Friday, December 19, 2003
Rhetorical Balance Sheet
I was working with my sister and I realized that she is fairly rigid in her opinions. I guess we all are. I certainly am. I brought up a friend of mine who I described as being very opinionated and considered discussions as things to win rather than ways to learn. It really got me thinking about Rhetoric vs. Dialectic. My sister was defending him and the use of rhetoric (she never met the guy), but using rhetoric in the process and thus was only interested in presenting her point of view. I tried, not very hard mind you, to make it a discussion aimed at discussing universal ideals. No luck. I started thinking how closed minded she seemed. Then instead of dwelling on it I reminded myself that I was and am capable of exactly the same kind of affinity for my own opinions. My sister also brought up this concept of "The Emotional Balance Sheet" that she got from some self help book. I'm not sure she is using it in a constructive way. I think the point of something like that would be to recognize what triggers positive and negative emotional responses in your life so that you can better understand yourself. It seems like more of an analogy of how most people are dealing with relationships rather than how they should. She seems to like to use it to keep track of favors and acts of kindness to decide where she should "spend" her love. I'm not sure if she is taking ownership of her emotions. I told her that I think her analogy seems to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution. She wasn't interested in debating it.