[lit-ideas] "Colourless Objects" (Was: Wittgenstein's Universe)

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 20:11:19 EDT

Thanks to J. M. Geary and A. Amago for their comments on "chromatics" (we are 
discussing if objects are so colourless as Wittgenstein 'as an aside' said 
they were).
Geary writes:

>the blue flower was, in fact, every
>color but blue.  The colors we ascribe to 
>things are actually the colors
>they are not.  The blue wave-lengths are 
>reflected to our eyes because there
>is nothing blue in the flower to absorb them.  The 
>flower is blueless or,
>what I term, 'colorless'.



Fascinating actually.

I detect a little contradiction there, though:

               The flower is every colour but blue


              The flower is colourless.

I take it that Geary means:

             "The flower is colourless -- with respect to blue"?

Anyway, it is a fascinating thought.

For Empiricists (such as Lord Russell), 'blue' (or 'blew here') is a 
_sense-datum_, a simple. 

According to chromatics, we can at least postulate that the sense datum 
('blue') ENTAILS the existence of an object (or thing) which is _not_ blue. 

I wonder if Wittgenstein would be aware of this complex chromatic theory?

A quip with Geary's phrasing. He talks of 

>the blue wave-lengths

-- The presence of the '-' (in 'wave-length') suggests that 'blue' applies to 
'length'? (But can a length be blue, R. Paul?). On the other hand, if it 
applies to 'wave', shouldn't it be 'blue-wave length'?

I was reading the novel _Cobra_ by Severo Sarduy, and he makes a mention to 
something which may relate -- at least I thought it was a fascinating 
reference, anyway:

The passage reads:

    "After her midnight toilette and while Cobra stripped
     off her own attributes, Pup received, grumbling
     inevitably, the attributes of her character of the
     day. They divided her into squares before painting
     her. They enlarged her skin, or repeated _au pochoir_
     along a spiral beginning at her neck and ending on
     an ankle, the _motifs_ of a fleur-de-lysed cartoon
     which formed combinations according to the 'optic
     contrasts' of a HARMONICOLOR disk."

There is a footnote here -- which I find fascinating:

     "Harmonizing colours is a difficult art. A skillful
     florist, a dressmaker of proven taste, a talented
     interior decorator, all find, almost without looking,
     thanks to a kind of instinct, the combinations
     which enchant the eye; but those who are unaware
     of THE RULES which govern colour relationships,
     struggle with overwhelming difficulties.
             _Harmonicolor_ allows one to conquer those
     difficulties, automatically, if one can use the 
     expression. This is based on the following fact:
     color combinations are always reduced to fulfilling
     either a _harmony_, or a _contrast_. Cf.: 
     _Harmonicolor_, Disque d'harmonie des coleurs,
     by Luis Cabanes, Inspector of Design in the 
     Schools of the City of Paris and C. Bellenfant,
     Professor with a degree from the City of Paris."

-- The novel was written in Paris, and perhaps M. Chase may check if the 
references make sense?



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