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Messages - Lefka

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Current Law Students / Re: Join PAD Legal Fraternity -- Bad Idea?
« on: March 16, 2012, 03:40:52 PM »

After a verbose preamble, which among other things informs you helpfully that "behavior becomes unacceptable when it infringes on the rights of others," the  Code of Conduct of the Public Library of the city where I live provides thirty-one examples of unacceptable conduct. These examples can be sorted into five general categories:

1. Highly site-specific regulations (i.e., "Eating or Drinking," "Overcrowding at Study Tables or Carrels (limit of 4 per study table").
2. Behavior associated with street people ("Bathing/Washing Clothes," "Lack of Shoes or Shirt," "Loitering including refusal to leave at closing").
3. Behavior evincing failures of basic acculturation mechanisms ("Obscene Language," "Body Odor/Perfume/Cologne (Excessive) which Elicits General Complaint or Causes Discomfort to Other Library Users," "Excessive Public Displays of Affection").
4. General criminal behavior ("Theft," "Gambling" "Physical, Sexual or Verbal Abuse or Harassment of Library Users or Staff").
5. Criminalized behavior associated with mental illness or substance abuse ("Exhibitionism/Flashing," "Visible Drug or Alcohol Intoxication," "Voyeurism/Peeping").


[...] How well does this theory apply to a typical piece of modern bureaucratic regulation? Or the types of behavior the library code prohibits, you might note that only those listed in the first category can be thought to convey useful information to any minimally socialized member of the community. There could be a real reason as to whether you're allowed to bring a bag of pretzels into the library, but do you really require "notice" that you can't snatch purses, expose yourself to patrons, do your laundry in the bathroom, or play high-stakes poker in the reference area? Suppose you hadn't been given notice of any of these things; does it follow you're free to claim as a defense insufficient publicity on the part of the state?

Can there be any non-psychotic person of minimally functional intelligence who would suppose that any of the things on this list, other than those dealt with in the most site-specific regulations, were not prohibited? [...] So here we seem to be faced with a wholly superfluous invocation of legal rules: rules that merely reflect tacit social understandings that themselves have no apparent need to be cast into a public legal text.


Posting a public notice of the unacceptability of theft, or of exhibitionism, or of physical and sexual abuse, is very much like passing yet another law providing still more penalties for the sale of already illegal drugs. Such actions represent our legal culture's equivalent to the practice of nailing garlic over doorways to repel vampires. In each case a psychological imperative born of a sense of lack of control, and of the fear and anxiety this sensation produces, demands of us that we "do something." Those same factors then lead us to do things that appear in the cold light of rational analysis to be almost wholly irrational.

Funny I read the other day a joke - it kinda illustrates what's talked about here:

Little Johnny is riding a bike to the street corner and he sees a cop riding a horse. The cop asks "Did Santa give you that bike?" and Johnny replies "Yes!" so the cop hands him over a ticket and says, "Here, next year, tell Santa to put lights on it!"

Johnny gets annoyed and asks "Did Santa give you that horse?" The cop plays along by telling him "Yes!" and Johnny tells him "Next year, tell him the d i c k goes under the horse, not on top of it!" and rides off on his bike.

Hahaha eli - you're so funny - I have read a slightly different version of the joke though - anyway!

Current Law Students / Re:
« on: March 16, 2012, 02:14:08 PM »


To be sure, Marcuse worked with Freud's Eros only, disregarding Thanatos - as far as engaging in war and being aggressive "consciously," there's nothing strange or unusual about it (think soldiers in war) - what was being discussed here, I believe, was whether Thanatos is to be called an "instinct" or not ..

So if I get this right, this means killing others (murder) in order not to kill ourselves (suicide) in order to keep up with lack of life meaning and the conscious awareness of our deaths?

And that the deaths of the "other" serves to establish a symbolic immortality buffer for one of the parties? Kind of like the child that is forced to concede its physicality and "trade it in" for a symbolic sense of self (i.e., self-esteem)?

I researched a bit where does all this TMT thing comes from - it looks like from existential philosophers like Sartre, Camus and the like. Now, I have not read Sartre/Camus - I simply came upon a piece quoted by one of your fellow posters on this board. Take a look at it and draw your own judgment, as to whether such a piece deserves being printed (in book form) or not - maybe it's just me, but I find it very odd to read about a guy who "feels his mouth full of his tongue" - I am sure he's missing something - and truth-be-told, in the "hood" where I live, he'd get that right advice off-prompt, if yanno what I mean!


Existence is undoubtedly problematic and disturbing. In one weekend strip, in Sartre's "Peanuts," Schulz succinctly describes the horror of discovering one's own existence in the world:

Linus: I'm aware of my tongue ... It's an awful feeling! Every now and then I become aware that I have a tongue inside my mouth, and then it starts to feel lumped up ... I can't help it ... I can't put it out of my mind ... I keep thinking about where my tongue would be if I weren't thinking about it, and then I can feel it sort of pressing against my teeth ...

Sartre devoted an entire book to this experience – his 1938 novel "Nausea" in which his character Roquentin is alarmed to discover his own actuality. But Linus sums the point up very well in a few frames.

malachovsky, I understand your approach and sense of practicality you're bringing here - but if you stay alone and do not socialize with other people - as it is the case with lonely people like philosophers - it's not surprising that similar thoughts will come to your mind.

Now, it's never occurred to me, but I am sure it has to other people - Sartre, being on the record, on this kind of thing.


Flatbush - you've got to be kidding me!

Current Law Students / Re: Levels of anima development
« on: March 16, 2012, 01:43:12 PM »

As early as August 1912, Jung had intimated a letter to Freud that he had an intuition that the essentially feminine-tones archaic wisdom of the Gnostics, symbolically called Sophia, was destined to re-enter modern Western culture by way of depth psychology. This takes us to the Gnostic text the Pistis Sophia. Pistis Sophia is an important Gnostic text. The five remaining copies, which scholars date c. 250­-300 AD, relate the Gnostic teachings of the transfigured Jesus to the assembled disciples (including his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Martha), when the risen Christ had accomplished 11 years speaking with his disciples. In it the complex structures and hierarchies of heaven familiar in Gnostic teachings are revealed. The female divinity of gnosticism is Sophia, a being with many aspects and names. She is sometimes identified with the Holy Ghost itself but, according to her various capacities, is also the Universal Mother, the Mother of the Living or Resplendent Mother, the Power on High, She-of-the-left-hand (as opposed to Christ, understood as her husband and he of the Right Hand), as the Luxurious One, the Womb, the Virgin, the Wife of the Male, the Revealer of Perfect Mysteries, the Saint Columba of the Spirit, the Heavenly Mother, the Wandering One, or Elena (that is, Selene, the Moon). She was envisaged as the Psyche of the world and the female aspect of Logos.

Jung has been called weird by many because of his interest in the occult. Freud, for instance, would write to Jung in response to his letter:

Jung: "My evenings are taken up very largely with astrology. I make horoscopic calculations in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth. Some remarkable things have turned up which will certainly appear incredible to you... I dare say that we shall one day discover in astrology a good deal of knowledge that has been intuitively projected into the heavens. For instance, it appears that the signs of the zodiac are character pictures, in other words libido symbols which depict the typical qualities of the libido at a given moment."

Freud: "In matters of occultism I have grown humble since the great lesson Ferenczi's experiences gave me. I promise to believe anything that can be made to look reasonable. I shall do so gladly, that you know. But my hubris has been shattered." 

Yet, early on Freud himself dabbled in the Kabbala, the esoteric branch of Jewish mysticism. He belonged to a Jewish society called B'nai B'rith and enjoyed weekly games of taroc, a complicated and popular card game which some people think is based on Kabbala. The taroc deck varies in size, but it includes 22 trump cards from the tarot, which are rich in symbolic imagery. The symbolism on these cards may well have set Freud on the path towards his first ideas about the unconscious: it was at this time that he presented his first ideas about dream interpretation. This information has been largely suppresed, probably because it wasn't approved of in Freud's contemporary society, with its rising tide of fierce anti-semitism. Later Freud strongly disapproved in public of what he called 'the occult.'

By the way, in academic circles Freud was often seen as opinionated and rather peculiar so that much of his work was done in what he called 'splendid isolation,' just as it had been from boyhood. He obviously had outstanding intellect, but by his own admission, he had a rather neurotic, obsessive personality and could not imagine a life without work  He wrote incessantly and much of his writing was done on his days off, or even after a busy day seeing his patients. Freud's obsessive personality meant that he was the kind of person who has to do everything meticulously and accurately and he liked to be in control. This can be seen in various ways outside of his work. He was very superstitious about certain numbers -- for instance, he became utterly convinced that he would die at 61 or 62, because of a series of rather tenous coincidencies to do with odd things like hotel room numbers. This kind of thinking is the down side of the type of self-controlled personality that is obsessional enough to produce the astonishing volume of work that Freud did. In extreme cases it can lead to what is known as an obsessional neurosis, where the sufferer is driven by endless compulsive rituals, and becomes unable to function normally.

Freud was a great collector of antiques, fired by his earlier classical studies and his interest in ancient history. He accumulated vast numbers of antique statuettes and other artefacts that are still in display in his study at 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, London, which is now part of a Freud museum. They are crammed in all over the place, showing that he was not particularly interested in their artistic value, but more in the feeling of connection with the past that they gave him and the sheer pleasure of collecting them. His compulsive streak shows up again in the fact that he smoked cigars heavily nearly all his life and found it impossible to stop, even when he was diagnosed with oral cancer in 1923 and realized that tabacco was doing him no good. It was not until he had a heart attack in 1930 that he finally gave up.

3 lotteries, Jung was totally nuts - and yet, I've read some stories about Freud that make me think he too might have been 50/50 when it comes to this thing. 



I hope you have heard of unicorns. One could believe that unicorns are actual biological phenomena -- that unicorns are real in the same way horses are real. Or one could believe that unicorns are creations of the human mind, imaginary creatures whose characteristics are therefore wholly a product of our assumptions about those same characteristics. Now imagine a social practice that requires persons to act as if they sincerely believe there actually are independent facts of the matter regarding unicorns -- facts not dependent on human beliefs -- and indeed routinely requires these people to assert the existence of such facts. Yet suppose this practice also requires that on certain occasions those who engage in the practice claim no such independent facts concerning the status of unicorns exist because, after all, "everyone knows" unicorns are merely products of the human mind. We could anticipate that many of the participants in this practice will develop a sort of double consciousness about unicorns, one in which they will both affirm and deny -- and in which they will in a sense both believe and not believe -- that unicorns are actual or imaginary creatures, depending on the context in which such affirmation or denial, and belief or absence of belief, is deemed appropriate.


Such is the ordinary mental condition of the modern American lawyer. The modern lawyer, and especially the modern judge and law professor, must continually practice a sort of "as if" jurisprudence, within the context of which the lawyer both knows and doesn't know that most important legal facts are facts only to the extent we believe them to be legal facts. Various strategies are then employed to deal with the intense cognitive dissonance that characterizes this condition. A common one among practicing lawyers is to simply ignore the dissonance -- to treat it as someone else's problem. That someone is, of course, whatever decision maker is precluded from employing the same cognitive strategy by virtue of the decision maker's decisional responsibilites.


Case to expand a bit further?

Exactly, contain, me too would be delighted to know what exactly all this means, in simple, layman terms ...

I would take a hard guess here - maybe the poster is sayin' the professional applies the same kind of logic that s/he is when dealing with the notion of the "Bermuda Triangle," for instance?

They say you won't find it on any official map and you won't know when you cross the line, but according to some people, the Bermuda Triangle is a very real place where dozen of ships, planes and people have disappeared with no good explanation. Since a magazine first coined the phrase "Bermuda Triangle" in 1964, the mystery has continued to attract attention. When you dig deeper into most cases, though, they're much less mysterious. Either they were never in the area to begin with, they were actually found, or there's a reasonable explanation for their disappearance.

Does this mean there's nothing to the claims of so many who have had odd experiences in the Bermuda Triangle? Not necessarily. Scientists have documented deviations from the norm in the area and have found some interesting formations on the seafloor within the Bermuda Triangle's boundaries. So, for those who like to believe in it, there is plenty fuel for the fire. There are also even some kinky theories like aliens and space portals.

­Many think of the Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, as an "imaginary" area. The U. S. Board of Geographic Names does not recognize the Bermuda Triangle and does not maintain an official file on it. However, within this imaginary area, many real vessels and the people aboard them have seemingly disappeared without explanation.

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