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Goethe on the Psychology of Color and Emotion

Goethe on the Psychology of Color and Emotion
Color is an essential part of how we experience the world, both biologically and culturally. One of the earliest formal explorations of color theory came from an unlikely source — the German poet, artist, and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who in 1810 published Theory of Colors (public library; public domain), his treatise on the nature, function, and psychology of colors. Though the work was dismissed by a large portion of the scientific community, it remained of intense interest to a cohort of prominent philosophers and physicists, including Arthur Schopenhauer, Kurt Gödel, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. One of Goethe’s most radical points was a refutation of Newton’s ideas about the color spectrum, suggesting instead that darkness is an active ingredient rather than the mere passive absence of light. YELLOWThis is the color nearest the light. It appears on the slightest mitigation of light, whether by semi-transparent mediums or faint reflection from white surfaces.

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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 Color Sphere Color Sphere was one of my 1st HTML5 projects, way back in 2007. Well, the years passed, browsers sped up, my hair grew longer, and nothing changed on Color Sphere… but the time has come! The latest rendition is bigger (easier to see), more accurate (pixel perfect), and looks really cool when you switch it to Websafe mode and move the Saturation slider around The colors in Color Sphere are mapped to HSL.

Color Oracle 1. Look at the 25 colors and select the one you find most pleasing right now. Pull this color into the first empty field at the left of the top row. The spark of epiphanies: Q&A with John Kounios Cognitive neuroscientist John Kounios was curious: what happens in the brain when someone has a great idea? And so the Drexel University psychology professor designed an experiment to measure subjects’ brain activity as they solved problems. In a talk given at TED@New York — one of 14 events that was part of the 2013 Talent Search – Kounios outlines what is required for lightbulb-over-the-head moments. You just talked about this wonderful story of a fireman and the neuroscience of the a-ha moment. What is it about this idea that makes you want to spread it to the world?

Blind athletes provide clues about the nature of our emotions. One of the most important ways that we learn how to interact with the world around us is through observational learning. By watching how our friends and family members behave, we learn at a very young age how to do things like turn on a lightbulb, open a door, or play with a doll, without having to suffer through a tedious trial-by-error reinforcement process every single time we need to learn how to do something new. It’s only natural to assume that we have similarly learned when to smile politely, how to wrinkle our noses in disgust, or why we should furrow our brows in anger by watching the people around us react in those ways when presented with similar emotionally-evocative situations. But what if observational learning isn’t the only way in which we figure out how to express our emotions?

The Brink of Oblivion: Inside Nazi-Occupied Poland, 1939-1940 In the late 1930s and early 1940s, a German photographer and ardent Nazi named Hugo Jaeger enjoyed unprecedented access to the Third Reich’s upper echelon, traveling with Adolf Hitler to massive rallies and photographing him at intimate parties and in quieter, private moments. The photos made such an impression on the Führer that Hitler famously declared, upon first seeing Jaeger’s work: “The future belongs to color photography.” But beyond merely chronicling Hitler’s ceaseless travels, Jaeger also documented the brute machinery of the Reich, including the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. Here, presents a series of photos from Warsaw and from the town of Kutno, 75 miles west of the Polish capital, in 1939 and 1940.

Understand color theory with these 7 facts - = Designer Blog Color is everywhere – in nature, in cities, in stores, online. We’re so used to it we often don’t notice it’s even there, until we suddenly come across a black and white movie on TV. Then we remember how good it is that we have such a colorful world. Healing Sounds “It is not sufficient merely to spiritualize our life, but what we need is to materialize our spirit.” Lama Anagarika. All frequencies co-exist in the same time-space Milton Glaser on Art, Technology, and the Secret of Life by Maria Popova “You learn more and more that everything exists at once with its opposite, so the contradictions of life are never-ending and somehow the mediation between these opposites is the game of life.” Few things today are truly iconic, but the I♥NY logo is among them.

Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation by Maria Popova “Time perception matters because it is the experience of time that roots us in our mental reality.” Given my soft spot for famous diaries, it should come as no surprise that I keep one myself. Perhaps the greatest gift of the practice has been the daily habit of reading what I had written on that day a year earlier; not only is it a remarkable tool of introspection and self-awareness, but it also illustrates that our memory “is never a precise duplicate of the original [but] a continuing act of creation” and how flawed our perception of time is — almost everything that occurred a year ago appears as having taken place either significantly further in the past (“a different lifetime,” I’d often marvel at this time-illusion) or significantly more recently (“this feels like just last month!”). Discus chronologicus, a depiction of time by German engraver Christoph Weigel, published in the early 1720s; from Cartographies of Time.

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