What Gorgias Would Say to Sisyphus

On Sunday the pastor at Christ Church preached on kairos and God’s time; specifically, the notion of the kingdom of God as “already and not yet” simultaneously. While I don’t disagree, I want to offer another take on kairos and the personal importance of that word to my own philosophy.

For this I draw on Gorgias of Leontini, one of the most underrated ancient philosophers (unfairly maligned for over 2 millenia because of Dumb & Dumber, ie Aristotle & Plato). From Gorgias and the Sophists we get the concept of the “kairotic moment,” loosely meaning “seizing the opportune opening.” Originally a sports term (archery), the Sophists applied it to rhetoric to mean the key moment in a debate when you trip up your opponent or drive him into a logical corner.

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George Tiller, etc.

In light of Tiller’s assassination it’s worth reading this 2004 essay by Gretchen Voss about her heartwrenching decision to have a late-term abortion. Voss’ story is sad, “pro-life” terrorism is sad, and “pro-life” hatred is sad. It’s terribly glib for anyone to assume that repealing Roe v. Wade will make this difficult issue any less thornier for all involved.

Speaking of old articles, here’s a bizarre fifteen-year-old one from the New York Times Magazine: “The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal”. It’s a really interesting piece on the wild pseudo-science of somatotypes that gets weirder with every paragraph. 

Lastly, here’s why kids should talk back to their parents; or, why teaching classical rhetoric to your children may improve relations (and make your kid a smarmy snot). Except, as usual, mythos gets short shrift (also: where’s Gorgias?). So other than logos, ethos, and pathos, you can also persuade by telling a story. Even fat ol’ Plato injected his philosophy with stories to better make a point.