Book Note: Persuasion and Rhetoric by Carlo Michelstaedter #13

The man who lives without persuasion, without ever daring to want it, does not have an end or reason in his power that might escape from that point, unless to repeat itself in the past or future. The relations of finality, necessity, and potentiality superficially experienced become confused among themselves and the modes of direct reality. Thus, if his intention touches on a given relation without his knowing, he cannot communicate it with the clear link of the connected organism but must strive with a multiplicity of words to signify it. For example, if he wants to say that it is necessary that another do something before he himself does it, he does not say, "I'll do it when you have done it" but, "I won't do it today or tomorrow or ever; first you have to do it; only after will I" To say, "I'd do it if you did," he has to say, "For my part I'll do it-but you do it first" Or the reverse case: to say, "Giurerei," `I would swear' (= I can swear), he says, "lo potrei giurare," `I would be able to swear' (= I can be able to swear); or "if you wanted me to, then I would do it" (= if you wanted, I would do it); or he uses "provided that" (which indicates a relation of necessity) to indicate the coincidence of two things (which is signified fied by" in that").* "But these are pedantic distinctions. You understood what I wanted to say? Enough then" It is a question of being satisfied. If one is sufficient to himself in the modes of life offered by society, he can be satisfied by signifying conventional things for his everyday use, in conventional modes, and abandoning himself to repeating without understanding what others in such circumstances say, in order to be understood in the same mode as others initiated in the same `conventions.' Thus can one have a perfected "style" and "language" and never say anything. But when one wants to walk on one's own legs, one must bleed one's words, for "he is blind, homeless, miserable, following hearsays." (Carlyle, p. 78). 

The thing in itself is not only satisfied with itself, but does not atrophy its dialogue with the cumbersome business of making oaths it will not carry out to their final conclusions. This vague, reluctant dialogue with a phantom interlocutor can be seen as a metaphor for the way the not persuaded one engages, not only with people around him, but with the phenomenal world. The one without persuasion sees always, in everything, a sign of self prohibition. Rhetoric is not only not persuasion, it is the persuasion of no persuasion; a conviction not to be convicted in one's actions.