Human Science

There is a wonderful scene in the film Witness for the Prosecution that shows how selfless and self-givingness can evoke the miraculous.

Sir Wilfred Robarts, a master barrister and an elder man in ill health, takes Leonard Vole on as a client over the protestations of his nurse. Vole is accused of murdering Mrs. French, a rich, older woman who had become enamored of Vole, going so far as to make him the main beneficiary of her will. Thus, strong circumstantial evidence all pointed to Vole as the killer.

When Sir Wilfred speaks with Vole's German wife Christine, he finds her rather cold and self-possessed, but she does provide an alibi for Vole’s innocence. Therefore, Sir Wilfred is greatly surprised when she is unexpectedly called as a witness for the prosecution. On the stand, she testifies that Vole admitted to her that he had killed Mrs. French, and that her conscience now forced her to finally come forth and tell the truth.

As a result, Vole is likely to be found guilty and sent to the gallows. And yet Sir Wilfred, loyal to the end, presses on despite the futility of the situation, and despite his rapidly deteriorating health. At one point, someone asks him if it is worth pursuing the case any further because it could jeopardize his life. He answers that the life of his client is more important than his own life, and he will do everything he can to pursue the truth.

Not a few seconds after he makes that remark, he receives a phone call. It is from a mysterious woman who says she can produce shocking new evidence that will lead to the reversal of the case, which is in fact what occurs. From a consciousness point of view, the phone call and presence of this woman is something more. It is a direct and immediate response from life to Sir Wilfred for having placed the life of someone else above his own. It is an astonishing act of self-sacrifice for which he is instantaneously rewarded with information that suddenly reverses the evidence and wins him the case.

This is no clever ploy on the part of the writer to create dramatic effect, but is precisely how life works. When we take to selfless and self-giving behavior, life immediately starts working on our behalf. Negative situations dissipate, unthought of opportunities arise, and other forms of sudden good fortune come our way. It is in essence the phenomenon of “Life Response” in action. When we change our inner condition, life outside instantly responds in kind.

--Roy Posner 19:43, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

See also other Case Studies on Life Response

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