Marketing, art, and argument

I get asked with some regularity which argument for X I find most convincing, and I probably wonder about it a lot myself, but the question demands an immediate qualification since if one wants to convince or persuade others he’s far better off dropping arguments altogether and using internet memes, peer pressure, research from marketing focus groups, catchy jingles, appeals to consensus, attractive celebrity promoters, documentaries that tell compelling stories and omit all facts that would lead the audience away from a desired belief, and the whole bevy of tools provided by what we now call marketing and the Greeks called rhetoric or sophistry.

Our desire to be convinced in this way is natural but conditional since we want the conviction underwritten by argumentation. There’s no thrill in leaping over reasons unless we believe they are there. We wouldn’t be convinced by the slogan without believing that God could fill out the details.

The various tools of marketing fit into a larger sphere of tools by which humans mimic the speed of divine intuition. The joy we take in art has the same source.

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