Throughout the second week of WRDS 150, I partook in a class discussion about “rhetoric,” and how an individual can persuasively make an argument. The definition of “rhetoric” has been defined in numerous ways and evolved through studies. After those discussions, I now understand “rhetoric” as the manner in which one influences others through the use of non-coercive or manipulative techniques (as outlined by Michael Schandorf). Furthermore, a strong argument is made through the practice of evidence and validity, which directs us to three dimensions of communication: relevance, credibility, and attention.
Mary Catherine Bateson’s journal article, “The Myths of Independence and Competition”, targets an audience who specializes in biological and behavioral science. Through the use of appropriate jargon and relevant evidence, Bateson successfully applies the three dimensions of communication relevant to her audience’s discipline. The terminology of Anthropocene, cybernetics, and endosymbiosis helped narrate Bateson’s analogies, and the addition of scholars, like Gregory Bateson and Charles Darwin, made the necessary additions to build relevance, credibility, and attention. The journal article concludes with the notion that human society can only progress if we act cooperatively as an interdependent system as opposed to the myth of maintaining completive independence.
In comparison to Bateson’s academic article, Linda Hutcheon’s research article “Rhetoric and Competition,” addresses to the broader scholarly community. Similar to Bateson’s paper, relevance, credibility, and attention are utilized as well. However, in place of biologists and behavioral scientists, Hutcheon provides arguments from scholars of the English faculty. An example of this can be seen when she uses Terdiman’s notion of counter-discourse to conclude with her interpretations. Overall, she argues that academic discourse should work as a space for complementary and inclusive critical thinking as an alternative to the demolition and enmity of the current academic culture.
Both scholars successfully form evidence and validity to their respective discourse community, but as stated above, their approaches to the debate of competition were different. Competition can be defined in many ways, as illustrated in sophiawilson6729’s blog post. Nevertheless, Bateson and Hutcheon come to the same conclusion that my classmates and I have collectively established last week: “competition better resembles a dance than it does to a war.” In this metaphor, the notion of competition as a cooperative (Bateson) and complimentary (Hutcheon) dialogue was the core argument. Like a dance between two partners, there’s a reciprocation process between the two beneficiaries. An argument is made not to eliminate an opposition (like a war), but rather to contribute to the debate.
Lastly, even the etymology of competition and agon reflects on the notion of togetherness. As described by Michael Schandorf, competition signifies “come together,” whereas the word agon originates from gatherings and assemblies (Hutcheon). In all, competition is about the collective and not the individual, and it exercised to help one another, not to harm each another.