False consciousness / alienation / Transparency 2.0

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banjo
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby banjo » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:22 am

fats provolone wrote:
banjo wrote:What's so bad about turning your life into a series of arbitrary goals? Competition and mastery are rewarding in and of themselves. Olympic swimmers devote years of their lives to swimming a fraction of a second faster. After a certain point, it's not love of swimming that pushes them--it's pure competitive spirit. It's the same spirit that drives professional Street Fighter players, world-class musicians, and spelling bee winners. Law is actually a perfect profession for people who strive purely for the sake of winning at something.

are you a law student


I'm a 2L.

My point is that people devote thousands of hours to "pointless" activities like Tetris and swimming faster. Their motivation is purely being better at something than they were before.

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bjsesq
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby bjsesq » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:23 am

banjo wrote:
fats provolone wrote:
banjo wrote:What's so bad about turning your life into a series of arbitrary goals? Competition and mastery are rewarding in and of themselves. Olympic swimmers devote years of their lives to swimming a fraction of a second faster. After a certain point, it's not love of swimming that pushes them--it's pure competitive spirit. It's the same spirit that drives professional Street Fighter players, world-class musicians, and spelling bee winners. Law is actually a perfect profession for people who strive purely for the sake of winning at something.

are you a law student


I'm a 2L.

My point is that people devote thousands of hours to "pointless" activities like Tetris and swimming faster. Their motivation is purely being better at something than they were before.

Surely we can differentiate between what you are doing and the dude who plays tetris or swims faster.

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los blancos
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby los blancos » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:26 am

Suralin wrote:Thought-provoking thread as always BL.


Yeah this thread has actually gotten closer to giving me a real definition of stiver prole-ism than anything else I've come across.

bjsesq wrote:
banjo wrote:
fats provolone wrote:
banjo wrote:What's so bad about turning your life into a series of arbitrary goals? Competition and mastery are rewarding in and of themselves. Olympic swimmers devote years of their lives to swimming a fraction of a second faster. After a certain point, it's not love of swimming that pushes them--it's pure competitive spirit. It's the same spirit that drives professional Street Fighter players, world-class musicians, and spelling bee winners. Law is actually a perfect profession for people who strive purely for the sake of winning at something.

are you a law student


I'm a 2L.

My point is that people devote thousands of hours to "pointless" activities like Tetris and swimming faster. Their motivation is purely being better at something than they were before.

Surely we can differentiate between what you are doing and the dude who plays tetris or swims faster.


Yeah even I'm not dense enough to miss the point of the OP by such a wide mark.

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banjo
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby banjo » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:50 am

bjsesq wrote:
banjo wrote:
fats provolone wrote:
banjo wrote:What's so bad about turning your life into a series of arbitrary goals? Competition and mastery are rewarding in and of themselves. Olympic swimmers devote years of their lives to swimming a fraction of a second faster. After a certain point, it's not love of swimming that pushes them--it's pure competitive spirit. It's the same spirit that drives professional Street Fighter players, world-class musicians, and spelling bee winners. Law is actually a perfect profession for people who strive purely for the sake of winning at something.

are you a law student


I'm a 2L.

My point is that people devote thousands of hours to "pointless" activities like Tetris and swimming faster. Their motivation is purely being better at something than they were before.

Surely we can differentiate between what you are doing and the dude who plays tetris or swims faster.


I don't really see the difference. Law school has been little more than a string of contests--the LSAT, 1L exams, write-on, OCI, clerkship apps, SA, bar exam, and whatever comes next.

los blancos wrote:Yeah even I'm not dense enough to miss the point of the OP by such a wide mark.


losblancos, the OP's point is that "I'm average" is a bad starting point for planning a life. We should be more introspective and imaginative than that, and we should try to make theoretically informed career choices. I'm saying that we wouldn't be much worse off if we just set up a bunch of arbitrary goals and tried to achieve them.

If that's all totally off-base, oh well.

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earthabides
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby earthabides » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:54 am

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Last edited by earthabides on Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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los blancos
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby los blancos » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:01 am

banjo wrote:the OP's point is that "I'm average" is a bad starting point for planning a life


pretty sure that's not it.

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earthabides
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby earthabides » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:02 am

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Skump
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Skump » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:03 pm

When you get to thinking about it, it's pretty clear that false consciousness is necessary to make so many aspects of the higher ed pipeline seem rational from a student's perspective. Hell, think about the system of student loans. Let's unpack those that in the context of a legal education.

The core narrative is that a law student should feel a social obligation to incur, and pay back, student loans, because society is doing the student a favor by extending the opportunity to learn the practice of law; add some gloss about "putting in your dues."

That's a pretty amusing story from a class-based analysis. After all, who the hell are law students learning these skills to serve? Oh yeah, disproportionately, boomers and misc. relatively entitled entities/individuals, i.e., "the establishment;" which, of course, includes the faculty and admins of law schools.

Thus, a more realistic description of the situation is that the privileged classes are leveraging their powers as gatekeepers to double-dip: effectively charging students to learn the very skills that the privileged classes need their minions to have to operate the pulleys and levers of the institutional contraption that sustains their wealth. Worse still, students are most likely to get shit-canned from their jobs right about the time that they're paid their loans, limiting upward mobility and depressing wages more than students are apt to perceive–making the myth used to justify student loans doubly dishonest.

It's like being forced to take out a loan from McDonalds for the privilege of learning how to flip burgers, and then getting fired once you're square on the principal and interest. "Next!" Fast food indeed–too bad we're on the menu.

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:18 pm

I haven't read this but it seems on point:

Image

The debtor-creditor relation, which is at the heart of this book, sharpens mechanisms of exploitation and domination indiscriminately, since, in it, there is no distinction between workers and the unemployed, consumers and producers, working and non-working populations, between retirees and welfare recipients. They are all “debtors,” guilty and responsible in the eyes of capital, which has become the Great, the Universal, Creditor.
--from The Making of the Indebted Man

Debt—both public debt and private debt—has become a major concern of economic and political leaders. In The Making of the Indebted Man, Maurizio Lazzarato shows that, far from being a threat to the capitalist economy, debt lies at the very core of the neoliberal project. Through a reading of Karl Marx’s lesser-known youthful writings on John Mill, and a rereading of writings by Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Michel Foucault, Lazzarato demonstrates that debt is above all a political construction, and that the creditor/debtor relation is the fundamental social relation of Western societies.

Debt cannot be reduced to a simple economic mechanism, for it is also a technique of “public safety” through which individual and collective subjectivities are governed and controlled. Its aim is to minimize the uncertainty of the time and behavior of the governed. We are forever sinking further into debt to the State, to private insurance, and, on a more general level, to corporations. To insure that we honor our debts, we are at once encouraged and compelled to become the “entrepreneurs” of our lives, of our “human capital.” In this way, our entire material, psychological, and affective horizon is upended and reconfigured.

How do we extricate ourselves from this impossible situation? How do we escape the neoliberal condition of the indebted man? Lazzarato argues that we will have to recognize that there is no simple technical, economic, or financial solution. We must instead radically challenge the fundamental social relation structuring capitalism: the system of debt.


http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/making-indebted-man-0
http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Indebt ... 584351152/

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:48 pm

banjo wrote:the OP's point is that "I'm average" is a bad starting point for planning a life


No, that is not the point of the OP, or at least not the central one. The point of the OP is that posts like this:

banjo wrote:
fats provolone wrote:
banjo wrote:What's so bad about turning your life into a series of arbitrary goals? Competition and mastery are rewarding in and of themselves. Olympic swimmers devote years of their lives to swimming a fraction of a second faster. After a certain point, it's not love of swimming that pushes them--it's pure competitive spirit. It's the same spirit that drives professional Street Fighter players, world-class musicians, and spelling bee winners. Law is actually a perfect profession for people who strive purely for the sake of winning at something.

are you a law student


I'm a 2L.

My point is that people devote thousands of hours to "pointless" activities like Tetris and swimming faster. Their motivation is purely being better at something than they were before.

get to the heart of what's totally fucking bizarre and alienated about setting money on fire by going to an elite academic institution and treating it like a game of Tetris. It may be true that law is a perfect profession for people who strive purely for the sake of winning at something. Winning for the sake of winning does not elevate you above the level of mediocrity. It does not even elevate you above the level of an animal or even a single-cell organism in a Darwinian sense. It puts you roughly on the level of a lobotomized version of Camus's Sisyphus. An enslaved, incurious everyman. Which is kind of a bullshit place to be when you're getting trained in deconstruction by another name. The point is not just that an default assumption of being average is a poor starting point, though that's certainly part. It's that conflating "winning" at a rigged game you can't ever win for its own sake with excellence is false consciousness of the most deplorable sort. Living life playing this way is alienation.

We touch on these ideas obliquely. They're right there in the open.

earthabides wrote:You two are arguing about who is better at understanding nothing.

Don't go. I'm not even kidding. If you can't be bothered to read material like this that directly relates to your position and get the substantive points and ideas out of it, what makes you think you have any business applying judges' reasoning on precedent cases on anyone else's behalf? Don't answer that. It's a rhetorical question. I know exactly what makes you think that. It's what this thread is about.

To be clear, I'm not saying you're wrong. On some level you're not wrong at all. Good luck! Follow your dreams!

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earthabides
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby earthabides » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:02 pm

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:06 pm

I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul

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earthabides
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby earthabides » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:09 pm

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utahraptor
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby utahraptor » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:26 pm

Yeah, the problem still is that the Camusian would still be ok with leaning into the absurd.

Put simply: just because you're aware of the absurdity of striving doesn't mean you canoe should do anything about it.

I don't really get the Marxist angle. Is this just a flame to see who agrees with half-baked ideas that aren't really put forward in a genuine way?

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earthabides
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby earthabides » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:31 pm

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sundance95
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby sundance95 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:53 pm

OP, srs question: So what?

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:47 pm

sundance95 wrote:OP, srs question: So what?

The answer is different for everyone. Maybe some people should go to law school because they like to argue.

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bk1
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby bk1 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:15 pm

I'm just not sure most people, heck even most tlsers, care enough to think about these sorts of things.

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sundance95
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby sundance95 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:29 pm

Businesslady wrote:
sundance95 wrote:OP, srs question: So what?

The answer is different for everyone. Maybe some people should go to law school because they like to argue.

so this is a dadaist/zen koan thing, i.e., an attempt to knock people out of an unexamined-life paradigm?

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06102016
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby 06102016 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:41 pm

..

EricHosmer
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby EricHosmer » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:02 pm

I think this may be the first thread on TLS that has made me feel better about my choice to go to a Liberal Arts College.
Last edited by EricHosmer on Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Elston Gunn » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:06 pm

I never learned Marx as well as I should have in undergrad, probably out of some kneejerk aversion. But when I think of the ennui that law school and the "treadmill" of striverism evokes in me, I think about the Wallace stories "Octet," (can't find an online pdf) and especially "Good Old Neon." Unfortunately I can't screenshot the important parts without ruining the stories, but every law student should read them.

The beginning of "Neon" isn't anything particularly remarkable, but it's hard to imagine a more spot-on description of the average law student:
Image

Both stories are really about how enormous the struggle to actually connect with another human being can be, and the way crippling self-consciousness interferes. I know I'm talking about something different from Marxist alienation, but this is certainly how I feel, at least about the bad things about law school. It's the aggressive uncuriousness--everyone is either a committed striver or a defeated cynic, or like me, caught between both impulses. And that uncuriousness, which you can really boil down to a belief that the whole idea of leading a meaningful life is bunk, leads to numbing and loneliness.

I manage to still like my life, but it's mostly only because I love my wife and connect with and trust her in a way I never expected to with anyone. If I were doing law school without her I don't think I could handle the loneliness.

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:12 pm

bk1 wrote:I'm just not sure most people, heck even most tlsers, care enough to think about these sorts of things.

Yes, that's part of the premise. 3 years in a "Socratic" environment and never getting the memo about the unexamined life.

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06102016
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby 06102016 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:13 pm

..
Last edited by 06102016 on Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: This is post 12345.

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Businesslady
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Re: False consciousness / alienation

Postby Businesslady » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:20 pm

slackademic wrote:
utahraptor wrote:Yeah, the problem still is that the Camusian would still be ok with leaning into the absurd.

Put simply: just because you're aware of the absurdity of striving doesn't mean you canoe should do anything about it.

I don't really get the Marxist angle. Is this just a flame to see who agrees with half-baked ideas that aren't really put forward in a genuine way?

How do you not get the Marxist angle?

Seriously, though, Smaug, like what about rentier boomer partners and debt as a weapon and risk-averse pooled capital forcing you into smiling slavery at best doesn't scream Marx to you? I said a lobotomized Camusian Sisyphus. The Camusian Sisyphus wants to fight and got there from fighting and defying the gods and understands that his existence is a giant fuck you and so he's happy to do it and has come up against immortals and will always know he's there as a reminder of their stubbornness, that he outsmarted them, and that his 'punishment' is the eternal pleasure of reminding them that they rigged the game. You can't just skip over the part where he locks up Death himself.

This is the exact kind of conclusory nitpicking deadening wet-blanket lawyer schtick that saps people of the will to go in fighting and keep fighting.




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