WHAT colour is red? Seems a rather ridiculous question doesn’t it… but is it really? We all tend to take it for granted that everyone sees exactly the same thing in exactly the same way as we do, but how can you be so sure that the colour you recognize as red is the same colour that is recognized as red by anybody else?
Maybe their red is orange or yellow… in your judgment… or even a colour you would not recognize. You can never know for sure because you can only view the world from behind your own eyeballs, not from behind anybody else’s. It is the same for any other colour… or a view of the world in general for that matter.
Physically, our colour vision is ‘trichromatic’ or in other words, our view of the world is restricted to three primary colours. There are many other wavelengths that we can’t see, ultraviolet and infrared for example. The three primary colours are red, yellow and blue. All other visible colours are a mixture of those three.
The mixing is done in our individual brains, where it then deciphers what the mix of colours are to determine what we are looking at. Those colours we see rely on what we are looking at rather than the light itself. Everything reflects sunlight, some absorb certain wavelengths, some reflect certain wave lengths and some reflect a mixture of the three.
The petals of a red rose for instance reflects mostly the red wave length, it’s leaves, a mix of blue and yellow to make shades of green. When looking at a rose or anything else, it is first registered on the retina of your eye and then a personal interpretation of that vision is transferred to your brain for analysis.
Then finally you unconsciously make up your own mind what something looks like, including its colour, wholly determined by what you originally perceive the three primary colours to be. What you perceive as true is then projected onto your screen of life as reality…but it is your reality…no one else’s.
Other animals see the world and colours differently than we do, or so science tells us, again we can never know for sure and yet the same sun shines on all living creatures. Is the multi-coloured world different for other human beings too? Is your view of the world a very private affair?..
Dan’s Quote: “In the absence of light, is a red rose still red?”-DJB.