Thursday, March 02, 2017

The role of emotion

Cicero writes that “every one must acknowledge that of all the resources of an orator far the greatest is his ability to inflame the minds of his hearers and to turn them in whatever direction the case demands. If the orator lacks that ability, he lacks the one thing most essential.” (Brutus 80.279). Cicero even advises the orator to prefer emotion to reason. Thus, the hearer should be “so affected as to be swayed by something resembling a mental impulse or emotion, rather than by judgment or deliberation. For men decide far more problems by hate, or love, or fear, or illusion, or some other inward emotion than by reality.” (De oratore 2.42.178).—Humanism and the Rhetoric of Toleration, pages 20–21

<idle musing>
Unfortunately, we're seeing the truth of this today. . .from both Right and Left. Rational discussion of the type this book discusses seems to have become either rare or unheard of. That saddens me.
</idle musing>

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