Light is brilliant white but contains all the colors of the rainbow. If you take a prism and shine sunlight through, you get a rainbow of colors. This pyramid-shaped piece of glass breaks white light into many separate components. Take that rainbow of colors bursting out of the first prism and run it through a second prism it combines all those colors back to white light. This was discovered in the late 1600’s in England by Sir Issac Newton. Before that time, they thought the prism made the colors.
The colorization of your vision is a trick your brain plays out in your head. It is an adapted survival feature that has developed over millions of years. We actually see in shades of grey. Colors are what we think we see courtesy of our mind. It’s all about vibrating packets of energy called wavelengths.
Look at a yellow rose and what do you really see? Initially, white daylight streams onto the rose. Then the rose absorbs every color in white light except yellow. Yellow is reflected to your eyes where this visual signal is transmitted to your brain through the optic nerves. Your brain interprets that wavelength of light as yellow. What you are really seeing is your brain’s interpretation of a grey rose. The brain’s millions of neurons take what we see and add a cranial rainbow palette. This input of photons into the eyes from the image dictates the color depending on the photons unique energy patterns.
Confused yet? Renovating Your Mind thinks that seeing in color is all about the survival of our species. With the availability of rainbow vision, humans were able to abruptly see wild fruit and greens while running through jungles. They were also better able to read faces of others for their emotions. This would give them the advantage whether it would be for love or battle. If a mate was sick there were better able to spot illness in color changes on the face and body. You could also get a better heads up on whether to use a fight or flight technique to decrease chances of mortality. Color made vision a better protector to help ensure longevity of the species.
Each color in the rainbow represents a different amount of vibrating energy in our visible spectrum. Take a look at what small sliver humans actually see of this entire electromagnetic spectrum illustrated below:
No SPF Lotion Available For Gamma And X-Rays
Take a look at the UV (Ultra-Violet) rays in the chart above. Our eyes are not currently designed to see these rays unless you had cataract surgery. In a normal eye, the depth is too deep for UV light to penetrate down to the retina area. This is the place where available nerves transmit an impulse from the optic nerve to the visual center of the brain. When you have cataract surgery they take out your damaged thick lens replacing it with a thinner substitute. This decreases the depth of the eye and sometimes UV light does penetrate into the retina to send the signal to the brain. Some cataract patients develop the ability to see into the UV section of electromagnetic radiation. Something our species never experienced with vision before the invention of this procedure. All of this comes to fruition because of us living longer. Fascinating!
When we send out telescopes or unmanned missions to other planets we use technology beyond what we see with our eyes. We give this instrumentation the ability to see gamma rays, x-rays, UR, IR and other rays that appear invisible to human eyes. Mankind has designed these robotic devices to see in areas that to our eyes would register as only the blackness of space. Amazing!
Transmitters In The Eye To The Brain
In our eyes are things called rods and cones. Rods are able to see shades of grey. Cones are able to distinguish between colors. The human race is mainly trichromatic. That means there are three (tri) different types of cones with each one tuned to a different color. Each color cone can pick up about 100 different gradients of colors. Together, they have the ability to see about 1 million different colors.
One Type Of Cone Per Primary Color
There are humans walking on the face of the Earth that are tetrachromat. That means that they have four (tetra) different types of cones. In these people, they have an extra cone in the orange range (between green and red). They have the ability to see 100 million different colors. Visually their world is so much more color detailed than what see through our trichromatic eyes. This usually occurs in women due to genes and estimated to be 1-3% of the population.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is color blindness which appears mainly in men due to genetics. Approximately 6-10% of men are color-blind. They heredity endowed them with a normal blue cone but they either have 2 red or 2 green. They are dichromats which means only having two (di) types of cones . This causes the inability to distinguish between red and green. What are the implications of distinguishing between peppers, traffic lights, stop signs and Christmas tree illuminating decorations?
There are also men that are monochromats that only have 1 type of cone. This is an extremely rare condition. They can only see about 1/3 of the colors that we see out in the world.
What is truly mind-boggling is the way we all adapt to the talents we are handed through our genes. And how we take these genes and use their potential for good in this world. We are a truly remarkable species. The color of a rainbow shows that the pot of gold is actually in each and every one of us. The true value of life is simply life itself, nothing more.