On Lists 01Posted: September 28, 2014
We like the rhetorical use of lists to emphasize a mood or feeling, to extend and expand on an idea, to embellish and elaborate an emotion or idea by pleasing our mental ear with a little musical cache of words, and etc. etc.
Here’s the instance that raises this topic this AM.
From Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion Part X.
The following grim list is from a character in the dialogue, Philo by name, who is arguing that “society” (here, structures like government) is the source of grave woes, woes only barely less than the woes men would bring on themselves by dissolving society:
“Man is the greatest enemy of man. Oppression, injustice, contempt, contumely, violence, sedition, war, calumny, treachery, fraud; by these they mutually torment each other; and they would soon dissolve that society which they had formed, were it not for the dread of greater ills, which must attend their separation.”
“ Oppression, injustice, contempt, contumely, violence, sedition, war, calumny, treachery, fraud …”
Which list reminds us of Hobbes’ adjectives on the life of primitive man … next time
Meanwhile we remind ourselves to say a few words next time about contumely, a word we need but rarely hear, here in the ATL.