Thursday, November 19, 2009

We Need to Choose to Be Aware!

I struggle with the idea of "duty" since the concept implies legal obligation for which a court may impose a sanction.  The reality is that there are myriad decisions that we make in the course of any given hour, day, week, and year that fall far below any legal conception of duty but which result in outcomes: good and bad and disastrous .  We engage in magical thinking when we we exclaim: "why me," "woe is me," and "what the fuck."  Instead of duty let's talk about choice, the need to choose to be aware.

As a rule, I don't like to comment on the BIG STORY which right now is the Fort Hood massacre allegedly perpetrated by Major Nidal Hasan, but the report by NPR that Hasan's bosses were sending up flares about this character perfectly encapsulates a couple of ideas that I've been pursuing, here.  Right now, there's a lot of what-the-fuck thinking going on about Major Hasan, when in reality hundreds if not thousands of shitty decisions put Nidal Hasan precisely in the place where with guns blazing.  Major Hasan writes another chapter in that book we edit that marks out America as an obsessively violent place.

On another day I'll talk about some of the cases where I've encountered seemingly inexplicable employment decisions--that ended up costing the employer dearly.  But today, I'll not trivialize the Fort Hood disaster with anecdotes from the Bad Lawyer.  By the way the title of this blawg entry is a direct quote from Yehuda Berg, the Kabbalist Rabbi--who I heard speak at an event last night (and, no the Bad Lawyer is not Jewish or related to Madonna.)


  1. This post is obviously related to your previous one, about people who turn a blind eye to pedophilia and other crimes for which there is ample reason/evidence to suspect something nasty is afoot. I think it was Thoreau who said that he'd never met a man (women being invisible in those days) who was truly awake. The Buddhists have it right here--one can practice being more awake to the world and its doings, whether it's the birds outside on the feeder or the crazy guy in your office about to blow. If people really just paid attention, they wouldn't have to be so paranoid. It's counter-intuitive, but I think true.

  2. Gayle--

    This is is so true. My worldview has been dramatically altered by becoming a Bad Lawyer. I didn't become a Bad Lawyer because I received a letter in the mail from the authorities, or because I was arrested and pepper sprayed, or because I ignored what was happening in my bank accounts, or even because some said I was mal-practicing bankruptcy law--those were all outcomes of thousands of little decisions or omissions on my own part. The things that occur on a given day are the culmination of the things that happened in a moment that ignored or worse. Like you I'm not drawing the conclusion that I necessarily need to walk through this world a hypervigilant paranoid, but perhaps--awake to the world and its possibilities.