Our mission is to help people learn what Civil Discourse and Civility are and how to use it to communicate and find Common Ground when opinions differ.
Incivility is difficult to define but easy to recognize, especially for people it harms. Civil Discourse at its best is an exchange of information, speech or writing that is includes facts and shows polite consideration of others, even when the parties disagree. Incivility includes nonverbal gestures and actions that offend.
On the other side of the issue, Evil Speech is derogatory, disparaging or belittling and is to be avoided even if it is thought to cause no harm. Statements might not be derogatory but still cause harm to a person or property. Evil Speech includes gossip.
Comments we make can be evil even when they are true. If they are lies, it is worse.
We believe that unless we learn how to talk more civilly, we are doomed because evil speech can pollute everything we do. Incivility poisons our society to the point where unwise decisions are made by our leaders and many wise and good people withdraw from participation.
Better Outcomes strives to help people find Common Ground, which is usually seen as an area of understanding of each other’s position that allows parties can reach agreement.
We believe the solution to these issues comes by recognizing our humanness in that we all have the same basic needs, but we all do some things differently. We also recognize that people tend to emphasize their differences before learning to appreciate the similarities. We offer 10 steps which can help all of us learn to speak more nicely to each other.
By Dave Scott
Posted August 26th, 2015
Mention “rhetoric” these days and many people frown, spit or otherwise show contempt. In their minds, “political rhetoric” is tantamount to, well, brown stuff.
In its original and more honorable form, rhetoric, was respected and promoted.
Here’s Wikopedia’s definition:
Rhetoric (pronounced /ˈrɛtərɪk/) is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the capability of writers or speakers to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the European tradition. Its best known definition comes from Aristotle, who considers it a counterpart of both logic and politics, and calls it "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.
Rhetoric should have a prominent role in the practice of civility.
At its best, rhetoric employs empathy, logic and an appeal to emotions. The presentation of facts in a civilized manner is important every step of the way. Does that sound like the practice of modern society? If you answered “no” then you probably will not be surprised to learn the concept was first presented by Aristotle thousands of years ago.
Promoting rhetoric these days faces challenges. We already realize that it is misunderstood and scorned. We also know almost intuitively that its practice will seem boring to those who want to satisfy their lust to feel hatred of some form. We also know that anything that requires too much thought will be rejected by folks who lose their attention during 15-second commercials.
For that reason, mentioning rhetoric probably will not be productive in promoting civility. However, promoting its components would have a chance.
We should insist that statements be fact-based and logical.
We should attempt to consider the feelings and priorities of those we are trying to convince AND those who will never agree.
Everything we say should conform with our moral principles.
Like any honorable goal, this is something to pursue while knowing it can never be entirely achieved.
We are a young organization. We want your opinion (email us) and we need donations for basic expenses, marketing, maintenance of our website, and the assistance of students who will help arrange and schedule Candidate Conversations over this year’s election cycle.
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