The Fourth Cone

We were listening to RADIO LAB yesterday on the beloved JPR, and it was about how we see color.   Cones, rods, butterfly eyes, what gets reflected from color spectrums….it’s fascinating.  What really struck me, besides the fact that a small percentage of women have an ACTUAL FOURTH CONE in their eyes (IMAGINE THAT- all that delicious color!)  and potentially see a lot more color than everyone else,  was the story of the color blue.

Net net, blue is a color people don’t necessarily “know” they “see”, which is different than being “color blind” and thus unable to detect the range.  Or they didn’t know until there was a word for it.  The sky, of course, is the most prominent example of blue for most of us, and interestingly when certain remote tribes and tiny children were asked what color the sky was, they didn’t have a word for it.  Homer didn’t have a word for blue, either, and it didn’t show up in any early civilizations except Egypt.

This seemed to me like an extension of my  year’s preoccupation with the invisible 97% of everything.  As in, we use three percent of our brain power, we perceive three percent of what’s around us.  Just as the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean couldn’t see the Spaniard’s  black ships, and many through the ages didn’t see the sky as blue- we really do see what we expect to see, and it’s pretty hard to see something we’ve never seen before.  Which is why lost objects turn up in the oddest places where we’ve already looked twenty times, probably, and why habits are so hard to break- especially the habits of resistance.  It’s also interesting that this 3%/97% thing is kind of mimicked in our economics now.  You know, the one percent? Less than three but if you’re honest, it really does take up the bulk of the spectrum, that one percent of humanity.

So as always, it is indeed about how able one is to see what is really in front of one.  This takes a tremendous amount of energy since at this point, it has a great deal to do with rising above the “glamour” that has been thrown over things- how they appear to be.  Which is  quite a bit different than how they actually ARE.   The ancients knew about this, but in our historical epoch we seem to have enshrined glamour and forgotten what it really is.  And what it really is, is something the purpose of which is to, essentially, mislead people.

In a way, then, life is like learning to see the color blue.  You observe the sky where it resides, and have to separate the quality of the sky from the “it” of it, sort of.  Blue is an aspect of something huge; as long as we simply look at that huge thing thinking we “know” it, we may not see all the rest of it- in short, we’re seeing, what? about three percent.

Somehow this all connected with the newest leap, which has to do with abandoning all hope of having internet at home for now, at least.  The Partner pointed out that I was spending so much time struggling with it that nothing was getting done.  My time was taken up in dealing with, let’s say, the sky.  And I couldn’t tell it was blue, more or less.  My tendency was to keep struggling since the three percent I saw…well, that was it.  Now, there’s a new bunch of arrangements coming up, and I’ve been a bit surprised at how my Inner Mob, the one with the stakes and lit torches, is clamoring for things to stay the same- it’s too scary to contemplate a round world rather than a flat one.   This has been very instructive in terms of looking around at everything going on in the larger world.   And it reminded me of a pretty basic instruction that goes across the board, which is- take a deep breath, get quiet, then open your eyes and let yourself see what you’re looking at.  Even if you do it in tiny increments, ultimately it puts you in a much more sound position.  Even if you do it now, in this crazy world and it is a bit scary to see that things are not what you thought they were.  Just think.  If everyone actually opened their eyes and took a good look? Things might change, no matter how many cones you’ve got.  I think many of us are hoping for this on many levels.

Meanwhile, here on the planet where time has no meaning, the power’s gone out again- the continuing story of Our Week of Bad Breakers.  Catch you later, Gentle Reader.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Interesting post. I’ll think of blue in a whole new light.


    • Thank you! I thought it was pretty amazing, kind of like as long as people thought of the sky as an entity unto itself they didn’t “see” the color- and I think it is dogs who don’t see rainbows because of how their eyes are configured- yet we all like to go around so confidently as though we know what we’re looking at. It’s quite a world!


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