Making ‘more varied, productive and positive decisions’ as lawyers
Relationships are an unavoidable feature of society that many of us are either pursuing and maintaining in some form, or enthusiastically trying to escape from. The point is, you do not exist in a vacuum, you exist in relationship to something at all times, writes Virginia Warren.
It seems we need help in managing our relationships, so society created a legal system that assures us our relationships will be conducted fairly, predictably and in an orderly manner. Recent events indicate that those assurances are fiction.
The legal system
The legal system looks at the governance of relationship from two perspectives:
1. The relationship as it moves and exists together; and
2. The relationship as it moves apart.
In doing so, the legal system creates laws to:
1. Declare how you are to behave within your relationships;
2. Protect you from others within the relationship; and
3. Ensure predictable future movement within the relationship, for its duration (in some cases, that means, “til death do us part”).
Fundamentally, the laws represent society’s “agreed” rules, which set out how we are to effectively move in and out of relationship with one another. We could think of law in terms of tough, yet loving parental guidance: “you follow my rules and I will approve of you; you break my rules and I will disapprove of you.” This parent offers us conditional love, “be good, or you’ll get a smack!”. This system seems sensible. But in actuality, we are being motivated by fear. This served us well when we were children. Now that we’re adults, I believe we must question whether we still need a parent to scare us into right action.
It is increasingly acknowledged within society, that the legal system is not serving humanity as optimally as it could. The issue appears to be twofold:
1. Lawyer dissatisfaction; and
2. Public dissatisfaction.
Recent history testifies that society is becoming increasingly disharmonious. However, the systems we are using to treat this issue are not providing resolutions. For instance, within the family law system globally, it is acknowledged that there has been an insidious growth of family violence, child abuse and other complex factors making up the majority of family law cases. In other words, we have increasing negativity within our communities.
Seeking to address this concern, the 2019 Australian Law Reform Commission’s report on the family law system, found that:
a. “Faith in the system was lost”.
b. “The need for structural and systemic reform in the area of family law has been a consistent theme in Australia and other jurisdictions”.
c. A strong theme in the submission for change was in the “desire for holistic” change, rather than “band aids”.
d. And via the collection of confidential submissions to the commission it was found that there was a “profound level of dissatisfaction within the family law system”.
As a lawyer and a recent litigant within the family law system, these findings sadly reflect my own experience. Yet, the family law system is not exclusive in these findings, as this stance is echoed throughout the system as a whole.
The ‘rule based’ solutions
Within the family law framework, the ALRC provided 60 recommendations, which include the desire to reduce acrimony, reduce costs and to provide amicable solutions to litigants. Effectively, the ALRC sought to reduce negativity and increase positivity. Those solutions included increased use of alternative dispute resolution processes. ADR moves us in a more positive direction, but remains captive within a fixed, closed system.
It is submitted that rule-based systems are fundamentally flawed:
1. In a rules-based system I see you as being separate from me when I say, “I have a problem with you”.
2. Further to proposition one, the division in society is maintained due to the inherent fear-based and divisive nature of rules:
a. In litigation, it’s “you versus me”. You want validation. You want someone to tell you that you’re right (and that I am wrong).
b. In crime, it’s society versus you. You are deemed to be an unacceptable member of society when you break a criminal law. Society will banish you.
c. In contract, whilst you and I may agree upon going into a business or personal relationship together, our fears of unknown futures are expressed in writing. Effectively we are saying that we do not trust each other.
Each time society perceives a problem it creates more rules, more negative energy, around that problem with the hope that it will create more evolved systems. Systems cannot flow or evolve when fixed within a closed system; they remain stagnant. The result: we are still applying “band aids” by using the same level of consciousness (negativity) to resolve the conflicts between us, as was used to create them. Moreover, the rules we have created are merely a reflection of the collective conscious idea that we still need parenting.
It is therefore contended that for our society to become emotionally mature, we no longer need a parent. The rules with their fear-based punitive approach are no longer working. Indeed, the evidence shows that the “children” are fighting now more than ever. Society is feeling “bad”.
I see an alternative platform for societal guidance, based on the following propositions. In addressing the fundamental concerns of a rule-based system:
1. We are not separated. Effectively, when I say “I have a problem with you” it really means, “I have a problem with myself”. At an elemental level we are energetic beings who are an integral part of an indivisible whole. This is reality. It is immature to continue to deny our inherent connection to each other and all that we see (and don’t see). The science surrounding this proposition has existed for over 100 years, yet for some reason society has been unable to meld science with law to deliver more effective, pertinent governance. There is a glimmer of hope. Being “organic parts of one indissoluble whole” was referred to by the High Court of Australia in 2020. However, in my view that recognition fell short when it specified that it only applied to the Indigenous peoples. I did feel some progressive insight was delivered, in acknowledging that this idea cannot be dealt with by the common lawyer, who deals in “one-way” proprietary rights (or, separation). My interpretation was that the legal system as it stands, cannot deal with the true nature of reality.
2. Using the above proposition, given we are all connected as part of an indivisible, everlasting whole, we cannot be separated. From an energetic perspective, not only does it mean when I say “you are wrong” then so am I; it also means that if I am right, then so are you. Great news! We know this because every person’s perspective is valid, true and right for them. Imagine shifting your position from saying “I am right and you are wrong” to saying “I am right and you are right too”. Try playing with this idea on a simple level. Think of a disagreement you are having with someone and try saying this to yourself from a genuine place. You will feel the shift in the energy about the disagreement. It is not that you need to agree with the action of the other person, you are simply looking at why, from their point of view, the person might have carried out the action. For the most part, they did it because they felt better in the doing of it. Acknowledging that everyone is right from their own point of view, disconnects the negative energy, or negative charge, and immediately brings a higher level of consciousness to that moment.
Removing the negative energy of fear and separation from problem-solving, positively shifts and raises the level of consciousness. From this place, being unclouded by excess negative energy, we can make more varied, productive and positive decisions for ourselves and others moving forward.
This is LIOTEC (Love is of the Essence Consciousness). This new technology moves us away from our desire to judge, blame and punish others for the way we feel, and toward introspection into why we are feeling this way in the first instance. If I can feel good, then so can you. This is the holistic approach humanity is looking for. It can save the world by growing us up.
Virigina Warren is a partner at Stidston Warren Lawyers.