Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Truth, Beauty and the Double Helix

Jim Chen wonders about a parallel between scientific discovery and law in Law's Double Helix on MoneyLaw and Jurisdynamics. He pauses to consider John Keats's poem, Ode to a Grecian Urn and writes:

"Two intertwined strands run through all law. One strand represents the cold mathematical logic that the LSAT purports to measure, the austere beauty of legal reason deduced without regard to the social circumstances in which law must be made, enforced, and lived. The other strand speaks in historical, even literary or lyrical terms. That manifestation of truth in law, as Holmes explained, "embodies the story of a nation's development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics." That is all you know in law and all you need to know. "

Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," -that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

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