About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Dangers of Rhetoric

“Rhetoric is a dangerous craft.” I warned my son soon after we moved to the US and he returned from school with an assignment to argue both opposing sides of the same issue with the same efficiency. And for myself I thought: What a crude and simplistic proposition, as if there were only two sides to most problems! And wondered: Why is it that empires tend to indulge in rhetoric?”    
    “Rhetoric is a dangerous yet useful craft.” I told him. Familiarity with rhetoric can be quite practical since it is similar to advertising or, say, stage magic. All these crafts are composed of techniques, tricks and cunningness. Those who learn even a few basic tricks of stage magic will never be as gullible yet could still enjoy and appreciate a good performance. Knowledge of rhetoric is similar, students learn different techniques of oral motivation, persuasion and manipulation and in that process will hopefully be immunized against manipulations and trickery.
    “Rhetoric is a dangerous yet useful craft, learn its ropes, so you are not easily deceived.” I urged my son. Eloquence is not identical with truthfulness, in fact, those most eloquent are usually liars. And the best rhetoric flourishes must not replace ethical judgement and reality checks. Mastery of techniques of persuasion should not be used for low, deceptive or self-serving reasons.”
    “Rhetoric is a dangerous yet useful craft, learn its tricks, but never lose your integrity.” I asked of my son. Ultimately all rhetoric can be boil down to this simple premise: Telling people what they want to hear so that they are moved to do what the speaker wants them to do. I hope my son listened, after all he ended up studying physics and not humanities.
    This Sunday in church we will talk about modes, misunderstandings and dangers of biblical rhetoric. After the Orlando tragedy I instantly knew that this Pride Sunday I must deal head-on with our very own Christian “Satanic Verses” and their homophobic rhetoric. On Pride Sunday we will try to undo biblical homophobia and liberate ourselves from its dark legacy and curse. Even in the Bible, rhetoric can be a dangerous and dark craft.
On the background of this poster is a facsimile from the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the oldest Greek codices.
The homophobic “Satanic Verses” from Romans 1 are in the upper right corner.

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