Monday, November 20, 2006

Rhetorical Questions


Rhetorical Questions
1.) A question asked solely to produce an effect or to make an assertion and not to elicit a reply
2.) A question, to which no answer is expected, often used for rhetorical effect.
3.) A question asked without expecting an answer but for the sake of emphasis or effect.
4.) A statement that is formulated as a question but that is not supposed to be answered

1.) (in writing or speech) the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast.
2.) The art or science of all specialized literary uses of language in prose or verse, including the figures of speech.
3.) The art of making persuasive speeches; oratory.
4.)(in classical oratory) the art of influencing the thought and conduct of an audience.

It should only be after thorough reading and comprehension of the above terms and definitions that one should continue to the rest of this reply. I would however like to further define a "Rhetorical Question" as that which has no answer, as this definition is what is commonly taught and verbalized. In response to boisterous laughter last night to my comment, "They are rhetorical questions," I will explore one such question purposed to me, so as to help clarify what it is I obviously wasn't able to articulate.

Example: "Why do you always feel the need to destroy things that aren't yours"

Reasoning: As to why such a comment is rhetorical we must break down the question in such a way that the fallacious thinking is exposed and demonstrated.

1.)"Why do you always":
The word always is a "universal". By which I mean to say that it implies that x is ALWAYS the case. Uses of such words are fallacies because they almost all universal statements are wrong. You most probably will not be able to substantiate such a claim as "x always happens" hence making such a claim is improper because their will most likely be an exception to the universal statement.

2.) "you always feel the need":
This statement is, using Neuro-Linguistical terminology, considered an example of "mind reading". It is improper for one individual to make a comment as to the motivations, desires, thoughts, etc of another individual, unless that person is able to conclusively express how it is they came to possess that knowledge. Hence this statement is also a presupposition in that it implies that the action I was exhibiting was due to me feeling a "need" towards doing it.

3.) "need":
This word is a nominalization. It is an emotion or feeling and hence has no quantifiable quality. Therefore in the context of a discussion, or argument as the case may of been, it has to legitimate use because it is purely a subjective idea.

Similar to the case of "need", the word, "destroy" has no specific reference to the severity of such destruction. Hence is the destruction a micro fissure caused through metal fatigue, or is it burning down the house (it is unknown because it is undefined through the question).

5.) "Things": Again, what “things” are you specifically referencing to. It is presumptuous to assume that a person treats all things in the exact same manner, all the time.

6.) "aren't yours":
Then whose are they? You can't mean to say that a person treats all things that aren't his, even things which he's never come into contact with (such as the Dali Lama's Relics, or perhaps a mountain goat's territory) in the exact same way. Again there is no reference to what the person is speaking of.

In response to the 'obvious' question to the above discussion, context, I argue that such presumptuous ideas on my part lead to miscommunications for both parties. This trend has consistently been shown in history were minor or subjective interpretations have led to wars or other grave consequences. Hence sentences such as the one above are completely subjective leaving no possible purpose beyond me reiterating, for myself, my own subjective interpretation, which could be very different from what the questioner was attempting to infer due to the inherent inspecificity of the sentence.

Therefore in reference to my personal definition of rhetorical questions (a question with no answer), such a question as above qualifies because their is no significant (to the argument) nor truly correct answer (in light that because their are so many right answers, even answers that contradict themselves, that their is no true answer). I will then reference you to the definition of rhetorical questions, 1.) and 3.), whereby the purpose of such a question is purely for emotive response. In this situation the question was most likely used as an intellectual trap, where upon being answered another fallacious analogy or example not encompassed in the answer would be used to 'sufficiently' show the answerer to be wrong. However, again, the lack of specific references makes such an answer impossible, therefore it would be more pertinent for a questioner to qualify his or her statements before making them.

Furthermore in reference to the definitions of Rhetoric, 1.), 2.), 3.), and 4.) the above statement meets all four definitions in that it:
1.) Was exaggeratory by lack of reference, "oh why do you ALWAYS do this";
2.) Used significant forms of sophistry and fallacious thinking (refer to above break down);
3.) Was persuasive in that such a question cannot be answered, leaving in the mind of the questioner and others that the answerer has no answer, hence he or she is wrong;
4.) It sufficiently influenced the group enough such that they themselves did not critically analyze the question.

In conclusion, I hope that was a sufficient summary and definition of "Rhetorical Questions". If you happen to have any questions on which you would like to clarify then I would be happy to discuss it with you in the appropriate setting. Thank you for reading.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I love DRAMA!

(lol this was in the memory bank.... should of been posted about 2 months ago?)

In short... I love drama. This week was an amazing dramatic week. First and foremost Student Wrights went well (at least for me). One of the two adjudicators essentially cut the other one off to say: "I'm sorry... I have to say this... you were really good" [while looking at me, of course]. I also got my share of compliments from other school's drama kids/teachers. Unfortunetly the script, which is student written, is going to need a face lift. It needs to do away with repitition and give the characters justifications. The writer/director is working with her actors (thats good), but she has said many times that she has no idea how to develop my character... SO I get to run wild with it and include all the cynical sarcasim I want *ye won't know what happens*! Unfortunetly... the day we're presenting it is the same day as Mcmaster's fiddling session so i'm going to miss out on that and there probaly won't be any parental units.

The second great dramatic experience this week is thanks to the multitude of drama trips I signed myself up for. On Thursday we went to see "The Babysitter" by Eric Woolfe. It was REALLY good. In short the play was a 18+ (Adult) horror/puppet play that was the telling of "the babysitter" but included over 15 segments or stories of other 'bad babysitters' that all culminated to the "last babysitter." It took parts from 50 different urban legends, horror films, and fairy tales to compose the "legend" of the "last babysitter". The play was very funny but "scary" at the same time... ooooooooooo. I had adult themes (yes that means SEX), but it was definetly funny... ow the cliche boyfriend and girlfriend making out when a murderer comes in... >=). Not only was it funny but it was so theatrically good! The lighting was especially good; for example at one point they made a door glow in an errie blue light. How I wish our lighting kids were good enough to set up gels/filters (has a technical name)/chase sequences to do that (but don't tell them I said that...). Even better then that was the puppetry. When I say that it sounds like it would be a low quality show, but the puppets were handled by proffessional puppeters. There were also a wide variety of puppets, from large 7 foot puppets to table top puppets to hand puppets to shadow puppets. The puppets, I found, made the show just that more realistic... it seemed like the characters were just more believeable because I had to "suspend my disblief" in the beginning (takes about 2 minutes for the puppeters to fade out of your awareness). Then to top that day off! We stayed around for a 30 minute Puppet workshop. It was definetly intresting, not enough to make me want to take up puppeting, but definetly fun. I encourage everyone to go see it, and if you do it on the right day I'll come back with ya! Heres the website:

However to dispell whatever happy notions I had... I got my report card. My average is about 80-81... not good by my standards. I managed to get ever single HARD teacher. It's just annoying... people in any other class have averages that are at least 5-10% higher then mine. For example the other english class had about 90% of it's students with a 95% or higher... thats bullshit. The other Allgeo class has a general "low" mark of 85%. Hell even my chem teacher, who doesn't give us any marks back, suddenly gives me a less then 80%, no reason or justification... no marks from which we can refute it. As I said BULLSHIT.

Well i'm going to sign off... the week wasn't a total loss but as always i'll leave you with a quote (today i'll give you two, one because it's a quote I picked for philosophy class a long time ago and now that we've started religion it's come up again, and the other because I feel the need to display my inner most deepest desires and dreams!)

Quote of the Day:
"If God did not exist, It would be nessicary to invent him."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Survival of the Fittest...

So it's coming down to the wire. Kids seem to be dropping classes left and right. Mid terms are next week and people are hoping to get a no mark and not a zero in the class. It also seems to be the teacher's last push to demoralize students who 'shouldn't' be there (according to the teachers that is). Last week brought many tests... and a few of them were meant to shake you up. For example in chemistry the teacher purposefully made 3/4 of the multiple-choice questions wrong. He'd make impossible questions like what atom is represented by 1s^2 2s^2 2p^7 3s^2 3p^4 (where of course a p orbital cannot have 7 electrons, especially not when their are unfilled valence electrons, and where it was stated the atom was in ground state) or he'd make multiple right answers (i.e. A and E would be the same, yet, correct answer). So for me, it wasn't that difficult, I have the confidence to tell the teacher their wrong... but many people are either unable to or second guess themselves at every turn. It also seems to be that 'epiphany' time where people get the idea that they can't do something, that things are just getting to hard. I don't know about them but I’ve been staying up until 2:00 every night to make sure I do things right and up to par. I can't speak for others but I’m sure many don't go that far, or simply don't approach these things effectively. I don't think I’ve ever had that 'feeling' that I couldn't achieve or do something if I just didn't work hard enough at it (don't get me wrong, I don't have enormous "natural talent" I just have hard headed perseverance and a thirst for knowledge). I guess I could say 'languages', they seem above and beyond me... but I’m trying to remedy that as well. I understand were everyone is coming from though, it's not like grade 12 is easy and I realize that the marks they receive determine the university they get into. But at the same time doing badly on one test, or one assignment isn't going to kill you, if anything it'll humble and humanize you.

On another note next week I get to go do two interesting things. One, I have a field trip for drama =D, and two, I have another field trip for drama because the play I’m acting in is part of sears fest, I get to go and run the script in front of an adjudicator and they'll tell us if the student written script has any merit or not. It's an interesting concept... I'm not sure how my play will do, but I need to memorize the entire thing by wed so I can perform it.

On another another note... I had to write a narrative essay for English... but it turned out to be much more fun then I realized, so I’m going to post what I have here (it's 2nd draftish, so it's not perfecto):

Lucid Reality
The first time a person puts on his glasses his eyes water with a child like awe, he rediscovers the world in which he’s contently idled by, he does a double take and realizes how distorted and twisted his construct of reality really is.

Sitting on the daily bus ride to and from school, I began to spend my time by listening. Listening to people, listening to the world, but on this particular day, listening to a book.

This realization that you’re going to have will most easily teach you to learn and discover and develop yourself more than anything else in this tape.

Kenton Knepper, Neuro-Linguistic Programming teacher to the unknowing, had, on the last CD of his 12 part series, set aside 20 minutes to discuss an idea so profound in it’s implications yet so glaringly obvious that people gloss over it constantly. In only a few seconds a deeper understanding of the world was to hit me like a wall, to shake the foundations of everything I had and was to perceive. It took my hand, leading me up the cave’s passage to a world my eyes had never seen, to a world filled with the shadows of my former but a world in which I was not bound to that singular dimension.

Think about this, know it, understand it, and live with it. Practically ALL words and ideas are in an of themselves Presuppositions and nearly any word or idea ALSO implies the opposite of that word or idea.

After 15 years of learning, 15 years of paving my own path, 15 years of attempting to free myself from this world’s influence, there it was. So cleverly hidden, so ingeniously simple: suggestion. It only took one moment of insight to realize how deeply influenced I had been by everything that surrounded me. What things I focus on when I look into crowd, what clothes I wear, what colour the stop sign is, what words I use to describe things. Indeed, it was obvious now that everything carried an unspoken, implicit suggestion and that each and every suggestion is a reflection of me, the person who has been conditioned by this world to be exactly who he is at this specific moment in time.

My head slowly rose, I turned off the tape and peered out past the hand drawn !PLEH on the window. The world: what a beautiful place, what an ugly place, expansive, yet isolated, colourful but rift with black and white. A world of contradictions and distinctions, a world by definition: Taoist. Was I shocked? No, I was in awe. How misspent my life had been, to spend so long a time not appreciating reality in this fuller conception. How ironically funny, to live for so long and neither see or be able to imagine the sheep’s wool.

Life, it is filled with these ideas, these philosophical epiphanies, but even these philosophies will change with time, with me; everyone receives new prescriptions and will once again be able see a reality composed of new dimensions. However, it is these moments, these realizations that are defining and paramount in one’s journey of life, “The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.” (Anais Nin).


So I'll end this post with another QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Quote of the Day:
"Whenever man comes up with a better mousetrap, nature immediately comes up with a better mouse."
~James Carswell