Describing colour to a blind person

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by DaveyR, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    11,908
    Likes Received:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Northumberland
    How would you go about describing colour to someone blind who had no concept of colour?

    Green - to me is the smell of freshly cut grass or the sea after a storm.

    How would you describe colours?
     
  2. ZOS23xy

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,073
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    directly above the center of the earth
    you're using a synesthesiatic concept. Of course, James Joyce was bent on describing the snot gree sea.

    Red is flowing blood?

    White is feeling the closeness of a lightbulb on the skin?
     
  3. _avg_

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,704
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Fascinating. But why try expressing the inexpressible?
     
  4. SilverTrain

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Messages:
    4,582
    Albums:
    8
    Likes Received:
    404
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    USA
    Unless a loved one was begging me to, I wouldn't.

    There's zero frame of reference, so it'll end up being a fruitless exercise.

    Unless it's more about "communicating with each other", "being poetic with each other". Which is fine.
     
  5. dude252007

    dude252007 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    1
    Watch the movie "Mask" with Cher. There is a part where Rocky describes colors to a blind girl. He has her feel hot water and says that is what red feels like and has her feel an ice cube for blue.
     
  6. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    10,576
    Likes Received:
    25
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Warwick, NY, USA
    Some blind people have dreams of vivid colors. That includes people who have been completely blind their entire lives. Why or how this is possible is being researched. I'll see if I can find the piece about it.

    People who have extreme color blindness have also experienced dreams of colors they cannot see.

    Here is Helen Keller on the subject:

     
  7. Mem

    Mem
    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    8,087
    Likes Received:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    FL
    I would think that the only person who could do that is a person who formerly had sight and lost it for a long time, so they have lived in both worlds.
     
  8. Drifterwood

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    15,725
    Likes Received:
    386
    Location:
    Fingringhoe (GB)
    I might try to reference smells rather than emotions.

    Orange is an obvious start.
     
  9. Enid

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Messages:
    4,402
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    181
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    My home is wherever reality seems elastic and the
    Some philosophers say the description of color is what is known as qualia -- a subjective quality of conscious experience. Examples of qualia are the way a rose smells, the taste of a rich dessert, the green of freshly watered grass or the red of a sunset. Basically it is almost impossible for a normally sighted person to describe the experience of red to a blind person. You could use an analogy like "red looks hot" or perhaps something even more scientific like "red is the color you see when light of 700 nm wavelength is directed at you" but such descriptions are incapable of providing a complete description of the experience.

    Here's a great article about explaining color.

    "Colors, Subjective Reactions, and Qualia" by Sydney Shoemaker
     
  10. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    11,912
    Likes Received:
    44
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    New York City, by way of Marblehead, Boston and Ge
    There are moments in December, or March, when I wonder if Kansas is New York and Oz is Tenerife. :wink:
     
  11. Pitbull

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Messages:
    3,753
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    The most vivid picture I ever experienced
    I heard with my ears
    As the words flowed from the mouth
    Of a woman who could not see.
    With her voice she applied the colors
    Subtle shading and light.
    When she was done,
    I saw the scene in my mind
    Better than I could have with my eyes


    I wrote this about an encounter I had with an artist who had lost her sight but could still picture things - especially color in her mind.

    There also are people that see colors when they hear music or sounds

    Synesthesia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

     
Draft saved Draft deleted