I think this idea of the experience of talking to a stranger can help us understand this. You stay on the level of accepted opinion until you “feel them out” and get a sense of who they are [physis].

Some people have a “core of gold”, this doesn’t need to be a misanthropic place. Rhetoric means dealing with the emotions and guardedness to get to that core.

Realistically speaking though, I’m not sure all people have such a core. It many cases when you think you get to their core it’s a fool’s gold outer shell that hides their true inner-core.

I just invite you to put yourself in the experience of speaking to a stranger. Even upon first impression people can’t hide who they are. If they are guarded, you notice that. That is something about them. At a first impression you see someone’s nature. Even if that nature is to hide, which it often is.

Even if you know someone for a long time they can remain a stranger. That’s something about them. Their nature is to hide. You always know this about them and you accept it and forget about it.

My point here is that many people demand rhetoric from you. Their body language, expression on their face, and tone of voice indirectly ask you to stay on the level of approved opinion when you speak to them. And I bet you abide, because “the dude abides” so to speak. You aren’t cool, you’re anti-social, if you do not abide.

Let’s go back to the real experience of speaking with a stranger. If you want to say something that is not approved by everyday opinion you risk the threat of violence. People “freaking out” at you. Even if it’s only verbal and not physical violence, they will try to make a public spectacle of you to shame you in the eyes of the public for not affirming approved opinion.

This is just ordinary experience that happens every day that is felt perhaps only subconsciously. There’s a difference between strangers and people you know. You’re able to be more truthful with people you know.

The joke of the 21st century is a couple intellectuals talking with each other, pretending to not be strangers, while tacitly believing if a line is stepped over there will be violence and shame.

It seems that everyone is a stranger to each other. And that’s enforced.

What was left unsaid in my previous post is that an important point of life seems to be to help each other stop being ignorant. Rhetoric is the initial basis for that, it’s not the end-point, and yet it’s treated as the end-point. With ONLY rhetoric we’re all strangers to each other. The point of rhetoric is to help us get to the truth of the matter, i.e. to know each other not as strangers.

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