grapefruit orangePosted: June 3, 2008
I once argued, no, engaged in a squabble with a friend of mine about the exact tint of a colour I called “grapefruit orange”.
Perception is a very odd thing.
My definition of “grapefruit orange” was the outer layer of the damn thing, a very pastel yellowish-orange. Her definition was that of the inside, a deep red. Why am I using this anecdote about a stupid grapefruit, you ask? For all of you impatient, get-to-the-point people that don’t appreciate long-winded, multi-subject, adjective and comma filled sentences that describe a certain situation, such as this one, “It only takes a few millimeters to change what you see”. Earlier, I went over why we see. Now, here’s my take on what we see.
It’s pretty simple, really. Light reflecting off of surfaces, gently caressing our optical nerves and such (and in some cases, burning) so that impulses are sent to the brain which then processes the raw information into what we see, what we recognize, and what is unknown. Different wavelengths, different shades represent different things differently, and they are what differentiates whatever is nearby and caught by your retinas. (The award for most uses of forms of the word “Different” in cohesive sentence goes to…) It’s how you see the trashcan next to your desk, the computer screen in front of you, the trebuchet in your back yard. It’s not, however, how you see the serial killer behind your back. (Don’t look, that would just piss him off even more.) This gift of vision, by whoever or whatever you think gave us this, whether it be God, natural selection, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster, only helps with what’s in front of you, not the possibilities that are going to come or whatever is behind you. (Such as the aforementioned serial killer.) That’s why we can move, and this story will be told another day.
What I’m trying to say here is actually quite simple, despite my best efforts. We’re given the ability to recognize, to be able to sense what’s in front of us through sight. Everything else, however, is a matter of perception. Much like the thin grey line between “good” and “evil”, what we see is defined not by what is actually there, but moreso by what has shaped our perceptions. We’re taught to think certain ways, mainly to ensure our wellbeing but also so that the views of our parents/mentors/teachers are imposed onto ourselves. We’re told of what we see, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets that glimmer on the horizon, the various flora and fauna that inhabit the world, how to recognize a serial killer (Like the one still standing right behind you.) It’s the things we aren’t taught, such as the different shades of colours found throughout our visible spectrum, that we must associate for ourselves.
Funny thing about the human mind. It likes to take the unknown and bend it so that it takes some semblance in something that you recognize as “familiar”. It’s how you see the face of your old friend in a crowd on the body of a stranger, or how the people at Crayola named all of those damn crayons. If you pay attention to some of your teachers, they say people learn in different ways. Not only that, but what they see is different with every single person. Each person experiences different things, and said experiences affect what they see. It’s what makes a mind connect points a and b, a shade of the colour orange or red to a grapefruit, an animal to something “scary” or “friendly”.
After all, the connection is an essential part of life.