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The Universal Language that is Color, and Why its Nature is the Catalyst to Growth


As living creatures, we're drawn to spectrums of light and dark the same way we are drawn to each other for solidarity and understanding. A relationship that expects little to gain from its first acquaintance, yet fails to realize the scope of information and emotion that is being exchanged based on first sight alone. This is not to say our only bridge to one another is conformity nor similarity, but rather quite the opposite. Our connection to color is almost identical to this idea; the appreciation we have for our ability to perceive color is rarely based upon hundreds of shades of one, but rather the vast ocean of exclusives there are, each being one of its own kind. Every color is its own emotion, its own world, its own form of art, but most importantly, its own language that we all inherently understand on a universal scale. Like a work of art, its composition and allure can restore pieces to ourselves that we may not have been entirely aware were missing until feeling them. That very nature of a single color can reawaken feelings and provide strength which we could have never thought possible, beyond even words' ability. That being said, wouldn't being able to transcend words through sight and other respective senses make color the most significant form of communication? If this is the case, then why do our eyes continue to tell us so much through colors while we still so often refuse to listen when it's most practical? Why may we love one color and feel so indifferent toward another? Its importance may elude us, but with these questions in mind, this does not change color's role in our lives and why it is so crucial to contributing to ourselves becoming all that we can be and have the potential to illuminate within.


Consider the ability of using your eyes, the act of simply looking at something. Is it a great effort to notice a striking color in the sky, or a fruit in the produce section that distinguishes itself from the others? While this hardly takes any thought at all, our brains still become bombarded by means of connection to that single color, whether it is through a memory, smell, taste, or a profound feeling we could never lose, no matter how brief our eye contact may have been. In that single moment, there is a relationship that is formed and will forever remain as long as your color perception remains. The color speaks to you, and based on your history and environment regarding that color, these criteria will determine how you will speak back when it is met again. Of course, these feelings can and likely will change over time, and may shift from positive to negative or the inverse, which is more than likely given we as people are rarely static but always in motion. Though, as individuals, new experiences will alter the way certain hues and tones appear in situations, which regardless of how we are affected by what we are seeing, the message these colors send our brains only become stronger, embedding layers of pigments on our personalities and inclinations. This should never be met with fear, but rather seen as a beautiful phenomenon that gives the purpose of color a whole new meaning rather than to simply view and absorb intently. Is this enough though, to simply take what we see and only add it to our memories and thought process?


There is no esoteric knowledge or hidden meaning behind how to perceive color, other than only what we are permitting ourselves to see and what we are cutting ourselves off from. These signals can speak to us every waking moment of our lives, but in what way are we listening or speaking back that displays a level of understanding of ourselves and of others? Do we show by response, not reaction, that we fully understand the effects that the deep reds, piercing blues, and soft yellows of each encounter have on our being, and what that can mean for developing a full and healthy approach on relationships, challenges, and opportunities? Likely, these are not questions we find to ask ourselves daily in regard to color, nor even weekly, but to mind and consider them would mean we are appreciating one of our many gifts that is color vision, and how it pertains to more than just us personally but in relation to others in the world as well. I don't concern the relevance of this conversation so much between two individuals as much as I observe a stronger connection among a collective, from one to many or one group to another. In this level of understanding it is clear that color is so much more than just a force but a tool that has been exploited from antiquity to this very day.


Regarding color's role and use among groups, one way that's always stood out to me would be that of influence. As powerful and relentless as the elements themselves, exploiting color as an influence on many has been a practice since antiquity and continues to echo through modern day events as well. For example, let us consider that of ancient royalty, specifically the country of Greece. It was not uncommon for generals and kings to be adorned in shades of purple and gold, as these reflected symbols of power and wealth, and would demonstrate to their subjects that this is the embodiment of superiority and sovereignty, and the assured right to be a symbol, leader, and example of the kind of being one should aspire to be. Why, though, was it that purple was the chosen shade, and how did it reflect the makings of a rightful ruler? Consider simply what purple is: the combination of red and blue. Breaking this down, blue is calm, resolute, and shows restraint and peace amid a harsh and loud environment. Red, on the other hand, is fierce and passionate; it is a bold array of crimsons and scarlets that tend to evoke feelings of stimulation, action, movement and alertness. To combine these two and all of their respective traits give us the resplendent purple, and in doing so produces a frame comprised of both bravery and creativity. The valiant edge that red provides becomes reserved by the mild solitude of blue, maintaining a perfect balance between the violent and the peaceful. For red to awaken all of our senses, thoughts, and emotions only for a modest blue to balance them as a necessary suppressor fosters the optimal state that purple displays, appropriate only for those that would be revered and protecting regions with their lives. Leaders knew this, and with this in mind, also knew that the people would come to remember purple as as such an illustrious image. In arenas of both peace and war, this color has kept its essence, and teaches us just how impactful a harmonious creation of color can have on our senses and perception of others.


We can understand our inclinations and widen our perceptions so much by studying the way color speaks to us from one to another, though what can we learn from how nature's color speaks to us and how we can speak back? To dwell not so much inside but what we are offered beyond our homes, among the scapes of raw earth, is where we will find color unfiltered, unbothered, and explicit entirely in its messages. To decipher this message is to do more than feast our eyes upon the colors presented, but to feel them throughout all of our senses. From tasting the freshly harvested gold that is honey, to feeling the green grass under your feet, to basking in the aroma that is a rainbow of fresh fruit, this sensory overload envelops us in a world where no words are needed, nor is a need to give anything in return. The more we indulge in such color through these avenues, the more we are able to realize that color is never just a display of matter reflecting or emitting light, but the most intimate conversation we can have to uncover that which is hidden in first glance. These presentations that we collect from nature may be bright and abundant in saturation, but what about the space in between such intense color?


The areas that prove void of color exist just as crucially as the inverse does, for this where we are given relief and silence from such natural art. Consider, when we see mountains of white snow among a contrasted blue sky, or a series of grey and black rocks among an aquamarine body of water, to marvel at its modesty and monochrome beauty is almost inescapable. The delusion that we can discern the opposing perceptions as two different phenomena on our brains quickly fades. We find ourselves learning just as much about ourselves from creation that lacks color as we do from the primaries and secondaries, for here we are then able to understand that not everything made must beg for attention and exist in radiance, but moreover can exist modestly and quietly through its attributes, form, detail, and respective relationship to the complementary forces it surrounds itself with. Like that of zebra among grasslands or space among planets, there is nowhere beauty abounds without its opposite also present, and always readily available to teach us that our growth as individuals is developed not through one, but between both absence and presence.


In spite of all that is questioned and uncovered, it's undeniable that there is still and always will be a strong sense of obscurity within a topic as broad as color. However, to ponder such questions, observe such beauty, and to continue to admire color's many forms of brilliance shows nothing short of displaying a level of respect and understanding that from each morsel of color comes a new lesson, innate cognition unlocked, and piece of ourselves now illuminated. Each range, from the lightest to the darkest and from construct to nature, is a gift and precious gem that should be thoroughly sought out and polished, for the sooner that we can gather color's role in our self discovery, growth, and understanding of this language that the universe constantly tries to communicate with us by, then the sooner we can learn to speak back, and help others to do the same with the shared senses they possess.

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