There is No Spoon or Dress: How to React to #TheDress

By Josh Dobbin

You are presented with a choice. A series of choices, honestly, with the recent distraction of the color-changing dress that has taken the Internet by storm like a Grumpy-Cat-Star-Wars-Kid-Bill-Cosby-Meme-Uma-Thurman-Did-Something-To-Her-Face blitzkrieg of complete and total but absolutely momentary domination. You can do the following things.

1) CHOOSE A TEAM. Are you team WHITE AND GOLD or team BLUE AND BLACK? Joyfully hurl invective at any and all who claim to be on the opposite team. Enjoy smug, self-satisfaction at being right.

2) CHOOSE A CONTRARY, POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES TEAM “I don’t know what you fools are talking about. The dress is blue and gold.” You know better than both camps. Enjoy smug, self-satisfaction of being right.

3) SHOW MORAL SUPERIORITY BY WAY OF INDIGNATION THAT THIS IS A THING This is the predictable “serious man” reaction. You will see it A LOT today. Stand apart from it all and decry the sad and sorry state of humanity and its propensity for distraction from pressing and urgent issues, and declare the end of civilization, with you as the only voice of reason. Let it be know that you possess the cold scalpel of logic and reason that cuts away frivolity and understands, with grim sadness, how hopeless everyone (but you!) is. Enjoy smug, self-satisfaction of being right. There is a fourth choice.

4)BEFORE DECIDING HUMANITY, THE INTERNET, AND EVERYONE WHO IS NOT YOU IS A MORON, THINK ABOUT WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN IN A DEEPER SENSE I know. WTF? Who has time for that? This choice is hard and requires thought. But not to worry, someone has already done the heavy lifting for you. Here’s Robert Anton Wilson, miraculously talking about the phenomenon of this dress and our reaction to it, and our reaction to everything else, even though he’s been dead for many years. Maybe, just maybe, see a phenomenon and try to know why it is captivating in a way that assumes the best about your fellow man. Here’s Wilson, on the dress, from beyond the grave:

“Long before quantum mechanics, the German philosopher, Husserl, said that “All perception is gamble.”Every type of bigotry, every type of racism, sexism, prejudice, every dogmatic ideology that allows people to kill other people with a clear conscience, every stupid cult, every superstition, written religion, every kind of ignorance in the world all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles.

We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don’t even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think that this is reality. In philosophy that is called naïve realism. “What I perceive is reality.” And philosophers have refuted naïve realism every century for the last twenty-five hundred years starting with Buddha & Plato, and yet most people still act on the basis of naive realism

Now the argument is maybe my perceptions are inaccurate but somewhere there is accuracy. The scientists have it with their instruments. That’s how we can find out what’s really real. But relativity and quantum mechanics have demonstrated clearly that what you find out with instruments is true relative only to the instrument you are using and where that instrument is located in space-time.

So there is no vantage point from which real reality can be seen, we are all looking from the point of our own reality tunnels. And when we begin to realize that we are all looking from the point of view of our own reality tunnels, we find it is much easier to understand where other people are coming from. Or, the ones who don’t have the same reality tunnels as us do not seem ignorant or deliberately perverse or lying or hypnotized by some mad ideology. They just have a different reality tunnel, and every reality tunnel might tell us something interesting about our world, if we are willing to listen.

You’d think I’d be all, “Choice 4!” right? Nah. Number 3 for me. That thing is blue and gold, I don’t know what you lunatics are going on about.