Friday, August 03, 2007

We Should Learn To Think In Colors

For some reason in the West, we tend to think of reality in binary terms: plus and minus, positive and negative, good and evil, black and white. As we get a bit more sophisticated, we depart from strict binary thinking and admit there are many shades of gray between black and white. But even then our thinking is a bit too binary.

We should learn to think in colors.

What is the opposite of black? White. But what is the opposite of red? Or, what is the opposite of green? If "thinking in colors" means moving beyond the box of opposites, the cage of dichotomies, then perhaps it is a useful way of conceptualizing how many ways there really are to look at something. Not just one way (and its opposite), but a whole variety of ways.

6 comments:

laurie said...

the opposite of red is green, silly
;-)

celerman said...

Thinking in colours makes sense. Colors certainly impact upon our moods so we already link colours with what goes on in our heads, if only subconsciously. I used to get my students to think like this at the start of lessons. What colour would best describe Atticus Finch at the end of the novel etc?

In addition to thinking in colours though, what if we could see smells? Or smells sounds?

Gary said...

What do you dream in? Color or B&W? What language do you dream in? I remember back when I started getting fluent in American Sign Language I began to dream in sign and they told me that meant that I was getting good. Maybe we just need to "get good" at expanding our thinking and the colors will come.

Paul said...

Hi Laurie! I stand corrected: I always thought the opposite of red was white wine.

Hi Celerman! I've often admired poets for their ability to make fitting associations that would never occur to me, such as the smell of sounds.

Hi Gary! I wonder if there's any significance to dreaming in black and white? Near as I know, I often dream in color, but sometimes in black and white.

stevo said...

I acknowledge the shades of grey (moral ambiguities have always intrigued me) but never considered colors. How very interesting. I'll have to try this when sorting out my next moral dilemma.

Eryn Leigh said...

I'm completely exhausted at present, so this may or may not be relevant, but upon reading this post, I was vaguely reminded of a journal entry I wrote a year and a half ago (worst winter of my life).
I felt compelled to rake through my hard drive and find it, to see if it held any significance to the topic at hand.

Wednesday, 14 December, 2005 5:59:20 PM

last night there was so much shit in my head that i spent hours breaking it down, and around 3am, it was down to its basic form, nothing but flashing lights and colored shapes floating around behind my eyes. i went to sleep and vowed not to wake up until it was all gone, and i guess it worked because it was dark again when i woke up. it was around 4:30pm. but now i just find more shit that was hiding underneath last night's shit, and i have to wonder, is there anything in my head but shit? i kind of worry that if i do manage to get rid of all of it, there will be nothing left. maybe i should stop trying. but it's so hard to think these days. i so preferred the colors and shapes. while completely nonsensical, they seemed far more effective and soothing compared to my regular thoughts.