I think it was about a month ago, or it could also be four weeks ago if you prefer, that I started to address a complex topic about logic, emotion and reason. I began this investigation with the intent of fleshing out the details of what a creative passion should look like on paper (read:artist statement) and using my own artistic practice as a backdrop in the means of an explanation.
At the time I promised I would come back with a series of posts outlining my theories on how to accomplish this.
And so here we are.
It Is Only Logical
This stimulating topic we’re on is the three modes of persuasion, and sometimes known as ethical strategies or rhetorical appeals. Aristotle posited that the best types of persuasion are clearly demonstrated. The ways that we accomplish a successful persuasion are by showcasing good character through credibility (ethics), stirring up feelings (emotions), and proving a truth (logic).
So if we want to be successful artists, writers, musicians, et. al., then we have to build a proper case for what we do for a living, that way whenever we are approached by a stranger, and we want to leave a good impression, we can put together the best elevator pitch ever crafted.
After all, you care about your art right? You know that your unique voice needs to be expressed and the best way to accomplish that is by gaining positive attention and proper acknowledgment. And of course, you want to do it in a way that is authentic, unfiltered and real.
Thusly I have given you your first example of using the three modes of persuasion. And through the lens of logic.
A Logical Decision? Probably. But The Right One?
Now I do have to consider that the best way to establish this artist statement for yourself can be overwhelming, and given that we are are going to be spending a far amount of time going over this, I want to make it very clear what’s at stake here. Your integrity for one.
People are most like to identify with someone who looks like and talk like them. But this character needs to be trustworthy too. In films and television, this is why the lead character always has a strong reputation with the authority to back it up. If we look for characterizations of ETHOS we can quickly identify people like Dexter Morgan from the tv show Dexter, who has clear motivations, an a stong demonstration of his skilset, and because we experience his thoughts and feelings, it humanizes him and makes him seem like a “normal guy.”
But that’s kind of a creepy example, and I think I can do it one better.
Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy is the chief medical officer on the Star Trek Enterprise, he is a fourth-wall breaker when the other characters are making strong decisions. He serves as a moral compass for the trio of main characters by talking Kirk off the ledge and challenging Spock’s dry and cold approach to everything.
He is more human than Spock and less of a hero than Kirk, and he is most definitely an authority figure on the ship, who everyone defers to. One of the best quotes attributed to McCoy is the old “Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a [insert job of the moment]”.
I Don’t Believe In No-Win Scenarios
Without an emotional core, we have nothing to go on!
People don’t connect only to logic, nor do they respond to an authority figure just because they have a title, it’s the emotions that impassion a message and give a sense of humanity to whatever the topic at hand.
You know that because I’m fighting the good fight for all artists out there, and that I struggle with doubts but can carry on through passion and sheer force of will that I will make timotheories work and work for you. It’s about justice, imagination and painting a picture of a bright future for everyone that wants to make something beautiful.
PATHOS is for all of the artists who have a fire inside and will never give up. Or surrender.
There is no way that well go over this all in two posts my friends, just I didn’t think it would happen in one post. But I do hope against hope that this is starting to come together for you.
In case the basic principles of the three modes of persuasion are not clear just yet, I’ll embellish on that Star Trek reference some more. LOGOS is probably the most obvious example and demonstrated through Spock, while I’ve just demonstrated that McCoy is ETHOS, and lastly Kirk is PATHOS. Kirk being the most impulsive and emotive of the three, he takes risks and always acts from instinct, experiences, and a sense of responsibility.
And as I’ve mentioned already, I have a pretty cool theory about how you can take the lessons from those three patron saints of Star Trek and apply their modes of thinking to your own work. But I need to power down for the night creative cuties. These theories don’t running on neverending battery. At least not yet anyway.