The Five Aggregates

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:56 am

pegembara wrote:My "red" could actually be "pink" to you.


I still don't think that perception of colour is entirely subjective, and I think most people would agree on primary colours unless they had a sight defect.

And as I understand it emptiness is about dependent arising, it isn't about the non-existence of external objects. So if there's are objects of form then there are no visual perceptions.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby chownah » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:17 pm

Spiny Norman,
How could you possibly determine if colors are subjective or not? Really, how would you do it? There is absolutely no way to know as far as any scientist has been able to figure out. Have you come up with a way to determine this?......if not then you are just blowing smoke out your blowing smoke hole.
I could just maintain that colors are in fact totally subjective and we can argue till the smoke stops blowing and never have to come to any agreement at all because ther is really no way to know. I could say that when you see blue I see yellow but I have just been taught to call it blue but actually it is yellow........we might agree on the names of the colors of most things but that says nothing about how we experience them.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:23 pm

chownah wrote:Spiny Norman,
How could you possibly determine if colors are subjective or not?


Colours are just the names we give to different wavelengths of light. And if there is no light then there is no perception of colour. Or am I missing the point?
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby chownah » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:44 pm

My point is that if light of a particular wavelength strikes your eye and my eye there is no way to determine If they look the same for both of us.....indeed there is no way to explain how they look. So, in this sense, experiencing color is entirely subjective in that any subject experiencing color can only know how the color looks to them and can not even in principle know how it is experienced by another subject......I'm using "subject" as in "subjective".
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P.S. Actually I am pretty sure that the names for colors are usually applied to a mix of wavelengths of light since in our everyday experience we never have just one wavelength of light entering the eye......for instance there is no particular wavelength for mauve, puce, or even brown.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby SamKR » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:15 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:Spiny Norman,
How could you possibly determine if colors are subjective or not?


Colours are just the names we give to different wavelengths of light. And if there is no light then there is no perception of colour. Or am I missing the point?

Experience of a color and the corresponding wavelength are not the same thing, although in our experience these are usually correlated and consistent, and this is a very important point to understand. There can be perception of color even without "physical" light.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby Mkoll » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:57 pm

SamKR wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:Spiny Norman,
How could you possibly determine if colors are subjective or not?


Colours are just the names we give to different wavelengths of light. And if there is no light then there is no perception of colour. Or am I missing the point?

Experience of a color and the corresponding wavelength are not the same thing, although in our experience these are usually correlated and consistent, and this is a very important point to understand. There can be perception of color even without "physical" light.

Do you mean like in dreams and imagination and other mental visualizations?
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby SamKR » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:15 pm

Yes, in dreams and astral projections and experiences like that. Also chromesthesia.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby culaavuso » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:25 pm

SamKR wrote:Experience of a color and the corresponding wavelength are not the same thing, although in our experience these are usually correlated and consistent, and this is a very important point to understand. There can be perception of color even without "physical" light.


A few cases that are interesting to consider along these lines: a color blind person demonstrably has a different experience of a sight even though the same wavelengths are present.

In terms of perceptions, sometimes people who are not color blind can see the same thing and one person might say "that's blue" while another person says "that's purple" and a third person says "it's a blueish purple". Even if they are having the same visual experience, which isn't something that can be compared to know, they are at least using labels based on different aspects of that experience with different emphasis. Similarly, some people have a large color vocabulary while others have a small color vocabulary. Those with a small vocabulary would use a single label for a range of various shades that a person with a larger vocabulary might distinguish by name.

Regarding the perception of color without "physical" light, dreams and phosphenes are both worth considering.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:27 am

culaavuso wrote:A few cases that are interesting to consider along these lines: a color blind person demonstrably has a different experience of a sight even though the same wavelengths are present.


Yes, that's true, as I've acknowledged. On the other hand, I used to be involved in theatre stage lighting, and I remember the gel catalogue had over 100 different named colours ( gels are the colour filters that go in front of spotlamps ).
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:33 am

chownah wrote: So, in this sense, experiencing color is entirely subjective...


I disagree. The process of colour perception is partly subjective, yes, but not entirely. And I'd suggest the same is true of perception via the other sense organs, it's a process of dependent arising. I also think that's supported by how the suttas describe it, since contact cannot arise without the presence of visible form.
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