The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains (part I)
“Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity.”—Herman Melville, Billy Budd Spectral Rhythm. Screen Print by Scott Campbell. In Japan, people often refer to traffic lights as being blue in color. Blue and green are similar in hue. One of the first fences in this color continuum came from an unlikely place – crayons. Reconstructing the rainbow. In modern Japanese, midori is the word for green, as distinct from blue. And it’s not just Japanese. (Update: Some clarifications here. I find this fascinating, because it highlights a powerful idea about how we might see the world. Imagine that you had a rainbow-colored piece of paper that smoothly blends from one color to the other. A map of color for an English speaker. But if you think about it, there’s a real puzzle here. And here’s what they found.