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Everyone knows at least one person who is extremely convincing. Someone who can persuade you to buy Adam Sandler movie tickets, sell you ice when it’s freezing outside, or sell you a timeshare. People like that exist, and any wise society should seek them out at a young age and exile them all to the frozen tundra, where they can build a prosperous economy by trading ice with one another. We will not go into detail about them here. Instead, we’ll talk about ordinary people like you and what it takes to develop the persuasive abilities that you so desperately want in the world. We’re also going to tell you this because, of course, you’re only going to use them for good, right? Wink, wink, wink.
You’re Looking for a Greek
In order to understand the art of persuasion, one must travel all the way back to ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks were successful in convincing the rest of the world that they were the cradle of civilization, despite the fact that this was not the case. Aristotle was a brilliant ancient Greek philosopher. At the time, people like him were referred to as “philosophers.”
Aristotle was most likely sold a timeshare or something similar, and he wondered how he could have been so gullible before concluding that the seductive rhetoric was truly to blame for his error. He distinguished three types of persuasive ability and gave each of them a Greek name for some reason. Their names are ethos, pathos, and logos, respectively.
Because argument is essentially all that philosophers do, Aristotle maintained that all types of persuasion boil down to one of these three strategies, or a combination of them. This is due to the fact that arguing is essentially all that philosophers do. And, surprisingly, he’s not far off the mark there either. Should we go through each of these in turn?
Below Those Is the Ethos.
The Greek word “ethos” translates as “character” or “custom.” Because it is essentially a moral argument, we can consider it somewhat outmoded in the modern era.
The argument from ethos appeals to one’s sense of what is morally acceptable. It is intended to make you feel guilty and icky in order to make you feel compelled to do the right thing by preventing you from ever considering the dishonorable option.
Ethos works because it is uncannily similar to how we speak to ourselves on the inside. You may be on a diet, but if leaving the last cupcake out will force others to go through the mental anguish of resisting the urge to eat it, you should definitely eat it yourself and save the others the trouble.
It also succeeds because we have the conviction that our ethics (see? Same root!) are inflexible and cannot be changed in any way, no matter what happens. Even if it is false.
Every one of us would like to believe that we treat others the way we would like to be treated, but when we talk politics on Facebook, all of that goes out the window. Furthermore, we have not been tracking your movements in any way.
Because we all want to believe that we are good people who always do the right thing, an ethos argument can help you demonstrate that you are good people who always do the right thing. The truth is, ethos DOES WORK. Consider how self-centered you would have to be to deny your family the kind of vacation that only a timeshare can provide: one where everyone pitches in and helps out. Your children will undoubtedly bear emotional scars as a result of the childhood trauma you instilled in them, and they will almost certainly write books about their experiences.
My Waythos Pathos
Pathos, which derives its name from the Greek word for “passion,” is a sibling concept to ethos. You’ve probably figured out what we mean when we talk about pathos, which is reasoning that appeals to your feelings and emotions.
Pathos is likely the most frequently used persuasion power in modern times because people are more in touch with their feelings than at any other time in recorded history. If you had to choose only one method of persuasion, pathos would be the one to use.
The majority of human behaviors are motivated by emotions. They influence who you mate with, who you root for on American Idol, and which emoticons you use in text messages. As a result, using them against individuals to coerce them into doing what you want is only logical.
You could, for example, try to persuade someone who owes you money to pay it back by telling them, “Oh, that’s a wonderful little dog you have there, it would surely be a tragedy if something happened to it.” They may be more willing to repay the debt if they listen to you. BAM. Consider that individual to be persuaded.
Pathos can be a very effective rhetorical strategy when you want to convey rage. It’s great for getting through a tough workout, convincing people to vote, or convincing your child to stop playing that awful video game in which he keeps losing. If you have mastered the art of making people angry, you have essentially mastered half of the skills required to be a successful lawyer.
My Logos Are Here
The third and final force of persuasion is the power of logos. The term “logos” refers to a reasoned or logical argument and should not be confused with “branding icons” or “those plastic toy building bricks that hurt like hell when you tread on them.”
As a result, it has essentially become obsolete. You could just as easily ignore it and continue.
The preceding argument is an excellent illustration of the persuasive power of logos. The fact that you are still reading this shows that your plan was a failure.
Logos is the most boring and ineffective method of persuasion, as well as the least effective method. No one wants to spend time reasoning when they are experiencing emotions, especially when they are feeling guilty about those emotions. Logos is like a cold, damp blanket when compared to pathos and ethos.
It achieves its objectives by assuming the role of an authoritative figure and convincing everyone that there is no point in debating it. Because, at the end of the day, reason is reason. Everything comes down to how you use it.
For example, you should consider watching the next episode of the show you’re currently obsessed with on Netflix because it makes you happy (pathos). However, you would feel tremendous guilt if you did it while you were aware that you needed to clean the dishes (ethos). When this occurs, logos steps in to break the impasse that has formed. In an ideal world, it would persuade you that putting off doing the dishes will result in them not being done, but you’re more likely to use logos to persuade yourself that if you don’t watch the episode right away, the entire thing will be spoiled for you by some loose-lipped jerk.
Because Aristotle was aware of this, many people still refer to him as “the father of logic.”
You Now Know
Because of a single insightful blog entry, you have effectively been endowed with the superpower of persuasion. You now have nearly everything you need to take over the world and possibly sell your timeshare to some poor schmuck who has no idea what they are getting themselves into.
What you may still require, however, is the assistance of a DAMN GOOD advertising and marketing agency to assist you in your pursuit of global dominance. And, when you think about it, you owe us after we gave you all of this wonderful knowledge (ethos). It would be great to collaborate with such a fun group as us (pathos), and who better to help you with your devious plans than the people who educated you? (logos).