On Communication and Persuasion, Part Two

If the case of Afghanistan demonstrated anything, it demonstrated that bribery and money does not necessarily control the actions and thoughts of people, even though power basically amounts to the control of other people’s actions and thoughts. Thus, in essence, power has two dimensions, namely, force and persuasion. Since there are limitations to the use of force, especially now with a strategic context defined by “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD), it follows that persuasion is the most crucial and critical element of power and is the focal point of the “information wars” and “psychological warfare” that is now widespread in a cyber and technological age. 

There is obviously the famous “Rhetorical Triangle” which consists of three basic elements. For one, there is “Ethos,” which amounts to an appeal to ethics and morality. Second, there is “Pathos,” which is essentially an appeal to emotion and passion. And then, there is “Logos,” which is a little more complex than the other two elements of the “rhetorical triangle.” As mentioned before, “Logos” has a dual meaning. For one, it means “appeal to reason,” and second, it means “word of God.” Thus, the dual meaning is essentially interconnected, and what “Logos” then amounts to is an “appeal to reason” through the “word of God.” As a result, it is “Logos” which is the key element of the “rhetorical triangle” and thus the key tool of persuasion in the bigger scheme of things. 

What is expected of any rhetorician and communicator is that they follow the evidence and the facts rather than being held captive by anger, bias, or emotion. After all, it is not about how one wants things to be. Rather, it is about how things are and how the evidence and facts evince reality. And no matter how complex and confusing a situation can be, it is possible that everything can hinge on just one or two facts. Thus, it follows that mass and numbers do not necessarily translate into validity and veracity of argument and logic. It is entirely possible that logic can be both valid and invalid. Moreover, appearance and form do not necessarily lead to a valid conclusion. In fact, it is totally expected based on experience that the overwhelming majority of a certain class of people will adopt flawed logic solely out of a dynamic combination of appetite, cowardice, and lust. 

Also, strategic communication and strategic interaction consists at the heart of it all a back-and-forth as well as a give-and-take, as well as the idea that one’s actions, moves, thoughts, and words depend on what others are doing, thinking, and saying. And as mentioned before, there is a primary giver of information on one hand, and there is a primary receiver of information on the other hand. One is a contingent party, and the other is a necessary party in the overall scheme of strategic communication and strategic interaction. Thus, there is no need for arrogance and narcissism on the part of the contingent party. For instance, as a student, my biggest mistake was not humbling myself before certain professors and teachers. It is one of two memories that plagues and occupies my conscience to this day, and if I could go back in time, I would be humbler and more receptive to certain teachers and conveyers of information, especially knowing now that their company and presence was a refuge and safe haven from what is essentially a chaotic, hysterical, and senseless world. 

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