Law School Discussion


Re: The Bell Curve
« Reply #620 on: February 24, 2012, 03:18:30 PM »

For the sake of truth, the INfamous Bell Curve has a very direct connection to Social Darwinism and the eugenics movement. The book "The Bell Curve," for instance, is perhaps one of the most controversial books of all time. Written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the book uses empirical statistical analysis to reach conclusion of intelligence gap in American society. Two of the most controversial conclusions reached by the author are the relationships between low measured intelligence and anti-social behavior and the observed relationship between low African-American test scores, when compared to Asians or whites, and genetic factors in intelligence abilities.

These controversial conclusions can be tied to Darwin's theory of evolution. Written in Darwin's "The Origin of Species,"

"With animals having separated sexes there will be in most cases a struggle between the male for possession of the females. The most vigorous individuals, or those which have the most successfully struggled with their conditions of life, well generally leave most progeny. But success will often depends on having special weapons or means of defense, or on the charms of the males; against slightest advantage will lead to victory"

is one of the many quotes by Darwin which could be use to explain the conclusions reached by Herrnstein and Murray. Or in Stephen Jay Gould's words, "The Bell Curve" rests on two distinctly different but sequential arguments, which together encompass the classic corpus of biological determinism as a social philosophy - in other words, Social Darwinism.

Social Darwinism is often linked to eugenics, and is the backbone of Herrnstein & Murray's arguments, according to which humans are separated not only by race and class, but also by IQ - this being the central theme of the arguments brought forth by these authors. This argument may deviate from the original 19th century theory of Social Darwinism; however, its use of statistical analysis of IQ is the central thought of 20th century Social Darwinism. The conclusions of the authors suggest people who have high IQ would be more "successful in life" and people with low IQ will encounter more problems in life such as unemployment, divorce, crime, and poverty. Using Social Darwinism, survival of the fittest (or should we, more appropriately, say, survival of the unfittest, the fat lazy a s s e s?) and other laws of evolution can be applied to human society; hence, it can be understood, that the people with high IQ be successful in life therefore have a easier time passing on their "good" gene to the next generation because they have a easier time finding a partner. On other hand, the people with low IQ, often exert anti-social behavior, hence have problems finding and supporting a partner, therefore would have problem passing their gene to the next generation.

They maintain that

"It is time for America once again to try living with inequality, as life is lived: understanding that each human being has strengths and weaknesses, qualities we admire and qualities we do not admire, competencies and incompetencies, assets and debits; that the success of each human life is not measured externally but internally; that all of the rewards we can confer on each other, the most precious is a place as a valued fellow citizen."

This idea is the 20th century Social Darwinism. This idea is also the idea behind eugenic movements and research which was not unpopular during the time.

Some may argue the connection between "The Bell Curve" and Social Darwinist eugenic movements of the time. But many facts show strong connection between the two. Firstly, as early as 1971, Herrnstein published an article in a prestigious US magazine, 'Atlantic Monthly', and can be quoted "the tendency to be unemployed may run in the genes of a family about as certainly as bad teeth do now.... As the wealth and complexity of human society grow, there will be precipitated out of the mass of humanity a low-capacity residue that may be unable to master the common occupations..." Secondly, Herrnstein's political stance is very conservative; "It is hard to argue that the "class struggle" can be resolved by a redistribution of wealth and capital, if it should turn out that something more than economics distinguishes the contending classes." Thirdly, quoted from an ABC New Report transcript, "Ever since 1937, the 'Pioneer Fund' has promoted the study of racial purity as a an ideal. Over the past 10 years, according to public documents, the 'Pioneer Fund' contributed $3.5 million to researchers cited in "The Bell Curve."

Finally, Herrnstein is found to be connected with the journal 'Mankind Quarterly', which is owned by Roger Pearson for the last 25 years. Pearson was a leader of the pro-fascist Northern League, which included a number of former Nazi SS officials, and a member of the World Anti-Communist League, described by former member Geoffrey Stewart-Smith as a collection of Nazis, fascists, anti-Semites, and vicious racists. These facts suggest strong ties between the authors and ideas of "The Bell Curve" with Social Darwinism movement of the time. "The Bell Curve" brought the theories of Social Darwinism into the public. It introduced the mass population to the idea IQ, something heritable, being the main determining factor for success in life, and it did it in a "scientific" way which help the idea to be accepted by the public.

Listen - we know they use this IQ thing based on the Bell Curve and the like - but we all also know it's not that law schools, for example, really believe that LSAT is such a reliable entrance criteria they use (not the only they use, btw) - they just use it!

And please don't gimme that * & ^ % -

"If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck."

« Reply #621 on: February 25, 2012, 06:18:15 PM »


The theory or the "model" at the base of author's reflections is Bion's model "container-contained", also called his "theory of thinking". [...] It is at one and the same time: the model of conception (penis-in-vagina), gestation (embryo-in-uterus), alimentation (nipple-in-mouth) and elimination (faeces-in-colon). This fundamental pattern -- 'one thing inside another', as Bion simply calls it -- in its many variations and permutations, forms the model for all human somatopsychological experience from the very beginning of life.

Bion posits a "place" or an "object", which he calls the "container", whose purpose is to take up a "something" which needs to be contained. Through this process both container and that-which-is-to-be-contained are transformed, and something new, a "third" element comes into being. [...] Bion's starting point is what he refers to as the "proto-mental", the somato-psychic level of experiences, consisting of emotional entities "in the raw", which to he gives the name "beta elements". According to Bion, these bits of raw sense data are, as it were, "looking for", or "in search of" a place where they can grow and be transformed into thoughts, dreams ideas, myths, etc. For in Bion's theory of thinking, all thoughts exist a priori to their being actually thought; that is to say, they are simply 'there' in some potential space/time, independent of there being a thinker to think them. Bion's image of thoughts simply being "there" without having found a thinker to think them yet, is reminiscent of Luigi Pirandello's drama "Six Characters in Search of an Author." They, too, these six characters "exist" ostensibly a priori to an author's mind having created them, and their search can be thought of as being analogous to the "searching" of thoughts for a mind, for a thinker to think them.

When these "thoughts without a thinker" find such a "nesting place" in the mind of a "host" (mother, therapist, consultant, supervisor, leader etc.) so to speak, they can then be transformed into so-called "alpha elements" through the state of mind which Bion has named "reverie", and the process which he has called "alpha function." He emphasizes, however, that he neither knows what alpha-function is or how it functions, he just knows that it does! [...] It all depends, he says, on the presence of "negative capability", i.e. the capability to take in without judging and without explanation, the ability just to "be with one's experience", to tolerate uncertainty, mystery and doubt without any "irritable grasping for facts and reason."

When the containing object (the psyche of the container) takes up the contained (i.e. the projected, the not-understood, the painful, needy, as yet uncontained, unthinkable beta elements) from the subject, it must be capable of carrying out this metabolic, disentangling process within itself, in order to be able to feed it back to the subject in small, digestible doses, so that it can now be metabolised by the subject and used for mental growth, rather than being simply expelled, "spat out" again as mentally indigestible.

Negative capability, which enables the object to "dream" (reverie) upon, to ponder and reflect upon these projected parts, requires a state of mind which Bion calls "patience" and which gradually changes into a state of mind which he calls "certainty" when the "to-be-contained" has been understood, detoxicated and re-presented to the subject. [...] This, then, is the process which, according to Bion, has to take place in every mother, in every therapist, consultant or supervisor, in every leader if he  has the intention of being helpful to his/her "baby" (patient, client, supervisee, client system, team, staff, organisation, company, nation or people), and to the extent to which the necessity of performing a containing function for those who are to follow his or her lead is both recognised and possible.

This appears to be quite interesting to me - could someone provide a link where I can read the whole thing - I mean, Bion's theory of the Container/Contained?

that guest - are you trying to be a smart a s s here, pulling our legs, or what?!

This guy is an a s s - and when I say an a s s, I mean a TOTAL A S S - and you want a link where to read all his crap?! Container-Contained, d i c k-in-a-p u s s y and * & ^ % like that!

But it's not his fault, it's the fault of all the a s s e s that read and print him!

I mean, we've read a lot of crazy stuff before, Freud too used to be a moron, but not THIS moronic! Or better to say, because we've been reading him for such a long time, we've kinda gotten used to his * & ^ % a little by little!

Anyways, looks like that's how this thing works, they see people kinda accept one guy's * & ^ %, and they go for their own * & ^ %, hoping they won't look to people as idiotic as they truly are!

I wouldn't use the exact kind of words towards Bion and others (Object Relations Theory) - I get it he relied a lot on Klein's theory and from what I can search on this very very board, her theory sounds a bit unusual. Here's a quote:

[...] [Projection] helps the ego to overcome anxiety by ridding it of danger and badness. Introjection of the good object is also used by the ego as a defense against anxiety.... The processes of splitting off parts of the self and projecting them into objects are thus of vital importance for normal development as well as for abnormal object-relation. The effect of introjection on object relations is equally important. The introjection of the good object, first of all the mother's breast, is a precondition for normal development ... It comes to form a focal point in the ego and makes for cohesiveness of the ego.... I suggest for these processes the term 'projective identification.'

Klein imagined this function as a defense which contributes to the normal development of the infant, including ego structure and the development of object relations. The introjection of the good breast provides a location where one can hide from persecution, an early step in developing a capacity to self-soothe. [...] The positions of Kleinian theory, underlain by unconscious phantasy, are stages in the normal development of ego and object relationships, each with its own characteristic defenses and organizational structure. The paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions occur in the pre-oedipal, oral phase of development.

[...] Klein believed that both good and bad objects are introjected by the infant, the internalization of good object being essential to the development of healthy ego function. Klein conceptualized the depressive position as "the most mature form of psychological organization," which continues to develop throughout the life span. The depressive position occurs during the second quarter of the first year. Prior to that the infant is in the paranoid-schizoid position, which is characterized by persecutory anxieties and the mechanisms of splitting, projection, introjection, and omnipotence—which includes idealizing and denial—to defend against these anxieties. Depressive and paranoid-schizoid modes of experience continue to intermingle throughout the first few years of childhood.

The paranoid-schizoid position is characterized by part object relationships. Part objects are a function of splitting, which takes place in phantasy. At this developmental stage, experience can only be perceived as all good or all bad. As part objects, it is the function that is identified by the experiencing self, rather than whole and autonomous others. The hungry infant desires the good breast who feeds it. Should that breast appear, it is the good breast. If the breast does not appear, the hungry and now frustrated infant in its distress, has destructive phantasies dominated by oral aggression towards the bad, hallucinated breast.

Klein notes that in splitting the object, the ego is also split. The infant who phantasies destruction of the bad breast is not the same infant that takes in the good breast, at least not until obtaining the depressive position, at which point good and bad can be tolerated simultaneously in the same person and the capacity for remorse and reparation ensue.


« Reply #622 on: February 25, 2012, 06:19:15 PM »

Depressive position

In the depressive position, the infant is able to experience others as whole, which radically alters object relationships from the earlier phase. Before the depressive position, a good object is not in any way the same thing as a bad object. It is only in the depressive position that polar qualities can be seen as different aspects of the same object. Increasing nearness of good and bad brings a corresponding integration of ego. [...] In a development termed the "primal split," the infant becomes aware of separateness from the mother. This awareness allows guilt to arise in response to the infant's previous aggressive phantasies when bad was split from good. The mother's temporary absences allow for continuous restoration of her "as an image of representation" in the infant mind. Symbolic thought may now arise, and can only emerge once access to the depressive position has been obtained. With the awareness of the primal split, a space is created in which the symbol, the symbolized, and the experiencing subject coexist. History, subjectivity, interiority, and empathy all become possible. [...]


In working through depressive anxiety, projections are withdrawn, allowing the other more autonomy, reality, and a separate existence. The infant, whose destructive phantasies were directed towards the bad mother who frustrated, now begins to realize that bad and good, frustrating and satiating, it is always the same mother [...]


From this developmental milestone come a capacity for sympathy, responsibility to and concern for others, and an ability to identify with the subjective experience of people one cares about. With the withdrawal of the destructive projections, repression of the aggressive impulses takes place. The child allows caretakers a more separate existence, which facilitates increasing differentiation of inner and outer reality [...]  When all goes well, the developing child is able to comprehend that external others are autonomous people with their own needs and subjectivity.


Now some of you might say this 'breast' thing is all feasible ...  it makes sense ... and yet, one might naturally pose the question: what about children who never had a female figure near during their childhood? What about, for instance, babies raised by gay partners (males) that we see more and more these days?

Klein put down in words her intuitions during a time when gay parenting and the like, e.g., were not even thought of - I'd guess, her theories need a bit revision. I don't want to sound rude, but speaking nowadays in her terms is a bit funny!

« Reply #623 on: February 27, 2012, 04:32:37 PM »

Derrida said, "What I understand under the name deconstruction, there is no end, no beginning, and no after." He also said, "Since it takes the singularity of every context into account, Deconstruction is different from one context to another." Now, if deconstruction is different in different fields, then how is it different in different cultures? If there is neither a beginning nor an end of deconstruction, and if deconstruction is different from one context to the next -- then deconstruction must also have taken place in other cultures -- long before Jacques Derrida was ever born! To name just three: China, India and Japan. China's great deconstructive mind belonged to an unconventional, anti-traditional Taoist named Chuang Tzu. In a manner similar to that of Jacques Derrida, he played with words, in order to undermine opposites. Both are aware of the problems that language and signification create, and both use a playful, unconventional style of writing to undermine and subvert conventional meanings -- to create works that blur the boundaries between philosophy and literature.

Chuang Tzu said, "Where there is birth, there must be death; where there is death there must be birth. Where there is acceptability there must be unacceptability; where there is unacceptability there must be acceptability. Where there is recognition of right there must be recognition of wrong; where there is recognition of wrong there must be recognition of right." Therefore, the sage does not proceed in such a way, but illuminates all in the light of Heaven. He too recognizes a 'this', but a 'this' which is also a 'that', a 'that' which is also a 'this'. His 'that' has both a right and a wrong in it; his 'this' too has both a right and wrong in it. So, in fact, does he still have a 'this' and 'that'? Or does he in fact no longer have a 'this' and 'that'? A state in which 'this' and 'that' no longer find their opposites is called the hinge of the Tao.

And what did he do with the great philosophical notion of a pure origin, and of the binary opposition between Being and Non-Being? He said, "There is a beginning. There is a not-yet-beginning to be a beginning. There is a not-yet-beginning-to-be-a-not-yet-beginning to be beginning. There is being. There is nonbeing. There is a not-yet-beginning to be non being. There is a not-yet-beginning-to-be-a-not-yet-beginning to be non being. Suddenly there is being and nonbeing. But between this being and nonbeing, I don't really know which is being and which is nonbeing.

In India, that land of snow-capped Himalayas and spicy, softly blowing breezes -- from the very dawn of their religion, thousands of years ago, the Hindus have been logocentric, believing that every form in the world is but expression of a sound -- it's name. In fact, the name for a holy Word is Brahman -- the same as the word for the spiritual essence of the entire universe. And the three major Hindu gods -- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva -- each have other names, and plenty of them. Hinduism is also phallocentric and phallogocentric. Millions of Hindus worship Shiva's phallus -- or lingum -- and it is in fact the commonest object in Benares. In fact, in Benares the lingums outnumber the inhabitants. Lingums are on view everywhere, garlanded with flowers, smeared with butter and drowned in waves of milk, honey, Ganges water and the holy chanting of Ommmmmm. In fact, according to Hindu myth, the holy city of Benares was originally nothing but an erect Shiva phallus! At first it was no larger than a stovepipe, and stood in the midst of a shoreless, humming ocean. Later this phallus spread out, till it was 10 miles across. Then, it kept growing until it was as large as the whole globe. The phallus of Benares is thus almost as great as mine, which is the Center of the entire earth!

There was a time in Indian history, however, when groups of yogis became skeptical of all this. From among all the phallogocentric seekers of truth and meaning along the great brown river -- the ever-rolling and tranquil Ganges -- from among the waves and waves of turbaned priests and Hari Babas, and Ramjab Babas and Omkara Babas reciting unceasingly the eternal names of God, there emerged sects of naked, long-haired or semi-nude wandering ascetics. And as they walked along the sands of the holy Ganges they carried tridents or spears in their right hands and their limp penises would sway to and fro. They began to question everything Hindu. In fact, sometimes they would eat the flesh of dead men or would meditate atop a corpse. And instead of chanting Om, and instead of seeking for Brahman -- the essence of everything -- they began to question if anything has an essence -- if Brahmin even exists. They questioned everything -- using riddles. And from among this group of skeptics emerged a young prince, Siddartha Gotama, who was to become known as the Buddha. The Hindus had believed that the soul or Atma was identical with Brahman or God, and that is was eternal. But Buddha taught that all things are impermanent and that there is no soul.

Buddha paved the way for Asia's greatest Indian philosopher, who was to be called "The Second Buddha." His name was Nagarjuna, and many modern scholars have found that his philosophy has much in common with Derrida's "deconstruction." He wrote about Emptiness, saying that anything that is Empty is devoid of self-essence. Or in Sanskrit what is called svabhava. The cup seems to exist all by itself, and not to be dependent on, or related to, anything else. But is this a drawing of a cup or of two faces? Or is it a drawing of both, or of neither? Perhaps it is just a two-dimensional series of lines! The important point is that we cannot see both the cup and faces simultaneously. Each image appears to possess svabhava or self-essence. Each image appears to be a self-sufficient, self-existent, discrete image. But they don't possess self-essence! There is an intimate, subtle relationship between the faces and the cup. One cannot exist without the other. They depend on each other.

wtf man - what does this has to do with l egal reasoning - maybe I am a bit dense but i just don't see any conection

socall, I don't think the poster you're quoting is "that" serious when saying what he's saying in the first place - you can easily notice his attitude when talking about the whole thing ..

« Reply #624 on: February 27, 2012, 04:33:57 PM »
creme caramel, I'm not sure the poster was kinda joking, but I have to tell you this: Nagarjuna is famous among Buddhist thinkers and I think I saw a post drawing a parallel between his way of thinking and Greek philosophers (a tetralemma kind of thing, I believe)

Here it is:

Will you walk, I wouldn't be so divisive when it comes to Western philo and Buddhism. For example,

Nagarjuna was an important Buddhist teacher and philosopher. His tetralemma is famous with its logical propositions:

X (affirmation)
non-X (negation)
X and non-X (both)
neither X nor non-X (neither)

Now, the tetralemma is a figure that features prominently in the classical logic of the Greeks. It states that with reference to any a logical proposition X, there are four possibilities

X (affirmation)
¬ X (negation)
X Λ ¬ X both (eqiv.)
¬ (X ∨ ¬ X) (neither)