The Truth of Colour

Many a time I wish the world were black and white.

How simple things would be, I think to myself. How easy. There would never be a problem determining right from wrong, fact from falsehood or embellishments and intentions from accidents. Never would there be a chance for doublespeak, for mis-communication, for a wayward glance to be taken out of context or an error to be blown out of proportion.

But then I think to myself, such a world would be boring. There would be no complexity to it. A mind could not flourish there, not a human one at least. We need more than simple right and wrong to enjoy the richness of reality.

So I imagine a world with colour. A world where there is black, and white and red and blue and green. A world with yellow and orange and purple and brown and pink. A world where the colours of the rainbow and beyond exist in stark, eye-popping contrast to each other. There is still no opportunity for error; either something is red, or it is not red and it is something else. This is a world that would still be easy to navigate through. There would still be the simplicity of truth and falsehood but there would be an added complexity of layers, as if each colour had its own significance in putting truth together.

This would be an easier world to live in then our own right?

But then I think of how truly complex our world is. I think of all the different hues and shades and intensities and ways of making colours appear and blend and vanish from sight. I think of the different techniques that artists have used to manipulate colours and bring them to life: pastel, oil, watercolour, glass, poetic description. As I think about the sheer complexity of our world right now I realize, that to remove even a single hue from existence for the sake of simplicity would ruin the entire quilt that is reality. How even would one determine what absolute red or absolute green is? Each colour adds meaning to truth. Each shade adds depth to meaning. Each hue alters the interpretation of the truth slightly to the point where what is true and what is not vanish in a blurry line. All that remains absolute is black and white at the far edges of existence with the whole of actuality in between.

This complexity makes our existence a joyful place. We flourish here because our minds struggle to comprehend the sheer impossibility of something being both true and false, both red and orange. We learn of the shades of grey and we learn how to find the hidden meanings between them. We share our love for a certain interpretation of existence and in doing so we learn of even more possible colours. The fact that our universe is composed of an endless palette makes our lives richer and we enrich the palette by simply existing and blending colours to create new meanings.

To live in a world where truth is determined by a simple black-white test is to live in a world that ignores the most fundamental of all facts: that reality is far more complex than simple black and white and that we are better off for it.


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