[i] I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Recently, there have been so many things written and said about the color of a person’s skin and whether or not one color is better than another. What do you think?
Our natural tendency should probably be to prefer the skin color that we were born with. Or the skin color of those we love the most in this world. But I don’t think that is always the case.
I hope you will stay with me as I explore this subject. Part One is about color! All colors. Beautiful and vibrant colors. Some of you know that I am an artist of sorts. So I have a keen sense of color that will allow my eyes and brain to match colors, even when two items are not together. For example, if I want to match a scarf to a blouse I am wearing, I can select the scarf to match, even if it is when I am not wearing the blouse. I know, it’s odd. A little like being able to analyze a bowl of restaurant seafood gumbo and later able put it together in my own kitchen.
Part Two – What Color is my Soul? will be the topic of July’s Webstable Soup to discuss skin color and what makes it so controversial. It might surprise you to read that Adam and Eve were NOT Caucasian as Caucasian people may have seen in their mind’s eye. And it’s a fact that Jesus, a Jew, was probably a light to medium-brown-skinned man who gave his life to redeem us from our sins, no matter what color skin we are wrapped in. In the meantime, read Acts 17:24-27:
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.”
INFINITE NUMBER OF COLORS
Can you add up all of the colors found in the world? Yes, researchers have figured out a way to quantify all of the colors that shape the universe around us. Take a look at what we know about how many colors can be found in the world using a few simple calculations.
Before we begin, try to estimate what the number will be. You might be surprised – even if you’re a color expert!
We all know that vibrant, varied colors are all around us. It only takes a quick glance at our surroundings to see the jewel-toned blooms of flowers, emerald-hued swords of grass, burnt-orange leaves, turquoise-tinged waves and red or brown mounds of earth that make up our richly painted world.
Most of us think we know all the colors just because we know our way around a color wheel. We can also spout off the colors that make up the ROYGBIV color sequence easily. However, this is only part of the story. It turns out that colors of the rainbow only represent a minuscule fraction of all the colors in the world.
Just how many colors are there in total? Let’s explore the answer to a question that may leave you more dazzled by the natural world than ever before.
As I wonder if anyone really cares but me, it might be interesting for you to know that it has been determined by people who determine such things that there are somewhere around 18 decillion varieties of colors available for your viewing enjoyment.
That’s an 18 followed by 33 zeros. Is that infinity? What if there were 18 decllion and 1? Or is 18 decillion close enough to qualify as infinity?
So how do we know there are 18 decillion colors?
First of all, scientists have determined that in the lab we can see about 1,000 levels of dark-light and about 100 levels each of red-green and yellow-blue. So that’s about 10 million colors right there.
And then you have to allow for other matters. Like, we see light in three ways — on surfaces, as light sources and in volumes. And 10 million different shades of light affect those 10 million colors. And so do 10 million surrounding colors. Plus, every individual sees colors differently. All of which involves a lot of brain-hurting math that adds up to 18 decillion, which if it isn’t quite infinity, it’s close enough for me.
Colors communicate emotion in a way which is unmatched by any other technique. One color palette can communicate a brisk winter’s morning. Another collection of colors can make people feel the comfort of a spring day. The options are as many and varied as the colors that exist in the world.[ii]
SOME ANIMALS SPEAK IN A LANGUAGE MADE OF COLOR
It’s hardly unusual to say that particular colors speak to us. We all have colors which bring up good memories and associations. For example, put red and green together and a lot of people will nostalgically reflect on Christmas. Orange and black will often bring back happy memories from Halloween. But what if we could take that further and communicate more complex ideas through color? What if our brains could output ideas in color rather than through sound?
Some species have managed to do exactly that. Different types of squid and octopi communicate with colors. The exact nature of colors and patterns differs on a species by species basis. However, there does seem to be some uniformity in how members of the cephalopod family create colors and patterns on their skin. One researcher has even named it an “alphabet of patterns”. The animal’s complex nervous system can change the color and patterns on its body within a single second. This essentially makes their entire body act as a living LCD screen.
However, it’s going to take a lot of additional research to answer the biggest question – what are squids discussing? We know that squids and octopi are often extremely intelligent. The animals have displayed amazing feats of logic and puzzle solving proficiency. But humans are having a difficult time cracking the color-based puzzle presented by these brainy animals. We know they’re conveying messages to each other by changing colors and patterns on their skin. But we’re still in the dark as to the meaning behind it.
The chameleon’s uncanny ability to change color has long mystified people, but now the lizard’s secret is out: Chameleons can rapidly change color by adjusting a layer of special cells nestled within their skin, a new study finds.
Unlike other animals that change color, such as the squid and octopus, chameleons do not modify their hues by accumulating or dispersing pigments within their skin cells, the researchers found. Instead, the lizards rely on structural changes that affect how light reflects off their skin, the researchers said.[ii]
Whether we realize it or not, under certain conditions, humans also have the ability to express different colors through emotions. Have you ever seen someone turn pale when frightened or getting sick? Or have you seen someone become so angry the blood rushes to their face to make it darker?
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT GRAY?
One of the more fascinating things about gray is that it is considered a “conformist” color that doesn’t have its own personality. As a result, gray typically takes on the theme of the strong colors surrounding it. Gray is considered a neutral color that is generally impartial in terms of the feelings that it evokes.
I hope you will tune in next time for more exploration on skin colors.