Archive for the ‘Molecules’ 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.