Why are Raincoats Yellow?

Pretentious on college and teaming with all-too-often alcohol laden nights, my friends and I would sit up all night long discussing the fabric of the universe and how it applied to religion, music and sarcastic wit. Much of who I am today, or at least, how I got here, was born in these binge drinking, 4/5am, green and leafy couch expeditions, and it was there that I first began pondering my own perception of reality. Like I said, pretentiousness was not lacking in abundance.

Consider the possibility that everything is perceived differently by every consciousness out there. So Person A and Person B both are humans and both have relatively similar brains working with the same gears of cellular and electrical activity, we assume. However, how input into those brains is perceived and processed is largely unknown. Even with the limited scientific expertise on how our brains work, it’s still science and therefore, still all theoretic.

Perhaps when Person A was young, before he understood language, even facial expressions and hand gestures, he was fascinated by an object. His mind had no way to describe the object, but every time it floated above him, moved him around, picked him up, swayed him back and forth, he smiled and was quite pleased.

Person B, on the other hand but at the same age, would not recognize this object from any other objects around him. To him, the object was just another blur in the background of existence.

The object was Person A’s mother. Person B lived in the neighborhood and occasionally would see the object but as it wasn’t vital to his life, he never bothered to recognize it. The object was perceived as a completely different experience for both.

As Person A and Person B grow up these types of situations continue to persist, but as they develop language they’re forced to apply various labels to the objects around them. A shows B a ball and says “Look, this is a ball.”

“No,” replies B, “it’s a basketball.” A had no idea that it was in fact a basketball and not just a ball, or another kind of ball for that matter. “And basketballs are orange.” A agrees, it’s a basketball and basketballs are orange.

Why does he agree? Because from the time he first began to understand communication and language in particular, he began to be taught that certain pieces of reality have names. This bit of it is known as “orange” and that bit is known as “round” and another piece is called a “ball.”

But remember back to when neither of them had the ability to think such thoughts, because language didn’t exist in their minds, descriptions full of adjectives and nouns were completely foreign ideas, all that they could do was take in information, processing it was only done on a basic reaction level.

If we can take this all one step further, and this is just an idea I’ve been toying with for many years, what if the way that Person A’s brain develops in those first few years is drastically different from Person B’s, in that instead of him processing a round object as a ball, he perceives is as the color blue. Just completely interprets the data in a different way, because he has no basis of language to focus his thought process. So the actual way that his mind processes input has developed in a completely different way from anyone else on the planet (and in turn, all minds develop in a similarly independent fashion). Think of two cultures, isolated from one another and how they can develop so differently.

Once Person A and Person B begin understanding language, they would begin to agree that these pieces of reality are the same thing, and where B once interpreted something as X and A interpreted it as Y (and they still do), they now agree that it is to be called an “orange basketball” – nothing has changed about how they process the information, only that they now use language to make the object familiar to both of them and interpretable on a daily basis.

This could explain the differences between all humans and why art, writing, love, ideas, conversation and every other aspect of our interaction is so complex and completely different for any variant group of people.

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