Light’s suffering and joy

Wolfgang Goethe once said, "Colours are light's suffering and joy."

Running across this quote made me so happy — and happy's been hard today; just adjustment in circumstances I suspect — because it shows such a brilliant perspective ability, and one that transcends science without disagreeing with it.  It's unlikely that Goethe, who died in the early 1800's, knew about photons; but he understood how like us they are.

We see light and color and we say flippantly, "Ah, that's photons bouncing off things — you know, each other; everything.  How they bounce, and how we perceive the result is why we see color."

And then we say, thinking that it's a separate issue, "My, colors certainly evoke some strong emotional, instinctual and intellectual responses in us, don't they?"  

I read Goethe's quote and I think, "It's not an inconceivable point of view from which people are the sizes of photons.  What would the results of our bouncing around, off each other and everything, look like from there?  We hit each other and we make suffering, we bounce off a place or an object and we make joy; if we had to give a name to what a being that's the same relative size to us as we are to a photon would perceive when they watched what they could see of our suffering and our joy, what would we call it?

What else but color?

(Fun related thoughts:  "Gods" perceive human goings-on as color paintings, just as we perceive photon goings-on.  Maybe they can only understand our emotions that well, too — being big doesn't necessarily give you the ability to see with granularity at a tiny scale.  (How good is God's microscope?)  Maybe we are the gods of photons.  Suffering and Joy should be color names, as should other emotions.  Oddly, I bet people could generally agree on Joy, but I bet Suffering would be a battle to decide.  Buddha would like that everyone's Joy is similar — they are experiencing or expressing Oneness — but that each person's Suffering is different, since it's based on any of a zillion possible psychological illusions, and not a reality.)

2 thoughts on “Light’s suffering and joy”

    1. It says something that I later saw this quote: “Remorse is a violent dyspepsia of the mind. -Ogden Nash” and thought that it said a violet dyspepsia of the mind, and then further decided that the latter was the better line. Because remorse, you see, is much more violet than violent I think.

      Ooooh, my brain she is a-broken. And that is undoubtedly a good thing!

Comments are closed.