Contemplate Purely on the Idea Itself

Does it seem to you like there are a lot of people who have ideas and then almost immediately, with a clear vision of the goal, run for that finish line? Has it become a bad thing to sit and contemplate, not the mechanics of the execution, but the idea itself? Not contemplate on how much the idea can earn or what success it may bring to its proponents, but purely the idea. I suggest there needs to be a step, more like a long pause, when we contemplate purely on an idea itself and not on the goal. Setting goals are the first steps of execution. Goals can provide the stick by which we can measure progress and, crudely, people. But what is the measure by which the foundational idea is measured?

Ideas, great and small have all been supported or victimized by the execution. But what of ideas which are ill conceived? Can they be sustained through time by execution to meet the presented goals and thereby be accepted no matter how ill conceived?

How about the “idea” of burying the opposition in paper to hide the one document that has meaning, or the “idea” of hiring experts from the far corners of the country to make it too hard too or expensive for the other side to get a fair chance? These “ideas” meet the goal and are even, unfortunately, accepted as an attorney’s duty to “do whatever it takes” to further the client’s need. (“Whatever it takes”, I use that statement because it is the mantra of far too many attorneys and those who support attorneys in their work. I wrote about it in "Tail Wagging The Dog".) Contemplating these ideas, and purely these ideas, leads me unavoidably to see the harm they deliver to the proponents, the opposition, justice, and our society.

Staying focused on the “contemplation of ideas before goals are adopted”, I am not going to write about the philosophy of the ends and the means, although that is clearly bound up in the subtext. Not every “idea” leads to that subtext. How about the “idea” of the modern law firm or the idea of the modern law school? These are more complex “ideas” then the simple examples above, yet none the less in need of contemplation.

If we can’t manifest our better nature in dealing with each other on the simple “ideas”, one might suggest we delay on the Herculean task of contemplating the idea of the modern law firm and law school. I hope this is not necessary. I hope we are capable of mustering the courage to engage each other on multiple fronts to contemplate the worth of the “idea” so that we can better measure the worth of the goal. The finish line is hollow if the idea is flawed, even if the finish line is crossed.

Looking to the past is a good way to understand the present as well as the nature of the relationship between society and attorneys. Surely there is agreement that attorneys are “society’s problem solvers” and it is right and proper to contemplate this “idea”. There must be a better understanding of this idea, the worth of this idea, so that there can be a clear understanding of what goals support that idea and which goals run counter. What do you think?

To read today’s landscape and not see that the view is marred by ill-conceived ideas that have gained acceptance, inch by inch, over our better nature is to be blind and deaf. Take the responsibility to check yourself and the actions you permit in the name of meeting goals. Goals are not the standard of great people or nations. It is by our ideas that we are measured.