Diaporesis: Deliberating with oneself as though in doubt over some matter; asking oneself (or rhetorically asking one’s hearers) what is the best or appropriate way to approach something [=aporia].
“Think about it.” My father said that about pretty much everything I said. I’d say “Please pass the mashed potatoes.” He would tell me to think about it. When I got older, I told him I had a girlfriend. He said, “Think about it.” I told him I needed a new winter coat and he told me to think about it. Once I asked what what “think about it” means and he told me to think about it. As you can imagine, it drove me crazy, but I couldn’t tell him or he would tell me to think about it.
If I treat my father’s “think about it” charitably, it is an invitation to contemplation; to wonder about nearly everything, and that, in turn, might make me a philosopher. It might also make me crazy, deliberating with myself, which, is, in a way bizarre. It means that there are multiple me’s that may be in conflict with each other. Do I have an integral self? How do I integratemy being, or am I doomed to a cacophony of voices competing for primacy in the play of my thoughts? Or, is this what my self is? The conflict coordinator? But, as coordinator, my self must have an aim, or is the aim to cultivate conflict. Think about it.
I had developed the habit of locking myself in my room and thinking about it. I would come down for dinner. One evening, my mother asked what I was up to and I said “Think about it.” My father glared at me and said “You think about it.” I said “No! You think about it.” He stood up and kicked over his chair. I did likewise. We stood there glaring at each other for around two minutes. I had to pee, so I turned and started toward the stairs, toward the upstairs bathroom. He yelled “Think about it!” as I climbed the stairs.
I yelled “I’m not thinking about anything you pitiful bastard! Oh wait! I am thinking about something—I’m thinking knocking you on your ass and kicking you until your internal organs explode. But, don’t worry, it’s just a thought.” I made my way upstairs, back up to my room, and I thought about it. Then, I tried to light the house on fire with my gas-powered lighter that I used to light my bong. I got a nice little blaze going in my wastebasket. Then, I thought about it. I carried my wastebasket into the bathroom, put it in the tub and doused it with the hand-held shower.
Now, I’m a resident in “Rugged Mountain” in-patient mental hospital. My therapist, Dr. J. Locke, has told me to think about it. I told him that’s what got me here in the first place. He said, “Ah ha! Think about it!” I can’t find a way to stop thinking about it—no matter what it is. I just wish I could shut up the voice in my head. I blame my father for my mental woes. They’ve asked me to participate in testing a new drug that has great promise for curing what I have. I’m thinking about it.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.
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