Friday, 17 January 2014

GDL Blog

I was asked to write an article for a magazine. As luck would have it, the article was never published so I have posted it here.

Written 12 December 2012:

I have myopia and astigmatism and I have worn glasses since the age of 11. I still remember the first day I left the house with my new glasses on: rather than feeling awkwardness at the structure resting on my nose I felt an overwhelming joy at being able to perceive the detail on the trees and their leaves, on the contours of streets and pavements, and the expressions on the faces of passers-by. This joy is re-lived, albeit more modestly, each time I come back from the opticians with a new prescription that is properly adjusted to the changes in my eyes and that once again allows me to marvel at the detail present in the things around me.

In this year gone by something else has given me a similar feeling of wonder and enjoyment, and a glow from realising that there are subtle details in the world that I could not previously perceive. This feeling was given to me when I embarked on my first year of a part-time GDL back in January 2012. Whilst it would be inaccurate for me to say that I was blind before, my “new glasses” allow me to see the world in a new way.

Many times we will buy a gadget or appliance and promptly discard the manual that comes with it. Or, similarly, we will start playing a game before reading the rulebook. We are born into a social contract which we implicitly accept (without offer, acceptance, and intention to create social relations) and with many terms that we do not fully comprehend even after prolonged study. From birth we are bound by national and supra-national codes in which we have had no say, and that through our lives may help or hinder us, which we may staunchly defend or strongly oppose or even be completely oblivious to. There are laws that require and restrict certain behaviours, that create expectations and provisions, lay out formalities, and affect not only our own undertakings, but those of every individual, corporation and nation that surrounds us.

My previous studies of economics, and also politics, are well supplemented by having working comprehension of UK and international law, as the elements of a powerful triumvirate that shape most aspects of our lives.  And, whilst the picture is ever-developing and may never be fully clear, there is still great pleasure to be had in understanding the written and unwritten rules that guide us, and their origins and potential.

I cannot go back to my mindset before I started to study law; I cannot take my new glasses off. I would have previously told you that I believe that every person should to some extent, of their own initiative if not out of social and historical obligation, equip themselves with basic principles of economics and political thought; to this list I now add, at a minimum, a concept of how law develops and exists, so that we may be more than Scarman LJ’s “simple peopleunaware of the subtleties of [law]” and better understand own world and possibilities. - Blog