Rhetoric & Composition I Rotating Header Image

Lack of stasis

See how this works?

One of the most striking takeaways from the first two Republican debates and Tuesday’s first Democratic debate is that the two parties do not just disagree on solutions to domestic and foreign policy issues — they do not even agree on what the issues are. Offering radically different assessments of the challenges people face, and diametrically opposing policy agendas, the candidates could have been campaigning on different continents.

NYT: Even the Issues Are in Debate In 2016 Race

Stasis in the OED — note how, in rhetoric, stasis is something we achieve — a state we actively work toward, because it both provides opportunities for invention of materials and identifying contexts for change:

b. gen. Inactivity; stagnation; a state of motionless or unchanging equilibrium.

1920   Glasgow Herald 30 Nov. 9   The prevailing mood of Labour is indefinite; a condition of stasis has been caused by the coal strike and the dread of unemployment.
1930   W. Empson Seven Types of Ambiguity vii. 245   He is drawn taut between the two similar impulses into the stasis of appreciation.
1933   T. S. Eliot Use of Poetry vi. 103   Arnold represents a period of stasis; of relative and precarious stability, it is true, a brief halt in the endless march of humanity in some, or in any direction.
1940   E. Muir Story & Fable v. 186   This could be done by so controlling the chemical processes of the body as to produce a self-subsistent balance, an everlasting, living stasis.
1943   Sewanee Review LI. ii. 337   Art, according to Dedalus-Joyce, tends toward the achievement of stasis, which implies a state of contemplation, of detachment from the kinesis of life.
1972   Times Lit. Suppl. 1 Sept. 1020/3   We see him in the moment of stasis before action.
1978   J. Updike Coup (1979) iii. 91   A religion whose antipodes are motion and stasis.