TK/B/B: Issa edition: lawyers and the transformative vocation

I’m tempted to upgrade from TK/B/B/C to TK/B/B/C/I and make Issa an official member with repeated appearances, but I don’t even really like the look of the added C, so it’s actually going back down to TK/B/B with lots of additions. Like the following.

But actually, it ought to be an Unger day, except Unger isn’t verse or fiction and one must have some standards. But there is a very long passage in chapter 3 of Social Theory: Its Situation and Task that ought to be photocopied and handed out in law school application packets. I can’t reproduce the whole thing here, but some of the crux:

The more seriously someone takes these ideas, the greater his difficulties are likely to be. As soon as he begins to face the resistance and the entanglements of the social world, the effort to realize the idea of the transformative vocation stars to seem an unrealistic and self-destruction program. It seems to demand both a favorable opportunity and corresponding gifts. If either are absent, what begins in high purpose may end as mere anxiety.

As the obstacles to an actual transformative involvement pile up, the would-be transformer faces ever more clearly a destructive dilemma. He may trim his sails and look for more modest and “realistic” expectations. But it is not easy to pass form the idea of the transformative vocation to the notion of the honorable calling. The former implies an insight into the relation between self and society that strikes at the foundations of the later.
* * *
The person who can neither make good on his commitment to a transformative vocation nor gain faith in the idea of the honorable calling soon finds himself driven down into the instrumental conception of work. He seeks in the family or the spectacles of an ornamental culture compensatory solace for his incompensable loss. He cannot view his own instrumental work as the necessary transition to a higher form of experience.

“And after that,” Unger should have said, “we get sodding big-firm associates who whine about their bonuses on Above the Law.”

But I promised you some Issa. And some Issa you shall receive.

Approaching my village:

Don’t know about the people,
but all the scarecrows
are crooked.

- –

The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.

- –

New Year’s morning–
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.

- –

Even with insects–
some can sing,
some can’t.

(All translations by Robert Haas)


(In other news, Aaron talks sense and Ann reminds us that Biden is an idiot, as if we needed reminding.)


One Response to “TK/B/B: Issa edition: lawyers and the transformative vocation”

  1. ben wolfson Says:

    Shushing and blushing hardly seem like the gravest sins.

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