Take it as red

Have a look outside for a red car. Have a closer look at the body of it. Is it really red? The more you look the more you’ll see that it’s many different colours, few if any of them are actually red. You’ll see that areas are different shades of pink, grey, white, black. Perhaps other colours that are reflected slightly giving us murky greens and browns. “But I know it’s red” you may say. Well it isn’t red. There is unlike to be a situation where the car is entirely red.

We make assumptions, ‘knowing’ that the car will have been painted with one colour of ‘red’ paint. But to say the car is ‘red’ is a simplification, a minimisation or the truth. It is a reductionistic viewpoint. “But it’s still red!” you cry. Well, no, it isn’t. Colour is determined by the frequency of light which hits our retina. When white light bounces of the car, the microscopic texture within the paint diffracts the light and absorbs certain wavelength of the colour spectrum, reflecting only certain other colours. So if the ‘red’ car reflects ‘grey’, than that part of the car is grey from the observers viewpoint. As the viewer moves, the colour of the car changes. Only the ‘ideal’ car, the reductionistic abstract is ‘red’. Likewise, a tin of red paint with the lid on is not actually red. Only when the lid is removed and light shone in does it become red.

All of this has consequences relevant here as this level of reductionism goes on all the time, stunting our true perception of the world around us, blinding us to what is really going on out there.

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