Words and ideas are not tangible – refer to collection of ideas we have about the specific word (Kant, Saussure [1906-1911], Derrida)

Osho on Insecurity and Fear

How does it happen? When you drop the fear of insecurity, insecurity disappears; it exists in the fear of it. Rather than being afraid of it, you start enjoying its thrill – because insecurity is adventurous, it brings new surprises to you, it is a constant venture into the unknown. It has a great thrill. It takes you from the known to the unknown every moment, there are always surprises, and each moment of your life becomes unpredictable.
Sanai says:
Until you throw your sword away.
The sword represents security.
.you’ll not become a shield.
If you carry the sword in your hand, afraid, protecting yourself, you will remain unprotected, you will not become a shield. Throw away the sword and immediately you become the shield. Throw away the fear of insecurity, throw away the desire to be secure, and you are secure.
All security is in God, with godliness, with the whole. If you exist separately as a self, you are insecure. If you forget about yourself, if you merge into the whole, you are secure. In that union is security: you become a shield.
.until you lay your crown aside,
you’ll not be fit to lead.
And this is the basic evil, to search for security. Evil is really a selling or trading of aliveness for survival. The mind state is interested only in survival. The ego is continuously hankering to survive, the mind wants to remain secure in every possible way, and because of its obsession with security it cripples you, paralyzes you. And to trade aliveness for survival is the fundamental evil.
Drop this fear of insecurity. Love insecurity, because insecurity is life. Don’t live out of fear, because one who lives out of fear does not really live, he only vegetates. Those who live out of fear live constantly focused on death. Fear means fear of death. All fear can be reduced to the fear of death. And those who are focused on death go on missing life, because how can you enjoy life if you are constantly thinking of death?
If a man is afraid of adventures, then he will remain closed. He will live almost in a grave. Then he will find that fear is everywhere: all kinds of fears will torment him, he will become paranoid. He will not be able to live at all; he will at the most survive. He only survives, he does not live.
You have to drop this fear – because this fear perpetuates itself; it becomes bigger and bigger and it drowns you in its mud.
The death of soul
is the destruction of life;
but death of life
is the soul’s salvation.

Freedom – Zen

Soen-sa said, “Freedom means no hindrance. If your parents
tell you to do something and you think that you are a
free person so you will not listen to them, this is not true
freedom.True freedom is freedom from thinking, freedom
from all attachments, freedom even from life and death. If I
want life, I have life; if I want death, I have death.”
‘No, I won’t change; I am free!’, then you are attached
to your dirty shirt or to your freedom itself. So you
are not free. If you are really free, then dirty is good and clean
is good. It doesn’t matter. Not changing my shirt is good;
changing my shirt is good. If my parents want me to change,
then I change. I don’t do it for my own sake, only for theirs.
This is freedom. No desire for myself, only for all people.”
So always keep don’t-know
mind. This is true freedom.”
“Where is your question coming from?This
is your treasure. It is precisely what is making you ask the
question at this very moment. Everything is stored in this
precious treasure-house of yours. It is there at your disposal,
you can use it as you wish, nothing is lacking. You are the
master of everything. Why, then, are you running away from
yourself and seeking for things outside?”
This don’t-know mind cuts off all thinking,
and is the true quiet mind

Purpose of Being

Be Alight with Who We Are

–by Mark Nepo (Jun 12, 2017)

There is always purpose in being, but not always being in purpose.
How easily we get caught up in defining who we are in relation to those around us. I remember walking home from school in fourth grade, when I noticed Roy, a classmate I didn’t really like, walking at the same pace as me on the other side of the street. Until I noticed Roy, I was lost in the joy of walking home, free of school, not yet enmeshed in the anger that waited inside my house. But once seeing Roy, I began, without a word, to walk faster, to try to outwalk him. He, of course, sensed this immediately and picked up his gait. As he strode ahead of me, I felt lacking and so stepped up my gait. Before I knew it, we were both racing to the corner, and I felt that if I didn’t get there first, I would be a terrible failure.
I have lived enough in the world to know by now that this is how our ambitions often evolve. We first find ourselves alone in the joy of what we’re doing. But somehow, there are suddenly others along the way, and we lapse into the breath-less race of comparison, and then we are hopelessly running to avoid being termed a failure.
From here, we often latch onto the nearest goal as a purpose; if we can’ t find one nearby, we are thought to be adrift. But our lasting sense of purpose is in our breathing, in our being. As the humanitarian Carol Hegedus reminds us, “Our purpose is that which we most passionately are when we pay attention to our deepest selves.”
So underneath all our worries about careers and jobs and retirements, our purpose really comes down to living fully, to being alight with who we are beneath all the names and titles we are given or aspire to.
Imagine Buddha in his moment of enlightenment, of being lighted from within. I doubt if he knew he was aglow. In fact, when Buddha rose from under the Bodhi tree, it is said a monk approached him in utter amazement at his luminosity and asked, “O Holy One, what are you? You must be a God.” Buddha, not thinking of himself as anything but present, answered, “No … not a God,” and kept walking. But the dazzled monk persisted, “Then you must be a Deva,” and Buddha stopped and said, “No … not a Deva,” and kept walking. Still, the monk pursued him, “Then you must be Brahma himself!” At this, Buddha simply uttered, “No.” The monk, confused, implored, “Then what are you—Tell me, please—what are you?!” Buddha could not repress his joy and replied, “I am awake.”
Can it be that our purpose, no matter whom we run into, no matter what we are told, is simply to be awake?

Quotes on Health

“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.”
—Neale Donald Walsch
“There is no way to happiness—happiness is the way.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh
“What you seek is seeking you.”
—Rumi
“[At the end of life,] you can let a lot of the rules that govern our daily lives fly out the window. Because you realize that we’re walking around in systems in society, and much of what consumes most of our days is not some natural order. We’re all navigating some superstructure that we humans created.”
“Guilt [is] interesting because guilt is the flip side of prestige, and they’re both horrible reasons to do things.”
MINDFULNESS AND MENTAL CHATTER
“‘Mindfulness’ is just that quality of mind which allows you to pay attention to sights and sounds and sensations, and even thoughts themselves, without being lost in thought and without grasping at what is pleasant and pushing what is unpleasant away. . . .
“We’re so deeply conditioned to be lost in thought and to have this conversation with ourselves from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. It’s just chatter in the mind, and it’s so captivating that we’re not even aware of it. We are essentially in a dream state, and it’s through this veil of thought that we go about our day and perceive our environment. But we are just talking to ourselves nonstop, and until you can break that spell and begin to notice thoughts themselves as objects of consciousness, just arising and passing away, you can’t even pay attention to your breath, or to anything else, with any clarity.”
“Productivity is for robots. What humans are going to be really good at is asking questions, being creative, and experiences.”
“Don’t be a donkey” rule. In a world of distraction, single-tasking is a superpower.
DON’T ATTRIBUTE TO MALICE THAT WHICH CAN BE EXPLAINED OTHERWISE
“Wasn’t it Bill Clinton who said that when dealing with anyone who’s upset, he always asks, ‘Has this person slept? Have they eaten? Is somebody else bugging them?’ He goes through this simple checklist. . . . When we’re handling babies and the baby is kicking and crying, we almost never once say, ‘That baby’s out to get me’ or ‘She’s got evil intentions.’”
“SUCCESS” MUST INCLUDE PEACE
“The very word ‘success’ has become contaminated by our ideas of someone extraordinary, very rich, etc., and that’s really unhelpful. . . . Ultimately, to be properly successful is to be at peace as well.”
DON’T EXPECT OTHERS TO UNDERSTAND YOU
THE BEGINNING IS “HEART WORK,” NOT “HEAD WORK”
Fighting emotions is like flailing in quicksand—it only makes things worse. Sometimes, the most proactive “defense” is a mental nod and wink.
“The key in a restaurant, and the key in any kind of high-pressure situation, I think, is that 75% of success is staying calm and not losing your nerve. The rest you figure out, but once you lose your calm, everything else starts falling apart fast.”
“WE’RE NOT AN OBJECT, WE’RE A PROCESS”
‘When it comes to the future, it’s far more important to be imaginative than to be right’ by Alvin Toffler.
On Yoga —
To be in the body means to be alive. I can use my hand just as an instrument but then it is dead. I can move my leg as an instrument, but then it is dead. If ‘I’ am not moving inside my leg, then the leg is dead. More sensitivity is needed now, so different postures have to be developed.
Thus we become aware of where we are stiff, where we are tight and how best we can remove that stiffness and tightness.
Tai Chi
It is purported that focusing the mind solely on the movements of the form helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity