I have a new pet theory. I have a strong hunch that the generally diffuse, virulent and pandemic dissatisfaction with law practice–and the concomitant prevalence of alcohol- and drug-abuse (and otherwise compulsive behavior) among lawyers has a particular and rational cause.
The cause, I believe, stems from our emphasis on the rational, the logical, the reasonable, and, frankly, sterile logic, that our profession demands. This, on top of a similar, but less extreme, bias in the general public, seals our fate: We as attorneys are cut off from the vital, fantastical, and creative part of our lives. The source of that life? The unconscious. It’s manifestation? Our dreams.
Even a cursory reading of Jung’s work for the layman “Man and His Symbols” makes a powerful case for the need for the re-integration of our unconscious selves into our conscious mind. That sounds airy-fairy, I admit, but there is a powerful and fairly low-brow way to accomplish this: pay attention to our dreams.
A New Philosophy
If we begin to take the philosophical–even rational, scientific–point of view that all of the aspects of our existence are there for a reason, or, at the least, cannot and should not be ignored, we might be able to begin treating that part of our life that occupies a full third (hopefully!) of our lives (only a quarter if you work for an AmLaw 200 firm) with some respect.
Getting In Touch With the “Primitive”
Legion theorists and still more theories and case-studies underscore the need for purported “modern” man to get re-acquainted with the unconscious. On the most banal level, we ought to pay attention to this aspect of our lives because it is an important, if not the sole, source of all our creative and generative output.
My hypothesis is, then, that we are far worse attorneys if we continue to allow ourselves to be cut off from the source of the creativity that our practice, and frankly our logic, needs. For more on the subject, click here.