It suddenly became cold, as it is wont to. And dark. I looked out the window and saw the wind bringing a hundred bird shapes across the sky. They were not so much flying as being carried. One may dream of catching that wind, except for a lack of wings and geography defined by declensions of τολμάω; taking much to heart, bearing something difficult. I was thinking yesterday how a word like patience or endurance must be earned.
Perhaps one would never recognise an abstraction like endurance were it not for the right words outlining a space for it on the canvas of a life. Words that come with all of the bearing inherent in the word expectation. Like an enigma, they remain hidden until connected with something practically tangible that calls them into recognition. I think of how some people, regardless of background, are more receptive than others to ideas, as intimated in the Phaedrus.
In Aristotle's Rhetoric, like in the Phaedrus, it is further implied that the words of ideas ought to be those of φρόνησις, practical knowledge (e.g.), that will lead us to happiness. In the context of the hermeneutic reader's arc, where there is a circular movement between ideas and experience, our words are only as clear as we have got used to the feelings of words as they are applied to practical experience. This explains the strange experience of matronly expecting a word like endurance that takes time to get. But this does not explain why some people are barrenly and categorically decided to endure nothing.
One wonders if not everyone can read, if it is the soul that reads. Ricoeur writes it is the human function to be able to apprehend reality by distancing ourselves from it through words. Some people do not get this distance - described in Rhetoric as "a foreign air" (3.2), made possible by the metaphor, which also promotes perspicuity, how would it not, this rainbow of words stretching from earth to heaven and back down again.
I also see traces of the Phaedrus wherein rhetoric was described as a medicine, in Rhetoric: "The function of Rhetoric, then, is to deal with things about which we deliberate, but for which we have no systematic rules" (1.2.12). I wonder if I am right in drawing this comparison, or if I have taken the latter out of context. I did not reread the whole work (how many books must be reread how many times for mastery, and so very preferably in the original). Is Aristotle not saying that rhetoric is to tend to that which functions not systematically - rather like what Jowett wrote of the Phaedrus, that it is a picture, not a system? Allegory as the splint for the broken wings of the expecting soul, created anew to cater to the specifics of situation. Wings get broken a lot, if not through Herculean "temporary insanity."
I mention Hercules, and it is bold to invoke names out of prodigiously written contexts. But a professor of mine from before used to say that humanity would continue to exist so long as the possibility of retelling stories was not closed off. "Every utterance is a link in the historical chain of speech acts forming what we call human communities." The possibility to weigh in on utterances received; to retell a story in order to manifest one's agency; to understand that the words we use and ideas we combine are not ours alone but have come from the knowledge of the community to which we belong; this is speech.
It is ours to put life together in a meaningful way, to live, as Jowett writes, the good life and possibly leave the writing behind. But if one is to write it seems advisable to subscribe to Matthew Arnold's argument that we "see things for what they really are" and produce as suggested by Aristotle the "foreign air" that is the metaphor through the distance brought by the enigmatic statement, obscure because of the concealed similarity between things. A reminder of the hide and seek of the many days; when meaning veils itself behind words and laughs at the punned masquerade when the appearance of a life throws us for a loop. So it is that we have been warned not to take all things too literally.
Aristotle gives two examples of metaphoric language that are funny, to my mind. "Similarly, pirates now call themselves conveyors," is one. And the other: "I saw a man who glued bronze with fire to another," to refer to cupping, which helps circulation. So what helps articulation in the joints between words?
To gain distance from life through words... At the top of this post, I began with τολμάω which can also mean to do a thing despite a natural feeling. I wonder if that was how Hercules felt, knowing he would have to do what seemed impossible. He was helped by sympathetic deities - where sympathy means: drawing to oneself aiding influences; chords which vibrate together; the affinity of heavenly bodies; enduring with (σύν-) virtuous suffering (πάθος). Hercules had the experience of suffering, but he became ex-tolled, distanced, elevated from the burden of his troubles. Omnis sors ferendo superanda est.
Each day drawing up new rhetoric, bearing sympathy in mind, being carried by that which conveys.