According to Wikipedia (gotta love the credibility of that phrase) Convergence theory holds that crowd behavior is not a product of the crowd itself, but is carried into the crowd by particular individuals. Thus, crowds amount to a convergence of like-minded individuals.
For me law school is a perfect symbol of this. One of the most challenging aspects of attending law school for me is that there seems to be a distinct lack of innovation or revolutionary thought (I know that this may get me in trouble). This not only manifests in the way in which legal arguments are made, you can’t say it unless someone has said it before, and he (or) she who can say what has been said before the most and by repeating the most sought after voices of the day wins. But it also manifests itself in the desired career paths (big firm or legal services for the most part. For me it can seem like a place that is very lacking in diversity, both from a sociological perspective and from a psyche perspective.
If you are like me and you pride yourself on thinking outside of the box and going against the grain, you can find yourself hard pressed to maintain yourself against the overwhelming typhoon of conformity that makes up the majority of law school life.
As a lifelong rebel who made his bones, bucking the system I was very surprised to find myself falling prey to these vary traits of legal academia. Indeed, just weeks before I was scheduled to come to BU, I text my good friend and fellow public interest scholar/blogger David Linhart and informed him that I would not be attending BU or law school period as I thought that I would have to change too much of myself to be successful in this type of world. However, David was extremely convincing and passionate about what one who has a purpose can do with a law degree (if you have read his blogs then you know how hard it would have been to not be convinced).
It’s funny how conformity can sneak up on you if you are not careful. I realized it was sneaking up on me when I began to discuss and be disappointed about things that I never cared about before, when I stopped attempting to figure out ways to improve or revolutionize a system, and instead made it my mission to join the system.
It was too my great satisfaction however that the system did not want me.
I have always been my best when my back is against the wall, when I am forced to think outside of the box, when I build something from the bottom. I never desired to be absorbed into the fold, but I am guilty of forgetting what unique characteristics brought me here.
Being a black male, I am already somewhat of an anomaly within my class as there are only three of us to begin with, but my experiences are vastly different than most if not all the folks I go to school with including those who I share an ethnic heritage with.
I am here as a result of my having the ability to work to shake the foundations of systems, not to capitulate to the idea that they function as they are supposed to. My friend David is right, when he says for those with a purpose the law can be a very powerful tool, but I think he should add that we fool ourselves when we believe that we need the tool for the sake of needing the tool. I need the tool so that I can access the halls of power that I can’t without it. The key is to not allow that access to change who I am or what I came here for.
I came here for to produce revolutionary change in education, industry, and quality of life for people from my similar backgrounds, and that is not something that I am confident that the paths that are laid out before me can do. What the degree can do however, is give me the credibility needed to access the resources necessary.
For me the revolution will neither be televised nor litigated. It will be created using economic models and business savvy. Which is why I am now hoping to not only earn my JD but also my MBA. The idea is to take the daredevil, charismatic, innovative start up approach and mix it with the analytical legal approach to produce Frankenstein not quite, but a monster nevertheless (hide the stale ideas).
David is right in that it is all about Careers and Campaigns. I lost my way, when I fell into the crowd think of trying desperately to latch onto a career instead of staying engaged in what has always been my life long campaign.
The convergence of a Summer of No’s resulted in the realization and the rediscovering of what was always my yes.
I’m awake now…are you?