In the heat of discussion, I can become presumptive. When I am pitching an idea or making a sale my language easily slips into persuasive presumption. It is intentionally tactical and I hold it to be true and right. So I wondered how is my presumption position different from the partisan certainty that borders on bullying? Is my justification that the listener can question my presumption or deny that they own them just a gymnastics exercise?
My pitch is intentional and meant to move the listener from one position to the next with a starting point that is in the same area where my beliefs begin.
If I say " Since climate change has been proven, we should all be doing our part to save the planet. The sharing economy reduces the need for as much material and energy to be used in production because we potentially don't need as many drills, saws, cars, RVs, books, or cars. How are you making use of all the available shared resources? What possessions do you have that you would be able to share through a service or club?"
In my biased analysis, I see seven presumptions that are intended to move the listener down a path I have prescribed:
- Has been proven - I understand that the science is conclusive but there still seems to be a debate.
- We should all be doing our part - presupposes a value of personal responsibility and action that isn't necessarily an intuitive tendency for many people.
- Save the planet - is conditional on both the hope that we can make a difference and that we should.
- The sharing economy - is a jargon-laced expression that requires a specific understanding.
- Reduces the need - presumes an agreement that reduction/less is a good thing and that we can somehow control production by reducing demand. evidence doesn't necessarily support that cause and effect.
- How are you - big leap that suggests/anticipates/requires tacit or implicit participation.
- You would be able to share - presumes that the path has lead to an incontrovertible conclusion.
If you were faced with the above statement and you were already comfortable with the conclusion, would you see any manipulation? If you accepted some of the premises but not all would this technique move to towards greater acceptance? If you didn't agree with any portion of the assertion, would you vocalize your resistance or just ignore the argument and the arguer?
Are we only sensitive to and about manipulative language if we aren't in agreement? If I already accept your statement, does it matter that your surety appears as unchallengeable?
I am not sure, even after thinking about the subject for a couple days and journalling about it this morning and writing 500 words here. If my approach leaves you room to reject or contest my thesis, is the responsibility of curiosity and clarity now yours?
I take consolation from the fact that I am still uncertain about how persuasive and presumptive I can be and still be open and honoring to diverse views.
Make Today Remarkable, for yourself, someone you treasure and a stranger.