It’s Not Easy Being Polychromatic

“You’re not making any sense,” he said, staring incredulously at his friend.

“You’re just not looking at it with an open mind,” the friend replied.

“It’s not about having an open mind, this just doesn’t make any scientific sense.”

“Scientific sense? It makes perfect sense. It’s about ambiguity.”

“How can someone see different colors from someone else?”

“It’s not about seeing different colors. It’s a perception thing. Like, what you see as orange, I might see as green.”

“That’s not right. Orange is its own color. Oranges can’t be green. Carrots can’t be green. We eat green beans not orange beans.”

“Yeah, but those things are still a consistent color. So it wouldn’t make a difference.”

“Then what color is the traffic light when it’s time to go?”


“I thought green was orange.”

“No. Jeez. No, the color is still consistent. Like, we can agree that an orange is orange, right?”

“I think so, but you’re making it difficult to say.”

“We can agree that an orange is orange. But you may be seeing orange, and I may be seeing the color that you call green. Or purple. Or any other color.”

There was silence.

“I think I get it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. But doesn’t that mean that some people may never see one of the colors that I do?”

The friend thought this over. “I suppose so,” he answered.

The man’s face fell into a frown.

“What’s wrong?” The friend asked.

“That thought makes me feel blue,” he explained.

The friend’s face contorted in confusion. “Makes you feel what?”


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