Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).

Good and evil. Darkness and light. No middle ground. A site of choice-making that makes choosing easy. But, if we don’t find an in-between to complicate our choice-making we run the risk of being blinded to what amounts to a chasm between either/or as we fail to bridge it with compromise. We must co-create a measure of shared hope borne on a joint project undertaken in a spirit of moderation well-suited to democracy’s messiness and freedom’s fields of fallibility.

Reject the binary pairs, roll up your sleeves, and rejoice in the working through of differences undertaken in the space between extremes.

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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