Thursday, August 7, 2014

Plato and the Practice of Law

Lawyer appreciation post:

One of Plato contributions to philosophy was about models. He theorized that the human mind was drawn to models. Essentially, we create initial models of ideas when we first learn of an idea. Later, when we learn more about the idea, our models change, but we are still drawn to reconcile the original model and the new model. Attempts to reconcile the models creates cognitive dissonance (the confusion that happens when we try to connect our initial beliefs with our current situation/reality).  For example, when we first recognize a tree as a kid, we know that it is the big bark covered thing with leaves; a tree is easily recognized. Later we learn about photosynthesis and hybrids and diseases and root systems, etc. No longer do we just say it is a tree, instead we have so much to talk and think about. 

The same is true for the practice of law. We learn what is right and wrong, yet there is so much for attorneys to sort out. According to Plato's philosophy, our minds want to get back to what we know is true (the truth we thought of when we first learned of an issue.)  We essentially want/need to reconnect with our true beliefs. 

I propose that there is no other profession that has to do this as much as the attorney profession. It is a required burden/attribute reserved for us to develop this mental and psychological character to be successful. We are either amenable to it or stressed about doing this. Either way, for us it is ongoing and relentless.   

The strength of mind this takes is truly amazing. This is why I am truly fascinated by my fellow practitioners. I am posting this in appreciation for the work you have done to be able to practice law.  Hats off to you.

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