Colour is Subjective

What do I mean by this statement?  Well, for a start, colour as such, doesn’t really exist.  I know, this is going to be hard to get your head around, after all we see in colour, right?  Actually, what we ‘see’ as colour comes from the signals sent from the eye to the brain.

Colour vision is the ability of an organism or machine to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths of the light they reflect, emit or transmit.  In other words, the idea of colour comes from what we interpret and not from the object itself.

As someone who is colour blind (red-green, if you ask, it also affects blues and browns but with red and green in them), I don’t ‘see’ the world the same way as everyone else.  Why? Because I don’t have the right cone cells in my eyes.  It was only when I was a child when I realised there was something different about the way I saw the world.  If I recall, I was trying to colour grass with a brown pencil rather than a green one.

There are people out there who don’t see blues or yellows or even any colour at all (technically black and white are colours, but you get my meaning).  The point I’m saying here is, my red is always going to be different to yours.

What fascinates me about this is that other animals ‘see’ a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).  For example, snakes probably see in the infrared part of the spectrum while artic caribou can see in ultraviolet.  Famously, bats see in sound (yet another part of the EMS).  I wonder what that would be like to experience the world through their senses.

So the next time someone asks you what colour an object is, keep in mind that we all see this world differently.

 

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