OPINION – The most pressing question of the day isn’t whether the Utah Legislature will legalize medicinal cannabis (I would be pleasantly surprised if it does), nor is it whether the Republican-controlled Congress will shut down the Department of Homeland Security (they are just petty enough to do it.)
No, the most pressing question of the day is: Gold and white or black and blue?
By now, we all must have surely seen the photographs of a little dress that has taken the world by storm.
Is it black and blue or gold and white?
It depends on your perception.
It is interesting to see how four such distinct and different colors can create so much confusion and subsequent discussion.
It is also interesting to see how the world has reacted to something that, on the surface, seems incredibly insignificant and lighthearted.
Except, it really isn’t.
You see, we should really use this little exercise to learn something about ourselves and our individual perceptions.
That so many can see things so differently shouldn’t be a surprise. We are, after all, a world of individuals who look at things through our own unique perspectives. I’m surprised, as a matter of fact, that we haven’t seen more examples like this.
Forget all of the long-winded mumbo-jumbo that we’ve read over the last few days, the simple fact is we are different, we experience things differently, we reason differently. And, that is a good thing. No, it is a great thing, actually, to realize we really haven’t completely succumbed to an Orwellian destiny.
The reasons why we see things differently don’t really matter. The fact that we do, does matter. It should also serve as a lesson in understanding. I am sure that if you were in the majority of folks who saw that little dress as being black and blue instead of the minority that sees it as gold and white, you would feel a little more secure in yourself, knowing that you aren’t what is usually derisively termed as “different,” that you are in the majority, a part of the crowd.
But, realize that it is those differences that make us unique and that those differences should be celebrated and respected.
Instead, they are not.
Don’t believe me? Wear a blue hat instead of a red one sometime in Southern Utah and see what happens. Praise Allah instead of Heavenly Father and see what happens. Try to marry somebody of the same sex and see what happens. And, offer critical discourse of what transpires in those situations and see how quickly you are invited to leave the area.
I mean, are those who see that little dress as being gold and white wrong? No, because it is how the dress is perceived by a set of different eyes. It is that other side of the coin that is so often tossed with only the winners considered.
The social lesson of this little phenomena is lost on many.
I have seen some scholarly types who have made comments like: “I wonder if anything else of importance happened in the world while we debated the color of that dress.”
Well, of course important stuff happened.
The Utah Legislature is considering making medical cannabis available to people suffering needlessly, the Congress is looking to one-up the administration again by denying funding for DHS, and, of course, North Korea’s whack-job strongman Kim Jung-un, has instructed his army to prepare to go to war, again, against the United States and South Korea for a joint military exercise the two nations participated in.
While not, perhaps, bearing as much gravitas as those other news items, the little dress story is equally compelling, if only because of its sociological implications.
Hopefully, it will help us all think a little deeper, explore the gaps that divide us, lead us to a greater understanding of this thing we call the human condition, and, perhaps, allow us to be more respectful of our differences.
What if, for instance, we paid more attention to the other areas of our society that reveal differences? If we took as much time examining those differences as we did the reasons for why some of us saw a black and blue dress and some of us saw a gold and white dress, perhaps we could advance our humanity and overcome the prejudices that blind us and inhibit us from greater understanding.
No, it won’t change our perceptions, or at least, not much, but it will help us to deal more civilly with each other, to be kinder to each other, to accept that we are all a little bit different and have different wants, needs, and desires and that just because we differ doesn’t mean that those wants, needs, and desires should be denied just because they are not our priority.
We are here really, I believe, to serve each other, encourage each other, develop each other, and not be so exclusionary. I’m not saying that everything and everybody’s awesome, as the song goes. There are enough examples to prove otherwise. It also doesn’t mean we have to lower our standards, as long as they are truly ours and not something we latch onto to simply fit in. Besides, fitting in isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, anyway.
It simply means being aware that the other side isn’t always wrong, that we may learn something, and that if we are secure in our own thoughts and beliefs, we need not worry about questions about those thoughts and beliefs or differences of opinion.
And, just for the record?
It’s gold and white.
At least that’s how I saw it.
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Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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