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The Purpose of Expression

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Some people, in writing just for themselves, have a great way of expressing beautiful feelings, of letting off steam, or of seeing what is on their minds.

However, most people write for the public in hopes they will be heard. A few people, like me, write for themselves and share their more meaningful thoughts with the public. Whenever the public is involved -- whether for a specific audience or for any age group who wants to know (the one I write for) -- the first step is to select the purpose (“to declare”). Interestingly, ancient race tracks provided the original setting for the concept of purpose.

Owners with competitive spirits wanted to see whose horse was faster. The way to prove it required a goal (a place where the race would end). It was for the “goal” of winning which brought the jockey on his horse to the starting gate. For fairplay from start to finish, rules were set as to the proper route; the horse and jockey’s behaviors along the route; and the requirements for winning.

The “purpose” shaped the jockey’s settled Intention (i.e. an earnest state of mind to reach the goal) in order to gain rewards behind the finish line. The desire and will-power contained in the purpose provided the “Determination” energy for reaching the goal.

The purpose in writing or speaking decides which goal you wish to reach. If you desire to Inform, then present factual information; if to Persuade, then do what it takes to change opinions, beliefs, or actions; if to Entertain, then focus on amusing your guests (the audience or reader). Works intended to inform or instruct aim to acquaint the guest with unfamiliar facts or concepts or by presenting the familiar in a novel or unfamiliar way or the unfamiliar in a familiar way.

In other words, the guest should reach an intellectual level higher than before they were so informed. This implies having a good idea about what information the guests already have about your topic. To start off together, establish “common ground” where they already are and give new information from there -- but always directed toward their particular interest. Guests who are not theory oriented or who seem extremely busy are interested only in useful and practical points.

Academically oriented professionals (e.g. scientists ) and inventors look for specific theory (foundational principles) and technical approaches. Works intended for persuasion should give logical and forceful arguments that appeal to reason in an emotionally dramatic fashion. Anticipate and address any prejudices or objections your guests have.

At the outset, acknowledge the opposition to your position and the exceptions in your position. Then find a safe place for the exceptions and, while conceding certain points, dismantle the opposing views. Finally, show why your position is better. If you are trying to move your guests to a definite course of action -- called Incitement (“to rouse”) -- impress them with your sincerity and enthusiasm.

Organize your arguments so that the most effective and appealing ones come toward the end. These guests demand that you show them how they can best satisfy their own interests and desires. Works intended for entertainment should contain vivid (“full of life,” “lively”), colorful details that will interest and amuse your guests.

Anecdotes and personal experiences are effective as at the beginning. Creative Writing (imaginative expression) is the arrangement of thoughts and ideas into new forms or new combinations -- those unconventional lines that are imaginative, ingenious, and fanciful concerning human relationships. Informing and persuasion are often mixed with entertainment presentations.
Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D

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