From a rhetorical perspective, Burke (1953) believes that the main goal of rhetoric is not persuasion, but rather identification, which is an alignment of interests or motives. According to Burke (1953), consubstantiality or “shared substance” represents our unconscious desire to identify with others. We may identify with someone because we want to be with another or feel better about ourselves when we are with them. Burke believes there is a struggle between identification and division, as people can never be identical or divided in the absolute sense.
There are two quotes from Burke about
First, I’d like to explore this quote from Burke’s (1953)A Grammar of Motives about sex and desire:
As regards human motives, the natural, biological, tribal order of food and growth would seem to culminate in the emotion of love. It is the realm of appetites generally, the whole range of desires encompassed by the psychoanalyst’s concept of eros or libido” (122).
My thoughts on this quote are that desire is a key component of the human motive. We are driven because of what we desire. Burke is comparing our sexual desires (eros and libido) to our ‘appetite’ for food. I believe that food and sex make up the top three human motivators (the other being money). When we think about why people do what they do, one of those three is usually the motivator.
Here occurs that remarkable list, “Definitions of the Emotions,” (or “affections”), beginning with the statement that “desire is the very essence of man,” and constructed about three primary emotions: desire, pleasure, and pain. Here is the most ingeniously scholastic of all scholasticisms: “
Love ispleasure, accompanied by the idea of an external cause.” The list with its comments contains in itself a whole moral philosophy. The pleasant emotions are treated as transitions towards greater perfection (greater activity), the painful ones as transitions towards less perfection (greater passivity). All told, they are such as Wonder, Contempt, Love, Hate, Aversion, Devotion, Hope, Fear, Confidence, Despair, Joy, Disappointment, Pity, Indignation, Envy, Sympathy (149).
Burke says again that “desire” is the primary motivator and emotion. In this passage, Burke is attempting to define love, and notice how desire, pleasure and pain are all intertwined with this emotion? This harks to other work I’ve discussed regarding pleasure, pain