Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today I let my mind indulge in a feast.

My thoughts this morning were unusually peaceful. I think my happiness directly correlates with the initiative I have recently taken to follow my happiness. It is similar to "showing my life who's boss" and "doing whatever I want," but I think following my happiness is a more accurate way of putting it, although cliche.

A distinction I want to make is that my happiness and my pleasure are not synonymous. There is a big difference between the feeling in my stomach when I experience pleasure in life and the feeling in my chest when I experience equal gravity on either shoulder. Being perfectly centered is the way that I can live my life for myself, in peace.

It's extra wonderful when happiness and pleasure intermingle. It's like simultaneously eating ice cream and accepting my appearance. I used to think the two were opposing forces, but now I know they can coexist.

During lunch today, I went to the Exton Diner by myself. I've dined alone on multiple occasions, and I usually find that wait staff are extra nice to the lone diner. The hostess asked, "Alone today?" When I responded with a smile and nod, she said, "Well then let's get you fed." I wasn't put off by this but I thought it was unusually friendly. Then she seated me at a booth next to a window and noted the nice view. I don't know if this anicdote is relevant, but it felt like an important part of my day. I think I learned something without knowing it. Independence commands respect. Youth attracts compassion. The two combined are really useful.


I have a brief (hopefully) non sequitur.

The first is the most random and absurd. This morning I was wandering in my sleepiness and the word broom occurred to me.
For one, I realized that broom is the conjunction of the words bride and groom. I imagined a couple skipping out on their wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and in their place, a broom. I pictured a priest speaking to the broom, marrying it.
The second thing that I thought was strange about the word broom is it's verb. Okay, to explain, usually nouns have correlating verbs. This is especially true of tools that have a specific purpose.
For example:
A vacuum vacuums.
A blender blends.
A screwdriver screws or unscrews.
This being said, a broom sweeps. What? This might be a strange thing to think extensively about, but I am a strange girl.


The other random (yet actually applicable and relevant) thing I want to talk about is Aristotle's appeals of persuasion. Last night in conversation among friends I brought up The Trivium which is a three part system of education used in medieval universities concerning logic, grammer, and rhetoric. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos were mention and my mind was sparked. So, today I did some research between classes and found an article called "The Appeals: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos" by Professor Jeanne Fahnestock of The University of Maryland. (It's funny because Fahnestock Road was the name of my childhood
street.) The following is my perception and summary of this article.

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Ethos is a person's credibility, Pathos is emotional identity, and Logos is logic. The three combined are believed to be the elements of effective rhetoric.

Ethos is the Greek word for character. Aristotle taught that a person believed to be warm and considerate, as well as reputable, is more likely to have skills in persuasion. Extrinsic Ethos is whatever you know about a writer or speaker before experiencing their message. This could be their educational experience or their title as an authority figure. Intrinsic Ethos is the way a writer's character is portrayed through their writing.

In my opinion the way to effectively implement this into one's writing would be to write as though you are an authority on the subject in which you write. You don't have to have a degree on the subject matter (Or extrinsic ethos) to know exactly what you are talking about and to be perceived that way. If you believe what you are writing and can convey that, you cannot go wrong here.

Pathos is your emotional identity. Your abiblity to incite emotions like anger, surprise, sadness, pity, or ecstacy in a reader has an enormous impact on the way that your message is perceived. This is the way a writer or speaker identifies with an audience. Relating to their interests is the essence of pathos. Of course, emotions can be used to sway an argument in a biased direction, but this is where Logos comes in.

Logos is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of any argument. To illustrate rigorous logic, one's message must be consistent and clear. If there is no logic in your beliefs, your beliefs are most likely false. Logic gives us the ability to identify fallacies. This skill is tremendously important in our current media and consumer-driven society.

According to Aristotle, The premise of an argument must be based on a set of agreements. These are facts and values that one can build a sound opinion upon.

This is the very reason that it is difficult to argue with a person with completely different moral standards than you. Unfortunately, these are the people I would be most likely to start an argument with. Using logic in these circumstances is key. I have found that I can pick out small things that I agree with them on to bring about our harmonious logic.

To argue about religion, I always begin by teaching perspective. First I talk about the way we feel about the things we believe. Upon these agreements, we can build perspective on other religions.

Another tough audience is a person with little logic to begin with. These people require time-consuming arguments because you must ask them questions to get them to excersize their logic, but it works eventually. In my mind, this is also the essence of the socratic method.

For a less swayed view on Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, I recommend finding an article that displays these three elements of rhetoric better.