I’m at the optician’s. I’m in the chair with that oversized focustinator—focusinoir—eye-ball vision separator and confusor (I’d use the device’s actual ‘name’ and what fun would that be?). Besides, this device right here for this posting’s purposes is designed to determine my understanding or perception of the colors. As such, the examiner asks: is this more or less like the color you are imagining?
(Let’s let that question slide, for a few bytes. Let it steep and make tea to spill.)
Pick a color. Any color. Today I picked blue. The first level of visuals eliminated all the hues that I did not consider blue. The question was simple: blue—not blue. I was not asked to label the others. I was asked only to answer blue/not blue. If it was not seen as blue, that hue was set aside. Eventually, I get to the point where every color is blue. ish.
Great, I tell myself. Now I’m done.
“Hold on. Not so fast,” the examiner admonishes. “There’s that specific spectrum to run by you now—the blue spectrum.”
My mind says the first thing that comes to it, “Huh?”
The question, I am told, now shifts to: Is this one more blue(r) to you, or is that one? more blue, less blue, back and forth we go. This blue, then that, this eye, then that,
Is this bluer, or is this bluer…(am I having a Sherman Williams paint store nightmare or flashback?) After what seemed like hundreds of choices, I settle on what I now consider my bluest of blues, my truest of bluest.
The examiner prints out a credit card-sized, laminated card. The card’s entire one side is the blue I blued. The other side has the word blue printed in blue (your own shade) on a blankish white background(the variations of that color is also quite specific). I step out proudly with it pinned to my lapel.
It wasn’t long before I was sharing, with friends and family, the experience I’d had at the optometrist, wherein I had identified, at last, my truest blue. And then, of course, I had to show them my blue card, all proud like.
And that’s when they looked at it, made a curious expression, and then pulled out their blue card…
And they were not the same!!!
WTF??? Theirs is sort of blue…but barely…according to my orbital spectrum reader, recorder and imaginator.
And, they feel the same way about my blue in relation to theirs…
Did blue change? No. Yes.
Are our eyes not calibrated identically? No, they are definitely not.
Are you cold in here, or is it just me? Our internal thermostats aren’t calibrated either.
And so on…we don’t hear, smell, experience touch, taste identically…ever. In fact, our experiences of these everyday sensations are uniquely sensed and individually processed. Misunderstandings and disagreements over these differences are commonplace and end with injured emotions. With the people we are living with.
Here’s the tea now spilled: All sensations are body specific…generally in the same range with others, like fingerprints and DNA…only individuated.
If a person is cold, offer them warmth…don’t argue with them, telling them that you’re not cold, so how can they be?
If a person is scared, offer them your compassion and your support first…and maybe for a little while…before you ask them much else…once they begin to realize that talking to you is not a threat, they’ll have a lot to tell you.