Vision scientists Rainer Mausfeld, Reinhard Niederée, and K. Dieter Heyer write that, “the concept of human color vision involves both a subjective component, as it refers to a perceptual phenomenon and an objective one … We take this subtle tension to be the essential ingredient of research on color perception.”
Later in the same article they call this quality the “Janus-facedness” of color: Color points out to the world of objects, and at the same time it draws us inward to examine the perceptual subject. This is a common thread in scientific writing on color vision and it has always struck me that the Janus-facedness of color is its most beguiling quality.
It’s surprisingly difficult to discern the foundations of color, a concept that seems essential and straightforward to most of us.
What does that imply about all the other things we consider “obvious truths” and sweep under our mental rugs? What are we missing as a result?