Augustine on Warblogging

Just a quick shot of Augustine

I ran across this sentence in On Christian Doctrine that is just so freakin’ amazing I had to type it in:

For since through the art of rhetoric both truth and falsehood are pleaded, who would be so bold as to say that against falsehood, truth as regards its own defenders ought to stand unarmed, so that, forsooth, those who attempt to plead false causes know from the beginning how to make their arguments well disposed, attentive, and docile, while others remain ignorant of it; so that the former utter their lies concisely, clearly, with the appearance of truth, and the latter state the truth in a way that is wearisome to listen to, not clear to understand, and finally, not pleasant to believe; so that one side, by fallacious arguments, attacks truth and propounds falsehood, the other has no skill either in defending the true, or refuting the false; so that the one, moving and impelling the minds of the audience to error by the force of its oratory, now strikes them, with terror, now saddens them, now enlivens them, now ardently arouses them, but the other in the cause of truth is sluggish and cold and falls asleep!

Got that? Talk about form following function. I suspect the core value of the exercise here is in the final two words. Geez, what a sentence! It reminds me of Faulkner.

But it also reminds me of the whole warblogging thing. There is nothing on the web that interests me less. I like to concentrate on the things I can change, like myself and my students, rather than pursuing the trail of truth to the point of becoming sluggish and cold, neatly causing everyone to fall asleep, or worse yet, polarizing complex ideas into simple us or them decisions. I read and write to expand, not to contract.

1 thought on “Augustine on Warblogging”

  1. Okay, I’ve just gotta ask. Do you say “AW – gus – steen” or “aw – GUS – tin”? 🙂
    It depends on my mood. Most of the time, I try to coax the person I’m talking to into pronouncing it first, and then follow their lead!

Comments are closed.