Seeing Things In Black And White: If We Lived In A World Without Colour (Ramble alert)

“It’s not as simple as all that. It’s not a matter of black and white.”

We say that all the time, and then we put filters on our photos so that they come out in scales of grey and call ourselves artistic. (And if you’re curious, no I have no idea where I’m going with this. It’s a rambly kind of post today.)

At first I thought, if we had no concept of colour, that would be good. Because then we wouldn’t judge people on the colour of their skin. But then I realised, there are so many other ways to differentiate people, and every form of differentiation is a potential form of prejudice.

And then I thought, what do I mean by no colour? Is grey a colour? Would we be able to see things as separate forms but only be able to discern them as being predominantly dark or predominantly light? Vision in such a world would lose so much of its importance. Suddenly, it wouldn’t be about the combination of colours. It would be shape, and texture, and sound.

And then I wondered, if we only could describe the things that we see as being close to the two dichotomies of being or not being, then how would that influence our culture. Would we be much more either/or kind of people. Would we enforce strict rules about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable? Or would the new importance of touch and sound force us to live in smaller, more intimate groups? And how would we read those social cues, if we couldn’t see a face go pale, or grow red in anger?

I did warn you, rambling. But luckily for you, this is the last post on the black and white prompts.

And this is where all my questions took me. There will always be differences between people. There will always be ways that I see something that is completely the opposite of the way that you see things. Yes there is a right and a wrong, but sometimes, when we’re stuck in the middle of the mess, we can find it difficult to tell what’s what. So all we can do is the best we can with what we have.

Sometimes we live in a world that’s bright and beautiful, and we’re surrounded by people that can’t see it. Sometimes it’s those around us that can see bright and beautiful things and we wonder what all the fuss is about. Everybody is different. That is the beauty of human experience. Everybody is different, one way or another. It’s just that sometimes, we like to pretend we’re all the same.

I did warn you. Rambles.

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