Tag Archives: protherapeia

Protherapeia

Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.


BE PREPARED TO LIVE WITH YOURSELF

Nobody can unerringly predict the future. You can hope for it and you can dream about it, but you can’t predict it. Weather forecasts can do a pretty good job, but that’s as far as it goes. Many of us live as if we could predict the future, making decisions that lean toward a future that is not present—that is spun out of a narrative inside our head, or a conference with a so-called advisor, or a mentor. Some decisions are more foolish than others. But, all decisions have a dimension of foolishness: the are addressed toward a non-existent entity that can never be known. Yet, coping with life’s challenges—whether here now, or in an imagined future—necessitates wondering, balancing, judging. Our well-worn treks into the future don’t require much prognostication—like going to the grocery store. You make a list, you get in your car and go. All is well until there’s no toilet paper on the shelves. Now, you see the contingencies latent in your predictable trek into the grocery store future.

Neither the past nor the future actually exist. The present turns into the past while you experience it. No matter what happens in the present, if you are intact as you experience it, it becomes your past. The past and the future, two times that don’t exist, and yet, establish our lives and characters in unreflective instances of closure, or better or worse acts of interpretation. Hope and fear haunt our decision making—there is no way out. At the bottom, they shore up everything we do: the polar rationales and fleeting or unshakable inducements that make us what we are.

Between the past and the future, we may be evolving toward an unimaginable future, away from an unsatisfactory past. But, always inside your head, the unresolved beat goes on—from observing the first snowflake of winter, to reflecting on the fate of the squirrel you ran over with your SUV on your way home from work. There is no peace of mind, just more or less vexing pasts and futures. If you can accept that, you’ll avoid the pitfalls of religion, and everything else that is “Too good to be true.”

I developed these “insights” years ago. It started when I opened my last can of sardines. I was hanging from a cliff 200 feet off the ground—stranded by a stuck rope. Luckily, I had stuffed the can of sardines into my pants pocket—I say “luckily” because I hadn’t given it a second thought. I did not have a fork. I was swinging back and forth eating the sardines with my fingers and wiping the oil on my pants. After I finished my sardines, I thought about cutting the rope and falling into oblivion. But, I didn’t.

I had a magnifying glass hanging from my belt that I used to examine rock samples, looking for pieces of silver ore. Suddenly, I smelled smoke—the magnifying glass had focused a ray of sunlight into a burning beam that lit my pants on fire, with the help of the oil from the sardines my pants were starting to blaze. The rope was catching fire too. That was it. Consumed by terror, I closed my eyes and waited for the end, thinking it would hurt and accepting death. Then, I remembered the two bottles of water. The were both full. I pulled them off my waistband and dumped them on my pants and the rope, which looked like it was starting to melt.

One of the nearby search parties saw the smoke and came to my rescue. I had some superficial burns, and I was grateful to be alive. Beyond planning my 200-foot descent, all of what happened was completely unexpected. The surprise was terrifying. But, what can anybody do? It is impossible to thwart the unknowable.

As Jim Morrison wrote: “The future’s uncertain, and the end is always near.” Accepting this, we can ponder it and contemplate it, and we may see the beauty of life’s limited horizon, illuminated by what’s beyond it, but unknowable. And we may reach toward the horizon, and prompted by wonder, we wonder “What’s next?”

Now, what are you going to do next? Go home? Go out to dinner? Be run over by a FedEx truck?


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. A Kindle edition is available

Protherapeia

Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.


It has been a long hard winter: piles of snow and freezing cold have kept us indoors, where we have grown contentious and tired of each other. Yesterday I punched your father in the nose for singing Christmas carols out of season. I regret that and will apologize soon. Maybe in March.

I read the weather forecast today. The temperature is supposed to rise above freezing for the first time since November. The snow has abated. The constant wind is slowing. The days are growing longer. Soon, we will be in the throes of Spring. Can anybody remember what wild strawberries smell like, what ramps taste like, what fiddlehead ferns look like?

Thank God for the changing season, though I would be happy with three: Spring, Summer, and Fall. I think I’ll have a beer to hasten the season’s change. Kids: Why don’t you put on your bathing suits and sit by the fire?


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. A Kindle edition is available for $5.99.

Protherapeia

Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.

We sit here on this beautiful spring morning. We hear birds. We see blue skies. We feel the gentle breeze on our faces, and we think of our loved ones whose innocence was perfect, whose hope was true, who, like us, took it for granted that tomorrow would come.

I’m am sorry to say, and we all know, that their tomorrow did not come. Instead, in a moment, they were taken from us . . .

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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.

Protherapeia

Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.

The years have gone by and we have had to say good-bye to so many murdered sisters and brothers chewed up and spit out dead or maimed by seemingly endless war—war without borders, war without shame, war without victory, war, war, war!

The world is engulfed by terror, hatred and horror. We cry for its wretched regions; ceaselessly flooded by the blood of the guiltless flowing deep red through the gates of hell thrown open by raging blasphemy shouting out His holy names.

Together we have stood our ground. Together we have pushed hard the stem the flood. Together.

And yet, as much as we have sacrificed, today it is my sad duty to tell you . . .

  • Post your own protherapeia on the “Comments” page!

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

Prodiorthosis

Prodiorthosis (pro-di-or-tho’-sis): A statement intended to prepare one’s audience for something shocking or offensive. An extreme example of protherapeia.

I thank you for coming here today.  You all know why you’re here. Nevertheless, I want to remind you, what you’re about hear and see is explicit, vivid, gruesome, and heartbreaking. It will make some of you sick, again. It will make some of you cry, again. It will outrage some of you, again. But, again, and again, and again, this experience will deepen our conviction, and it will strengthen our voices as we ground what we speak in the sights and sounds of this presentation, again, and again, and again, until the pundits and the powerful and the politically anointed come to their senses and support our cause.

Ok? Nobody? All right, here we go.

“While you’re sitting comfortably in suburbia sipping your piña colada by the pool and trying to decide which color BMW to buy your daughter for college, or when you’re roosting up in your rooftop condo counting your blessings as you gloat with your broker, counting the whopping profit you just made, somewhere else . . .”

  • Post your own prodiorthosis on the “Comments” page!

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

Prodiorthosis

Prodiorthosis (pro-di-or-tho’-sis): A statement intended to prepare one’s audience for something shocking or offensive. An extreme example of protherapeia.

Given last week’s tragic events, please be advised that what I’m about to show you and tell you will be deeply disturbing–it may even sicken you. However, given our sworn duty and obligation to serve the people, we must examine all the evidence and know all the facts.

  • Post your own prodiorthosis on the “Comments” page!

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

Protherapeia

Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.

It benefits us all to face the cold hard facts, carefully examine them, and be satisfied that we’ve honestly considered everything that bears upon this important decision. This is a good thing. This is what we are entrusted to do. This is our charge. So, prepare yourselves to know the truth and be grateful that we have it in hand.

  • Post your own protherapeia on the “Comments” page!

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