Something More To The Dress That Went Viral on The Internet

Submitted by a TNL reader (Lin Bo-Hua)

Recently a photo of a dress went viral on the Internet. Some people said the dress was blue and black while others said it was white and gold. And so the debate began.

If we calm down and think about it, we know that something’s off. Why would we see different colors? It’s not possible for everyone to have problems with their eyes. Studies say that it is our brain that causes the different results. In the midst of this heated discussion, how many people bickered with their friends in front of the computer and how many of these people actually did the research to understand why such a difference exists?

What I want to say with the example above is that people often jump to conclusions after only seeing the surface of things. We don’t really want to know why things happened, why did this person do such a thing, why would someone say something like this or why this person thinks this way.

We are used to freezing something someone said under a certain time and space, and interpreting them as a photo. For example, your boss’s face stinks today and says a few harsh words to you in a meeting. Wouldn’t you want to know why your boss did so? You would probably use the negative feelings your boss gave you today to judge him in the future. But haven’t you had days when you feel unwell and led to your unstable emotions? Haven’t you had a family member pass away and affect your mood? Maybe your boss came across difficulties that led to his negative emotions or maybe nothing happened at all. But there is the possibility. Shouldn’t we refrain from blaming others when we don’t know the full story?

Albert Camus’s, “The Stranger,” turns this phenomenon into a story. In the eyes of the judge and jury, the protagonist appears to be guilty because he didn’t go to his mother’s funeral and shot a person. But following the steps of the author and understanding the reasons behind the protagonist’s actions you will start to sympathize with him. The crimes that he committed are crimes objectively, but we should be more sympathetic. We are human beings and all make mistakes. We are vulnerable and easily triggered. We are all the same.

One of the issues often seen on the Internet is when someone criticizes another, netizens immediately open fire on the person making the judgments. It’s as if the netizens are offended themselves. We tend to sympathize with the victims, but hold no compassion for the so-called bad people. Is this the justice of netizens? Is this the attitude we should bear as civilized people? Is what they refer to as, “evil,” truly evil? A person isn’t allowed a single mistake in this era.

The hype surrounding a certain issue was probably raised intentionally, but we often interpret things carelessly with values fed to us by the society. We define who is the good guy and who is the bad guy while protecting the former and crumbling the latter.

But this “issue” is just one thing that happens in the many years of the person’s life. We were not part of the person’s life before this incident; we don’t know what kind of family he was born into, how his parents treat him, what happened to him in school, who he has spoken to and so on. In short, we don’t know what made the person who he is today and what happened on the day, or even the day before, the “issue” occurred.

Just like the dress; we will only glance at the picture and speak the thoughts that cross our minds at that very moment. We refute the judgment of others and don’t attempt to think about what causes the differences in these results. Maybe the dress isn’t black and blue nor is it white and gold. Maybe there are people who think it is yellow and green. Would you say these people are sick?

Every one of us has experienced sadness, anger and inability to control our emotions. We have all been on the brink of doing something stupid, and while some have been able to stop themselves from doing so, others haven’t been that fortunate. Do we have the right to crush someone for making mistakes we might have made as well?

But does this mean every wrong should be forgiven? I don’t think so. Knowing the seriousness of the consequences is a crucial way for us to stay rational. We shouldn’t only look at the surface when facing these mistakes and interpret them in a way we think is clever or simply go with the flow ignorantly. As human beings, we should have more compassion and understand that everyone makes mistakes.

Perhaps there will be less evil in our society once people learn to be more sympathetic and don’t just kick up a fuss. People will start hurting each other less when we learn to think for others. Things that seem repulsive now, might not be that obnoxious after all when this day comes.

Translated by Olivia Yang


Originally published at international.thenewslens.com on October 6, 2015.

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