|My thesis will concern rhetorical principles as basis to look at Jung’s theories. The way people present themselves in their talk and writing is a signature of their personalities. By analysing those communications, you can get at figuring out what their projects are, and who they think they are. You have reliable ground rules, because rhetoric is naturally full of guidelines. As someone said of God – man invented the maths to figure out whole numbers, but God invented whole numbers. There is something incontrovertible about rhetorical formulations that can be used as measurable coordinates in thinking about people. This is even a Swiss tradition as reading Rousseau’s “Origin of Languages” concerns the derivation of language from the human senses.
My approach will be a late Renaissance humanist approach based on Vico’s counter-Enlightenment philosophy. Vico deplored the practice of students arguing both sides of an argument with equal authority. This cynicism can only lead to irresponsible manipulation of an audience.
This contra-Enlightenment stance was initiated by Vico and neo-Kantians (almost simultaneously with Kant himself) within a generation. Principles of “narratio” + “inventio” + Nietzsche’s approach to rhetoric (at least in his early days) will be explored. A comparison of Nietzsche’s ideas from his course outline and Jung’s seminars about his This Spake Zarathustra will conclude the work. (Both works have recently been published for the first time in English, but not fully explored.)
Rhetoric is an ancient art of persuasion, with objective and functional principles. Its inception in pre-Socratic times (i.e. pre-systematic logic) attests to rhetoric’s recognition of the irrational and the emotional. It required knowledge not only of the subject matter in hand, but also of psychology. How did an audience reacte to certain gestures, phrases, and constructions of language? To persuade required this knowledge. Do the ends justify the means deployed to achieve justice – as in those cases where appearances belied the truth of a situation?
This art has operated at all times and in all places - in fact, this is a tautology: it is rhetorical technique that demands the creation of particularity of time and place. It is a precept of “presentation”. In this way techniques of assessing individual self-presentations, within the context of a community, are practiced and developed.
From its origin as oral practice, rhetorical technique advocated focussing on the immediacy of the individual’s impact on the collective, and vice versa. Nothing is written down (in early illiterate times, this was certainly the case), so it must be immediately accessible and easily retained in the memory. Shifting meanings were of course more easily played on, since oral memory was the only record.
Rhetoric highlights the intelligible over the incomprehensible, and on ways of assessing and presenting reliable speakers, listeners and the arguments at issue.