Re: The Flea

Paul Hagood (wcoach@WRITEPLACE.COM)
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 18:38:09 -0700

On Tue, Oct 15, Bob King wrote:
>Interesting to me
>that current neuro-philosophy is pretty involved in the notion of "qualia"
>-- what you are calling "flavor" (at least it seems to me the two concepts
>are pretty much the same). A subtle difference is, however, that the
>neurophilospher-scientists I've heard about (who are studying
>consciousness) tie the notion of qualia directly into the human capacity
>to feel -- hence not "beyond" emotion in that sense.

Here's where we may be moving beyond the traditional bounds of rhetoric.
I've been practising meditation for about 8 years, and in the past few
years I've become aware of some level of feeling in people that seems to
be a "background" kind of thing - you can feel it whether the person
seems to be happy or upset. That's why I used the word "flavor" - it
seems to be a more continual undercurrent than what we normally think of
as emotions. But it certainly is a central part of our capacity to feel.

For example, people seem to feel a "dark" flavor in Bob Dole no matter
what he says, or what surface mood he's in. In this case, studying
traditional rhetoric and speechmaking won't help. What is communicated is
what feels like his essence. Of course, it's hard to tell at a
media-induced distance if this is really the case, but I think that more
elections are won on the "flavor" level than the debate and issue level.

Is this something rhetoricians can or should address in academic
settings? It veers into the personal and spiritual, and yet to deny it
would be to deny what seems to be a major ingredient in "the available
means of discourse."


"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment"
Jalalludin Rumi
Paul Hagood
English Department
Linn-Benton Community College
6500 SW Pacific Blvd.
Albany, OR