THE TAO OF COLOURS
by Doug Marsh
Let's add some extra unity and Tao to what we've learned so far:A common misconception is that pure light is white. A sunbeam through a window in a room during the day, or the beams spreading from a car’s headlights at night, are due to the light interacting with a surface or fine air particles. An example of pure light without geometric “rays” or “beams” is a full moon on a clear night. The sun’s reflection gives us the light by the silvery moon, but nowhere can rays of pure light from the sun be seen in the night sky.
I liken this aspect of pure light somewhat to pure consciousness. Consciousness is perhaps beyond the temporal and spatial in another realm or dimension – not localized in the brain – and cannot be directly detected by the external senses. When consciousness interacts with brain matter, suddenly ideas, images and sounds “appear,” seemingly out of nowhere.
Goethe intently studied the coloured fringes that appear through a prism. He concluded that the condition of the famous ROY G BIV spectral colours of the rainbow that alight is but a special, isolated case. A few examples of coloured fringes as viewed through a prism are shown in Figures 1 to 4. Figure 5 shows how coloured fringes actually emerge from a prism contrasted against an erroneous educational depiction.
Goethe eventually abandoned the prism as a complicating factor and began to observe the phenomena outdoors in the sky and the landscape to find the core conditions where colours first emerge. Like axioms in geometry, he sought to discover situations which form the basis for all other colour phenomena. He eventually narrowed it down to two such primal phenomena:
>> Light emitted through a colourless, transparent medium first manifests as white. As the medium becomes denser and the transparency decreases, the light darkens to hues of yellow, orange, and red. The sun takes on these hues depending on whether it’s overhead or near the horizon where the atmosphere is thicker. At the extreme end of densification and opacity, light is shut out to black.
>> Darkness illuminated through a colourless, transparent medium first manifests as black. As the medium becomes denser and the transparency decreases, the darkness lightens to hues of violet, indigo, and blue. The black night sky becomes modified by the sun’s daytime illumination and displays a range of these hues, from dark blue overhead to light blue near the horizon. At the extreme end of densification and opacity, darkness is diminished to whiteness.
What’s key to these two phenomena is the dynamic interplay of light and darkness. The darkening of light in the one case, and the lightening of darkness in the second case, create opposite ranges of colours. Because of this, Goethe suggested the term polarity was most suited to colour phenomena, for it represents “the eternal systole and diastole, the eternal collapsion and expansion, the inspiration and expiration of the world in which we live and move.”
Colour bands occur through a prism due to a mingling of these polar forces. Reviewing Figures 1 to 5(b), you can see how these phenomena arise along edges between light and dark. As a band of light or dark becomes narrowed, the primal colours unite to form secondary colours of green or magenta.
A prism isn’t the only condition for the polar opposite coloured bands to appear. In the seventeenth century, Francesco Maria Grimaldi, a mathematician and physicist, studied coloured fringes that developed when a very narrow beam of sunlight was projected along the edges of small objects. He noted that the shadows cast were “always bluish at the side which is nearer the [central] shadow and reddish on the further side.” Polar colour effects can be seen when looking at a light through a feather or reflected from a compact disc (See Figure 6). The media may differ, but a similar dynamic and complex interaction occurs between the light and the darkness.
"A more holistic and Taoist approach to the study of light, colour and human vision is long overdue." We're working on it...Analytical science has classified several different technical cases where colours can arise, such as refraction, diffraction, dispersion, scattering, and interference. The scientists then hypothesize beneath what our senses confront to try and find a common microscopic entity or element that is the cause – whether it be a particle, a wave, wave-particle duality, or some other mysterious entity or process not yet dreamed up. The theories and mathematics are impressive, but the knowledge of light and colours studied in this materialistic manner is a disjointed venture that dissects and deadens nature.
For holistic science, whether one calls it refraction or diffraction, it’s all a distraction. Goethe studied the phenomena on their terms at the sense level and had no interest in abstract concepts or theoretical causes added beneath the phenomena. He strove to identify the common conditions where colours arise in nature, and his approach provides coherence, relationships and unity. It truly is in tune with the Tao.
With all the theoretical struggles in physics over the past three centuries, vision science continues to be based mainly on the Newtonian model of optics and colours. The eye is studied as an “object,” artificially disconnected from the human soul and spirit. The industry believed they discovered a physical defect (progressive myopia), where in fact – like the spectrum supposedly split apart by the prism – they actually manufactured the condition and foisted it upon an unsuspecting public. What’s myopic is the old science itself, unable to see where it’s gone astray. A more holistic and Taoist approach to the study of light, colour and human vision is long overdue.
There is a part 2 https://southerncrossreview.org/74/tao-colors-2.html but it's late here so i'll read it tomorrow as it's bound to have more useful info in it to aid our research.