Copyright (c) 2010 Stephen Lau
According to a Chinese saying, there are three truths: "my truth", "your truth", and "the truth."
To most people, "my truth" is the ultimate truth, or the most important truth. Of course, there are some who may passionately seek "the truth." But "the truth" is often too deep to fathom; in addition, it may be open to interpretation and modification. To illustrate, the Bible may be "the truth" people are seeking, but people not only compromise "the truth" in the Scriptures to suit their own truth (i.e. "my truth") but also freely interpret it to fit in with their own agenda--"my truth." So, essentially, it all boils down to only "my truth" and not "the truth."
Now, what about "your truth" as opposed to "my truth"? Yes, there are some individuals who go out of their way to know more about "your truth" (i.e somebody else's truth). There are many who advocate diversity. For one thing, they are few and far between. For another, these individuals may want to find out more about "your truth" to convince themselves that "my truth" (i.e. their truth") is superior to "your truth." Or, they may want to persuade others to accept "my truth" and give up "your truth." So, their objective is to enhance "my truth" rather than to accept "your truth", much less than "the truth."
Human conflicts often originate from any incongruity between these three truths. Not seeking "the truth" may not be as problematic as being too preoccupied with "my truth" to the exclusion of "your truth." Most of us have been brought up with the "mine-is-better" attitude, and we have been repeatedly told by our parents that "I am special." Too much focus on the self may make it difficult, if not impossible, to accept anything other than "my truth." The idea behind the diversity movement is that the celebration of racial, cultural, and ethnic differences will promote understanding and healing. It may be a noble idea, but if the "mine-is-better" attitude prevails, then it will become no more than "my truth."
To illustrate, say, you have an unpleasant experience at the checkout of a supermarket with a cashier whose manners are abrupt and unfriendly. "I am a customer" becomes "my truth." "Your truth"--or that of the cashier--is "I was just unfairly reprimanded by my supervisor." "The truth" is to put yourself in someone's shoes, and try to give that person the benefit of the doubt." When you are presented with "the truth," you may react differently: you are less willing to hold on to "my truth" and more inclined to accept "your truth."
The prevalence of "my truth" is the stumbling block to social harmony and the expression of human compassion.