Beyond a Reasonable Doubt


Is there a such thing? To be proven guilty or innocent beyond a reasonable doubt? Who’s in reason and according to who’s doubt? What used to appear so black and white has become so smeared and gray, the lines crossed and manipulated – in all realms. When everyone’s reality is so malleable, everyone’s truth so different – is there room for black and white lines anymore? How do you leave aside all biased, being forced to tune it all out, how does one perception outdo another’s, what makes one more “wrong” or “right”? How can 10 people look at one painting, watch the same episode, endure the same experience, and yet all walk away with a different perception? What makes that perception? All the tiny stories and experiences that have brought us to this point in time – one story – different view points – different eyes that have seen different things, different interpretations, how we were raised, what we were taught, what we’ve experienced – they all mold us, they all create these little snap shots buried deep within us that have brought us to present day. It’s like the slides of a movie that keep rolling on the reel – put them all together and you have one movement after the next. Some slower scenes, some faster, some dramatic, some boring, some forever imprinted, some that cause our response mechanisms, some that force us to react. 2 things they all have in common – a majority are subconscious thoughts that we operate from without knowing and all have a different truth to them.

What is truth anyways? Truth according to the dictionary truth is “a fact or belief that is accepted as true.” Not the definition I expected to find – that makes for many different truths all in one if it’s simply something that is accepted as true – kind of a game changer isn’t it? I have accepted many truths that many others have not, and forcefully unaccepted many that I simply didn’t want! Haven’t we all blurred the lines? I’m not talking white lies or choosing to manipulate it on purpose in order for an opinion to be swayed in a way I want, I’m talking about doing it without even knowing I just did it. You listen to a speaker and there are certain things that just click immediately, but others you may question were ever said. Parts of your childhood you chose to block, only to be reminded of the agony in which it surfaced. It’s the logical mind taking what serves it best at this moment, for us – and running with it. I heard a very varied version of the Adam and Eve story recently that seems suiting – Adam and Eve never knew the fruit on the tree was “bad” or “forbidden” until they were told. Up until then they simply just were, they did, they flowed, there wasn’t a certain “way” or “belief” around anything, they ate from every tree because no one infringed upon them that one was more valuable then another. It wasn’t until they were told otherwise that this became their death sentence. If you were to view the same knife, one beheading someone and that same one cutting an apple – why would you fear one and go towards another? After all, they are the same knife? It wasn’t until you were told and taught that one was “right” or “wrong” that you began to think differently about it, knowing to run from the knife that beheads or toward the one that feeds you. To the Christian, the Bible speaks the highest truth, but that truth is in the eye of the beholder – whatever wants to be interpreted from it, will be. To the Muslim, the Koran is the highest truth – if you were taught that sacrificing yourself to end the lives of others that you have been told and taught are harmful, why are they doing “bad” when it’s all they know? They simply see it as serving their God, just as we are taught going to church is our service. I mean, after all, we teach our soldiers the same thing – to kill the “bad” guys, are we really that different then? Or is this along of the lines of “he started it first” – does that make one better then the other? Does one man in a suit lying make it less of a lie because of his uniform? Perhaps he has been told that with power comes blurring the lines, so I guess he wouldn’t be a liar then? Are we all lying or are we all being honest? To the female judge who was wronged in the past by men, how does one keep their biased aside when mediating a case of infidelity and divorce or sexual abuse? To a male judge who endured copious amounts of abuse in a drug induced environment, how does one play fair on the other end of the gavel? You’re bound to see through the eyes of empathy or of wrath. How is a person to hold no bias when that’s what bias is – whether we realize we’re doing it or not. Have you never been impartial? Have you never had a favorite? A favorite color, teacher, sports team, friend, lover, doctor, TV show? Why? Why are some things your favorite? Have you never disliked something, hated and despised it? A person, place or thing, a behavior, a common saying, a liar, a cheater? Why? Why do you hate some things? Do you know? Can you link it to something deeper – to that “one time at band camp” story? 😉 To the girl that’s being mean on the playground, in her defense, it’s the only way she gets a voice, because at home she’s drowned out. To the boy that can’t concentrate, he can’t stop thinking about what will happen again tonight when he gets home to his drunk parents. To the black man that you label as a low life living in the projects, dealing drugs on the side, while working at Wal-Mart part time, this is the most permanent home he’s ever had with a full roof over his head, giving his children more then he ever had, doing the only thing he knows how to. To the obese teenager that you think needs to go on a diet, his parents can’t afford anything except pop tarts and hot dogs, and that’s if he gets 2 meals a day. Do you see how the hues of gray can vary so vastly, how the truth molds and bends? Do you see how people end up in situations and circumstances, not always because they chose too, but instead because they simply didn’t know how to do any different? Do you see how their truth and yours can be different? Do you know that your truth today can be different from tomorrow, that you’re the creator of it?

We all do a great job at trying to play God, but very few work on trying to be him – myself included. Perhaps if we realized that the days of black and white are forever gone, or even just that your black may be someone else’s white, maybe we’d concern ourselves less with what “truth beyond a reasonable doubt” best suits our vantage point, only to realize that truth lies only in the eye of the beholder.


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