Monday, February 25, 2013

Persuasion & Choice


I would like to offer some of my own thoughts to you, with the hope that you may find them of value for your own life; my hope is that you will ultimately act, so as to meet your own needs/values/preferences.

I have been wondering if the strategy of persuasion is consistent with the value of liberty/autonomy.

I would like to provide clarity, as to what I mean by the verb-forms of "persuade":


per·suade transitive verb \pər-ˈswād\
per·suad·edper·suad·ing

Definition of PERSUADE

1
: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action
2
: to plead with : urge
— per·suad·er noun
Examples of PERSUADE

• He persuaded his friend to go back to school.
• She couldn't be persuaded to go.
• He would not let himself be persuaded into buying the more expensive stereo.
• I am not easily persuaded.
• They persuaded us that we were wrong.
• He persuaded himself that he had made the right choice.
Origin of PERSUADE

Latin persuadēre, from per- thoroughly + suadēre to advise, urge — more at sweet
First Known Use: 15th century


From this definition, I am seeing two separable meanings: the first is "persuade" as a request or special-pleading, the second is "persuade" as a kind of shared reasoning by which the persuading party attempts to demonstrate a superior logical-position/argument, to the party to be persuaded.

I wonder if both meanings are perhaps, in a very peripheral way, not conducive to an expression/demonstration for the values of liberty/autonomy.

I can understand how attractive the strategy of persuasion can be; when we have an idea of how to fix the problems of the world and all that is required to implement that idea, is to use persuasion/pleading/argumentation to establish an agreement about those ideas.  
"If I could only arrive at a place of agreement with others, regarding values of liberty/autonomy, then the world/society/community would have much more peaceful and mutually beneficial interactions!"

But I wonder if the attempt to persuade is effective and I wonder if it adds value to the persuader and the potential-persuaded.  If in the attempt to persuade others of my view, I am frustrated by the lack of agreement, then what value is this strategy adding to my life?  If in the attempt to persuade others of my view, they are defensive/disconnected/irritated, then is my strategy adding to the life of the potential-persuaded?  If I wanted to give someone a gift and they told me they were not interested in that gift, would I try to force or compel that person to accept it?  If I wished to contribute my thoughts on a subject/issue and became clear that my contribution was not accepted cheerfully, would it be consistent/respectful to my values of liberty/choice/autonomy/freedom to compel or pressure the acceptance of my contribution?

I would like to provide clarity, that I do not intend to imply, that it is not needful to share and contribute thoughts on important matters of interest; or perhaps said another way, I often find it of value to me to share my thoughts and ideas with others; obviously that is what I am doing as I composing these words.  I would like to suggest that the difference between persuasion and contribute/sharing, is in the goals/intentions; persuasion may be a strategy that assumes that the other person needs changing and inasmuch as persons maybe resistant to overt external thought-pattern manipulation, persuasion may not be an effective *communication* strategy; persuasion may not be a technical *communication* but a telling/imperative.  Persuasion may carry with it, a subtle authoritarian demand, and insofar as this is the case, this may not be consistent with the values of liberty/autonomy/choice/freedom.

*Communication* may require a "process of togetherness" (to commune) and that togetherness may imply a goal/intention to participate in mutual-sharing of ideas, a willingness to receive, as well as to give/share/contribute.

I wonder if rhetorical devices/modes that employ an assessment/evaluation/judgement of another person, are consistent-with/conform-to the values of liberty/autonomy/freedom choice.  I wonder if rhetorical modes which claim, "If you disagree with me, then you are irrational" or "If you disagree with the principle of the Non-Aggression Principle, then you are unethical/immoral" are consistent with values of choice/autonomy/liberty.

I would prefer not to use "logic" as one might use a intellectual-weapon; but I would prefer to use logic, reason and evidence to assist my understanding, and if others are willing to receive my contribution of that current-understanding, then all-to-the-good!  If they are not willing to receive my understanding, then I would prefer to respect their choice/autonomy and seek alternate means to meet my desire to contribute my understanding.

Thank you for receiving what I wished to share.  I would like to now be open to your thoughts & contributions. :-)

Be well.



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