Res Ipsa Loquitur: In A Non-Legal Perspective

Res Ipsa Loquitur in Latin means the thing speaks for itself. This a legal doctrine that somehow gives the inference of negligence from the action itself which the doer has an exclusive control over it. The classic example is in malpractice cases where injury is obvious on the direct recipient of the action, especially related on health issues of forgotten surgical instruments inside body cavities after a surgical operation, or perhaps burns from unregulated heat application. These are few examples of the legal doctrine, but in this blogpost, I will not delve deeper on this. I will utilize the doctrine as a springboard to show how our beliefs, emotions and principles cloud our understanding and logic in our analysis of daily events. This is what I meant of a non-legal perspectives.

Our previous experience hinder us from seeing the obvious.

Humans are historical beings. We remember our experiences, create inferences and make decisions from our memories. We avoid a situation that will potentially inflict the same amount of discomfort or pain we had received before. Moreover, we want to repeat events that will give us optimal pleasure and benefit. That is just the nature of man. We make our actions based on the likelihood of repeating or avoiding the occurrence of a previous experience. We believe by doing so, it is more convenient to make decisions based on trends and history. However, we tend to forget that situations vary. Every situation is unique such that one situation has a unique element that other situations do not possess. Determining these unique situation attributes is a must in decision-making. What may give pain or pleasure in one situation may not be the same in another, even the individuals involved are the same, so there is no reason to believe making the same action or decision may yield the same results. One must therefore exercise due diligence everytime one is confronted with a new situation in evaluating the situation and making sense out of it. One must go to the core elements, rather than wasting time comparing the situation to prior ones on how similar and different they are from each other.

What we feel twists the reality presented to us.

Everyone ofcourse has a bad day. We are presented with various challenges everyday which eventually affects how we feel and think. Emotion is one of the most powerful driving forces in an individual. When one is happy, one seems to have an unending source of energy to accomplish things. In addition, when one feels melancholic, the feeling of sadness seemingly transforms everything from colorful to gray and white. Everything has meaning when we feel something. However, this is not simply the case. The reality maybe devoid of meaning, such that there is necessity of interpreting events. What others do are simple actions without intended meaning, but this can be misinterpreted as another by someone. This is the paranoia of reality. This happens when one dismisses what is real and believes everyone means something from simple gestures. A help may simply mean an aid, not necessarily affection or concern. An invitation for conversation may mean only desire to communicate, not personal engagement or relationship. A hug may concretely mean a physical action without expressing the need to comfort another. The thing speaks for itself and that anything may mean another, or even none at all.

Our personal agenda will always be our utmost concern in situation analyses.

The greatest challenge is to separate what it should be from what it is. As human beings, each of us have expectations on how reality should unfold. The desire to derive meaninful advantage from a situation could itself make assessment unclear. For example, a person may buy something expensive for himself or herself even without sufficient financial means, just justify the need of comforting oneself of the depressing financial condition one is in. One denies the existence of a problem, and worse one attempts to solve it even without a good grasp of reality and its magnitude. This is quite alarming that our intentions override our thoughts, instead of our thoughts making concepts and our intentions. What we think is true, may even be false, just disguised as genuine by our unquenchable desires and selfish agenda.

The point of the discussion to assess situation as it is. Our biases make it difficult to see events objectively. If in case a problem arises, one could immediately distinguish the root problem, because our perception has been become vague by some things. This is the reason why denial seems easy, because our thoughts can not be controlled in a way to free it from influences affecting the core. The thing speaks for itself. Let the obvious convince us of what consists of our reality. There are difficulties but one should accurately identify the complexity of an issue before coming up of measures to make it less complicated. As psychiatrists recommend, one must engage in self-awareness first before even attempting to solve personal problems or those of others.


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