pain

Capturing the Colour: Classification and its Consequences

Author Eivind Hasvik
(#5 in the Whole Person reflections series)

Gazing through my window, I’m enriched by a muted but beautiful December twilight-palette. The remains of autumn covered by a thin layer of snow. It’s said that every culture has its own sense of the different hues. I’m reading a beautiful passage in White by Kenya Hara about the traditional Japanese way of naming colours. Contrary to the modern way of categorizing a given spectrum of light, such as greens, magentas or yellows, it’s said that red, blue, white and black were the only basic colour adjectives in 8th century Japan. The tradition was not to classify, but to describe and texturize, capturing the seasons and surroundings. This narrative heritage is beautifully documented in the book The traditional colours of Japan.

I’m imagining a metaphorical link from all this to the difficulties of describing experience—sensations, emotions, pain or pleasure. (more…)

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