Unformatted text preview: tendency to yield to authority, and he
then poses as that authority, handing out his dicta in an awe-inspiring fashion. He will awaken the latent trend
to ridicule and scoffing by pointing out inconsistency in others, or he may awaken admiration for his fairness
and justice by lauding his opponent, taking care not to overdo it.
Persuasion is often a part of scheming, rarely is it used by the forceful, except in the authoritative way or to
arouse anger against the opponent. It is the weapon of those who believe in democracy, for all exposition has
persuasion as its motive. A statement must not only be true to others,--to the mass. Therefore persuasion as
applied to the great mass of people is rarely closely knit or a fine exposition of truth and historical evolution;
that one must leave for the highbrow book or treatise. It is passionate and pleading; it thunders and storms; it
has wit and humor; it deals with symbols and analogies, it plays on the words of truth, justice, ideals,
patriotism. It may be honest and truthful, but it cannot be really accurate or of high intellectual value.
And the persuasion that seeks private ends from private audiences "sizes" up its audience as a preliminary.
The capacity to understand others and to sway them, to impress them according to their make-up, is a trait of
great importance for success or failure. It needs cultivation, but often it depends on a native sociability, a
friendliness and genuine interest, on a "good nature" that is what it literally purports to be,--good nature.
Though many of the persuasive kind are insincere and selfish, I believe that on the whole the taciturn and
gruff are less interested in their fellows than the talkative and cordial.
The persuasive person has a touch of the fighting spirit in the trait called aggressiveness. He is rarely shy or
retiring. To do well, he must be prepared for rebuffs, and he is possessed of a species of courage and
resistance against refusal and humiliation. In the highest form the persuader is a teacher and propagandist,
changing the policy of peoples; in the commonest form he is a...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11