Truth vs. Perception

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The concept of ‘truth’ versus ‘perception’ can be observed in nearly all aspects of life. What is the truth these days; in newspaper articles, current affair shows or stories that a friend is telling you, is it truth or is it a version of the truth? The complexities inherent in this concept of ‘truth’ versus ‘perception’ will be discussed in relation to two texts; “Twelve Angry Men” by Reginald Rose, and, “After the First Death” by Robert Cormier.

What is the key difference between ‘truth’ and ‘perception’, and which is more important? The truth is the reality of the fact while perception is the truth relative to oneself. The mind, the nature of the metaphysical of a human being is different to everyone else’s. Everyone has lived different lives; experiencing different passions, interests, suffering and possessing different capacities in knowledge. People are also brought up in different ways, belonging to different cultures and religions. This diverse array of factors is what makes us who we are, affecting and contributing to our views and perspectives. When contemplating the ‘truth’, it is filtered through a wide spectrum of experiences, knowledge and emotions, resulting in ones perception. For example, an orange is orange, which is the truth. If you look at it through green glasses, it will appear green but the truth is that the orange remains orange. Perception is like the green glasses, filtering the truth relative to the person that is perceiving it.

Twelve Angry Men is a really intriguing text that is clearly evident of the notion of truth and perception. It is about young boy on trial for the supposed murder of his aggressive father. Four days have passed where evidence is laid out, exhibits shown, witnesses are heard, statements of the plaintiff and the accused are given, and the twelve jurors watch and listen attentively. Now, it is the job of the jury to reach a verdict as a whole; twelve to nothing vote either way, guilty or innocent. The judge has directed the jury to find the boy guilty if there is not the slightest reasonable doubt. If they vote guilty, he will be sent to the electric chair and his death, this is mandatory. Eleven of the jurors declare that the boy is guilty except one of them. The 8th Juror voted not guilty, believing there was still much to be discussed and contemplated despite, the severely impending evidence laid out in court. Even though he was far from convinced of the boy’s innocence, he believed some of the evidence put against him was ambiguous. He didn’t want to send this kid to his death with doubt in his mind, and believed the kid deserved a fair chance considering his extenuating circumstances. Throughout the afternoon, all the jurors are yelling, disputing the facts of the case. Each piece of circumstantial evidence is discussed once more, and the ambiguities in the facts are revealed. The truth was being distorted, and twisted to make it relative to the perceptions of many of the jurors. Many of the jurors had already made up their mind, that the boy was guilty. Their decisions were clouded by personal experience, hatred or distaste for something that surfaced into the subconscious, which influenced their views negatively to convict the defendant, believing this will satisfy their unsettling emotions. As such reasonable doubt was raised, there was a huge argument by those who had already made up their minds, as the decisions of some were concrete and they were stubborn in not opening up to new possibilities.

The prosecution provided a strong case with very compelling evidence. The first piece of evidence disputed was the switchblade that the boy supposedly used to stab and kill his father. The boy left the house after being abused by his father, storming out angrily. He went straight to a neighborhood junk shop where he bought a switchblade, a uniquely crafted knife that the shop keeper who sold it to him identified it in court as one of a kind. He then bumped into...
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