Friday, October 20, 2006

there's this other theory i have. this one also might sound a little whacky. but if you think about it, it will start making sense to you too! (i think it would. but if nobody agrees then i might have to agree with your opinion about me being whacky :-) )

take the colour 'red'. why red, you ask? and why not, i counter! actually that's the first color that came to my mind. its also the title of a beautiful song by chris rea from the album 'espresso logic'!

but we're drifting. coming back to the point i am trying to make here. lets take the colour red.

you have been taught since childhood that a particular colour that you see is called red. but is the colour you see actually red? isn't it possible that the colour you see is not the same colour as i see? you might actually be seeing the colour red while i am seeing the same thing as a deep shade of green! but i have always associated this colour with red because that's what i have been taught since my childhood. so the shade that you see and call red is actually a different shade that i perceive but i too call it red. so though we both call it by the same name we are actually perceiving two completely different things. so our experience might be completely different but we call it by the same name.

now this can be extended to almost everything that we experience around us - colors, shapes, sounds, taste, etc. in fact all sensory perceptions would be victim to this confusion of definition.

you might say that even though our sense organs might perceive things differently, the instruments that we have created to measure the phenomena around us would not have such problems. each measuring instruments would measure the measured object in exactly the same way as another similar instrument. while that might be true, it still is a human being who is observing & reading the results and interpreting it. and that is where the subjective element again comes in.

so though the measured numbers are the same to both of us who are observing the phenomena, the actual observation might still be completely different. and yet we would still agree with each other about the observation because both of us believe that the other person is seeing exactly the same thing that you are seeing. so when both of us see the colour red as a certain measurement of wavelength of electromagnetic radiation within the visible spectrum (wavelength interval of the colour red is ~ 625–740 nanometers and its frequency interval is ~ 480–405 TeraHertz) we are actually seeing two different colours and calling it red!

is this possible?

if that is the case then the possibilities of confused definitions are mind-boggling! i might actually be seeing a monkey when i look at you and i have always labeled moneys as 'human beings'; and you actually see a donkey when you see me and you always labeled donkeys as human beings! how's that just for starters?

maybe you can come up with something wilder! ;-)

5 comments:

guruprasad said...

interesting...have you tried reading about Neurology or mechanisms of the brain...? try out Prof V.S. Ramachandran's writings (Vilayanur Ramachandran)...he is World's leading neuroscientist and has done has remarkable reaearch about brain's workings on perceptions, visions, and even philosophy...if possible, try picking up books like "Phantom of the mind" or "Emerging Minds" by the Prof. Very simple language but explaining about the workings of the brain...or, let us say an attempt for it...amazing read it'd be for a festive weekend...

amartya said...

hi guru
i liked that whacky theory you have. infact I have always thaught that every thing in this life and this world is very relative.....whether its joy, pleasure or may be even colour.
remember the new kid in the block called lateral thinking coined by edward de-bono....well tht theory tried to teach us the power of unconventional thinking and this blog of yours have made me think similarly.
keep churning out the good ideas guru

Aku said...

Yes, I believe you are correct. I've had the same thoughts myself.

Lets say that a person is colour-blind towards one particular colour that's not very common in nature, purple, for instance. He/she will perceive purple as a shade of grey. For him, grey is purple.

Whenever this person sees a purple flower, he sees it as grey, but identifies it as purple. That's what he's learnt since he was a child.

The only way to identify this problem would be to show him the two colours - purple, and the shade of grey, together.

I don't know if such kind of colour-blindness actually exists, but I'm just assuming a hypothetical situation.

Btw, have you seen the movie: "What the bleep do we know" ? Its really good, I'd recommmend watching it, especially if you're interested in science/philosophy. Some of the facts are inaccurate, but still, its worth watching

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399877/

varsha said...

Hi GP...a lil late to put up my comment on this one...but trust me i was quite glad to read it n kinda relieved..coz now m not the only one thinking of such bizarre theories..coz trust me I had once thought of the exact same thing..not in such sceintific details of course...but the bottom line being the same..and
had brushed it away thinking i was the only weirdo thinking of it!!
now i have a comunity tht actually thinks the same...wow..thanks for givin me the confidence to think Strange n Bizare ...hehe...thanks GP!!

Cheers!! Varsha!!

Anonymous said...

lol. i've had the same theory since i was in school. it makes perfect sense to me. dont know why it's so hard to grasp for so many ppl. also the entire nature of the timeline in my case is warped because my timeline flows from right to left as opposed to the conventional left to right. explain that?
-Achintya