Real understanding and repeating rhetoric

will's picture

Let me begin by explaining what I mean by rhetoric, it has a few different definitions so I'd like to be clear here. In academics, it's often defined as skill or effective use of writing and speech, but that's not the type of rhetoric I'm talking about here. Another definition is "language that is intended to influence people and that may not be honest or reasonable", and this is the rhetoric I'm speaking of. Take a political party for instance, it's as if they've only got one brain to pass around between them and they all repeat the same lines, the same rhetoric, over and over.

So is rhetoric a "bad" thing? Not necessarily, but it generally shows a lack of real understanding. If you really understand what someone else has shared with you, you can apply your own unique perspective to it, you don't need to just repeat what the other person said. With a person who's really evolving, their understandings keep growing too. Their perspective gets bigger, so they don't just repeat the same things. They keep seeing life in new ways, and they keep expressing what they see in new ways. They may repeat the same general ideas, especially to people who don't understand them yet, but they don't just repeat the same rhetoric.

Especially with spiritual matters, memorization of someone else's rhetoric can create the illusion of understanding. The illusion is usually easy to expose though, as it breaks down under questioning. The rhetoric is just fragile beliefs, and there's some common reactions I've noticed when rhetoric is questioned. It may provoke a very negative reaction, name-calling and that sort of thing. The person holding the rhetoric may just try to avoid the question altogether, though more commonly they'll tell you to watch the video, read the book, or go speak to the person where they got the rhetoric from. Of course, a person well versed in rhetoric may be able to answer the question too. They often have preconditioned responses (rhetoric) to common questions, this is especially common with religions.

What people really need is authentic, heart-felt communication with each other, simply repeating what you heard from someone else is why people are so caught up in illusion. Repeating rhetoric is one of the major ways illusions are spread between people, and it's really a display of ignorance. Ignorance of the connection to Truth that everyone has within them. People accept rhetoric because it "sounds good" and it's something they want to believe. It's easier to just believe what someone else tells you instead of searching for Truth yourself. I do recommend listening to what everyone tells you, but don't just unconsciously accept it, really look at it.

Your own connection to Truth is essential, until then you're just like a leaf blowing in the wind. Be very careful about "spiritual teachers" who always try to tell you exactly what to believe. Now everything I've said here could be turned into rhetoric, but doing so would display a complete misunderstanding of what I'm attempting to communicate.


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