Painting Pictures

Posted on November 10, 2008 by: Shane Maru

I like to think that every person is a fabulous artist, and we paint the most believable pictures around. It seems that in any situation where we do not know all the facts for certain, we tend to 'reckon' or assume we do know what has happened or is happening. For example, a husband is working late a lot, has blonde hairs on his suit (his wife is brunette) and jumps straight in the shower when he gets home. We all 'know',or have painted a picture about what is happening. Most of us would be 100% sure he was being adulterous, but we don't know for certain because we weren't actual witness to anything, it's just that's what it looks like to us based on what facts we do know. If the wife confided in us and asked for an honest opinion, it appears we would be of the persuasion that her husband was guilty of infidelity and inform her so. The overwhelming opinion of her peers would seem to be that her husband was cheating on her. We all have shown her our pictures (ideas) of what's going on, and from that is seems likely she would draw her own conclusions, or paint her final picture, and react accordingly. If this situation were a court case, and the jury found the husband guilty, the presiding Judge would overturn the ruling because it would be based on hearsay, not proof. It doesn't mean he is or isn't guilty, just that we don't have enough facts to convict, only opinions. There could be a whole host of probable pictures to explain the circumstantial evidence, but most are ignored because they don't fit with what we have drawn, with what pictures we have painted ourselves. If we knew all the facts, if we knew everything relevant, we could make an informed conclusion, but if we don't know all pertinent details, what we have is an idea of an idea, that we seem to take as fact. Is having an 'idea of an idea' the same as someone describing a painting you have never seen before, and then deciding we know exactly what that painting looks like? Our opinions seem to be based on what pictures we have painted, and a lot of our pictures seem to based upon a mixture of fact, feeling, and other people's paintings we have interpreted.

Sometimes it seems the husband would be deemed guilty even before a trial. For whatever reason, sometimes it's easy to be convinced of someone's complicity in an event regardless of contradictory evidence presented. Maybe the guilty verdict fits in or supports something we know or have experienced ourselves. Maybe it's personal and we refuse to acknowledge any pieces of the puzzle that don't fit the picture we have painted. Maybe we are taking only what we need to support our idea, and disregarding the rest. Maybe we relate the situation to us and make a judgement accordingly. Maybe we focus too much on the negative and rearrange everything else, so our view is unobstructed and we can keep an eye on it, just in case it is true.

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