Describing colour to a blind person

DaveyR

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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?
 

SilverTrain

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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?

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.
 

dude252007

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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.
 
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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:

Once in my dreams I held in my hand a pearl. I have no memory-vision of a real pearl. The one I saw in my dreams must, therefore, have been a creation of my imagination. It was a smooth, exquisitely molded crystal. ... My pearl was dew and fire, the velvety green of moss, the soft whiteness of lilies.
 

Mem

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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?

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.
 

Enid

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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
 

Pitbull

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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