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General Board / Re: From Homo Oeconomicus to Homo Sexualis
« on: December 03, 2011, 01:59:29 AM »

There is nothing wrong with making money. But money can become the tail that wags the dog. Karl Llewellyn's observations of some 40 years ago, on lawyers and money, still ring true. He observed "a brand of lawyer for whom law is making of a livelihood, a competence, a fortune. Law offers means to live, to get ahead. It is so viewed. Such men give their whole selves to it, in this aspect. Coin is their reward. Coin makes it possible to live. Coin is success, coin is prestige, and coin is power. Such lawyers, I take it, reflect rather adequately the standards of our civilization. They have perceived the mainspring of a money economy. They follow single-heartedly on their perception. Coin is, in this society, the measure of a man."


Freud argued that feces, as matter that comes from within oneself and then becomes matter outside and thus independent Of oneself, is recognized by the child as his "creation." In this recognition, the child frequently uses feces for love, offering it up as a gift to those for whom he cares. As something which he makes and which becomes his own (and is not bestowed on him externally), the child perceives of feces as personal property that defines independence. The child also recognizes that this substance, often problematically received by the world, can be used aggressively, as a weapon. Thus a child's sense of mastery, power, and defiance derives initially from manipulation of excrement.

Freud explained that as one evolves out of the stages of infant sexuality, the values attributed to feces are reattached through sublimation to other non-bodily objects. According to Freud, anal erotism moves from feces to money.

Freud elaborated the notion that the emergence of money economy is rooted in the "anal" phase of sexuality. The child's attitude toward excretion thus adumbrated its later attitude toward possessions. Since fecal matter was the first object created by the infant which could be alienated from it in exchange for others' praise, an anal retentive character prefigured excessive parsimony, an anal expulsive character excessive improvidence. Feces itself became the prototype for gold, a hypothesis Freud defended by referring to cross-linguistic data suggesting a connection between "filthy lucre" and precious metal.


Freud himself who was to declare to Fliess in a letter dated 16 January 1898, that money did not form the object of an infantile wish which is why, as the well-known saying puts it, money proves incapable of "making one happy" as an adult. Yet, it can nevertheless give the impression of doing so, to the extent that it is capable as we know from Freudian metapsychology of functioning as the unconscious substitute and equivalent for any "object" whatsoever that is invested by the libido of the subject, be this oral, phallic or, especially, anal. [...]

On a material level, faeces represent for children their first possessions of value. Indeed, if children tend at first, roughly between the ages of 2 and 3, to take an auto-erotic pleasure in defecating (the first phase of the anal stage), they subsequently discover, around the age of 3 or 4, that they can obtain a more intense excitation by holding back their stool (the second phase of the anal stage). This is the source of the pleasure adults take in holding onto money, valuable objects or, yet again, time (as shown by the character-traits of avarice and parsimony, as well as the pleasure of hoarding or saving), in accordance with the equation of money and excrement. [...]

[...] In the most extreme case, according to the psycho-analytical argument that is often put forward, an overly active or precocious repression of the child's psychosexual development during the anal stage -- especially at the moment of toilet training -- can lead to the development, in later life, of a veritable obsessional (or, as it was sometimes called, anal) neurosis. Since the pathbreaking work of Oskar Pfister on the psychical structure of classical capitalism and the financial mind, an entire current of thought (Reich, Fromm, etc.) has endeavored to locate within the capitalist system the indices of a collective obsessional neurotic syndrome. Just as the child is under the illusion of the omnipotence of his or her excrements, so the capitalist would tend to believe that his or her money gives him or her the power -- and, above all, the right -- to do whatever he or she so desires.


So basically,

money = * & ^ %
capitalism = anal


Wow - it's unbelievable how much you learn on these boards!

2
General Board / Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« on: December 03, 2011, 01:28:44 AM »

[...] Well-meaning efforts by liberal psychologists to reform the law in keeping with values such as dignity, privacy, justice, and equality are often misguided because law exists to serve the status quo. Law inhibits the systemic, radical social change necessary for psychological and societal well-being. It does so through coercive power, substantive assumptions about human nature, the ideology of law's legitimacy, a preoccupation with procedure rather than substance, a focus on rational technicality rather than equity, and encouragement for limited, self-defeating legal solutions. [...] Law, in short, is an an opponent rather than an ally of those seeking fundamental change.

1. Heavy Handed Use of Coercive Power

The first way that law presents social change is obvious: Coercion. As Lawrence Friedman put it, "Law has its hidden persuaders -- its moral basis, its legitimacy -- but in the last analysis it has force, too, to back it up. Law carries a powerful stick: the threat of force. This is the fist inside its velvet glove. Law is used directly and indirectly to hinder both legal and illegal social change efforts. Electoral challenges, for example, are deflected by state legislatures, which devise unreasonable deadlines, excessive petition requirements, and other hassles to keep third parties off the ballot. As an old anarchist slogan put it, "If voting could change the system, it would be illegal." [...] Harassment of activists doesn't come just from government. Corporations often file libel and other lawsuits against people who use letters to newspapers, public statements, and similar methods to criticize corporate projects such as toxic waste dumps. [...] Although most of these suits are legally "unsuccessful" in that free speech rights are upheld and the activist pays no damages, the suits serve their purposes of transforming political debates into private disputes and, more significantly, taking up activist's time and resources, bankrupting him, often causing the abandonment of public advocacy on his part [...]

2. Substantive Assumptions About Human Nature

The second way law opposes social change is through its assumptions about human behavior. [...] The myth of humankind's inherent lawlessness, for instance, ignores the fact that the search for rules and rule dependency appears early in human life and is visible across all activity from games to government and language to law. In essence, no community is truly lawless.

3. The Ideology of Law's Legitimacy

The third way law inhibits social change is through the central myth that the law is "legitimate," that obedience to law is appropriate because legal authorities have the right to make demands. This belief prevents anarchy and induces people to obey orders and commands without the use of force. Legitimacy is necessary for the political system to continue in its current form, since in a very real sense, the 'consent of the governed' depends upon such fictions, including the fiction that law is sacred. [...]
 
4. Preoccupation With Procedure Rather Than Substance

The fourth way law opposes social change is in blunting appeals for substantive justice by focusing instead on procedural justice. Seeing legal procedures are seen as satisfying or fair, with government leaders may find it easier to create conditions of 'perceived fairness' than to solve problems or provide needed benefits. The Supreme Court's "let them eat due process" approach.

5. Focus on Rational Technicality Rather Than Equity

The fifth way law stands against social change is the insistence that the "rule of law" is superior to non-law, that the United States is a "government of law, not of men." Related to the lawlessness and legality myths is the assumption that problems should be resolved through law - seen as objective, rational, and hard-nosed - rather than through non-legal means - seen as subjective, ruthless, and unpredictable. Law is better, it is said, even if the application of general principle to a particular case brings an unfair result, because the only alternative to law is chaos. The opposite of legal technicality, however, is not chaos, but equity. Under equity principles, legal technicalities can be set aside to prevent injustice. [...]

6. The Self-Defeating Character of Legal Solutions

The final way law opposes social change has to do with the self-defeating character of legal solutions, despite their seductive appeal. Reform is seductive because it assumes that law can be transformed so significantly that it will operate at a "higher principled level.' This is doubtful, though, because the reasons for which law exists conflict with principled levels of reasoning and ethics. Law exists to maintain rather than change the status quo, to protect some at the expense of others, to control rather than liberate. [...] The very success of legal solutions makes things worse, because legal solutions reduce people's ability and motivation to work together with others on community solutions to social problems. Legal reforms may work, but only by forcing complex human interactions into an artificial framework, creating dependency on legal authorities. [...] Right and wrong become a specialty of professionals such as lawyers, police, and judges. [...] Law teaches us that we are not capable of being good unless we are forced to be good.


Awesome summary!

3
General Board / Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« on: December 03, 2011, 12:34:54 AM »




Well, I don't think it's a big deal, 0.9999999999999... is pretty much 1, it's not exactly 1, but it is still very very close to... :)


0.9999999999999 is a process - as long as you continue on that route it never equals 1 - it is when you decide to stop that it becomes equal to 1.

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General Board / Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« on: December 03, 2011, 12:30:26 AM »

After graduating with a degree in Food Communications, I worked as a cookbook editor and a home economist. I knew cookies and calories, not courts and cases. The hours of reading, the Socratic method and indecipherable judicial decisions had my head spinning. Overwhelmed? I skipped that step and went straight to terrified.

But about a month into school, I finally found a guide that brought everything into focus. No, it wasn't Emanuel or Gilbert. It was Harry Potter. The similarities to my own situation struck me immediately as I watched. In the movie no time for books this semester Harry goes off to Hogwartz, a wizardry school. Everything he encounters is strange and different. The things he needs to learn seem to have no connection to the outside world. This was my initial reaction to law school.

Harry has classes in potions and sorcery; I learn the black arts of torts and contracts. He studies spellbooks; I study casebooks. An evil teacher skulks around Harry's school; the seemingly evil Socratic method lurks in my classes.

Alas, no magic wand can get me out of trouble when I haven't done the reading for Criminal Law, but Harry Potter's experience made me reevaluate my reaction to law school. Thinking of law school as an adventure, a road to travel to get to my goals rather than as a prison sentence, has lifted my fatigue and anxiety.


I agree to what you say up to a point, tamika - you are right when comparing law school to sorcery and the like, but I am not so sure as to whether achieving the "goal" will be worthwhile - there are quite a few posts on this site describing the life "after" law school, which in fact, is not that different from that during law school ..

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Socratic Method / Re: Legal Reasoning
« on: December 02, 2011, 11:01:28 PM »
http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/index.php?topic=3003617.80

Quote
One final point: among those who support the doctrine of Eternal Recurrence some say, it has an ethical and moral dimension. If one is to come and live this very life over and over again, one should try to live it in a way that one wants to come and relive it. That is, they tell us: "One should live it to the utmost, and without leaving anything regrettable." This sounds nice, and we would have nothing against it. In fact, some people might even be moved and motivated to live life to the utmost because of the ethical interpretation of this doctrine.

However, it is not even necessary to conduct a controlled social experiment to see how this doctrine affects the majority of mankind. A social experiment several millenniums old, is still going on. Just look at India, a country that has lived under the shadow of karma and reincarnation for the longest time. It is a nation where Brahmins, the highest caste, have systematically ruled and dominated the whole society and kept the Sudra or chandala, (untouchables) as their footstools, without any hope, or dream of salvation.

Fatalism, or karma, does not tell people to live life to the fullest. It simply states one must accept ones fate, unquestioningly, and live it. If one accepted this philosophy one would have to say: "If I have already lived this same life many times before, and there is nothing for me to change, why talk to me about living life to the fullest? If my previous life was lived to the fullest, I will live it to the fullest again this time. If I have not done so in previous lives, then there is nothing I can do about it now. I am totally powerless." This is the logical result of Eternal Recurrence, or what we might correctly rename as: The Doctrine of Despair, which reduces human life to that of a marionette or puppet, where the strings are forever held in the hands of fate, creating a total paralysis in the mind of the individual and society. So, from either the scientific, or the moral and ethical standpoint, this is a philosophy of doom, and there is nothing much going for this doctrine. It is a totally bankrupt worldview.

If one wants to teach Eternal Recurrence as a religion, fine. We will not object to that. But to present this as a serious philosophy is simply unacceptable. It does not surprise us that Nietzsche advocated this doctrine. He did not have much of mathematics or scientific training, which has proved to be his Achilles' heel. As for the ethical view of this philosophy, Nietzsche might not have known what poverty and squalor this fatalistic religion had brought to India. Otherwise, we don't believe he would advocate such an evil system to be introduced into European thinking. If, however, he knew full well of the paralyzing social effect of this doctrine in India, and still advocated it, then this would further prove Nietzsche's evil genius. Since his whole philosophy was centered on weaving the myth of the "Superman" and the "Super race," to rule over the earth, was he perhaps paving the way and preparing a moral code for the rest of us, the chandala, to accept and live by -- Eternal Recurrence? This could perhaps, explain why he considered it as a very crucial part of his philosophy? In that case, he meant it to serve as the final nail that would hold down the lid of the coffin he created. History, however, bears witness to the fact that it was the very "Superman" and the "Super race" Nietzsche created with the myth of his philosophy that were buried in, and nailed in that very coffin -- Hitler and his followers.

Very good point, grasshopper - but I am not clear on one thing - if the ER has worked for Brahmins/chandalas, why didn't it work the same way with Hitler/Germans, assuming Nazis appropriated Nietzsche's doctrine as you say


Nietzsche and Schopenhauer borrowed a lot from Eastern religions - here it is a related post by leadhu me token:


[...]

Nietzsche wasn't as impressed by Eastern ideas as Schopenhauer was. But some of Nietzsche's aphorisms remind one of Eastern practices, such as meditation; "Lying still and thinking little," Nietzsche wrote, "is the cheapest medicine for all sicknesses of the soul and, if persisted with, grows more pleasant hour by hour." "Thinking little" isn't as easy as it sounds. The mind wanders; it likes to occupy itself with something. India and China have developed a variety of techniques for calming the mind: meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc. These techniques direct the mind onto something simple and relaxing, such as breathing, walking, repeating the same word over and over, or slowly stretching and exercising the body. These techniques are becoming increasingly popular in the West due to their beneficial effect on both body and mind. Nietzsche's prescription "lying still and thinking little" could also be considered meditation; indeed, almost anything can be considered meditation if one concentrates on what one is doing. Listening to music, for example, can be considered meditation if one concentrates on the music. Often, however, people listen to music while doing something else while driving, while eating, while looking at a magazine, etc. Descartes said, "I think therefore I am." Zen says, "I don't think, therefore I am."


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General Board / Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« on: December 02, 2011, 10:23:44 PM »

[...]

Beyond a simple condemnation of authoritarian value systems, Fromm used the story of Adam and Eve as an allegorical explanation for human biological evolution and existential angst, asserting that when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they became aware of themselves as being separate from nature while still being part of it. This is why they felt "naked" and "ashamed": they had evolved into human beings, conscious of themselves, their own mortality, and their powerlessness before the forces of nature and society, and no longer united with the universe as they were in their instinctive, pre-human existence as animals. According to Fromm, the awareness of a disunited human existence is a source of guilt and shame, and the solution to this existential dichotomy is found in the development of one's uniquely human powers of love and reason.


They say LSD induces an experience that will make you appreciate exactly what Fromm talks about here - being one with the nature, the Whole.

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