Remember the dress. THE dress. The black and blue one. I mean the white and gold one. I mean…
That dress had the whole internet going bonkers back in February 2015. That same year our 45th President announced his candidacy for the 2016 election. These two things may seem unrelated, but I believe they are intimately linked.
You see, back in 2015, I was working for a news company. When the Roman Originals dress story began to pop up it was quickly dismissed by the news room. It was joke. A distraction from serious news. A product of pop culture, ergo, not to be taken seriously. Sound familiar?
Yet I couldn't help but wonder, if the dress (or the Donald for that matter) was such a joke, how come so many people were talking about it? There must be something about pop culture and its icons that resonates with people on an intrinsic or even existential level. How we deal with those feelings must be important. Right?
The following is some thoughts on the dress and what it still means for us as a society and the way we communicate about our ideas.
The dress IS important.
It's not a waste of time. It isn't a dumb diversion in the face of more "serious issues". The vitriol with which so many of us have prematurely shouted our conclusions is testament to how intimately linked our humanity is to the accuracy of our perception. Overnight a dress has separated people into new religious factions (or at least denominations) within the church of social media.
And it does matter. The truth matters. The methods by which truth is obtained...they matter.
It's painfully clear that our eyes deceive us. Our perceptions are faulty. We never step into the same river twice but man is not the measure of all things. If he were then we could all just say "well even though I see black and blue, if you see white and gold, maybe it's that too". But that's not good enough is it? Why? Because it's a lie. It's untrue. And we as human beings thirst for truth almost as much as we thirst for justice. So much so that we'll settle for flattery and revenge in lieu of the real thing.
The dress shows us that how firmly we believe something doesn't always translate to reality. We can't lend our eyes to our neighbor anymore than they can lend theirs to us. You alone do not hold the objective truth. But truth-seeking is a worthy cause. So while man may not be the measure of all things...maybe men (and women) have a slightly better measuring stick.
But hold on...
...because that's not all there is to this. Before we decide to go throw out all individually collected knowledge in favor of truth by committee there's one extremely important fact amongst all this.
There is an answer. There is a right choice. That doesn't mean you're a bad person to have seen something different. But your perception doesn't change the chromatic reality that the color of the dress is black and blue. There is an absolute in this case.
Truth is objective. Even if our perceptions of that truth are not. Now I'm sure my philosopher friends out there are tearing their hair out over my many fallacies and tautologies and for those I apologies but my point is this. The dress is important. The truth is important. The methods by which we test and the mediums with which we discuss truth are so SO important.
Test your own perceptions and test mine. But do so with grace and compassion. Ask more questions and make less statements. Never stop thirsting for truth and justice. But understand how faulty you are. Especially when coming in contact with the faults of others. This isn't over. Not yet. Another "dress" is going to appear on your feed.
And the truth of it...