Law School Discussion

INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #420 on: February 25, 2009, 04:17:13 PM »

The frenzy of destruction and the rejoicing in blood and ritualized murder arise from the fact that few can admit that none of our immortality systems or our glory fixes works at all. They are elaborate deceptions, illusions, rituals with no power to save.  No matter how much wealth the rich person accumulates, or how great the power wielded by the king, everyone knows that the relatives will be fighting over the spoils before the body gets cold. Everyone knows that no Reich lasts a thousand years and no family line is assured of perpetuation. Furthermore, insofar as I derive my glory from merging myself with another person or system, to that degree I am less than whole. Borrowed glory is not my glory.

But these are the only buffers people have to shield themselves from the terrible dark and cold of the Void. The frenzy arises from the constant undercurrent of realization that the immortality strategies are illusion. The fact that they cannot save must be denied, hidden, repressed. [...]


Don't you think that just by saying it - that all these "buffers" can not shield us from the terrible dark and cold of the Void, that all these immortality strategies are illusions - you're evoking something that should have not been?!


Lucky you, caracosta -- smashing years and years of "efforts," "accomplishments," "successes" with a single word! Just like that!


And to think, liminocentrict, that anyone can do that - you just have to make up your mind to say that God is Nothing and Nothing is God and Voilà! :)

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #421 on: February 26, 2009, 04:25:35 PM »

The frenzy of destruction and the rejoicing in blood and ritualized murder arise from the fact that few can admit that none of our immortality systems or our glory fixes works at all. They are elaborate deceptions, illusions, rituals with no power to save.  No matter how much wealth the rich person accumulates, or how great the power wielded by the king, everyone knows that the relatives will be fighting over the spoils before the body gets cold. Everyone knows that no Reich lasts a thousand years and no family line is assured of perpetuation. Furthermore, insofar as I derive my glory from merging myself with another person or system, to that degree I am less than whole. Borrowed glory is not my glory.

But these are the only buffers people have to shield themselves from the terrible dark and cold of the Void. The frenzy arises from the constant undercurrent of realization that the immortality strategies are illusion. The fact that they cannot save must be denied, hidden, repressed. [...]


Don't you think that just by saying it - that all these "buffers" can not shield us from the terrible dark and cold of the Void, that all these immortality strategies are illusions - you're evoking something that should have not been?!


Lucky you, caracosta -- smashing years and years of "efforts," "accomplishments," "successes" with a single word! Just like that!


And to think, liminocentrict, that anyone can do that - you just have to make up your mind to say that God is Nothing and Nothing is God and Voilà! :)


Hahaha!!! ;)

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #422 on: February 27, 2009, 10:47:43 AM »

Better to abstain than to error - case in point, major 19th-century Western philosophers such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Schlegel, Hegel misinterpreted the Buddha's teaching of nirvana as a life-detesting and negative annihilation of the the individual. They imagined Buddhism as a religion that was, as Nietzsche put it, a "negation of the world" - such portrayals were more a reflection of what was happening in Europe at the time when the collapse of traditional European hierarchies and values, the specter of atheism, and the rise of racism and social revolts were shaking European societies, rather than an accurate description of Buddhist thought.


Schopenhauer and Nietzsche were really the ones who brought Eastern thought to the Western philosophy. Schopenhauer rejected Christianity, and embraced Indian philosophy. In the 19th century, many Western intellectuals were losing faith in monotheistic religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Schopenhauer was an atheist, hence he was attracted to Eastern belief-systems that lacked a Western-style God — lacked a God who created the universe, ruled the universe, dictated books, etc. Oriental thinkers believed that the world had grown up spontaneously, like a plant; they didn’t view the world as a system that was designed and built by an omnipotent being. The Oriental view is consistent with modern science.

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."

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #423 on: February 27, 2009, 11:16:09 AM »

[...]

[...] "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."


Can Nietzsche's ethics be used to justify the actions of a mafia assassin? The movie "Angel's Dance" (1999), half in serious and half in jest, presents just such a situation. While on the one hand it may be considered somewhat of a comedic spoof of certain contemporary avant-garde intellectual ideas associated with Nietzsche's philosophy and Zen Buddhism, on the other hand it provides an exemplification of a possible interpretation of the ethical consequences of Nietzsche's philosophy. 

The capo of a Chicago mob, in need of new hit man, sends a young potential hit man (Tony Greco) to California to be trained by a master assassin (Steve Rosellini). Rosellini (a.k.a., "the Rose") is portrayed as "California-cool." He lives in a beach house of Japanese decor, believes in reincarnation, spouts Zen Buddhist quips, eats veggie burgers, advocates recycling, and, of course, respects and quotes Nietzsche. The training guide Rosellini hands to Tony is Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil." During the movie we also see Tony having to thumb through other books by Nietzsche, such as "The Portable Nietzsche" with its distinguishing purple cover. As part of his training Tony must kill an innocent victim picked at random from the telephone book: Angelica (Angel) Chaste. A mortician who works the graveyard shift at a mortuary, Angel is, to say the least, a "strange women." She is intelligent and very resourceful. Coincidentally, she is also acquainted with Nietzsche's books. Angel's resourcefulness and strangeness bode ill for Tony. After Tony bungles his first attempt to kill Angel, she becomes proactive. She changes her appearance, buys a gun and personal body armor, learns to shoot with accuracy, and even makes an attempt to shoot Tony and Steve. As the film progresses we see Tony losing his motivation to kill Angel and in general his desire to be a hit man, while we see Angel assuming the coolness and skills of a professional killer. After killing 4 of the men who set out to kill her and also killing Tony, who tires to intervene on her behalf and confesses his love for her, Angel teams up with Rosellini and performs the assassination desired by the capo of a wayward accountant turned states evidence. The movie ends with Angel and Rosellini riding off in his sports car and a famous line from the movie "Zorba the Greek," another cultural classic: "what is life if not the dance."

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #424 on: February 27, 2009, 12:51:45 PM »

[...] The movie ends with Angel and Rosellini riding off in his sports car and a famous line from the movie "Zorba the Greek," another cultural classic: "what is life if not the dance."


Here it is the famous Zorbas Dance from the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXNApZ2ALiQ

cpl

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #425 on: February 28, 2009, 01:08:09 PM »

[...] The movie ends with Angel and Rosellini riding off in his sports car and a famous line from the movie "Zorba the Greek," another cultural classic: "what is life if not the dance."


Here it is the famous Zorbas Dance from the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXNApZ2ALiQ


One of the most interesting remarks in this movie was the one from the boss saying to Zorba:

"I am going to do with my books what you did with the cherries. I'm going to eat so much paper it'll make me sick. I shall spew it all up and then be rid of it forever."

Re: Explanation
« Reply #426 on: March 01, 2009, 02:11:12 PM »

[...]

Jacques Lacan describes schizophrenia as a breakdown in the signifying chain of language, in the interlocking syntagmatic series of signifiers which constitute an utterance. He adopts the Saussurian point of view that meaning is generated by the movement from signifier to signified through the relationship among signifiers themselves. When the relationships of signifying chains breaks down, we are left with a rubble of unrelated signifiers. For Lacan the link between this linguistic malfunction and the psyche of the shizophrenic derives from a twofold proposition: that personal identity is the effect of the temporal unification of past and future with one's present, and that such an active temporal unification is itself a function of language. With the breakdown of the signifying change, the schizophrenic is reduced to an experience of pure material signifiers, or, in other words, a series of pure and unrelated presents in time.


In the European intellectual tradition beginning with Descartes, there is the belief in a pre-linguistic selfhood that uses language as an instrument to express its subjectivity. For Lacan, subjectivity is not a thing; rather it is a set of relationships that are activated by entry into a semiological system. There is a paradox here, for Lacan says: "I identify myself in language, but only by losing myself in it like an object." This process of simultaneous discovery and loss starts early. Freud had told of observing an 18-month-old baby who invented a simple game in which he would throw a spool out of his crib, saying "oooh" as he did so, then pull it back into the crib by a string attached to it, saying "aah" as he retrieved it. Freud interpreted "oooh" as the German word "Fort" (away) and "aah" as "Da" (here) and explained that it symbolized to the child the painful disappearance of its mother followed by her comforting return. Lacan points out that this act of symbolism allows the child to dominate the mystery and terror of the experience of the mother's repeated disappearance, but says that the displacement of the experience onto the symbol also inaugurates the alienation of subjectivity into language that will from then on always be its fate. In fact, the human being is the subject caught and tortured in the web of language. It is this feature of human existence that accounts both for normality and madness.

There are two poles of discourse, whether that be normal discourse or the discourse of delirium: a pole of excess and a pole of deficit. First, there is the language of intuition, which produces a fullness of understanding, but here there is too much meaning -- an excess that inhibits communication. At the other extreme there is the empty slogan, the meaningless repetition of words, and emptiness that also precludes communication. The psychotic moves from one pole to the other. The trouble is, so do the rest of us! Because this is the form of all discourse. Ideally, the fullness of meaning would be a speech-act that was a testimony and at the same time a self-assertion, such as "You are my friend." Of course, I want you to respond affirmatively: "Yes, I am your friend." But there is the opposite pole that always threatens the first, namely, the lie. The fact that you can lie causes a perpetual hesitation on my part. Here Lacan retells a joke of Freud's about a chance meeting in a train station of two Polish Jews who distrust each other. "Where are you going?" asks the first. The second says, "To Cracow." The first thinks to himself, "He says he's going to Cracow, but he's saying that so I won't know he's really going to Lemberg. But he knows I'll think that." Then he angrily responds: "You liar, you are going to Cracow!" Once again here are two linguistic poles of excess and deficit that characterize both "normal" and delirious discourse.

Humans differ from animals in that our relation to what Lacan calls "the Real" is mediated by language. Language itself is unstable so there is no guarantee that the mediation will be successful. There are certain basic signifiers, like the one designating the difference between the sexes (what Lacan calls "the phallus"), without which no meaningful human world can be constructed. The basic signifiers are like upholstery buttons that tack down the loose and slippery fabric of signification to specific spots, giving it some stability. If they fail, psychosis happens. In that case no word carries any meaning, or each word carries all meaning, and communication (i.e., intersubjectivity) is impossible. Psychosis is the loss of a grounding signifier and at the same time is the search for its recovery. Lacan says: "It is in man's relation to the signifier that the drama of madness is situated." A psychotic symptom is a metaphor in which flesh or function is taken as a signifying element. A part of one's body is misrecognized as a part of one's language, and vice-versa. The goal of psychoanalysis, says Lacan, is to restore to the patient the sovereign freedom displayed by Humpty-Dumpty when he reminds Alice that after all he is the master of the signifier, even if he isn't the master of the signified. Madness is just an extreme exaggeration of the dual process of succumbing to the totalitarianism of language and the attempt to resist that totalitarianism by recovering one's freedom.

Re: Explanation
« Reply #427 on: March 02, 2009, 01:14:29 PM »

Here Lacan retells a joke of Freud's about a chance meeting in a train station of two Polish Jews who distrust each other. "Where are you going?" asks the first. The second says, "To Cracow." The first thinks to himself, "He says he's going to Cracow, but he's saying that so I won't know he's really going to Lemberg. But he KNOWS I'll think that." Then he angrily responds: "You liar, you are going to Cracow!"


I guess this is one of those cases when you are lying while being truthful!

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #428 on: March 02, 2009, 02:46:29 PM »

[...] The movie ends with Angel and Rosellini riding off in his sports car and a famous line from the movie "Zorba the Greek," another cultural classic: "what is life if not the dance."


Here it is the famous Zorbas Dance from the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXNApZ2ALiQ


One of the most interesting remarks in this movie was the one from the boss saying to Zorba:

"I am going to do with my books what you did with the cherries. I'm going to eat so much paper it'll make me sick. I shall spew it all up and then be rid of it forever."


Great movie, indeed! Here it is another dramatic scene - the great Irene Papas is the widow looking for her goat. Giorgos Foundas is smoking in the cafe. Alan Bates offers his umbrella to Irene and Anthony Quinn is sitting outside with him. Walter Lassally won the Oscar for the cinematography. Mikis Theodorakis wrote the music and Michael Cacoyannis directed. Based on a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis. Shot on the island of Crete.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN6AhB3sajE&feature=related

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #429 on: March 02, 2009, 03:14:04 PM »

[...] a famous line from the movie "Zorba the Greek," another cultural classic: "what is life if not the dance."


Deborah has written on Amazon.com an awesome review of the book: In approximately 1914, before World War I, the narrator, a young cerebral writer who wants to become rooted in the earth and physical labor, rents a lignite mine on the beautiful island of Crete. As he is about to depart, he meets a much older, experienced, and very earthy Alexis Zorba, whom he hires to be his foreman and cook. What he learns, and we through him, may change your life. First, a warning: to appreciate this amazing book, one must be able to look past the misogyny and sexism of life on Crete in 1914, and focus on the love and relationship of two men. Zorba plays the santuri, has had a family and many lovers, has fought in the Balkan Wars, has lived and loved - his knowledge is rooted in love, suffering, sweat, and blood. He is a simple but deep man who lives life without shame, bares himself, has no guile or guise, and lives every moment fully -- not only his joy, but his tears, his compassion, his anger, his hunger, his thoughts and his questions. His character is perceptively portrayed by the first person narrator who is a contemplative who gradually comes to see the poverty of a life always filtered through philosophical, religious, or cultural judgments. He immediately appreciates Zorba's wonder at life, Zorba's music and dance, and the way Zorba sees the same old things every day as if new. Zorba is life itself, a fleeting moment with a discrete beginning and final end. The narrator especially learns that by holding on to his safety and security he has sacrificed much by failing to live to the fullest like Zorba. The book is absolutely beautifully written, makes you cry at the beauty and wonder of being alive, makes you ache for loved ones who are gone, and cry at our ultimate fate, death, in the face of which we must live with ever more Zorba-like zest.