On perception

What if every person saw colors differently? That is, what I see as red is seen by another as yellow. But that other person wouldn’t know it, for he has his entire life known yellow to be ‘red’; and there really is no way of escaping this truth formed of a life-long habituation unless he removes himself from his own consciousness and enters into another person’s. Thus begs the question of how I might explain to another what exactly the color red looks like, and what intuitive experience I feel at seeing the color red. I doubt the powers of human language shall ever be able to represent such infinitesimal emotions – the essence of the ‘thing-in-itself’. So the queer possibility remains: that every one sees colors differently, and that were I given the ability to transfer myself into the consciousness of another, the world might appear inverted, psychedelic, terrifying. What a nightmare it would be to all of sudden wake up and find the trees in various shades of orange.


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