Move over, “Is there god?”

“Are there aliens?”

“What happens when we die?”

There’s a new… gown in town. Nobody cares about the larger existential questions regarding the universe anymore. All we want to know is: what the actual fluck color is this frock gone viral? It’s madness. I saw the thing pop up on James Franco’s Instagram late last night, and by the morning, the apocalypse was well under way.

“It’s black and blue!” insist those imbued with high IQs.

“It’s white and gold!” shout those without eyes.

Friendships are getting shredded apart. Public transit has ceased. Mothers have taken to the streets, holding out their newborns as a sacrificial offering to whomever can help shine light on why we’re all perceiving light so differently. And if that’s not a solid example of just how shitty we are at accepting perceptive differences, I don’t know what is. It’s so much easier when we can file stuff we don’t agree with under “opinion” and “belief systems” which subsequently collectively go in the cabinet drawer quietly labeled, “WRONG.” We’re even willing to ask “What if we don’t see blue the same way?” and then pass it off as a stoner Keanu meme. But when it comes to science – the rules we all are supposed to live by and limit our mutual understanding to – the rules on acceptance about differing perspectives begin to alter. We can’t handle it. I mean we even have an appropriate idiom for our idiot-thinking that everything can be defined by our five limited senses and the guys in white coats who measure them: “Black and white”. It means clear cut. No room for argument. Solid fact. Everyone agrees.

So what happens when everyone doesn’t agree?

Nothing. Or at least nothing should.

This overpriced ($77) dress that didn’t literally break the internet (though I wish it had, ‘cause it’s the only thing in my feed now), is an isolated incident. This whole garment argument centers on something that was shot in unusual lighting with a potato camera and may have even been photoshopped intentionally to cause such a chromatic kerfuffle. It’s not changing the fact that kids will all be on the same page in primary school while learning primary colors and making mixed shades with cellophane. And, deep down, we all know that. We all know that this is just a top-shelf optical illusion and that most of us see the same hue of blue. But when a perception disparity between one person and another’s seemingly violates science, the only solution is to question what we think we know, our expectations about the world around us, the people in it, and what we expect them to see. As much as I’m beginning to hate this dress, it’s one of the most intriguing spontaneous social experiments in seeing everyone short circuit like Lemongrab trying to express affection as they try to make sense of an outlook that fails to match theirs. Also, it’s rather refreshing to hear so many men mention a dress without it being followed by “It’d look better on my floor.” And if nada else, I feel like a new idiom will arise from the ashes of this visual virus once it’s been attenuated:

“Black and blue is the new black and white.”

Or – if you’re blind seeing it another way: “White and gold is the new black and white.”

Different strokes. And rods. And cones.