Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Colour me this.

Why do we see what we see?

The captivating ideology that seems to be living like a parasite in our minds is that we all see the same things on the same level. The same colours, the same shades, the same textures, the same depths. And yet, there is no fully conclusive point at which we can come together and decisively state that what we see is exactly the same as everyone else.
It certainly seems to me that what we see is yet another trick played on us by the senses. Take for example a blue piece of paper. We can all agree on the relative shape and size of the thing, and possibly the feeling of it, but what of the colour, what of the way it looks to the individual. Now imagine this piece of paper, being blue it looks blue to you. But what is blue? To you it may well be blue, but to me it could be a crimson shade of red, and yet i still call it blue. So we can only conclude that it is blue, as we have no measurable way at all of defining the difference between our perceptions.
Now I understand that the skeptics and critics will pose the statement of 'How do we establish the name of colour then, and how do we imagine these shades in our head'. Well I offer this composition: What we want to see, we perceive to be. On one level I can explain this using Douglas Adam's brilliant 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy'.
In one of the books, Slartibartfast explains to Arthur that he can't see the great big flying spaceship just ahead of him because he simply doesn't want to see it; it is regarded, in the book, as Somebody Elses Problem, and thus his eyes just slip away from it, ergo he doesn't perceive it to be. Now if we apply this to colour, and even general perception, we imagine these shades because we want them to be, and we simply agree the name to be accepted by everyone else. For example if I went around shouting that the sky was yellow when it is blue, I would be regarded as mad by those around me. Therefore naming colours is socially driven. And who is to say the sky is not yellow? It may be to me, but I still call it blue.
In summary, I would like to offer this to you: We all have different perceptive functioning, and cannot be so dogmatic and narrow minded so as to say that everyone sees the same. After all, consider the statement 'Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder'.