Color Does Not Exist, Professor Says

A new book named ‘Outside Color’ by author Dr Mazviita Chirimuuta suggests that color is an illusion and doesn’t exist outside of our minds. 

The book says that light does exist and the mind transforms light into what we perceive as color. reports:

‘Of all the properties that objects appear to have,’writes the University of Pittsburgh professor, ‘colour hovers uneasily between the subjective world of sensation and the objective world of fact.’

Optical illusions, such as the blue and black dress that went viral this year, show how objects have colours that observers perceive differently.

The New Republic notes that, like a seal that leaves a stamp in hot wax, an object’s color leaves its imprint temporarily on our eye.

This means if you’re looking at an image that is consistent with your past experiences, your brain behaves as if the objects in the current images are also real in the same way.

‘If we step back a moment,’ Chirimuuta writes, ‘we can appreciate how very weird it is to even expect there to be a connection between the manifest visual world, brought to us by our senses, and the rarefied scientific image of a world made up of physical particles.

But it’s not just about lighting conditions or optical illusions – evidence is mounting that until we have a way to describe something, we may not see its there.

Ancient languages, for instance, didn’t have a word for blue and scientists believe as a result our ancestors didn’t notice the colour even existed.

According to Business Insider’s Kevin Loria, in ‘The Odyssey,’ Greek poet Homer famously describes the ‘wine-dark sea.’

In 1858 William Gladstone, who later became the British prime minister, counted the colour references in the Homer’s Odyssey and found blue wasn’t mentioned at all.

Black is mentioned nearly 200 times and white about 100. Red, meanwhile, is mentioned fewer than 15 times, and yellow and green fewer than 10.

It wasn’t just the Greeks. Blue also doesn’t appear in the Koran, ancient Chinese stories, and an ancient Hebrew version of the Bible, according to a German philologist named Lazarus Geiger.

Several years ago, researchers showed some of the Himba tribe a circle with 11 green squares and one blue.

The study found they could not pick out which one was different from the others, or took much longer to make sense of it.

However, the same tribe has many different words for green. When they were shown squares with one green a different shade, they could pick it out immediately.

Another study focused on how Russian speakers have separate words for light blue (goluboy) and dark blue (siniy).

MIT recruited 50 people from the Boston area in Massachusetts, half of whom were native Russian speakers.

They found they were 10 per cent faster at distinguishing between light (goluboy) blues and dark (siniy) blues than at discriminating between blues within the same shade category.

Colour doesn’t exist – at least not in the literal sense. Light, however, does exist, and it’s the mind that transforms that light into colour. In this image the two squares appear to be a different colour, but if you place your finger across the middle of the blocks you can see they are the same colour
  • fatwillie

    Bull crap, this is so false it makes me think what some will do for attention and or money. Color if like the article says, is in the mind, then several dogs that I have owned must have it in their minds also. I have several times taken several dogs and given them the task of fetching different colored balls on command. There were 4 different colored balls to choose from, and they could and would bring me the color I asked for. The colors were orange, green, pink, and blue. The command bring me the pink ball, and without any hesitation was done. No matter what color I asked for the command was completed.

  • Eric

    dude needs to lay off the crack.

  • Alvin Harper

    It appears that the professor, or, more likely the reporter, lacks a basic understanding of perception. To say that, “light does exist” seems a bit overconfident to me. The very concept of photons has been called into question, things are moving faster than light, and scientists can’t explain how light moves through space any better now than they did 100 years ago. On the other hand, Fatwillie’s explanation of how his dog responds to color commands is intelligent, very clear and, it seems to me, obviously true. I say this as a psychologist and a guy who has a dog.

    Color is one aspect of how we, and our pet pooches, perceive the world around us. The pain of touching a hot stove may not exist outside of my mind, but it sure hurts like hell, and that’s no “illusion”. This isn’t about color. The problem here is the ignorant notion that mental events are not real, that what occurs in our mind somehow doesn’t exist. This is the same, old argument about the tree falling in the forest. Some simple-minded scientists truly believe in an objective existence and have faith that how it is perceived — seen, felt, heard, smelled, tasted — is merely illusion. Perhaps, but it’s all they’re ever going to know about what really exists.

    What disturbs these fanatics is that a color, like blue, for example, can exist (yes, I said, “exist”) without an image of any thing that is blue — not a blue ball, or blue car, or blue dress — just blue. Illusion? I don’t think so. There really is a difference between the star spangled banner and the neighbor’s laundry — one is Red, White and Blue. What’s so hard about that?

  • Rodrigo

    First, she didn’t said that color does not exist, the article is wrong..
    And I disagree that color is imaginary. But the way we PERCEIVE it is! Color is just the result of the wavelengths of light that are reflected by an object vs the ones that are absorbed. If the red end is absorbed, it looks blue, if blue is absorbed, it looks red. But, our eyes merely detected the varying energy of the light and send signals to our brain. No way to know if this color is true or not. So, yes, their is color in the universe, but it is seen differently by most living things.

  • Yuri Araujo

    nice fallacy “It’s the mind that transformed light into color”
    No, It’s NOT the mind, but your photoreceptors in your eyes, that transforms RED LIGHT (from apple) into electrical signals in order to be seen by you.
    Colors exist.