One of the greatest fallacies is to presume rhetoric is a game of verbal persuasion. It’s not. It’s mainly a game of attention.
Attention comes first. Persuasion follows. Engagement comes last.
Pop intellectuals gain attention.
Marketers gain attention.
Martyrs gain attention with heroic actions.
It works like this: now you have my attention, persuade me with your message. https://t.co/EZAz2KTZ2F
Red is the colour of attention.
- STOP traffic signs are red
- CNN is red
- Youtube is red
- Economist is red
- TIME Magazine is red
- Communist flags are red
- Nazi flags are red
- Antifa flags are red
Get the picture?
Aristotle lectured on rhetoric (art of persuasion) in Plato’s academy. That’s ironic since he never managed to persuade Athenians to adopt his school of thought. However it was enough to catch the attention of one person: Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander.
The moral of the story is this: you don’t care if your rhetoric persuades many people, you care if it catches the attention of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander. You care if your small group of students have the capacity to conquer the world, given the opportunity.
Attention is your most valuable asset.
Most people perceive & observe with their eyes & ears, unaware of the forces designed to draw their attention.
Others observe with their mind, like doctors, making “diagnoses” with clinical semiotics not visible to the rest.
The easiest way to persuade:
(a) gain attention (seize the media)
(b) lower the standards
When attention is gained, persuasion is relative to the standards of the audience. The easiest way to lower the standards is to make them blind of competition. So, remove the classics!
Example: what is the easiest way to promote the “selfish gene” & meme pseudoscience?
(a) Gain attention w/ aggressive marketing. Make sure Dawkins is a household name.
(b) Create population with lower standards. Remove Developmental Systems theory from mainstream.
For (b) target a generation that doesn’t know any serious abstract pattern of life (λόγος, αριθμός, ιδέα, άτομο, semiotics) & push the “meme” BS instead.
With no serious competition it will blow their mind that a modern biologist thought there may be basic pattern in life.
The art of mastering our attention depends largely upon our interests, and here lies the secret of persuasion: by cultivating sophisticated interests to children we determine who is going to persuade them later in life and with what standards.
High Standards ↔ Good Leaders
Παιδεία (Paideia) fosters children with the ambition to:
- self-control their attention
- use nuanced logos (logic) to detect contradictions
- observe with their mind the non-observable by the senses or the evidence
Why? To uphold high standards of leadership (=persuasion)