Chapter

The Mythological Function of the Lost Ideals

in The Lawyer's Myth

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780226042558
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226042565 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226042565.003.0005
The Mythological Function of the Lost Ideals

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Myths are narratives, but they are narratives of a special and powerful kind. They are narratives which have evolved through numerous retellings until they are distilled to a purer and deeper form which connects to the timeless forces in natures—forces in the individual and collective subconscious which teach eternal lessons. For lawyers and other professionals, they give transcendent meaning to professional lives, and they do this basically on two levels. The first of these levels is easy to comprehend. On that level the mythological functions are practical and widely recognized by experts in mythology. They give a purpose for lawyers' work that is community based and spiritually transcendent. They teach how to live a life in the law and—this is important—how to live a life in the law that is a complete life, grounded in something greater than the profession itself, rather than a life which is consumed by the mysteries, science, and society of the law. In addition to the orienting functions, myths serve on a primal level. The lawyer's role as pillar of the community serves much the same purpose on a different level because it presents a more personal image of lawyers relating directly with other people in localized and contiguous settings.

Keywords: myths; lawyers; community; profession; professionals

Chapter.  4120 words. 

Subjects: Legal System and Practice

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