2. Kairos / καιρός / (KAI-rose)
Another Greek term, and a personal favorite.
Kairos can be best understood as meaning “the opportune time”.
As a concept of rhetoric, it’s wildly underrated.
We all seemed to learn about logos, ethos, and pathos, the big three; but rhetoricians from ancient Greece knew that there were other tenants comprising the ability to make a message meaningful.
Kairos is one such tenant.
Chronos, another Greek term for time, works in reference to the idea of time as a chronological sequence of events. Interesting, though not as powerful.
The potency of the idea Kairos brings forth involves not an appeal to logic, or to setting..
but rather to timing.
We inherently know how effective this idea can be, even as kids.
Asking mom to go to a friend’s house while she’s on the phone is a bad idea. Wait until after dinner and chores were complete, and all of a sudden your chances of success were far higher.
To be fair, I haven’t come close to mastering this skill yet. Still tend to shoot from the hip, consequences be damned.
So take what I say with a grain of salt.
My point here, is that the moment can be just as important as the message
Throughout history, great speakers are often keenly aware of various appeals outside the big three. Topos (or appeal to convention) and Telos (appeal to purpose) were both employed by MLK in front of 250,000 people on a hot summer day in the early ’60s.
He made use of poetic imagery and deep seeded wisdom, draped on the back of a movement picking up steam, after a long march, under an unrelenting sun, in the heart of the Nation’s capital…*
*under Lincoln’s shadow.
Seems like perfect timing…
Call it what you want. But be aware.
Keen to the ways in which you give and receive new ideas. Understanding how your use of time and space can be just as if not more important than the words you use.
Especially in these times.
What we need, are measured expressions of truth in love. Anything else and we run the risk of reverting back to a paradigm based in fear.
To understand and be understood sometimes requires us to be silent…
until the opportune time presents itself.
(Tomorrow word is a cool one, here’s a hint.)
See you soon…