Archive for the ‘Colour’ Category

The Case Against Colour (or, NOTHING Is The New Pink)

November 1, 2006

Lust, Harpo:54, 6006 YD

Yesterday, I overheard a conversation between two homeless men who were waiting in a line for lunch at a nearby shelter. I was waiting for a bus on a bench close to where the two were standing, and happened to overhear one of them mention a ‘golden apple’. This, of course, piqued my interest, so I began to listen to the two.

It turns out that the ‘golden apple’ the one man was referring to was what is commonly referred to as an ‘Orange’, but he is correct that at one time the fruit was called a golden apple – the conversation centered around the man holding the orange trying to convince the other man that the fruit he was holding was in fact blue, not orange.

“It’s like this,” said the man. “colour works in opposites. When you look at an Orange the light bounces off the Orange, and back to your eye. But, the thing is, the thing is this: the Orange absorbs all the colours of the white light, and only bounces back the colour orange to your eye. So, really, the Orange is any colour BUT orange.”

“I don’t get it.” said the other man. “Why does it look orange to us, then?”

“Because that’s the only colour bouncing back to your eye. It looks orange because orange is bouncing back. The eye works on opposites. We actually see things upside down, but our eyes correct the image so that we see it normally. And, we usually see in negative, but the eye corrects for that too.”

“That’s fucked.” the other man answered aptly.

It was at this point that I turned to the two men. “I’ll tell you what’s more fucked. Colour doesn’t exist at all.”

They both just stared at me. I continued: “Think about this: Everything is made from molecules, right? Well, what colour are molecules?”

The one man shrugged, and the other said: “I don’t know.”

I winked. “Exactly. That’s because molecules don’t have any colour. And, if everything is made from molecules, and molecules have no colour, than de facto NOTHING has colour.”

Before either man could respond I disappeared into a puff of smoke.


July 27, 2005

I was reading, this morning, about the merits (or lack thereof) of Relativism in philosophical thought. The author of the book actually considers this mode of thought as ‘wrong’, which surprised me. I could easily imagine someone claiming that Relativism doesn’t work for them, or isn’t as helpful as other ways of thinking, but to actually refer to it as wrong, and logically inconsistent seems strange to me.

Relativism is, for those who don’t know, the theory that there is no absolute truth, and that, therefor, all truth is relative.

Presently, I lean much closer to that way of thinking than many others. Discordianism seems to me to be a way of grasping with the inconsistencies of the world, and there are many, in a way that is more realistic. I know, I just claimed Discordianism is more realistic than other ways of thinking . . . horror! But, in the sense that the world is full of inconsistencies and contradictions, yes, I think it is more realistic. Discordianism teaches us that things can be both true and false at the same time. How many of us can say we truly loved our parents with all our hearts and never once despised them while growing up? There were several times I hated both my parents, and yet I still loved them. The love doesn’t override the hate to me, though, as some would claim; I believe both existed at the same time. I loved and hated my parents at some points. The mind is a complicated contraption. Or, we can pull out the old standby argument in favour of E-Prime, that in certain circumstances light can be both a wave AND a particle. Light is not one, or the other, it is both. Or, what about colour? Is a Granny Apple really green? No. To our eyes it appears green, but to a bird it might be a completely different colour . . . and when you consider that a green apple appears green because green is all that is reflected to our eyes you are forced to consider that the apple is actually the opposite of green: red.

So, is a Granny Apple really red? Yes and no, unfortunately. If truth be told, the apple has no colour at all. Colour is just a way our brain interprets what we are looking at. An apple is made up of molecules, and molecules have no colour. So, rightfully NOTHING has colour. And, yet, it appears to us that they do.

So, until further notice from me I am still putting stock in Relativism.

Hail Eris! – All Hail Discordia!