Response: Secret Lives of Color

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Listen to this podcast: 99percent invisible, The Secret Life of Color and post a 100-200 review of it to your blog.

Three things I found interesting about this blog post.

  • Colors come from fascinating places
  • Genocide is an everyday part of human existence
  • We've even gone as far as use color to enforce arbitrary distinctions out of vanity

Colors come from fascinating places.

Prior to this I have read and seen a few videos that discuss how colors are made and where they come from. I've always found this area fascinating but I hadn't considered the the more grim realities of where color might come from. I know ancient artists used to mix their own color and craeted their own dies from cow urine, for example, among other things. Nowadays we have synthetic paints.

The author makes a clear case for how much there is lying beneath the surface of color that we take for granted and barely have any detailed understanding of.

Genocide is an everyday part of human existence

This isn't something we often think about but I've recently come across more and more mentions of the absurdity of existence in some form of another and I find myself drawing a connection here. How important is it to have colorful strawberry yoghurt that we'd kill indiscriminately.

Yet it is unnerving to me how invisible this aspect of our life is to us and how quickly we'd forget it to copy with the other absurd tragedies of everyday life.

Enforcing Arbitratry Distinctions out of vanity

The story of Nero being slighted by someone else wearing a garment of color he legislated . I can't even imagine the audacity of someone legislating a color (even though I know brands and artists have done so) let alone confiscating her property and doling out punishment over such pettiness.

The value of the color doesn't exist in reality. It existed in the person's head yet he manifested that into reality through his vanity and pride and caused suffering that need not have occurred.

The secret lives of color reads like a tragedy to me.