What Actually Happened?

sign-36417_640We are well in to the Oscar Pistorius trial. Tragic twists are the order of the day. What I find fascinating is the way witness testimony to the event differs. Quite amazing. Nobody sees things the same way. You’re constantly left with the question – what actually happened? Well, that’s the nature of evidence.

I suppose we can only see and experience through the interpretations of others and these can differ immensely. Even Oscar Pistorius, who was and is at the heart of the tragedy, experiences the event through his own interpretation.

So we are left, like we’re always are, with – what actually happened? I often ask myself if there’s some “place” or some “state of being” where, “what actually happened” beyond our interpretations, is recorded. I wonder if one day it will all be played back to us in its pure objective and “truthful” state. But then by saying this I suppose I’m assuming all sorts of other things.

Beyond our interpretations – is there such a place? 🙂

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Discernment, history, Life, Spirituality, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to What Actually Happened?

  1. ptero9 says:

    Good question Don! If you listen to people who have had NDE’s talk about their life review, the answer would be yes, there is an objective view of what happens. The cool thing about so many NDE experiences is that the life review is part of a cleansing on the way to the other side where many people say they have felt an overwhelming love and forgiveness.

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    • Don says:

      Yes, I have read and listened to some of those accounts, Debra. The one thing that has always struck me is that review you describe. It seems as if the truth is applied in ways we have never experienced before, but in the context of that overwhelming love and forgiveness. If it is applied in that way I can certainly live with that. Perhaps, hopefully, that is that place beyond interpretation. 🙂

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  2. Hi, Don. During the 30 years I was a high school English teacher, for awhile I was also a speech and debate coach. For several years I coached Mock Trial, which is held in court rooms with h.s. students given cases to take to trial and act the parts of witnesses, attorneys, witnesses. The number thing I learned from the attorneys who assisted our teams was this: the most unreliable part of our judicial system is witnesses. Most police officers will vouch for that as well. What we see when we’re not expecting to see anything other than the usual can be exaggerated, blurred by emotion and other factors, altered by the passage of time, and other issues. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys can play that reality to their advantage, but the bottom line is that, unless the crime was committed in the line of a security camera, other evidence will be much more important than eye witness accounts.
    And juries? In America, that’s a whole new bag of potential concerns.

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    • Don says:

      That’s quite incredible Marylin, isn’t it? That must have been a wonderfully creative time for you I can just imagine doing something like that. What a learning experience it must have been for those students. It’s actually disturbing when you think about eye witness accounts given that they can be so unreliable – not good. You speak about juries. Having watched so many movies out of America I have seen some of the things that have happened because of juries being fixed or chosen in a way that can lead to injustice. But let me say this also happens in our system where we don’t have juries. Just one incompetent judge or magistrate can cause enormous harm. I suppose no judicial system is full proof. 🙂

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  3. Interesting thoughts, Don. I think when it comes to the events of that night, there can be no such thing as “objective truth.” But there is a strong gut feeling, something I feel very strongly about this whole case. I hope it does get a decisive resolution, no matter the exact details. Such a sad story.

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    • Don says:

      It is an extremely sad story Monika. I too have a gut feeling about it, a kind of an intuitive knowing. I hope too for a decisive resolution. Tragic.

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  4. Val Boyko says:

    Don, Thank you for sharing this. I too find the whole thing quite disturbing because of the human tragedy and struggle. This is a time for great compassion.
    What we believe becomes our truth. And over time it becomes the absolute truth. We humans have such a capacity for survival that we are able to deny anything that we can’t face…. without knowing it. Our mind has an amazing ability to re-organize data and protect us. How else could some of us live with ourselves?

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    • Don says:

      What you say here Val is so full of wisdom. It’s sad enough when we as individuals do this, but when we do it collectively as a nation, the impact is enormous. “Re-organizing data in order to protect ourselves” (I like that), is kind of written in to us. I think the journey out of this pattern of living is one of the hardest we can make, but so deeply freeing as it is intentionally and truthfully embarked upon. Thanks Val – really appreciate your comment.

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  5. nrhatch says:

    If you google “youtube eyewitness memory” . . . you’ll see ample evidence of how fallible “evidence” is.

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  6. sefeniak says:

    As always your commentary is thought provoking. Thanks.

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  7. Objective versus subjective. Fact versus interpretation. Challenging and thought-provoking questions you pose, Don. I guess one answer might depend on one’s beliefs; does a grand repository where “what actually happened” exists? I believe so, yet that inclination is rife with my personal bias and perspectives. Having given additional thought to what you’ve shared, coupled with the that none of us know, I’m leaning into the space of ‘what does it matter,’ if we do not have access to the fact of having hovered above during this particular act. Ours is conjecture and in the end, I believe this is our Creator’s domain. We can certainly wonder and then we can move on with matters of which we have greater clarity.

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Eric. Your comments are always so thought-provoking. I wonder if all knowledge doesn’t start from a point of conjecture. I think it does. What falls in to the realms of the metaphysical today may not do so tomorrow. So much of yesterday’s science fiction which was essentially conjecture then, is today fact because it was not simply looked upon as our Creator’s domain and therefore to be left. I strongly believe that. I think some of the most enlightening discussions I’ve had have been with people who have been prepared to share out of their “not knowing.” Just a thought.

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  8. Hudson Howl says:

    Anyone falsely accused and imprisoned would argue that such a place does exist in the ever evolving forensic sciences.

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    • Don says:

      I have to agree with you Calvin. You see justice just doesn’t make sense if life is purely defined within the context of this world. Surely there is something else. But now we’re going in to the whole world of metaphysics and religion and that presents a set of problems of its own. 🙂

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      • Hudson Howl says:

        Personally for me, truth has a life and a death. An what am about to say may sound vulgar and nihilistic to some, so forgive if you like -if there is a glimmer of truth, then it exists at the moment of conception and at the exact time of death; everything else in between is simply the ‘shit that happens’. That is more of a question, then a statement.

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    • Don says:

      Wow, that’s pretty brave,Calvin Admire you for that. Personally, I can’t go down that road, but I also can’t go done the road of some of the religious and metaphysical nonsense we are constantly exposed to.

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      • Hudson Howl says:

        Am off topic, but whats new -Is it not possible, an totally acceptable, for a person to live happily in a untruth, as, if you think about, possible to live sadly in a truth? I suppose I tend to tread lightly over beliefs and perceptions, perhaps out of fear ‘My Lady of Sagacious Wisdom’ will hit me with her cane.

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      • Don says:

        That’s what I admire about you Calvin, a free spirit. I think treading lightly over beliefs and perceptions is an extremely wise thing to do. I don’t find myself dogmatically holding on to to a truth. For me truth is ever expanding. So I suppose in some way or other we all live in some form of untruth. Just thinking out aloud.

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  9. Robert says:

    I’m sure it will be the focus of a movie, the truth is another matter Don

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  10. safia says:

    I agree it is a very sad case and not so uncommon. The lethal combination of love, passion, drugs, and firearms will never end well. If Pistorius was being tried where I live (UAE) the crux of the case would come down to his intention (not so much pre-meditation as his intent at the time he pulled the trigger). Perhaps this is the only truth that matters in this case? How depressing that it will, as Robert says above, no doubt be boiled down to a movie one day for the entertainment of the voyeur.

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    • Don says:

      Thank you for your your enlightening comment, safia. The whole issue of intent is an extremely important issue, as you say, will certainly play a key role in this trial. it is all so terribly sad and depressing.

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  11. Don, what an intriguing question you have raised. It is truly amazing how witnesses of the same event can vary so much in their accounts of it. I believe evidence gets interpreted according to each person’s own world view and prejudices. It makes me glad that at least an attempt is made to choose a balanced jury for trials. Justice is important for a civil society; however, true perfect justice is hard to come by on this planet. I believe it is coming eventually at the end of this earth’s era. But that belief brings on a whole different set of questions.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ✼

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    • Don says:

      What you say about a person’s prejudices and worldview and the way that all influences the way evidence is given is so true,Wendy; also the key role of justice in a society. When there is little justice it begins to create all sorts of problems in communities. We experience this in our own country and for many it is not easy to live with.

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