Exergasia (ex-er-ga’-si-a): Repetition of the same idea, changing either its words, its delivery, or the general treatment it is given. A method for amplification, variation, and explanation. As such, exergasia compares to the progymnasmata exercises (rudimentary exercises intended to prepare students of rhetoric for the creation and performance of complete practice orations).

I am good. I am good. I am good. I am good. I am good: Three little words that make one of life’s most important avowals. Words that carry the weight of a loaded freight train. Something you say about yourself that certifies yourself, if taken seriously. A self-judgment. A pronouncement liable to blow away on the winds of mistrust. How do you anchor your goodness in the minds of others? You must make your motives explicit and clear whenever you can–take control. But still, the thread attaching avowals of goodness to imputations of sincerity is a fuse easily ignited by time and circumstance.

We are flooded by possibilities, yet the fuse smolders and burns.  The current of possibilities flowing in all directions can easily carry us away from trust: we must learn to swim against the current, for it is up to us to find the reason to swim to trust’s safety and rest on safety’s shore. At the same time, we must learn to mistrust just as earnestly and willingly as we trust–to go with the currents of doubt.

This is not satisfying. There are no keys. There is no “way.” There is only life–the tumult of uncertainty and the paralysis of choosing.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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