Lenten Reflections: Forty Things I Really Like And… (Day 6)–Where’s the devil?

The devil’s in the details.

If you live in or near a city such as Washington DC, you should think what it would mean for you not to pay attention to the details of what you’re doing or where you’re going. The city is divided into quadrants, each designated with a geographical reference–NW, NE, SW, SE. City streets run through the quadrants. Many street names appear in more than one quadrant. Without going into too many examples, just imagine what happens if you head to somewhere in NW, when the actual location is in NE. Enough said.

We’re faced with situations every day where we need to confirm that we have some detail correct or not. The obvious danger in not getting things right is that, the longer you go on with the wrong information, the further you may go from the right target (or point).

A friend of mine wrote about some political activity in her country and referred to someone as an ‘officious bystander’; I think she meant to write ‘official…’ but I was not sure, so checked with her. The meanings are very different, and even though I could work with either description, if I try to take the wrong one forward, I’ll end up somewhere very different than if I pursued the right one. In some spheres, you’re made to pay a heavy price for not getting the details right. Try playing the wrong golf ball and see where that leads.

Many of us are familiar with optical illusions, so take a look at the image of the tree, or I should say the images of faces. Puns aside, once I plant a seed of what the image is supposed to be, it becomes hard to see it as anything else. See what happens if you focus on the details. Devilish, eh?

You see a tree or do you see faces?

I’m thinking today about many things, but am trying to focus on some stories and their details. Some would say the devil’s handiwork is all around. Did Oscar Pistorius murder his girlfriend or did he shoot her by accident?Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg He does not deny shooting her, but he wants to argue about his intent and if he knew at whom he was shooting. Read a little of the New York Times report:

He was nervous, he said, because the bathroom window did not have burglar bars and contractors who had been working there had left ladders behind.

The room was dark, he said, and he did not realize that Ms. Steenkamp was not in bed. He felt vulnerable and fearful without his prosthetics and opened fire at the door, he said, calling to Ms. Steenkamp to telephone the police.

Only then did he realize that she was not in bed, he said. He put on his artificial legs and tried to kick down the door before breaking it open with a cricket bat to discover Ms. Steenkamp.

He carried her downstairs, he said, and “she died in my arms.”

Earlier, Magistrate Nair said he could not exclude premeditation in the killing…’

I’ve highlight (bold) the details that strike me. What strikes you? I focused on emotions and things that had a clear timeline and seemed amenable to forensic tests. On what did you focus? I think he’s guilty of murder. What do you think? What details would help me change my mind? What would change your view? Do you need more details?


About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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