False consciousness / alienation / Transparency 2.0

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tennactitans
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby tennactitans » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:10 pm

Damn near every substantive post here is 100% subjective. Very interesting and provoking, sure. Applicable to anyone not in the midst of a self-crisis, probably not. Relax, guys. It's just life.

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banjo
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby banjo » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:18 pm

georgej wrote:Second: Ritual is an absolute necessity to life, and any philosophy that tries to strip the "empty" rituals of life completely away from people will just see new, equally absurd ones spring up in place. Ritual is less commonly religious than it once was, but that context is the one in which its easiest to understand the point I'm trying to make, which is that rituals are cultural habits that we have to fill up the down-time. Sitting down in the morning to post on TLS before studying/working does not add anything quantifiable to any of our lives. But everyone here does it, or if you just lurk or use this website for admissions advice, you probably have others time-filling habits. Some would call them hobbies. Others might say passions or interests or something like that. Yet for some, ritual is everything. In olden times, these kinds of people entered the priesthood. In modern times, these type of people are the true, Faustian, strivers. What the older, religious system provided that the modern doesn't was a solid endgame. I think my best advice is if you want to make a life out of scratching your way to the top, know that a) you will probably fail but b) if you succeed, there's nothing there and you'll probably just end up getting really good at something like golf or birdwatching and wishing you'd spent more time on these little rituals/hobbies from the beginning. But for some rare people, there might be an option c) actuating world change. The people gunning for option c) frankly terrify me, and I hope those that get there leave the rest of us alone to play at our rituals in our little sandboxes. This type of elite typically does not actually care about the world, he is just the most in the grip of the narcissistic death-fear.


I mean, this is essentially the worldview I hinted at several pages back, and I even suggested that law school is the perfect profession for the true, Faustian, strivers you describe (a sort of modern priesthood). I used the analogy of playing Tetris -- a game that is endless and impossible to win by design. The response was that striving for striving's sake and conflating that with "excellence" (however we define that) is mediocrity and false consciousness. That's a legitimate worldview, even if I don't reach the same conclusion, so I have no real response to it.

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:22 pm

If someone isn't having a crisis that brought them to this website in the first place, this thread will be there for them when they go to school or into the workforce and have it then. Never having a crisis is for assholes and idiots.

As for ritual, there's a passage in the OP on the (vaguely defined) possibilities for exporting ideas to society in general from a liminal state.

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fats provolone
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby fats provolone » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:23 pm

if you actually strive for strivings sake (and tbf we're really stretching the meaning of the word striver quite a bit at this point) sure. but in practice i think that's rarely the case.

the concept of ritual is interesting. i agree we do it to fill the time. but it's not just empty time. things like posting on tls are often enjoyable because they're a way to procrastinate introspection.

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chup
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby chup » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:51 pm

utahraptor wrote:Awareness without options is pretty meaningless.

Yeah but not really.

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J3987
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby J3987 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:17 pm

utahraptor wrote:I've literally never heard people justify law in that way in real life. I've heard people say it's the best of bad options, or that they regret the choice. I hear people admit that they want money and they think this is how to get it.

But, even that differs from what you're talking about. There's no real opt-out for most people. Or, if you think there is an opt-out, I'd like to know what it is. Awareness without options is pretty meaningless.


You seem too thoughtful to succumb to a nihilistic version of "ignorance is bliss" as if blatant doublethink settles anything and then deny the universe of ways in which a bright person with a graduate level education can to varying degrees participate in the political-economic system.

Coming to a different conclusion wrt facts and theory is fine. Rejecting the question out of hand seems immature.

Moneytrees
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Moneytrees » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:21 pm

I'd love to hear an explanation for why "striving for striving's sake and conflating that with "excellence" (however we define that) is mediocrity and false consciousness". Striving for striving's sake can be a genuine attempt to give some form of meaning to your life. If you accept the idea that there is no God and thus no inherently "good" or "bad" life, then it's up to individuals to imbue their lives with meaning.

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fats provolone
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby fats provolone » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:23 pm

by slaving away for partners who give no fucks about you

i think god might be more rewarding. at least he isn't real

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Elston Gunn
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Elston Gunn » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:27 pm

Moneytrees wrote:I'd love to hear an explanation for why "striving for striving's sake and conflating that with "excellence" (however we define that) is mediocrity and false consciousness". Striving for striving's sake can be a genuine attempt to give some form of meaning to your life. If you accept the idea that there is no God and thus no inherently "good" or "bad" life, then it's up to individuals to imbue their lives with meaning.

The issue from my perspective--and I definitely don't fully understand or subscribe 100% to ratfukr's POV--is that the average law student makes no attempt to "imbue their lives with meaning." That's the entire problem. I completely accept that "the good life" is something that is self-defined, but strivers as such define the good life in, more or less, what they imagine will be in someone else's head when they look at their resume, and then almost universally extend that to snobbish judgmentalness. (I include myself for much of my life in this.) The HYS guy who was honest enough to admit he looked down on people in solo practice or whatever is the perfect example. Surely you can see why defining yourself by what you imagine your boomer parents think when they describe your career to their boomer friends is soul-crushing, and in no way meaningful. Most won't admit that's what drives them, and maybe it honestly doesn't, but I strongly believe it's the driving force behind what I consider striverism. I'm sure you can apply a different Marxist account, but the point is probably similar.

Moneytrees
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Moneytrees » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:38 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:
Moneytrees wrote:I'd love to hear an explanation for why "striving for striving's sake and conflating that with "excellence" (however we define that) is mediocrity and false consciousness". Striving for striving's sake can be a genuine attempt to give some form of meaning to your life. If you accept the idea that there is no God and thus no inherently "good" or "bad" life, then it's up to individuals to imbue their lives with meaning.

The issue from my perspective--and I definitely don't fully understand or subscribe 100% to ratfukr's POV--is that the average law student makes no attempt to "imbue their lives with meaning." That's the entire problem. I completely accept that "the good life" is something that is self-defined, but strivers as such define the good life in, more or less, what they imagine will be in someone else's head when they look at their resume, and then almost universally extend that to snobbish judgmentalness. (I include myself for much of my life in this.) The HYS guy who was honest enough to admit he looked down on people in solo practice or whatever is the perfect example. Surely you can see why defining yourself by what you imagine your boomer parents think when they describe your career to their boomer friends is soul-crushing, and in no way meaningful. Most won't admit that's what drives them, and maybe it honestly doesn't, but I strongly believe it's the driving force behind what I consider striverism. I'm sure you can apply a different Marxist account, but the point is probably similar.


I definitely get this perspective.

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sundance95
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby sundance95 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:01 pm

Businesslady wrote:
slackademic wrote:
sundance95 wrote:To move on from that shitstorm, the OP and this thread generally suffer from the same ailment that has always plagued the New Left; it offers only critique (which it understands as undermining the core of our social structure) without simultaneously offering a credible alternate vision.

Not that I'm saying you're totally wrong, but there is a "Start Again" part in the OP which proposes alternatives.

That poster is totally wrong for all practical purposes ITT. Also illustrative of defeatist point-missing braindead prelaw garbage thought.

Businesslady wrote:Tl;dr retake or don't go

Thanks, but I actually have already gone. I'll take the comment about still thinking like someone who hasn't gone to law school as a compliment, however.
Businesslady wrote:There's an entire UBI thread linked in the OP and the New Left is not homogenous. But seriously, what do you think law school is?

Anyway just lol at no credible alternate vision. Try "socialism." Motherfucking socialism. Free healthcare. Free education. Free food. 40% (I think?) of what's on supermarket shelves rots in dumpsters while kids starve. Maybe don't waste resources locking people up for taking it. A massive percentage of prison inmates are nonviolent drug offenders.

Right, because a socialist paradigm never arises from a liberal worldview, because liberal always means Gilded-Age laissez-faire capitalism. Ignore Britain, modern Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, which all provide free or nearly free education and healthcare and are decidedly liberal/capitalist.

Sure they don't give out free food, but now you are getting into straight up Communism; if you're going to go there then give me a minute to grab the world's largest bag of popcorn, because I can't wait for you to explain how Communism really can work, and how the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Yemen, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Angola, Benin, D.R. Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, and Mozambique totally got it wrong, but we're going to nail it this time!

Businesslady wrote:Maybe if adult children read Foucault's Discipline and Punish before showing up in crim and offering suburban fucking ideas from jerking off to COPS we wouldn't have some neoliberal fantasy about law and order getting reinforced every single day wasting everyone's time and debasing entire communities. Maybe if Stevens read Arendt before deciding in Gregg he wouldn't have had to spend the rest of his life wondering what the fuck it was exactly that made him sign off on disingenuously bloodthirsty rationalizations that put bullshit rules above human life.

If only [person] had read [work I agree with] then maybe they wouldn't do [things I disagree with]! Or maybe they would anyway, because maybe just maybe those people actually buy into the distinction between the pragmatic and the theoretical.

Businesslady wrote:You realize people on this board are going to law school, and applying doctrines and abstract theories about the world to actual cases, right?

"Hurr durr I don't see a grand design for society with prescriptions for everyone in critique I haven't actually read but like where are your SOLUTIONS. Checkmate libs" isn't really a constructive response to "if you're going to spend 3 years reading cases and trying to extract the reasoning behind them, you may as well read theory and save yourself the cognitive dissonance of wondering whether you should actually be internalizing capital's bullshit lawyerly sophism as if it were actually anything but specious nonsense you get points for acknowledging exists; here's some."

Fine, yes, Duncan Kennedy etc etc. But quit kidding yourself: the lack of solutions offered by the New Left means that critical theories arguably establish the best case for why you should internalize bullshit lawyerly sophism. If society and its values are entirely contingent and subjective, then any system would suffer from the same flaws, and you might as well go and get yours while the getting is good. If that doesn't fulfill you, that's fine. But quit assuming that anyone that gets on the treadmill is living an unexamined life; plenty of folks have gone down the thought train and (gasp) reached different conclusions.

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sundance95
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby sundance95 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:08 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:The issue from my perspective--and I definitely don't fully understand or subscribe 100% to ratfukr's POV--is that the average law student makes no attempt to "imbue their lives with meaning." That's the entire problem.

Yes, by all means, if the point here is to jolt folks into thinking about these issues then I'm all for it. The problem is when people start believing that if one has considered these issues then one must agree with them.

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cotiger
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby cotiger » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:35 pm

ymmv wrote:I don't agree with this as a general sentiment, but is some condescension in the assumption a few people ITT make that many people haven't tried the whole starving artist thing and hated it. I also get the sense that some posters have completely forgotten the recession already or were too young to wholly appreciate how fucking awful it was to be fighting for even the shittiest of service jobs in 2009. Well-established corporate career paths can have an attraction to those who have already dealt with crushing undergraduate debt and un/under-employment in the real world, not just to naive lib arts college juniors deciding whether to LSAT or "follow their dreams" or dick around in China for a few years.


Construing cultivating self-understanding as "the whole starving artist thing" is part of the mentality that leads to unreflective striverism. There's nothing incongruous about "finding yourself" and also being in a more traditional career.

Going into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt in order to obtain a job that you will most likely hate but has the social cachet of being successful and stable doesn't seem like the most fully self-actualized response to economic uncertainty.

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earthabides
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby earthabides » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:43 pm

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Last edited by earthabides on Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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OneMoreLawHopeful
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:44 pm

slackademic wrote:Fair, but I don't think striving would be sustainable on such a massive scale if people actually thought deeply about this stuff. I think it's more in the background of people's minds, and there are various ways in which they consciously or unconsciously put off the issues until it's too late.


Respectfully, I think that this entire discussion is mired in unidentified assumptions, and the push back by a poster like earthabides is based in the non-recognition that those assumptions are being made by ratfukr, et al.

Skimming most of the thread, it seems like the biggest unstated assumption is simply that you can draw meaningful inferences about someone's internal motivations based upon their external behavior (e.g. "Student X seems to sacrificing his personal life in order to build a resume. Someone motivated by 'striverism' will exhibit the same external behavior. Ergo, without actually knowing about Student X's motivations, I will assume Student X is motivated by striverism.") That's a tenuous premise at best, and anyone with a few years in the "real world" can tell you that it's often just plain wrong. The government attorney who is a "true believer in law and order" will often exhibit the same external behaviors as the government attorney whose "true beliefs" only extend as far as refusing to work more than 40 hours a week (and hence a preference for government work over private practice).

This isn't to say that "strivers" don't exist - but it is to say that observations of external student behavior in law school which leads to the generalization of "massive scale" striverism is an assumption that needs to be questioned. I say this primarily as someone who was (and to some degree still is) often accused of being a "striver" simply because people (1) are often unwilling to believe my actual motivations when I share them, or (2) have made assumptions about me without ever asking why I do the things I do.

But that's not the only unexamined assumption going on here; there's a whole unstated assumed framework, which is probably several levels deep. Look at these two statements:

slackademic wrote:-"Anything worth doing takes hard work" (dodging the question of whether this is really worth doing and why, and rationalizing the constant demands on your time and sense of self as being worth it in the end)

At best this argument assumes its conclusion. The phrase "anything worth doing takes hard work," can readily be spoken in a context where both speaker and listener have already agreed that the task at hand is indeed "worth doing" but where the speaker is more experienced than the listener and is attempting to remind the listener about the "bigger picture" which the listener may lack the experience to see.

As an example, a social security appeal is a time consuming slog through a convoluted administrative record often stretching back a decade, which makes most biglaw doc review look like pleasure-reading. An inexperienced law student who is working on such an appeal, and has never seen the benefit of a client having their life changed for the better can easily argue that it's hardly worth it - you spend endless time on minutiae for what? So a boomer can get an extra $150/month? Without the experience to see that $150/month can be life changing for disabled retirees in many instances, it's easy to forget that this was a task worth doing in the first place. The voice of experience stepping in at that point to say "Anything worth doing takes hard work," is not dodging a question at all when delivering the line at that time.

slackademic wrote:-"We're very lucky to be here. People would kill for this opportunity." (this one's interesting because it both elevates the person relative to some imaginary prole who isn't lucky enough to be US and because it again dodges the question of whether those same people who would "kill for the opportunity" would be justified in their judgment.

Again, there are some weird assumptions about the context in which this is being spoken. It seems like here it's assumed the speaker is telling the listener "Don't ruin this for yourself," but the same phrase is often spoken to convey a gentle "Don't ruin this for me."

Certainly, in the context of "don't ruin this for yourself," there may be kind of question dodging depending upon what precipitated the statement. But if the point of the message is "I worked hard for this, and even if you don't want it anymore, I still do; so please stop ruining this for both of us" then there's no question being dodged: the speaker is openly expressing a value judgment that they very well may have thought out.


But the point of this isn't to nit-pick individual statements (and I apologize for this post coming off like that, I'm pressed for time), it's just to say that what seems to be going on here is ratfukr (and others, though it's hard to say what degree anyone is on board with all of ratfukr's statements) is saying "Hey, if you make this set of assumptions about the way law students work, and couple it with a set of assumptions that academics have made about how the world works, then you can get to this nifty outcome..." There's nothing untrue in that, but it needs to be stated that (1) the "great mass" of law students may not actually work that way, and (2) even if the assumptions of law students are close enough to be accurate we're left with odd assumptions about the way the world works which seem to be equally unjustified.


Three quick examples of the "way the world works" that ratfukr seems to be assuming and which I would seriously question:
1) I don't have time to trace how much of ratfukr's Marxist analysis depends upon accepting the "labor theory of value" but given that most Marxist analysis depends upon that theory, and that theory is highly questionable, it would seem to cast a pall over subsequent analysis done in this thread.

2) It seems like there's some weird cognitive dissonance going on where ratfukr thinks striverism is a problem because you're looking for external validation vis-a-vis prestige and yet ratfukr is simultaneously okay with something done as "performance art" even though that medium is just as dependent upon external validation (i.e. you care what the audience thinks; perhaps you want to evoke a response other than approval, but the validation is just as external).

3) Ratfukr has repeatedly brought up the fiat nature of modern currency as though it's somehow a problem, but with no real explanation of why. Mediums of exchange with no intrinsic value are demonstrably superior to the alternative (where inflation/deflation is based upon often random fluctuations in the stock of some commodity), and nothing that ratfukr has ever posted challenges this.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Elston Gunn » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:47 pm

I really don't think much hinges on whether anyone is accurately interpreting others' motivations. The point here is genuine self-reflection.

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OneMoreLawHopeful
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:49 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:I really don't think much hinges on whether anyone is accurately interpreting others' motivations. The point here is genuine self-reflection.


But (unless I misunderstood their posts) both slack and ratfukr (and possibly others) are operating under the assumption that the "average" law student has not actually undertaken any self reflection.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Elston Gunn » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:53 pm

OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:I really don't think much hinges on whether anyone is accurately interpreting others' motivations. The point here is genuine self-reflection.


But (unless I misunderstood their posts) both slack and ratfukr (and possibly others) are operating under the assumption that the "average" law student has not actually undertaken any self reflection.

Well, yes, I think it. I could be wrong. It could be all projection. I'm pretty obviously working out stuff for myself, and others can look and see if they have some of that going on too.

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cotiger
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby cotiger » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:58 pm

OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:I really don't think much hinges on whether anyone is accurately interpreting others' motivations. The point here is genuine self-reflection.


But (unless I misunderstood their posts) both slack and ratfukr (and possibly others) are operating under the assumption that the "average" law student has not actually undertaken any self reflection.


Tbf my knowledge of law students is limited to TLS and ASWs.

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cotiger
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby cotiger » Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:02 pm

And my thoughts here are certainly informed by my personal decision-making process about choosing not to go to law school.

tennactitans
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby tennactitans » Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:29 pm

+1 for most cerebral thread on tls.

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los blancos
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby los blancos » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:30 pm

OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:I really don't think much hinges on whether anyone is accurately interpreting others' motivations. The point here is genuine self-reflection.


But (unless I misunderstood their posts) both slack and ratfukr (and possibly others) are operating under the assumption that the "average" law student has not actually undertaken any self reflection.


I think that's a pretty safe assumption.

Cogburn87
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Cogburn87 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:38 pm

los blancos wrote:
OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:I really don't think much hinges on whether anyone is accurately interpreting others' motivations. The point here is genuine self-reflection.


But (unless I misunderstood their posts) both slack and ratfukr (and possibly others) are operating under the assumption that the "average" law student has not actually undertaken any self reflection.


I think that's a pretty safe assumption.

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earthabides
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby earthabides » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:55 pm

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Last edited by earthabides on Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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OneMoreLawHopeful
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:09 pm

earthabides wrote:im gonna add some overquoting to this projecting. its a good thing we have these above average folks to educate us eh guys?


TBF - I don't think they're trying to be so condescending as to imply that anyone who disagrees is "below average," but I do agree that there's a fair amount of projecting going on here which is unacknowledged by some (though some have admitted to projecting, so that's not universal either).




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