Of the real stories

I often think of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Marilynne Robinson, who wrote in one of her essays, "I miss civilization, and I want it back.

Of the real stories

I often think of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Marilynne Robinson, who wrote in one of her essays, "I miss civilization, and I want it back." We deserve a world richer in ideas and debates about who we are and where we are going. A world where stories do not prevent us from knowing reality. And where we can move forward in thinking and in democracy.

A book entitled A Constructivist Rhetoric, by professors David Pujante and Javier Alonso Prieto, has come into my hands, which is a claim to rhetoric as a method of improving our society. The authors warn that today there is no compulsory practice in schools for student debates, something we often see in American films as a basis for learning. It is "a necessary practice, from an early age, to learn to speak in public, to dialogue and to debate with respect, and with well-thought-out reasoning."

It is clear that truth and freedom, which are the pillars of a democratic society, need discursive construction. And especially considering that the globalized world has replaced writing as a fundamental means of communication between peoples and nations through oral discourse. Today the world of work and personal relationships revolves around the mobile. "When there was no cell phone, how did you stay with friends?" I heard a teenager ask his father. The world has changed and communication is mostly oral. But this young man, who cannot imagine a world without mobile phones, finds it more necessary than ever to learn to reflect, analyze and draw conclusions about everything that happens. And he must know how to construct reasoning, to argue about what is in favor and what is against. The immediacy of social media may not help. So it is imperative that public education programs revive rhetoric and spend more time reading comprehensive texts by writers, thinkers, poets, and journalists. Only a critical but argumentative generation will be able to achieve a fairer and freer society.


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