ArticleVolume 34, Number 1 (2016)

Right Scholarship and the Goddesses of Commercial Law

Abstract

Sometimes scholarship is just scholarship. I am referring to the type of scholarship that is often written but barely read, the type written to impress someone or get a promotion rather than because there is a burning need or desire to say what needs to be said. Other times, scholarship flows from the heart, as a result of desire to share a discovery that could change the law, or to share a thought or series of thoughts that could change the world. I call this scholarship of the heart “right scholarship,” a phrase taken from the Buddhist concept of right livelihood. Right scholarship reflects real passions and concerns of the heart that permeate its author’s existence on an almost cellular level. This Essay examines examples of right scholarship in works of two commercial law “goddesses”: Jean Braucher and Elizabeth Warren.1 This Essay combines many topics about which I am deeply passionate, including religion, sex, yoga philosophy, and the influential works of two women I admire greatly. Hopefully, this brief Essay does not try to do too much at the expense of all of these topics.2 In Part I of this Essay, I describe the concept of right scholarship through various religious traditions and yoga philosophy’s principles for living known as the yamas. I then describe, through the works of young scholar Shari Motro, scholarship that has gone wrong. Finally, through the psychological concept of flow, I describe how we know when scholarship has gone right. In Part II, I provide some background information and brief excerpts from right scholarship written by the commercial law goddesses, both of whom were intensely passionate about their work. Their work is scholarship from the heart that has changed the world.

  1. Neither of these women has consented to being called a goddess and at least one might even be offended by the term. I do not intend to offend, as for me this is the highest compliment. A goddess is, among many other things, “a woman who is loved or admired very much by other people.” Goddess, Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/goddess (https://perma.cc/87CW-U7ZC) (last visited Apr. 29, 2016). Here, I use the term mostly in the colloquial sense of a female person who has mastered a skill or life in general, but also whimsically, in reference to the goddesses of Eastern mysticism, such as in Hinduism. Of course there are many others in mythology, including Greek mythology. I by no means mean to offend the religious sensibilities of anyone, or suggest that there is more than one God, but only to demonstrate how Eastern philosophies, mythology, and religions from both the East and the West can inspire us to become more engaged scholars. I also by no means suggest that Professors Braucher and Warrenare the most influential female scholars in commercial law and consumer law, only that they are uniquely inspirational to young scholars wishing to produce work from the heart that makes a difference in the world.
  2. I make no attempt here to write a traditional law review article and have not footnoted my every thought. This is by design and to facilitate flow. See Part I.D. I hope the reader can understand.