Daily Archives: February 8, 2023


Dianoea (di-a-noe’-a): The use of animated questions and answers in developing an argument (sometimes simply the equivalent of anthypophora).

Where are we going? Where have we been? Someplace? No place? A place with a name? A country? A state? A city? A desert? A beach? A river? A canyon? A restaurant? A theatre? A library? A cemetery?

There are millions, of places and things with names. I would go so far as to say that everything is named—half of knowing something is knowing it’s name, at least we may think so. But without a name it is almost impossible to meaningfully share—“this thing” and “that thing” accompanied by pointing at “it” is vague, and for abstract concepts it is impossible to point, so we make up definitions. They are good, but not as good as the shorthand saying of a name provides. I mean “good” here in terms of economy and clarity. And maybe there’s a difference between the definition and the meaning of a word. Also, we may derive meaning from our unique experiences, contributing to the chaos of human conjoinment which requires shared understandings. This is where understanding comes into play, where agreement is not sought—but “seeing a another person’s point of view the way they see it, without agreeing with it.” (or something like that)

Maybe the keyword that drives humanity is love. I think, if there is a hierarchy of goods, that love is at the top. There’s Justice, honesty, and a whole constellation of other goods, that love includes, and in some ways props up love as much as it includes it. But, at times they may enter into conflict with their others. For example, I would lie about my wife’s whereabouts to save her from a maniac bent on murdering her. So, so much depends on circumstances and the hierarchy of goods as it is particularly deployed—lying trumps telling the truth where the truth would facilitate murder. But we all know our situation is encircled by innumerable points of decision where the road to choosing is blocked by “what if” and all its variations as obstacles to projecting a livable future—a future that can only be imagined until the decision is made.

But no matter what, in due time, everything is contestable. That does not mean we should contest everything, but we should bear in mind, as Stanley Fish said “One person’s hope is another person’s fear.” There’s no getting around conflict. In genuine relationships it’s inevitable, and it may rightfully lead to ending a relationship, or to deepening your affection, or a billion other things.

No matter what though, love should shimmer on your life’s horizon like the Northern Lights. When you have the chance, you should move toward that beautiful horizon with every step you take.

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

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