Colors we See

by talkbackty on Apr 3, 2012

Part 3 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. To see all entries, click here.

Colors are one of those interesting things that we, as a spieces, seem to understand but are entirely self-created. Admittedly, I am not an expert on colors or light so bear with me. It is rapidly becoming clear that I have something of a fixation on perception, since in three days that is where my mind landed twice. And colors are really all about perception. 

What we know is color is the reflection of light off a surface and into the receptors of our eye, translated by our brain, processed, labeled and, finally, understood. Despite the fact that our ability to visually percieve color is based on a narrow field of vision (the rainbow), we are remarkably confident about what things are which color. 

For example, let's look at a chair. Let's look at the chair Morpheus sat in during The Matrix...cause why not, it's the internet.

What color is it?

How about now?

Is it the same color as this?

Or this?

The hint is that I did not adjust the "redness" of any of those pictures. Each picture plays with the light source, turning it up or down. Most people's reaction is to say that the chair is red, just in the dark or light, but always a red chair. That is the brain's rationalization. That is the quick lie the mind tells itself to make sense of a chair our eyes' receptors said was one color and now telling us it is a different color. 

Color always fluctuates. It changes with the light source and with the perception of the viewer. The way we should look at an image is that there are objects and there are colors, not that objects are a color. 

Perceptions are important to constantly check and recheck because of our mind's tendency to seek laziness. Brains are bombarded with stimuli and spend day after day trying to simplify. Taoism talks about water that does not continually flow becoming a swamp. Our perceptions can also become swamp-like if we forget to update them.  

Once again, this observation is meant to point out how wrong we are in our day to day lives. And if someone who understands light better than me comes along and tells me this blog is complete nonesense, well then that is only more evidence- albeit evidence just showing that I am wrong on a day to day basis, not us as a collective. 

Think about it.

Bonus Edit: I found a color test. I scored a 12. Zero is perfect. It takes a little time to complete. Best of luck.