San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, December 26, 1997
Lawyer’s Christmas Message
A Lawyers Christmas Message
by Harrison Sheppard
LAWS GIVE people rules to live by. But why have rules? Why shouldn’t the stronger person always win?
Most people think it is neither just nor fair for someone to take what he wants just because he is stronger. And that is why we have a legal profession: to preserve justice and fairness — in the spirit of promoting peace on Earth, good will toward men.
Justice and fairness are spiritual values with which all human beings are born, no matter how primitive their society. Different societies may have different notions of what “fairness” or “justice” requires under a particular set of facts, but every society has some idea of fairness and justice itself: the conviction that people should get their proper due.
This universal sense of justice reflects the facts of creation even as modern science has described them: All things are born from and are part of one common source, and giving people more or less than their due offends a deep human consciousness of this reality.
It is literally true that all existence is traceable to one undivided point of infinitely dense energy. Since energy cannot be destroyed but can only change its form, this fact necessarily means that the oneness of all things endures in its many permutations.
Yet we are likely to be ignorant or forgetful of this fact. Our individual birth out of infinite energy into the world of space and time brings an apparent rupture from the true, eternal oneness of things.
To the extent that the law is used to promote justice and fairness, it can be seen as an effort to help heal our apparent separation by bringing peace out of conflict, and community out of division.
We commonly view law as a merely practical way to deal with conflict. But when the law is used to achieve justice, it reflects a spiritual path, by serving to some extent our innate spiritual desire to be restored to sense of oneness with all existence; that is, to live in the knowledge of our true selves in harmony with all things. Advancing this goal is the lawyer’s highest calling and the reason for the rule of law.
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