One of my favorite quotes from the movie Legally Blonde actually quotes Aristotle:
“Law is reason, free from passion” (If anyone can tell me where in the movie this is first mentioned, I’ll give a shout out to a fellow Legally Blonde fan in my next post)
Now, until recently, I loved this quote just because it seemed to be a contradiction, and I just like contradictions. However, my understanding of this has deepened over the past few weeks as I was prepping for and going through my class.
There’s no argument that “law is reason”. The practice of law must be reasonable. It must be supported, justified and cannot be applied ‘willy nilly’ to society. However, then we come to the second part of the line, “free from passion”, and, well, I have to agree with Elle Woods, the main character of the movie, who respectfully disagreed with Aristotle.
Passion makes us create goals and look towards the future. It pushes us to endure and pursue during the hard times. It is the avenue in which our compassion and humanity expresses itself. In short, passion is what drives each of us in humanity forward. However, all while passion can show humanity’s best, it (or lack of it) can show the worse sides. A passionless life, where there is no drive or determination or sometimes even no desire to endure or survive, can be the most means by which we need the law.
Now, from my perspective, passion is the reason for the law; to mitigate and organize humanity’s levels of passion into order. Now, if passion is the reason for law, and if law is the arbitrator of humanity’s passions, I cannot see how law can be free from passion.
Over the past week I and my classmates had a weeklong crash course into higher education legal, ethical and policy issues. It was apparent the passion and love each had for student affairs, higher education, students etc. And during our case studies we used our passions to fuel the energy behind our arguments. We utilized law to manage our passions and let it act as an avenue to justify our actions and decisions. Going through those case studies, there is no way to completely separate passion and love from law and rules, however there should be a way to marry the two in order for fair and just mitigation.
Just a musing I had, as I thought about how I had changed in my thinking in regards to law and higher education.
Until next time!
Peace, Love and Pandas!