Monday, July 8, 2013

Nibley on Rhetoric XVI

Nibley on why we should pay attention to rhetoric:
Pointing out the dangers and defects of rhetoric does not change the habits of rhetoricians. The young Hippocrates, in the beginning of the Protagoras, blushes when he admits to Socrates that he is taking up rhetoric --- but that does not change his plans. Like the passions and appetites it feeds on, rhetoric is one of the great constants in human history. Because it is a constant, nothing can tell us better the direction in which a civilization is moving or how far it is along the way. Like the residue of certain radioactive substances, rhetoric, leaving an unmistakable mark on all that it touches, may yet prove to be the surest guide to the history of our own times. (Hugh Nibley, "Victoriosa Loquacitas," CWHN 10:274.)
What does it say about us that one of the top entertainment shows is about rhetors?