IIIb. The Aspect of Color

Roy G. Biv: How many bands in your rainbow?

Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience. Alfred North Whitehead

Performance bands are arbitrary but useful

Qualitative meaning and quantitative precision

We all know our basic colors before we start to school. We learn early on that there are three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue), from which all others can be created, although designers of color printers apparently missed that lesson. The ancients saw five colors (red, yellow, green, blue, violet) in the rainbow. Newton saw seven, adding orange and indigo (perhaps to align with the natural harmony of the universe found in the number of musical notes, days of the week, and known planets; or perhaps he was just buying some vowels.)  Continue reading . . . The Aspect of Color

[While my analogy comparing bands of the rainbow to performance levels may be cute, I probably don’t have the physiology right. While light is a continuous spectrum, our perception of discrete bands may be real, depending on the distribution of cones in our eyes. Was it more important to for our ancestors to discern white animals against a white background or to distinguish ripe fruit and poisonous reptiles.]

Previous: IIIa. Abstracting Some Aspects        Next: IIIc. Hot and Cold