Reason versus Passion in Politics

December 6, 2015

In Blog Letters To Finkelstein News

Prof. Chomsky is of the view that people should learn to look at the facts and not be swayed by rhetoric. Further, in enlightening others, people should try their best to be bare and unadorned, stating the facts and drawing the picture without added colour or illumination. Reason alone should be judge of what we say and what we hear. I’ve read that Avicenna had a similar thought about poetry, claiming to have refrained from reading poems because it would poison his rational faculty. This, of course, is an old question, as old as Plato at least. Plato’s solution is, I believe, that rhetoric has the potential to be either very bad or very good depending on the context. I agree.
The world is a stage and we its players. Why should we miss, in the name of fact or reason, those momentous opportunities that history might bring of addressing the world in moving soliloquies?
It’s a dangerous weapon. Sometimes it calls for a cold catalogue of facts. That too is a conscious rhetorical technique. And sometimes it calls for a hot stir of words that link those facts to the humanity inside us.