Thursday, March 29

Happy Easter

I will be revisiting rhetoric and semiotic. Two of my favourites actually. Glossaries and symbolism. There are always new things to learn and discover. Maybe even finish an essay. That could be a goal for the weekend. It's important to set up goals. It's also important to live in the present. I hope you have a feather and chicken free Easter.

Here's a little rant I wrote just after the rhetoric seminar.

The teacher asked us how rhetoric can be used in environmental communication? ( A rhetorical question indeed, but they still came up with examples). For me the question becomes the opposite, how is rhetoric not used in any type of communication? Is it even possible to separate rhetoric from communication and language? Rhetoric is said to be a way of persuasion, to convince someone of something, make them change opinion, gain new insights, believe something or simply to comply.  It is then argued by philosophers all the way back to ancient Greece, that rhetoric was invented as an artform.  But one can’t really say it didn’t exist before it was invented or discovered by Plato et al. Even cave paintings are rhetorical, so rhetoric is an invented interface, or structural interpretation of communication. It's way of looking at language and how formulations are and can be used from a persuasive perspective. When do we not want to persuade or convince? Is there a time or situation within a communicative framework where no intent is present? We always want something. To be understood, to be seen or to decieve even. A simple hello, what persuasive attempt lies behind that?  That you get a hello back perhaps, a verbal affirmation of you as a person to be greeted, accepted or respected even. Rhetoric is a structure within communication, something that is always present. Even clothes serve as language and thus rhetoric. I can dress up as a syllogism.  If all Swedes wear black shirts on Mondays, and I wear a black shirt on a Monday, then I must be a Swede. Or, am I displaying a deceitful intention and want to persuade you to believe something untrue with my dresscode? The paradoxical in arguing against rhetoric, is that you can’t do it without using rhetoric. Resistance is futile (old Star Trek Borg expression). Why argue against something that constitutes language and adds insight to our intentions?

It was nice having a little chat about this vast topic, freshen up my knowledge and come to the realization of an advantage in doing my bachelors in media- and communication. I think communication science should be mandatory already in grade school. How we encode/decode communication I would not say is not too advanced for even smaller children to learn. And it’s not about learning to manipulate in a deceitful manner, allthough that is a common idea about rhetoric. In a way, it's a healthy notion to keep in mind though,  that any tool can be misused. As I mentioned earlier: we always want something and that desire becomes a persuasive intention in all types of communication.  Percieved equal knowledge creates trust in that mutual understanding is reachable.  On the positive side: one classmate with children in grade school informed us that they are taught to be source critical today. 

With that said. I would not call myself an expert. I have been planning to buy a good rhetoric book though, just for fun. I have several digital versions, but I prefer having a book to hold. 



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