Ecological transition: the rhetorical puzzle - PC Trends Business

Ecological transition: the rhetorical puzzle – PC Trends Business

In Edouard Molinaro’s comedy Pour 100 briques t’as plus rien, in 1982, a scene from the film shows us two apprentice robbers (played by Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Jugnot) who train in an apartment, decked out in their balaclavas with fake submachine guns. They stumble above all on their entry into the bank with the famous introductory sentence: “Don’t panic! It’s a hold-up!”. This sesame, however simple, plunges our two amateur robbers into abysses of perplexity. If they pronounce it in a way that is too violent and authoritarian, the employees of the bank risk precisely giving in to panic and not obeying. But if, on the other hand, the sentence is pronounced too softly, the hostages will not feel threatened…

In Edouard Molinaro’s comedy Pour 100 briques t’as plus rien, in 1982, a scene from the film shows us two apprentice robbers (played by Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Jugnot) who train in an apartment, decked out in their balaclavas with fake submachine guns. They stumble above all on their entry into the bank with the famous introductory sentence: “Don’t panic! It’s a hold-up!”. This sesame, however simple, plunges our two amateur robbers into abysses of perplexity. If they pronounce it in a way that is too violent and authoritarian, the employees of the bank risk precisely giving in to panic and not obeying. But if, on the other hand, the phrase is spoken too softly, the hostages will not feel threatened. And so they will not obey the orders of the robbers either. It is a dilemma of a similar nature that we find ourselves confronted with today when faced with the question of climate change. How to fight against social inertia? Faced with the emergency, anger is rising among activists but also all those who are concerned about the future. You have to strike a blow, mark the spirits, otherwise nothing will move. The problem is that however legitimate this anger and these actions may be, they are not necessarily good advisers if we are trying to convince as many people as possible to change their behavior. We know the mechanisms of resistance to arguments sometimes described as “apocalyptic” when they are often only “realistic”. As we have seen in many prevention campaigns, creating panic often has the opposite effect to that intended: faced with the threat, most people tend to be either in denial (“anything excessive is insignificant”) or in avoidance (“what’s the point?” or “damn for damn”). It is certainly irrational but totally explicable within the framework of behavioral psychology. Especially since some “apocalyptic” arguments even tend to self-destruct. That of the “sixth extinction”, the one that we would collectively cause currently leading to the destruction of our species. And admitting that its scientific basis is attested, its rhetorical effectiveness, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. Doesn’t this argument imply that if we managed to escape five extinctions, there is hope that we could escape a sixth? So should we prefer the “positive way”, which consists of drawing a path out of the worst, advocated by others? An approach of small steps that avoids rejection and allows you to put one foot in front of the other to move towards the goal? But this soft method has at least two flaws. On the one hand, it loses sight of the sense of urgency and the scope of the changes to be made. Wanting too much to spare his mount, he risks being too late. And on the other hand, such an approach also ends up disempowering the actors. If there is a way, we will get there. So why change? Avoidance is provoked not by denial or rejection, but by procrastination. If the worst is not at stake, why change today what we can do tomorrow? So what to do? Which approach to prefer? To avoid social inertia, it seems that we are condemned to prefer… both. Abruptly alert while clearing the way. The Latins already had a formula to sum up this puzzle: Slow festina, they said. You have to hurry slowly.

.

Comments

0 comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.