Specialism as anti-ambition

>I’m going to practice intellectual property law – patents, trademark, copyright – which, in my unbiased opinion, is crucial to the progress of humankind. So, in that field, I don’t expect to lose my soul.

Crucial to the progress of humankind–perhaps, if what we’ve gained through technology outweighs what we’ve lost elsewhere (music, literature, understanding of ourselves and others, appreciation for beauty, etc.)—but what’s good and crucial for humankind isn’t the question, but what’s good and crucial for you. Becoming a specialist in a narrow craft that didn’t exist a short time ago and will disappear a short time from now, and one that places such a huge demand on your thinking and leisure time, would seem likely to entail the speedy demise of everything that was attractive about one [Mr. X.]. But if you really believe that the highest hopes you once had for yourself are adequately expressed by imagining yourself as Copyright Lawyer, if this, of all things, is what you believe fully addresses your deepest longings and full nature and abilities, if this commands your strongest admiration and respect, then perhaps the brief time you have to live was meant to be spent researching and answering the questions that businessmen ask you about how changing rules affect their next deal or project–well, in exchange for the right amount of money and position, because I assume you wouldn’t do it for free, if no one paid you any respect for it.  It is not its own reward.

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