There are three sides to every story: Your side, my side and the truth.
I don’t know who originally came up with that line but I’ve found it to be a remarkably insightful and surprisingly accurate statement on the power of human perception.
In these politically and culturally charged times, people seem to have a strong opinion on pretty much everything. Everyone seems to lean one way or the other on whatever’s making headlines that day, depending on their tribal echo chamber of choice, nuance be damned.
So, if the “three sides” saying is true, that means all those people are probably missing the truth.
While I couldn’t care less about the Meghan Markle vs. Piers Morgan debate — the royals don’t really move the needle for me in terms of things that matter — it is a beautiful example of how human conflict often works and the power of perception.
If Meghan’s allegations are true, and the royal family is biased against her because she’s half black, that’s pretty ugly stuff.
And if she’s lying through her teeth, as Piers Morgan and others suggest, that, in my view, is just as ugly.
True to form, the commentators and social media masses have drawn up sides, one way or the other.
The truth, in all likelihood, falls somewhere in between.
I’m relatively certain that Meghan believes what she’s saying — what she perceived — is true. And I’m equally certain that the royal family is outwardly racist or sees themselves as such.
I expect such allegations would be appalling to both parties.
We tend to call this sort of thing a “he said, she said” debate, but that’s not accurate either. It’s more a matter of perception being reality in the eye of the beholder; never mind the opposing reality of the beholdee (yes, I know that’s not a word, thank you very much).
Matters such as these are rarely resolved because it’s impossible to know what motivates people to say or do the things they say and do. Indeed, we don’t often know what motivates our own actions.
Whenever I hear people voice strong opinions on matters they see as black and white when they can’t possibly know the truth, I just recite the old “three sides” saying … to myself. I mean, why bother saying it out loud? Nuance is generally lost on today’s culture.
Image credit The USO and Cow PR / Flickr