Many people are misled into believing that legalizing substances like tobacco and alcohol, as well as the government’s ability to regulate their use, would make them less dangerous to society. Since people have differing viewpoints on various issues in life, every speaker or author should focus on persuading their audience of their point of view. However, depending on the speaker’s or author’s approach, persuading people can be simple or difficult. Hari Johann discussed and addressed the problem of addiction from a different viewpoint in his book “What You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong.” Hari found out that the idea of punishing addicts as an approach and a reason to change their attitude on drugs to make the victims stop abusing the substance had little to no impact to the addicts and their surroundings. Instead, it made the addicts worse because of constant ridicule and abandonment from individuals and groups that they expected and hoped would help them overcome their problems. Haris presentation captured the attention of most viewers because of the application of different elements of an argument such as the use of logos, pathos, humor, ethos, gestures, eye contact, clarity, and vocal coordination among other factors. Any cogent argument analysis should maintain a rational criterion that aims at showing how the premises supported the speakers conclusion.
Background of Addiction
Reinarman described addiction as a chronic brain disorder that negatively impacts a person body through the constant use of substances or the engagement of activities intended for rewarding stimuli but the excessive habit results in adverse consequences (307). Moreover, Reinarman also found out since the beginning of the twenty-first century, people in the western countries view addiction as a brain disease (307). In some situations, some people use the term addiction as a mantra to justify success. For instance, some successful individuals argue that people have to immerse themselves in their works as addicts as a platform to get better rewards than the average person. Even though the idea may sound logical, it still triggers some people to question how much is too much. Over the years, addiction seems to have existed, but its ubiquity did not originate from scientific discoveries. Instead, Reinarman believed that people became addicts as a sense of social accomplishment (308). Nevertheless, Hari had a different view about addiction as he stated that society had a wrong perception of compulsion and that false impression has blinded peoples ability to combat this habit efficiently.
Reasoning and Evidence
Haris use of reasoning and evidence as elements of arguments made the presentation convincing and clear. The idea behind rationale is to help an audience observe and interpret an issue in the speaker point of view. For example, Hari engaged the listeners in a thoughtful experiment that required the people to imagine using heroin three times a day for 20 days. At this point, Hari wanted the listeners to imagine themselves as addicts and what they would like society to do towards helping substance abusers overcome their addiction. Such an approach helped Hari disseminate his idea by ensuring the viewers understood his concept from the speakers viewpoint. Additionally, Hari centered and supported arguments by the utilization of different forms of evidence. For instance, Hari admitted that just like most people, he realized that he did not understand the meaning of addiction. Therefore, Hari decided to interact with professionals like Bruce Alexander who had conducted experiments and researched more about addiction and also intermingled with crack dealers to understand their perception of the issue. Consequently, such evidence made Hari more convincing because he supported his presentation with real-life reasons to back up his arguments.
The style in which a person presents himself or herself in front of an audience when giving a speech also speaks a lot about the individuals ability to convince an audience. In this case, Hari utilized a couple of visual elements of speech as an approach to communicate his information and argue his ideas effectively. For instance, Hari mastered the art of and owning the podium while making the presentation. Whenever Hari turned to face any direction, he kept eye contact with the audience all the time. Moreover, the speaker maintained the center position but moved the body in different directions to reduce the chance of giving any of the audience his back. Equally, Haris stance also signified a sign of confidence that appealed to an audience. Hari also used body language tools such as gestures, and facial expression throughout the presentation to connect with the audience. Gestures reinforce words and ideas conveyed by a speaker, and they also underpin the way a person feels about an issue. Additionally, Hari mainly used symbolic and descriptive gestures to express words, ideas, and enhance his stories. Therefore, that explains why Hari used his hands and arms a lot while speaking. The use of facial expressions also helps in communicating a message to the audience as felt by the speaker. Hari looked concerned when talking about coming from a family that had addicts. Consequently, non-verbal communication techniques help viewers remember or comprehend an argument even after leaving the venue.
Speakers need to utilize persuasion strategies also known as rhetorical appeals with the objective of connecting, engaging, and convincing an audience about the subject in question. Haris aim included assuring the listeners that their knowledge of addiction was wrong and he had to prove that by providing logical explanations in support of his new found ideologies. In such a case, Hari utilized logos as a rhetorical appeal that emphasizes the use of logic to prove and back up a persons opinion. For example, the speaker conducted intensive research which began by reading several books, articles, and any other print or online material to understand why the approach used by different parties to help people overcome addiction did not produce significant results (Hari). Equally, Hari used ethos to persuade his audience about the scientific proofs of his ideology. For example, the speaker provided evidence of interacting with professionals such as professor Alexander, and Peter Cohen and used their information to back up his arguments.
Over the years, the topic of addiction has been explored and debated upon by different people including Hari with the intention of helping audiences understand the various views and theories associated with the subject. However, the staging approach is the factor that differs from the speakers. Efficient speakers back up their arguments with reason and ethics. In such a case, the speaker must identify a conclusion and later on embark on deduction strategy that incorporates different premises that support the speakers conclusion. Similarly, an excellent speaker will also employ non-verbal communication strategies such as the use of body patterns to emphasize ideas. Overall, Hari captured the attention of his viewers and deduced his arguments by supporting his ideas towards convincing his audience about his belief.
Hari, Johann. Everything you think You Know about Addiction Is Wrong. TEDGlobalLondon,
2015,https://www.ted.com/talks/johann_hari_everything_you_think_you_know_about_addiction_is_wrong. Accessed 24 Nov 2017.
Reinarman, Craig. Addiction as Accomplishment: The Discursive Construction of Disease.
Addiction Research & Theory, vol. 13, no. 4, 2005, pp. 307-320.
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