September 8, 1996
Reviewing one's own life might be important for those whose success drive is uppermost; there are the ones whose lives are spurred-on by that. My own review of modern society shows a tendency of a kind. In today's world, a world of lawyers and blame, that tendency is extremely dangerous to the individual. The force vectors for such a tendency can be plotted to demonstrate containment of individuality. Individuality, however, is at odds with society by definition, so it is not unexpected.
This is my view of modern society: without a formulated statement of purpose modern American society has managed to construct one of the most oppressive cultures in the history of mankind. Never in the history of the world have there been codified so many ways a citizen can fail to achieve the standard. And, there are severe penalties for any form of success. It is the tyranny of democracy and its ultimate destiny. It must, by virtue of its own constituency, generate a condition of populism.
Was this foreseen by the framers of the Constitution? I believe it was. We have achieved "today" only through a careful dismantling of the Constitution. This child-like taking apart, unscrewing, disconnecting, leaving parts scattered all about, likely has its source in the schools which have undertaken teaching of "the law," those which confer degrees of achievement in it's "mastery."
I recently drew into conversation, about freedom and Constitutional matters, a bright young graduate of a prestigious law school. Whereas I had tended to believe, not with any firm foundation to do so it turns out, that the fledgling lawyer would be most apt to feel himself full of righteous love for humanity's basic need for freedom. In fact, his mind was filled only with dreams of success: winning cases (as if winning cases had anything at all to do with protecting humanity). I attempted toconvince my young friend of the inherent tautological nature of the "law" and how it had nothing whatever to do with human needs--it is an enormous board game that is played using humans as the pieces (players).
As a tautology, in can be internally consistent (and therefore to those who love symmetry, beautiful) and yet bear no relationship to anything real or even human. Thus, if one has been led to believe that the "law" actually relates to human matters, (as they must do in law school) then I suppose it could be possible to believe one was actually doing "good" as a lawyer.
We are told by modern theorists of language that humans developed language in order to lie, not for the purpose of clarifying; it is employed to obfuscate, to confound. The law, exploiting language as its operating engine has raised lying to unforeseen heights.
If my populist theories are correct, you might suspect that eventually the law would be cast-out as an unpopular matter. However, one of the unexpressed tenets of the practice of law seems to be its focus only upon matters apt to bring to its practitioners large amounts of money (quote vonnegut).
This segment of the society at large will perforce remain in the extreme minority. Therefore, relatively few are personally scorched by an encounter with this evil. So, populism can never exert its influence. Furthermore, there is a dark place in humans, particularly and readily found in those less well endowed intellectually, that causes them to enjoy controlling others. Among the least capable, perhaps a reflection of populism itself, are the lawmakers, who appear both to obtain primary personal reward for legislation they introduce and, secondarily, control of those who they envy. This matter of "envy" is not small thing. See Girard.
In effect, we are enslaved by our construction. We have built our own bastilles, our own prisons. Pogo reminded me that our enemy is us/me.
There is something different and dark about the law and lawyers. I alluded to their garduation dreams and wishes: WIN! Even when the education of a medical student is made the subject of dark humor--for example the British film series that began with "A Doctor in the House," all that darkness and folly somehow appears to embrace a fundamental love for humanity.
As a physician and as a human I feel this now as I write these words. For us, there is no message at graduation: WIN. Rather, even when hidden in the sticky egoism that makes us human, the message is one the sounds like "help out." This difference amongst individuals who have chosen their life's work is not accidental. It is Darwinian at bottom. Just as it is not an accident the Einstein became a physicist or Wittgenstein a philosopher, it is no accident that lawyers become lawyers.
It is also therefore no accident that they are generally disliked, feared and uncommonly hated.