For over 2000 years rhetoric has been a foundational pillar of a classical education.
In the last century rhetoric was given a bad rap in the general population due to being face with its misuse, in a big way, by Hitler. Without recordings of Hitler, both audio and video, rhetoric would still be a commonly used word today. It’s still there.
Today we call it persuasion. We also call it neurolinguistic programming (NLP).
Three Paths of Communication
We can deal with facts. We can forget the facts and deal with emotions. Or, we can find the middle ground.
“Just The Facts, Ma’am”
If we are going to write or talk about something we need a few things. We need a subject and some information about the subject. We can then investigate where those facts lead.
This is like the monotone lecture we have in school. Learning math by rote. Or the death by powerpoint presentations we’re forced to endure.
Torture me. Put me out of my misery.
This goes by the name Dialectic – the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions. Effective, but Boring!
The Flip Side
Diametrically opposed to the dialectic is Sophistry. Long before the 1950’s classic “Twist and Shout” people were taking things out of context, twisting them, and then shouting them out to the masses.
Deception, lies, propaganda.
No need to have a solid foundation in facts. If you say it often enough, and loud enough, eventually people will accept it as fact. People live in fear of asking questions which opens them to manipulation.
This abuse of the truth is used by politicians, business leaders, religious leaders and the media to name a few. In a world without questioning, the liar is king.