Wednesday, June 06, 2012

What if there was no blue?

Blue spruce? Why not?

That is certainly what it looks like. Light blue against the darker green makes for a nice contrast.

New growth

This bring to mind an interesting tidbit from the recent show on "Colors" from the RadioLab Podcast: Homer didn't know 'blue'.

Yes, Homer. The one who wrote the Illiad and The Odyssey. Used thousands of words to write both works but did not use the word 'blue'. And he is not the only one who didn't. Was he colorblind? No, it was more likely that while the rainbow spectrum of colors hasn't really changed, our explanation of the colors has. At some point in time, we did not know 'blue' as 'blue'. Then someone gave it a name - 'blue' and from then on we know and talk about 'blue'.

When I coached high school track athletes to be high jumpers, visualization was a key concept. If they could not see themselves jumping over the bar, they couldn't do it. If they could imagine it, what it would feel like to fly and fall on the other side, watching the bar... they could do it.

So we know now that the imagination is critical. If you can't think of it, it won't happen. It is also critical to have a word for it. If you can't talk about it, no one will know.

Before the word for 'blue' what was it?

Before the word for your future accomplishment, what is it?