Eddies in the River: Kairos and Complexity

It is possible to see potent connections between the ancient concept of kairos, which coalesced in an oral culture, and contemporary complexity theory, which is arising in an increasingly networked and digitized postmodern milieu. This work places these concepts in an anachronistic conversation with each other in order to explore shifts in the nature of the rhetor (understood as author, persona, ethos, self, etc.). More specifically, this paper forwards a framework in which the rhetor does not exist removed from its situation, but instead temporarily congeals through the rhetorical act, only to dissolve again. The rhetor's identity thereby becomes a kairotic emergent property: a situated, contingent entity arising from perpetual flux.