The common laws of psychology, religion and philosophy can be applied to unlock full human potential.
By Ralph Losey
Essay written in late 1980s. Ralph is a School of Wisdom student since 1971 and a practicing attorney in the U.S. since 1980. He is also one of first attorneys in the world to have a website. An audio tape of his talk on 10 Directions can be found here.
The legal perspective and craft of law, the skills and techniques of a lawyer, can be a Spiritual Way. Anyone who can think can use the skills and perspective of the Law to create a thinking bridge between science and religion. On this bridge the natural laws of the cosmos and human development – the Laws of Wisdom – can be put to practical use. The common laws of psychology, religion and philosophy can be applied to unlock full human potential. Lawyerly thinking is the key.
If you learn how to think for yourself, then the essential legal knowledge for self realization, the Laws of Wisdom, can be applied to enhance and improve the quality of your life. The book attempts to teach you how to “think like a lawyer” in the best sense of the phrase. This does not mean to just be “rational,” disciplined, stiff and linear. On the contrary, a good lawyer thinks creatively, flexibly, both analytically and analogically. To think like a lawyer means to think holistically, skeptically, objectively, independently, clearly and concisely.
Lawyers are trained to base their thinking on evidence and proven precedent. Perhaps most important of all, after a few years of practice in professional thinking, every good lawyer comes to understand quite well the inherent limitations of thinking. A lawyer knows better than anyone what the law and rationality cannot do. From countless human dramas and legal contests the lawyer comes to understand the limitations of thinking and reason. They see the significance in life of chance and stray choices. Lawyers, especially the ones called upon to serve as judges, know from hard experience that on some occasions justice and fairness demand that the rules and reason be bent. Thinking is a reliable guide, but it does not always lead to justice. When it does not, good lawyers are trained to go beyond the law, to create new law, so as to serve equity and fairness.As Marcus Cicero, the great Roman Lawyer said: The people’s good is the highest law.
A highly developed thinking ability is in accord with our higher sensitivities and capacities, not cut off from them. Such thinking abilities are the natural birthright of all humanity, not the exclusive domain of lawyers. Unfortunately, most people are indoctrinated into various forms of pseudo-thinking as a child. In order to fit into the particular culture in which they happen to be born, they accept the beliefs and thinking of that culture. As a result they become stunted, warped and entranced. As an adult they never really learn how to think independently or creatively. They never know themselves, nor realize their full potential.
The thinking inculcated by a culture is essentially designed to perpetuate the culture. It is usually very limited, compartmentalized, repetitive, rigid and dependent. On the rare occasions when thinking is taught, only the analytic and logical aspects of thinking are considered. The analogic and holistic sides are ignored. The western tradition and culture of the Law is unique in encouraging creative, well rounded and fully developed thinking. Law schools, unlike other graduate schools, focus on learning methods of thinking, rather than learning a body of knowledge. For that reason only law schools utilize the Socratic method of teaching where questioning of students is emphasized, rather than lecturing. Yet anyone, not just law students, can wake up from their consensus trance and rid themselves of pseudo- thinking. Our natural thinking abilities may be stunted by cultural indoctrination, but they are not killed. With the help of this book, you too can think like a lawyer to tackle the toughest questions of life.
LAWYERS AND THE LAW
In modern western society lawyers are people who know the laws of society, how they relate with each other and how to use them. Lawyers do not learn the laws for academic reasons. They spend long hours researching the law so they can use the laws for practical purposes. Purposes such as the peaceful resolution of disputes, or the structuring of business transactions. Knowledge of the law is always directed to action, to making decisions, solving problems and getting things accomplished. The ends to be accomplished, the goals, come from the client, not the lawyer. Lawyers serve clients by applying their knowledge of the law to help clients attain their goals. Lawyers give advice and make recommendations, and in the process frequently help clients clarify their goals. The final decisions are made by the clients who are free to ignore the advice of their lawyers, and for better or for worse, they frequently do.
Lawyers are legal counselors. They tell their clients what they need to know of the particular laws which pertain to the client’s situation. The unique facts and people involved are critical to evaluating the equities and determining which laws govern. The law is never applied in a vacuum. It is always molded and shaped by the evidence. So a good lawyer carefully investigates the client’s situation before reaching any conclusions. Once a lawyer understands the facts and the law, he or she then analyzes these laws and determines how they apply to the client’s case. The lawyer’s basic tool is independent thinking, both analytical and analogical. By such thinking legal opinions are made and actions are taken.
The lawyer’s craft can also be applied to the universal problems and opportunities faced by everyone who confronts their psychological depths – those who try to make sense of life and understand their place in it, who seek to understand the totality of their self, who they are and can become. The solution to the philosophical problems – the life and death issues of fulfillment of human potential – can not be found in the laws of Man and State. The lawyer who seeks answers to these ultimate questions must research altogether different fields of “Law.” Law in the sense of a natural universal order, defined for instance by Montequieu in 1748 in his landmark book The Spirit of Laws:
Laws in their most general signification, are the necessary relations derived from the nature of things. In this sense all beings have their laws, the Deity has his laws, the material world its laws, the intelligences superior to man have their laws, the beasts their laws, man his laws.
In contrast to the laws made by Man, the Laws of Wisdom are those laws by which Man is made, the laws with which Man can find fulfillment. The term “wisdom” is here used in the Socratic sense as a kind of dynamic flow state or level of consciousness. Wisdom is profound self realization, an individual’s unique fulfillment of their special potentials. It is the goal sought by the knowledgeable and presumed by the ignorant. The universal laws which govern the attainment of Wisdom can be found in many areas of natural law – science, philosophy, psychology, myths and religion. Legal research in these areas is much more difficult and time consuming than research of the laws of Man. Still, with help from older, more experienced searchers, sufficient data on these Wisdom Laws can be found to provide meaningful answers to life’s basic questions.
BOOK OF THE BASIC LAWS OF WISDOM
Having spent the last twenty five years researching the common laws of psychology, religion, physics and philosophy, searching for the esoteric rules which govern the realization of full human potential, I know just how difficult the search can be. As a lawyer, the methods and disciplines of my profession have aided and affected my approach in many ways. This book – like the law – follows precedent. Yet it is based on independent thinking, both analytical and analogical, left and right brained. The book covers a broad area of scientific, psychological and spiritual laws, disdaining the limited compartmentalism of customary thinking. The laws included are the ones which the precedent known to me suggests are the most relevant and material to human development. The essential Laws of Wisdom are introduced, concisely explained and analyzed in a systematic manner. Wherever possible the Laws are illustrated by charts and diagrams with some references to accepted authorities. Many fields of Law are discussed in a broad synthesis. For that reason some of the details and complexities are omitted to make the Laws easier to understand.
An abstract presentation of the Laws of Wisdom alone does not suffice to convey the meaning of these Laws. Just as the laws made by Man cannot be fully understood without looking at the unique facts and the personalities, the people involved, the Laws by which Man is made cannot be fully absorbed without similar considerations. For that reason this book will also include case histories of the lives of some of the men and women of this century who have discovered and clarified these Laws. Their intriguing stories will help articulate the meaning of the Laws with which they are associated. As the great law professor and legal realist Karl Llewellyn said in during a famous lecture at Columbia Law School (collected in Bramble Bush,1929), the way to study the law is to look at its cases and, visualize the initial transaction between the parties. Who were they? What did they look like? Above all, what did each one want, and why did he want it? … if you can see these desires and feel them in the light of who the parties were and of their situation – then and only then will the case become real to you, will it stick in your head, will the words speak, and set your mind to working.
The entire life story need not be given for each of the scientists, psychologists, philosophers and religious leaders included in this book. Only that portion of their life which is related to the laws they helped to discover, that case, needs to be examined. A review of the facts of the particular transactions and the personal desires and motives behind the discovery, will allow the laws they found to become real, to “stick in your head.”
For some not conversant with these areas of the law or with holistic thinking, LAWS OF WISDOM may set the mind working at a difficult pace. Nevertheless, study of these laws is worth the effort because the information presented is directed to pragmatic action, not knowledge for its own sake. The laws are described not as an academic exercise, but as legal counsel designed to attain a practical end – the awakening and development of you the reader.
There are thousands of different methods to apply the Laws to realize your full potential. A few of these “legal procedures” are referred to in the book, but not in any detail. Legal procedure is difficult if not impossible to teach in a book. It is something you learn by doing, and usually requires personal instruction and group work. For information on the legal procedure I know best in this area, one that employs music meditation, see my book with Professor Keyserling: Chakra Music: the Story of PrimaSounds. It is important to find and try some of these procedures, to apply the Laws in your own life. You can do so alone, but for most it is easier in a group. In the last chapter specific reference is provided to one such organization of groups, The School of Wisdom. No matter how you do it, or with whom, practical application of the Laws of Wisdom through some kind of spiritual exercise is imperative.
Later as you employ your favorite procedures, you will want to return to this book as a reference. You can consult it from time to time as you “get your head together,” become even more awake, think better and grow and mature as a person. The statement of essential Laws in the book, and other books in the School of Wisdom Series, can help you to understand the changes that you will naturally go through on a path of personal evolution. As you progress, your understanding and comprehension of the essential Laws will grow. The interconnectedness of the Laws will become ever clearer. Eventually when your thinking is at full capacity, these Laws will appear simple. You will have mastered them. But this can only come through applying the Laws, through spiritual exercises, practices and discipline. As any lawyer will tell you, knowledge of legal procedures is as important as knowledge of the law itself. So you are advised to find and use a procedure which suits you.
Of course, you the client are free to follow this advice or not. Better yet, with the help of this book you can learn to think like a lawyer and advise yourself. You can then use the Laws introduced in the book to make sense of your life. This book can help you to hear the lawyer’s voice within yourself, the objective counsel of your higher self. Then you can weigh the opinions of law made in this book and elsewhere and truly judge for yourself what to do. Once the innate human ability of autonomous thinking is awakened, with the knowledge of the fundamental laws here presented, you can craft your own answers to life’s ultimate questions, forge your own path.
THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS
By virtue of being human we all know that we are alive, and are more or less aware of ourselves as separate entities, as beings. Moreover, unlike almost all of the animals, we are aware of our own mortality. We know that some day we must inevitably die. We know that death means our body will cease to have life, will no longer function, but beyond that, we are not really sure what death entails or means. It is the greatest mystery of mysteries. Our common situation of self awareness and knowledge of impending death creates in all of us a universal human curiosity about the “really big questions.”
These big questions consider life and death as both a problem and an opportunity. The basic problem with life is to figure out what to do with it, why you are alive. The opportunity is to live it joyously, with satisfaction and fulfillment. The problem with death is to learn how to prepare for it, to live courageously in spite of your awareness of death. The opportunity is to possibly conquer death, to survive as a conscious entity after the body ceases to function. Self realization comes from living life with your own answers to these questions, true answers in accord with natural common Law, answers that work, that solve the problems and bring love and inspiration. In the words of the great American jurist, Benjamin Cardoza:
Three great mysteries there are in the lives of mortal beings: the mystery of birth at the beginning; the mystery of death at the end; and, greater than either, the mystery of love. Everything that is most precious in life is a form of love. Art is a form of love, if it be noble; labor is a form of love, if it be worthy; thought is a form of love, if it be inspired.
There are many ways to express the fundamental issues, to pose the really big questions: What is the meaning of life? Who am I? What is the meaning of death? What happens at death? How can I find peace and fulfillment in my life? What is the purpose of my life? How can I make sense of the chaos of my world? Where was I before I was born? How was the Universe created? What is my mission in life? Is there a God? If there is a God, what is my relationship to God? What is a divine He or She like? What is truth? Is there life after death? How can I be happy, content? How can I avoid death and attain immortality? How can I attain maximum self realization, love and enlightenment? What are my unique potentials? How can I fulfill them?
Then there are a series of secondary questions for those who not only dare to ask the really big questions, but actually try to answer them. These questions include: How can I know myself? How can I really know anything? How can I find out the meaning of life in general, and my life in particular? What is wisdom? What happens to “me” every night when I go in the unconsciousness of deep sleep? What happens to me when I dream? What do my dreams mean? What should I do to find my mission in life? How do I go about finding truth? When do I know if something is really true or not? Then there are a series of issues related to those secondary questions, such as: Can another person tell me the answer to any of these basic questions? If another person claims to know, how do I know their claim is valid? Is another person’s answer valid for me? Is there a divine being who will give me the answers, or do I have to figure them out for myself? Can anyone else at least tell me what to do in order to find out the answers for myself?
CANNED ANSWERS TO THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS
There are literally hundreds of belief systems that purport to provide you with ready answers to the really big questions, the secondary questions, and more. Any religion will gladly tell you the purpose of life in general, and yours in particular. There is an established view, a simple formula answer or dogma for everything. In this way you do not have to face the really big questions, or think for yourself. Just do as they say and you will attain heaven or enlightenment. Independent thinking is not allowed, it is counter-productive.
Science as a belief system, as opposed to a method, is not much better. Its “sophisticated” answer is that no answer is possible to the big questions, so don’t even try. Self realization and peak experiences are non-existent fictions, delusions; or better yet, just psychotic states. With either dogma, Science or Religion, the really big questions are avoided.
In the law easy, simplistic answers to complex questions are derogatorily referred to as “black letter” rules. They are the general rules or statements of law contained in a simple law text, called a “hornbook.” No lawyer worth their salt ever accepts hornbook law as the final answer. Black letter rules or hornbook law are only a starting point of legal analysis. If you accept hornbook law as the answer, you avoid grappling with the nuts and bolts of the issues. The law only uses hornbook rules as teaching lessons for law students, and as starting points for legal analysis. It is not accepted by the courts unless independent reasoning shows that the general rule in fact applies to the particular case at hand. The law demands that analytical and analogical reasoning be employed to test a proposed rule of law, to determine if its application is just. The complexities of the unique facts of each case require the exception to, or modification of the black letter rules in a hundred different ways. Only in this way can justice be done. For a lawyer the ready answer, the black letter hornbook law, is automatically suspect, and is usually the wrong answer. Reference to hornbook law – the established dogma – is the beginning point of legal analysis, not the end.
All belief systems with ready, simple answers ask you to accept their answers to the really big questions, to have faith in their dogma. You have an instant – one size fits all – black letter Law answer for everyone. This gets rid of the questions. You can then go about your business, tending to material subsistence questions, such as food, money, supporting the ones who gave you the answers, and the like. This unthinking reliance on the answers of others is the traditional way of religion and most cultures. It still seems to work for some people. But for others the black letter rules don’t work. They are no longer persuaded by the canned briefs. Without ready answers, many are left alienated, unhappy, rebellious, drifting without meaning and purpose, depressed, anxious. The answers of the established belief systems, both orthodox and unconventional, no longer work, and so their doubt grows and they lose faith. They don’t believe the answers, even though they purport to come from God Himself. They are instead forced to join those who approach the really big questions independently, like a lawyer.
The numbers of would be spiritual lawyers appears to be growing every day. This book is dedicated to those few who seek their own answers to the really big questions. Accordingly, this book will not answer these questions. If I inadvertently suggest an answer, know that this is just my answer, not yours. It may or may not work for you. There are as many correct answers as there are people. Everyone is unique and, potentially at least, has their own special insight into reality. I try only to suggest answers to the secondary questions, the practical “know how” questions of how to find your own answers to the big questions.
With the tools of analysis provided in the book, you can take the black letter substantive rules from religion and science as a base to reason out your own solutions. Once you know the Laws, you can select and apply the Laws to your particular life situation. You can then formulate answers to the universal questions that make sense to you, answers that work, that solve the problems and fill the opportunities of life and death. It can be attained, but only you can do it.