Home > Life, Writing and Poetry > Who Told You That Color Was Blue?

Who Told You That Color Was Blue?

Yesterday one of my writer friends posted a large picture of Stone Henge on one of our sites and waxed eloquent as to the fact that from then on the days would begin getting longer and less gloomy. She was right. That is the scientific reality and one which people look forward to throughout the northern hemisphere.

However, there is another reality that exists surrounding such things as this monument to antiquity. And this is how I expressed that reality. “Ah! Stone Henge. Another mystery from the past which we label with meaning without proof. Yet, if we did not, it would merely stand as a slightly abnormal pile of rocks.

“…let me explain my reasoning. It takes staring into the face of literal examples of the inadequately explained in order to embrace the entire concept of mystery, magic, mortality. Without such examples of subjective meaning our existence would have little to recommend it.

“Solstice would be a calendar event only. Holiday celebrations would not exist at all. A child’s wonder at the world about him/her would be chastised as illogical and to be eradicated. We would be the Vulcans of the universe without meaningful history beyond the facts, and without love to keep us warm in the presence of our families.”

Aren’t we fortunate to have such small experiences as wonderment, love, faith, and anticipation. We keep these as blessings that we never recognize before they disappear, unless we’re reminded. And ask yourself just how much luck actually comes into our lives on a daily basis. Think about it.

There are so many of these little questions of how did it start? And what would we do without them? For instance, who decided how and with what words to labels the colors as they did? We rely on someone’s perceptions every day regarding this one small item, and yet, we never question why. That anonymous individual has affected every human on earth with his/her concept for thousands of years all by the act of naming the colors of the rainbow. Don’t you wish you could be so very clever?

What about the names of the emotions? Who came up with them? The Greeks, Romans, Sumerians? Or, did that happen earlier? Why do we continue with the custom, we humans, that we use these words that have meaning for something which has no physical form?

Wouldn’t you like to ask that ancient person why blue is blue or white is white? Why the words heaven or hell? What about simple things like “water”, “soil”, “sunshine”, etc.?

I suppose the ultimate question is not whether we should or shouldn’t follow the ancient example and continue using these words as labels, but rather why someone else in history didn’t challenge the beginnings and the practice of following the tradition. For that is what it is, tradition/custom that spread worldwide and became the only reality concerning these words and concepts.

The same could be said for any of the urban speak that we hear today and pass around like so much confetti thrown from the windows of tall buildings on New Year’s Eve. Someone makes up a word to express something else. A friend begins using that word, which is picked up by other friends and acquaintances. Before anyone can chart the word’s progress and influence, it has moved on to an entire subculture. Soon it gets picked up by the media or whomever and it spreads to the general populace and so on and on.

Years later members of particular generations and regional groups can be identified by the words they use to express certain things. Groovy. Cool. Narly. Awesome. Good. Bad. And so on down the line. Blimey. Bloody, Bugger. You see what I mean?

And so we return to Stone Henge and the Solstice. The monument by itself represents the Druids, the Winter and Summer Solstices, ancient and mysterious ceremonies lost to the ages. The Twin Towers represent so many other things according to who you talk to. Centuries down the timeline, its meaning will divide the world into two camps or perhaps more. It’s already doing that.

Each year we create more of these symbols for one group or another and their images and meanings spread and influence and stick where they will. Some will permeate the very fabric of the world’s human society and history. Some will fall by the wayside, leaving little to mark their passing. We , as individuals, will stand on one side of this use or the other as is our wont.

This is something that has evolved through our human history and has little chance of being transmuted into some other enterprise. In fact, we have legions of people now whose very job is to create new images and word explanations to influence current generations and the ones to come. They’re called ad execs.

Our lives, perceptions, dreams, aspirations are colored by one person’s intentional or accidental language event. My question to myself is, “What do I want to be remembered for inventing by way of the language I create?”

How about you?

Have a wonderful holiday and peaceful celebration.

A bientot,

Claudsy

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Categories: Life, Writing and Poetry
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