Monday, February 18, 2008

A Cosmos in Living Color (2.01.11)

Not much time this morning, so this is a speed post which I will later belaborate. I was struck yesterday by an interesting comment left by an allnewtous reader, who wrote that

"the three primary colors of light (not pigment) are red, green and blue. Looking at the wavelengths of these colors, red is the longest (lowest frequency), blue is the shortest (highest frequency) and green is intermediate between the two. Now, as you follow the red wavelength to its extreme it approaches a flat line, that is, the horizontal, and as you follow the blue wavelength to its extreme, it approaches a vertical line. The point of intersection (middle ground) is that of the cross (El Christo). Also note that the red and blue spectrum venture beyond the limits of our visual detection, whereas that which lies in between (the green primary color) represents the visual spectrum.

"It is no accident that the primary colors are trinitarian. Following the principle of metaphysical correspondence (as above, so below), the red (horizontal) corresponds to the Spirit (think immanence and timeline, as in 'he has spoken through the prophets') and the blue (vertical) as the Father who is beyond (think transcendent, depths of the ocean, blue skies, deep space, the Father is greater than I). Both of these persons of the Trinity are 'unseen', whereas the Green (think intersection, cross, middle) is the visible person of the trinity, El Christo."

What are the messages we may derive from this correspondence? That "1) God is present with us, even in the horizontal, 2) The metaphysical has its expression in the physical, 3) To use Bob symbolism: Spirit (bidirectional horizontal arrow) and Father (bidirectional vertical arrow) = intersection = where Christ is to be found, and 4) The arithmetical expression of number three above is 1+1+1= 1."

This reminds me of a riff -- if that's not too jazzy a word -- by Schuon in Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts, in which he goes off in a very precise way about the spiritual meaning of the various colors. Most of it struck me as deeply true, and yet, it also left me wondering, 1) how did this guy come up with this stuff, and 2) what kind of cosmos is it, whereby these things can be even remotely true, since the official scientific view is that color is absolutely meaningless? Remember, in the Newtonian view, color is simply an optical illusion produced by energy vibrations.

But what if the existence of color holds certain keys to our understanding of the whole existentialada? Put it this way -- would it really make no difference if we lived in a world in which there were no color, just black and white?

Schuon writes that colors are part of the formal order, and yet, are independent qualities that exist separately from tangible form. As applied to the Spirit, he writes that "affective and combative spiritual positions are 'red'; contemplation and quietude are 'blue'; joy is 'yellow'; pure truth, 'white'; the inexpressible, 'black.'"

In themseleves -- i.e., archetypally -- he says that "red has something of intensity, of violence, blue of depth and goodness. Our gaze is able to move, to lose itself in blue, but not in red, which rises before us like a wall of fire. Yellow partakes at once of intensity and depth, but in a 'light' mode; it has a certain 'transcendence' compared to the two 'heavy' colors; it is like an emergence toward whiteness. When mixed with blue it gives to the contemplativity of this color [green] a quality of 'hope,' of saving joy, a liberation from the enveloping quietude of contemplation."

How does this stack up with anonymous' formulation, that green is the intermediate principle where the height of the transcendent is to be found in the depths of the immanent, thus engendering hope?

Schuon goes on to say that "Red excites, awakens, 'exteriorizes'; blue gathers and 'interiorizes'; yellow rejoices and 'delivers.' Red is aggressive and moves outward; the radiance of blue is deep, welcoming, and leads inward; the radiance of yellow is 'liberating' and spreads in all directions. The combination of inward withdrawal (blue) with joy (yellow) is hope (green); hope is opposed to passion (red) because unlike passion it does not live in the present, but in the future; it is opposed to passion in its two aspects of introspection and joy."

And green is indeed an odd color. It is obviously the color of elemental life, i.e., the mystery of photosynthesis, which converts the pure light of the celestial center into green leaves. Schuon says that green possesses an ambiguity because "it combines two colors that are opposed in two different respects," thus giving it "a character of 'surprise' and 'strangeness.'" No one expects green to appear in a dead cosmos! One could go so far as to say that the sudden emergence of a green planet is about the oddest thing one could imagine after 9.85 billion years of a lifeless cosmos following the big bang. Green is always saying Boo!, but in a good way.

As Schuon explains, green "has two dimensions -- whence its mystery -- whereas its opposite color, red, is simple, indivisible, instantaneous. Green is hope, promise, happy expectation, good news; it has an aspect of gaiety, and mischievousness; it possesses neither the violent action of red nor the inscrutable -- and inwardly unlimited -- contemplativity of blue; nor is it the open, simple, and radiant joy of yellow."

Christ's own passion (red) is resolved in hope (evergreen). I suppose this is why satan is always depicted as red. Red "is the present moment. Green, its opposite, is duration with its two dimensions, past and future, the future being represented by yellow and the past by blue. Seen spatially blue is space and yellow the flashing center, a center that reveals itself and liberates, displaying a new dimension of infinity. It is the sky transpierced by the sun." So I suppose Christ would be green crowned in yellow within an infinite blue background -- or perhaps with yellow light proceeding from the red heart. Discuss amongst yourselves.


julie said...

This all sounds true, but I do have a question: how to explain the function of red in places like China, where it is viewed almost as we view white? And where white is the color of death?


NoMo said...

However you might interpret it, don't forget God's covenant with Noah, signified by the rainbow..

Speaking of colors.

River Cocytus said...

Christ's own passion (red) is resolved in hope (evergreen). I suppose this is why satan is always depicted as red. Red "is the present moment. Green, its opposite, is duration with its two dimensions, past and future, the future being represented by yellow and the past by blue. Seen spatially blue is space and yellow the flashing center, a center that reveals itself and liberates, displaying a new dimension of infinity. It is the sky transpierced by the sun." So I suppose Christ would be green crowned in yellow within an infinite blue background -- or perhaps with yellow light proceeding from the red heart. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Most Christ icons have him wearing a blue outer-robe with a red tunic and gold sash. The background of a number of them is simply gold (gold is metallic yellow, in this case.)

But then again, there is a difference between color of pigment and color of light.

I also disagree with the 1+1+1=1; It's really (infinite one + infinite one + infinite one = infintie one)

River Cocytus said...

Julie: I don't over-value individual colors but tend to view them in terms of 'schemes'. I tend to not hold colors to anything beyond their actual meaning; I.e, red is the color of blood, the sky is blue, etc. So what people say about colors says less about the colors and more about the people.

julie said...

True, River. But some things seem to be universal, at least from a natural point of view - bright reds and oranges often mean a warning (of poisons and stings) especially when combined with black, but they can also be a sign of tastiness and edibility. It can't be a coincidence that so many types of fruit take on warm hues when they're ripe, or that muted warm colors in restaurants make people hungrier.

And why should sounds have color? What is the connection there?

I'm full of questions today:)

Apropos of this weekend, last night I realized the perfect theme song of our favorite overwaxed fruit:

Everything's gonna be nice and sweet
When I come sweep you off your feet
You won't think I'm such a creep
When I change your mind
I was nice and you were cold
You were bored when I was bold
I just want my jellies rolled
When I change your mind

You don't want me
At least not in that way
You don't want me
And that drives me crazy

Your ignorin' hurts my pride
Don't you want my pleasure ride
I've got to have you by my side
When I change your mind

Now my foolish heart sure don't skip a beat
When you haul your tired ass across the street
I'd sell my soul for an airplane seat
Now that I changed your mind
("When I Change Your Mind," by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies)

julie said...

(or at least, that last part might be true if he ever did manage to change any minds...)

jwm said...

If you haven't already seen this, I'd recommend a visit to for a look at the recent protests over the Marine Corps recruiting office in Berkeley, CA. You will witness there a terrifying convergence of blindness, insanity, and capital E Evil.
It seems as though there is a moral inversion layer that has settled over a huge part of the world's population. Is it an accident the red / blue division of Democrat and Republican voting blocks has been conveniently reversed? Think on it. Taken to its extreme, the political telos of the left is the totalitarianism of communists, and national socialists (100% control of the individual by government). And yet they are still called "liberal" and have appropriated blue (the vertical) as their banner.
Taken to the same extreme the political telos of the right would lead to libertarianism, or even anarchy (no control over the individual by government). Yet the Republicans have been saddled with the color red.
And the vibrant, life affirming green has become the banner of islam, the covenant of death.
Strange and frightening times, these are.


Gagdad Bob said...

I'm sure Schuon would say that there is a huge difference between colors in their archetypal sense, and the way they are used by various groups in our aberrant times, e.g., "greens."

Robin Starfish said...

comic book villain
battles his worst enemy
color defeated

River Cocytus said...

Well, there must be an inherent difference in the actual colors, as a graphic designer I know that you simply can't interchange them. For instance while when you look at the color wheel you might think you can use any set of complementaries for the same task, in pratice that isn't true at all. For instance, (and not even an archetypical thing) red-green is not very usable because many people are red-green colorblind.

However, I try to be careful not to over-assign meaning to each color; or rather, compartmentalize the color too much (a la Wilber's color system.)

So the difference between the pigment and radiant color actually ADDS to the color's meanings not breaks them.

debass said...

I play a lot of blues. I'm usually happy doing it.

wv-ymoil- like emoil, internet circumciser. Little money, but good tips.

Anonymous said...

Hello all. Below is an essay I wrote years ago, part of which was briefly summarized yesterday and became a topic of discussion for today's post. Although it is the length of a post or two, I am sharing for the sake of...well sharing. Enjoy.

Primary Colors Anonymous



Perhaps the greatest mystery of Christian faith is that of the Holy Trinity, that the I AM is three Persons, yet one God who is indivisible. How is it that 1+1+1= 3 in a math class, yet in Christian theology the answer is one? How can this be reconciled? Ultimately, believing in the Trinity is matter of faith. God desires that we have faith in His word and believe without seeing. Nonetheless, our universe is God’s creation, so we should not be surprised to find images of the Creator in creation. One need only pause and reflect on the many wonders that are constantly around and within us to see what is already believed. When faith becomes the prism through which nature and all reality are viewed, our faith is affirmed and strengthened. Indeed, St. Bonaventure believed that within the world as we know it is the mirroring of Scripture itself.

One need not necessarily explore the flashy and exotic in nature to experience this, however. A substance as ordinary and common as water should not be casually overlooked. This ubiquitous compound is indispensable to all that lives, covering two-thirds of the earth’s surface and making up two-thirds of a person’s overall weight. Water is also integral to many Christian sacraments and ceremonies, such as baptism and making the sign of the cross when entering or leaving a Catholic Church.

Now from the science of chemistry, it is known that water is a single molecule made up of three smaller parts called atoms. Two hydrogen atoms are in a certain sense “connected” to an oxygen atom by an attractive force called bonding. By sharing parts of itself, each atom is able to form a strong attraction between itself and it’s neighbor, such that it is now itself and something new. That is, even though there are two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, together they are one and unique from what they are separately. This is the basis of chemistry and it is the content and arrangement of the atoms that confers the particular properties to a given substance. It is at this level that we see three Persons (atoms) united together as one God (molecule) in an expression of the Divine Trinity.

Christ tells us that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him and that He and the Father are one. That is, there is a certain sameness and relationship between the Father and the Son: One in being with the Father. In the water molecule, these are represented by the two separate but virtually identical hydrogen atoms, between which lies an oxygen atom. Oxygen is familiar to us as something we cannot live without. From the first to the last breath, our lungs take in oxygen that is delivered by the body’s heart and circulation sustaining our physical life. Oxygen is in a sense, the spirit which gives us life and is the Holy Spirit in the structure of water. The Nicene Creed affirms this: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified…” The oxygen in the water molecule does in fact proceed from each hydrogen (the Father and the Son) and the God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are worshiped as One (a single water molecule).

Does the analogy end with the way water is arranged? What can be said of the way in which behaves under various situations? Can we draw any analogies between the qualities of water and what Scripture and Church Tradition tell us about God? Indeed. There is nothing at all cosmopolitan about water. Consider that it is tasteless, odorless, and colorless, standing as a rather bland refreshment compared to what alternatives the world has to offer. In this fallen world, the common approach to man’s existence is sense bound, relying on his senses to find his way about the world: vision, smell, taste, hearing, and feeling. That water is tasteless, odorless, and colorless is a testament to the fact that God transcends our earthly experiences and to seek God means to go beyond our senses. To many, water (God), is the not the most appealing and would perhaps prefer a secular alternative (soda anyone?). This has been the problem since the Fall of man, choosing a path that holds an empty promise. Christ, though, tells us that he and his Kingdom are not of this world and that God is truth and spirit and should we worshiped as such. He stands in contradistinction to the world and its offerings. When deprived of his spiritual origin, man naturally longs for that which will sustain him, much like a wanderer in the desert who seeks shelter from his harsh environment and in search of something as simple as water to quench his thirst.

Puruse any textbook of chemistry or biology, while reading from a metaphysical perspective and the alignment with Christian truths is astonishing and overwhelming. Consider the textbook entitled Biology in which author Neil Campbell discusses water, its properties and its suitability to living systems: “Water: an extraordinary compound. The unusual behavior of water is a major factor in the fitness of the environment for life. In…(a) view of (the) Earth’s south pole, we see one of water’s oddities: its simultaneous presence in three physical states. No other common substance on earth occurs in the solid, liquid, and gaseous states…” So, then, a biologist in describing a feature of water, knowingly or unknowingly, highlights an image of the Trinity found in our world. That is, within nature we find water present in three different states in the same environment at the same time! Other notable passages from this same textbook include: “Water is so common that it is easy to overlook that it is an exceptional substance with many extraordinary qualities…”, “ water has an unusually high surface tension because of …( its)…collective strength…”, and “ water is a very versatile solvent…”. Numerous other examples could be cited.

Yet another remarkable property of water is what happens to it when it changes from a liquid to a solid that is when it becomes frozen. Imagine that the process of freezing is a sort of halt to an activity, that it represents a form of suspension or death. Now unlike most substances, which when frozen shrink and contract, water actually expands or gets larger. This explains why a frozen water pipe bursts or a canned beverage will explode if left in a freezer. But is that all there is to it? Water freezes and just gets bigger. So what? In our reductionistic world, many would share just that view. In the context of the God-water analogy, yes, there is more. As the creed states: “For us men and our salvation, he (Christ) came down from heaven…he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again…” In a certain sense, the change from steam to liquid water is transformation of Spirit to man (God becomes man), while the change from liquid water to ice is the death of Christ. But, alas, he rose again! Pontius Pilate sentenced God the Son to death, but He cannot be destroyed. Water, when seen as God, expands when frozen, becomes less dense, and will float in liquid water. This is symbolic of the resurrection and the way to life eternal. Christ implores us to pick up our cross and follow him, for as St. Francis tells us, it is in dying that we are born to life everlasting. For just as liquid water turning to ice and floating to the surface, those who choose the path of the Son will not sink to the bottom, but will be raised up.

Dante’s literary classic The Divine Comedy reveals this same truth in describing the images at the center of Hell, the Inferno. Here, Satan is a three-headed monstrous beast frozen in ice up to his chest and below each head is a set of wings that are in constant motion. The wind created by the beating of his wings cools the air more and only serves to keep him frozen. His attempts to escape are hopeless. Thus, the shedding of Christ’s blood both washes away our sins, satisfying the laws of divine justice, and puts an end to Satan’s lordship over man . We are no longer captive to the Evil One and are now set free from the bondage of sin and death. This is salvation brought to us as an utterly incomprehensible act of love and mercy. This is but a dim reflection of the mystery of the Holy Trinity expressed in a physical form so that those who believe will see and those who see will believe.

The Developing Human Being

Man, created in the image of God, also reflects the triune nature of God in so many different ways, not the least of which is that he is body, soul, and spirit. This is the domain of the theologian and philosopher, however. What can be revealed in how man is formed, how he is structured, and how his body works? Not surprisingly, this realm of knowledge is rich with meaning.

Following conception, a new human life begins its existence as a single cell, much like a sphere or small bubble. Over a several week period, this one cell multiplies and embeds itself within the lining of the womb or uterus. As further growth occurs, three very distinct zones or layers begin to form, each which will give rise to different parts of the body in a remarkably consistent and predictable manner. In the parlance of embryology, these three layers are termed the ectoderm, the mesoderm, and the endoderm. In a simplified analogy, the three layers can be likened unto a donut, with the ectoderm giving rise to the outside donut ring, the endoderm giving rise to the inside donut ring, and the mesoderm giving rise to everything in between. Applying this to the human being, the outside of the donut becomes the skin, the inside of the donut becomes the inside lining of the body from mouth to bottom, and the middle of the donut becomes everything between these linings, such as muscles and bones. Now much like the water molecule, in which two hydrogen atoms are held together by an oxygen atom, the ectoderm and endoderm are held together by the mesoderm. The endoderm and ectoderm are in a certain sense similar. The endoderm is within and is like the Father who is in heaven, whereas the Son is without, that is Logos who dwelt among us. The ectoderm is like the Son, who like the skin, is our protectorate, a truth we shall see again in another Trinitarian expression found in the human being. The mesoderm is the Holy Spirit that holds or binds the two together, and who with the Father and Son are worshiped and glorified as One. That is, there are three formative parts, yet one body, and all derived from a single cell.

Blood and Its Formation

One of the first sounds to be heard from a developing human being is that of the beating heart. This marvelous yet simple organ is the pump that delivers the precious blood to all parts of the body by way of blood vessels. Following birth, most of the cells found in blood are formed deep within bones in a space called bone marrow. Now the cells found in the blood are of three basic types: 1) cells called platelets that help maintain the structural integrity of the blood vessels 2) white blood cells that act as a protection or defense against invasion and 3) red blood cells whose major role is to deliver oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Each of these three cells present in blood find their origin from a counterpart that is present in the bone marrow called precursors. These three cells found in the bone marrow and blood correspond to a separate Person in the Trinity: the Father to the platelets , the Son to the white cells, and the Holy Spirit to the red blood cells. Let us consider each one separately.

The cell that gives rise to the platelets is called a megakaryocyte and compared to the other two cell types is massive in size. Now this large cell gives rise to very small platelets in a very special way. Bits and pieces of the outer portion of the cell, called the cytoplasm, bud off to form platelets. The megakaryocyte, however, remains intact.

Like the Father, the megakaryocyte gives of itself without becoming less. God, who is the source of all things good, gives rise to creation without diminishing His divine essence. The platelets, though small, vary in size and shape, and it is this variation that corresponds to the uniqueness of each and every creature, whether spiritual or corporeal beings. As we shall see, unlike the other two cell types, the megakaryocyte in general does not leave the bone but rather stays within the deep recesses of the bone. Christ tells us that no one has seen the Father but the Son, and the Father remains hidden from us, much like the large megakaryocyte deep within the bones.

Let us leave the platelet for a moment and consider the next cell type, the white cell. It is a fact of this world that any entity, whether it be a single cell organism, a wild animal, an individual human being, or even a nation, requires some degree of self-defense and can range from the simple to the complex. Within blood, the most abundant type of white cell normally present is called a neutrophil.

The white cells make a part of this defense strategy within the human being and are indispensable to one’s wellness. The unfortunate soul with a disease such as leukemia knows this all too well, whereby tumor cells overwhelm the bodies ability to make normal white cells, and the individual often succumbs to an infection. In what manner does this fact correspond to the Son of the Divine Trinity? It is the Son, who following the will of the Father, came down from heaven for us men and our salvation so that all may have life eternal. The Son also battles the forces of evil in heaven as portrayed in Book II of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Following the rebellion of Satan, a two-day battle ensues between Satan and the archangel Michael in the battle for Heaven. It is not until the third day, that the Father bestows upon the Son all his might to drive Satan from the reaches of Heaven. Christ says to us: I saw Satan fall from Heaven like a flash of lightning. The outcome is known to all, for it is hopeless for a creature, and Satan is a creature, albeit powerful, to expect to defeat the Creator. He, the Son, much like the white blood cell, is the protectorate of heaven and earth alike, and is obedient to the Father’s will, even unto death. To see that the white cell is exemplary of the Son’s activity, though, requires that we know its journey within the body, from its beginning to its sacrificial death.

Unlike the megakaryocyte, which remains within the bone marrow following the formation of platelets, the white cell undergoes a transformation and leaves the bone marrow. No vestige remains behind. Now throughout the development of the white cell, certain characteristic changes in the cell can be identified. In the early stages of formation, a clear zone begins to form around a portion of the nucleus in such a way that it looks much like an early morning sunrise. This area is sometimes called “the dawn of neutrophilia”; dawn because of its resemblance to the sunrise and neutrophilia refers the particular type of white cell, the neutrophil, which is being formed.

Now Christ tells us that he is the light of the world, and if we regard the sun (Son) as that light, each morning sunrise is not only a new day, but also the entrance of the Son (sun) into the darkness of fallen creation. In the analogy of white cell as the Son, the dawn of neutrophilia is the bursting forth of His glory as his being makes entry into our world.

Additional changes occur and the white cell leaves the bone marrow to enter the blood where it stays in circulation for less than a day. While in circulation, the white cell is able, through complex mechanisms, to find its way to areas of the body in need of its defensive arsenal. Unlike the platelet and the red blood cell that remain in the blood circulation, the white cell migrates “through” the wall of the blood vessel. This movement occurs through tiny window-like spaces and allows the cell to finds its way to the tissues in need of defense. Now of the three Persons of the Trinity, it is only the Son that is a terrestrial being in this world. So too with the three cell types in the blood, it is only the white cell that physically leaves the blood stream. It is at this point that one can perhaps understand that mirroring God’s creation within the human being, the blood and bone marrow correspond to the heavenly kingdom and that the vast remainder of the body, to earth and our physical universe. Christ, who is both God and Man, is seen in both the blood and other tissues. Within the blood, we see his Divine essence in unity with the Father and Holy Spirit. Passing through the blood vessel wall is that part of the creed professing that he (Jesus Christ, the Son of God) came down from heaven, for us men and our salvation, so that sins may be forgiven. This is precisely the fate of the white cell as it passes from blood to the body, in order to offer itself so that the other cells that make up the body might not succumb to the destructive force, be it bacteria or some other intruder. When in great need, the white cell is capable of producing powerful chemicals that will destroy the invader, whatever that may be. The sacrifice is that the white cell often dies in this process. So too at the Last Supper, Christ told his disciples that it is His blood and body that will be offered up so that sins of humanity may be forgiven. He is the white cell that comes down from heaven and gives up itself to counteract any destructive effects, so that the body as a whole, which is made up of billions of individual parts (the body of Christ) may survive and have life. How appropriate indeed that such cells are described as white, as the color white is seen as a sign of purity and holiness.

The triune expression of God within blood is brought to completion with the red blood cell. Similar to the platelet and white blood cell, the red blood cell finds its origin within the bone marrow, where before leaving it undergoes a series of changes to prepare it for the task ahead. Of these, the most unusual is that the cell expels its nucleus in order to maximize the space inside the cell for its main constituent, hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that is essential to the movement of oxygen from the lungs to the remainder of the body. For those who have suffered from anemia, a condition in which there are insufficient numbers of red cells within the blood to provide adequate oxygen to the body, packing as much hemoglobin into a cell as possible seems like a logical design. By eliminating the nucleus, a structure that occupies considerable space within the cell, there is more room for hemoglobin.

But what does this mean for the cell, having no nucleus? To answer this requires that one understand just what it is the nucleus does. The nucleus is the brain of the cell, the command and control center that is responsible for many cellular activities, not the least of which is regenerating or duplicating itself. Without a nucleus, the red blood cell cannot perform this very basic cellular function and in a sense, is committed to built-in obsolescence. The red blood cell is but a ghost of what it was and it is here that we begin to see this cell as analogous to the Person of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost.

Now unlike the white blood cell, the red blood cell normally does not leave the circulation, though the tissues through which the blood vessels pass, derive benefits from its presence. The oxygen that the red blood cell carries from the lungs to the distant tissue is relatively small and can move through the blood vessel wall and into the cells that are in need. Without oxygen, the cells and tissue that the body is composed of will perish. So too, without the gifts of the Spirit or Breath of God, we have no life. Recalling that within the water molecule, it is oxygen that bears the image of the Holy Spirit, so too with the red blood cell and the oxygen that it carries, the symbolism is unified.

In the cohesive and integrated design of man and his universe, God has woven expressions of Himself into Creation, affirming the truth and goodness of his Being. In the most sacred part of the body, precious blood, we see the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity expressed. But what of the One true God who is indivisible? These three cell types found in the blood are formed in the bone marrow and all derived from a single cell called a stem cell. It is called a stem cell because the three cells discussed above all stem from this one cell. The stem cell which gives rise to these types of blood cells is the One God that reflects the unity that is found in the Three Persons of the Trinity. This is the three in one, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that are worshiped and glorified as One God.

Light and the Primary Colors

When ordinary light is passed through a prism, an overlapping spectrum of seven colors is revealed. Of these colors there are three that are the primary colors: blue, green, and red. The human eye has specialized light receptors called cones that are specific for each of the three primary colors. The brain is able to combine or mix the signals from these three-color receptors and can produce almost all colors, including white. Because of this property, blue, green, and red are sometimes called the additive primary colors. Here once again, the truth of the Creator is manifest in His creation. The three primary colors by crude analogy each represent a Person in the Divine Trinity and when taken together become the color white, which is holy and pure, and One. Let us consider each primary color separately.

On a sunny day, blue and shades of blue are the colors that dominate the sky. Even during the night, the sky can be described as midnight blue. It is above that we look when we pray the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father who art in heaven. Christ, the redeemer, is the truth and the way to the Father in heaven, and is symbolized by the color green. In the Spanish language, green and truth are translated as verde and verdad, sharing the common root of verd-. Even in the English language, we have the words verdict and verdant green. Of what significance is this? Christ is the Son of God (the second Person of the Trinity and one of the three primary colors) and who is the way, the truth, and the life. As color, the truth is manifest as green. It indeed is befitting that Christians make the evergreen tree a part of the celebration of the birth of Christ. And is not the spring (la primavera) a return to the beauty of life’s verdant green? Green as it turns out is the most common color on the land portion of the earth and is the color of the pigment within the leaves of plants and trees. This is the pigment chlorophyll. This pigment is an integral part of the plant metabolism and by the action of sunlight converts water and carbon dioxide, a waste product of man and other mammals, into sugar and oxygen. The sugar is utilized by the plant for growth and the oxygen is released into the atmosphere. Christ tells us that He is with us always and that He will send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Is Christ not always with us on God’s green earth? Does the green in plants and trees (Christ) through the aid of the sun in the blue sky above (the Father) not send forth oxygen (the Holy Spirit)? Is oxygen not the same oxygen that proceeds from two hydrogen atoms in the water molecule and that which is carried by the red blood cell? Red is the color of the red blood cell when it carries the oxygen in the blood. Hence its name. Red is the primary color that corresponds to the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord, the giver of Life. Red is the primary color to describe the fiery tongues of flame that descended on the Apostles during the Pentecost. So here we have the blue above, the green along the surface, and red deep within, all seen together as white light: white signifying the unity of the three Divine Persons: One God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

NoMo said...

So, PCA, in other words...

Beautiful and profound. Amen is right. Thanks!

maineman said...

"Without oxygen, the cells and tissue that the body is composed of will perish. So too, without the gifts of the Spirit or Breath of God, we have no life. Recalling that within the water molecule, it is oxygen that bears the image of the Holy Spirit, so too with the red blood cell and the oxygen that it carries, the symbolism is unified."

O! Yes! I sea.

Wonder full.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure Schuon would say that there is a huge difference between colors in their archetypal sense, and the way they are used by various groups in our aberrant times, e.g., "greens."

Agreed. It's as if the group has seized one aspect of reality (greens, reds) to the exclusion of all other hues. They are (color)blind. Multicultis may see all the colors but don't see the unified white. E plurabus unum is now inverted.


Smoov said...


Thanks for your contributions here. Wonderful stuff!

Such a breath of fresh air after the headpiece-filled-with-straw known as Xi.

Robin Starfish said...

What an extraordinary essay, proving there is nothing ordinary about the ordinary.

primary colors
one and one and one is one
made in his image

xi said...

All the talk about colors and their meanings is an even more pathetic version of numerology. Are you really so unaware of the capacity for the mind to deceive itself and see patterns where none exist to think that such nonsense actually pertains to anything real?

Do you ever stop to think 'gee, maybe I should try to test or confirm these thoughts I have by something other than if they 'seem' to make sense to me'?

Bulletproof Monk said...

What an interesting discussion. Thank you all.

River Cocytus mentioned the use of colors in Orthodox iconography. What you find is that garments of blue relate to our human nature, while garments of red relate to the divine nature. This is why Christ is depicted wearing a blue outer robe over a red inner robe (the divine "puts on" the human as Word becomes flesh). Conversely Mary Theotokos and saints are usually depicted wearing a blue under-robe and red outer robe, since they are human yet "partaking of the divine nature". Surrounding iconic figures are halos and the light of Paradise, most often depicted in gold or silver.

For some really excellent introductory articles on Christian iconography and the theology behind them I recommend reading Aidan Hart, a British monk and iconographer.

Here's a list of his articles at his website.

A good article to start with is "The Icon and Art", though all his articles cover similar territory.

And here is a good selection of icons.

With love in Christ.

jwm said...

Standing ovation.


Stu said...

Speaking of the zombietime article...

So Code Pink = white + red which signifies the unholy blending of Good and Evil?

julie said...

(shamelessly borrowing Robin's MO)

Solid, liquid, gas
present in one container
from the one, many

Stu said...

i.e. Expressing the hope for peace by supporting an evil ideology.

Anonymous said...

"Do you ever stop to think 'gee, maybe I should try to test or confirm these thoughts I have by something other than if they 'seem' to make sense to me'?"

Xi, you just don't get it. This discussion centers around non-rational/transrational ideas (I did not say irrational). Every narrative has its own medium of expression. You don't understand the medium. It's as if the only language that one can speak is YOUR language, let's say English. If one speaks say a romance language, such as Italian, then you don't understand when he speaks. And since you don't understand, by your logic, it can't be true. And therein lies your arrogance and conceit. If you don't like what you "see" or "hear" at this blog, go elsewhere. No one is forcing their narrative down your throat. If we are so lost, shake the dust from your shoes and move to the next blog.

NoMo said...

Xi - Dude, you are the flatlander of the Greek alphabet. Horizontal.

Just sayin'.

jwm said...

Dammit. Out of Trollbegone spray.


ximeze said...

Thanks for the links Bullet, very cool.

JWM: when I'm out of Trollbegone Spray I fall back on Clicktotherightofname.

Voila', they shrink before your eyes. Ya know the bugs are still scurrying around, but at least you're not forced to see them.

Keeps the infection level down & works like a charm.

Alan said...

Xi Statement #1:
"All the talk about colors and their meanings is an even more pathetic version of numerology."

Xi Statement #2:
"Are you really so unaware of the capacity for the mind to deceive itself and see patterns where none exist to think that such nonsense actually pertains to anything real?"

Xi: Read statement #1 in light of #2.

While you're at it, read your last statement as well.

will said...

Primary Colors Anonymous - excellent essay.

Xi - you ignorant slut.

Here's a little play based on the flatlandish life of the Xi entity.


(all characters played by themselves)

( as the curtain rises, we see WILL, JWM, VAN, XIMEZE, JULIA, PRIMARY COLORS ANONYMOUS, WALT, and others, (forgive me if I haven't mentioned you, it doesn't mean that you aren't sparkling in my heart) are standing around waiting for villager BOB to show up with his new painting. Suddenly XI from the village of the blind-since-birth approaches)

XI: Hey!

JWM: Oh great.

XI: I was lurking in the bushes over there -

WILL: Figures.

XI: - and I'm telling you that you are all talking nonsense! What do you mean by "colors" anyway?

JULIA: We've told you, Xi. Colors are things you see -

XI: Don't use meaningless terms like "see". Be precise!

XIMEZE: The word "see" is pretty precise, Xi.

XI: No, it's not! It means nothing!

VAN: I guess not if you've been unsighted since birth, it doesn't.

PRIMARY COLORS ANONYMOUS: Xi, since we've evolved eye sight here in our village, we've come up with a new vocabulary so as to give names to that which we now perceive with our new sense-perception.

WILL: Right, LIke that period you still call "the Cooling Time" . . . we call that "night" now.

XI: Why?

JWM: Because it's dark.

XI: Dark? That has no meaning! Be more precise! I want linguistic precision!

JULIA: Dark is the absence of light -

XI: There you go again with the nonsense abstractions! What do you mean by "light"?

WALT: Well . . "light" is . . an electromagnetic phenomena . . it has a visual effect . . .

XI: "Visual"? What's that supposed to mean?

VAN: Look, Xi, we can use our eyes now to "see" things. Not only do we have a new vocabulary based on our newly developed sense, we have new art forms. "Painting" for example. There's this guy in our village, Bob, who's a pretty good painter, expresses a lot in his paintings.

XI: New art forms? You mean something other than TouchSculpture and Aroma Theater? Impossible!

JWM: And here comes Bob right now, right on cue.

(enter BOB with his new painting, which he then unveils)

ALL (save for XI): Ahhhh!

WILL: Excellent rendition of the waterfall, Bob.

JULIA: It speaks to me.

XIMEZE: There's archtypal power in it . . . . water as Siva/Shakti . . .

XI: Where is this so-called "painting"?

PRIMARY COLORS ANONYMOUS: About four feet in front of you.

(XI approaches the painting, touches it)

JWM: Hey, jerkwad . . .

BOB: It's OK, the paint's dried.

XI: (feeling the painting) This doesn't feel anything like a waterfall. It's just a buncha bumps. It's not even wet! (smells the painting) Gah! It doesn't smell anything like a waterfall! It smells like grease and turpentine!
This . . . this "painting" is nonsense! And all of you who claim to actually find meaning in it . . . you're all deluded fools!

(XI turns and stamps away)

VAN: Hey, he's headed for the cliffs. (calling) HEY, XI . . .

JWM: Let him go.


julie said...


hoarhey said...

Poor Xi.

will said...

>>Poor Xi<<

Ultimately, yeah.

In the short term, though, he's a jerkwad.

hoarhey said...

In my prior post I neglected to include the proper reverence for a man of his station. It should have been:

Poor Xi (SBHUH)

Van said...

Will said "CURTAIN"

Encore! Encore! Encore!

walt said...

Sheesh! I was in the play ... even though I was asleep. I even said words, like "electromagnetic phenomena" -- yea, though I was sawing logs (not unlike Debass, who may yet update his blog one of these days, if you know what I mean) ...

What can I deduce from Will's brilliant depiction of VOTB-AP??

Oh, of course! Why, it's obvious - plain, for all to see:
In addition to "eyesight," we have learned to bi-locate!

(yawn) Feeling s-l-e-e-p-y now ....

Van said...

Let me ask you something… when the Psalmist says "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.", do you imagine he is discussing real estate arrangements?

When Dante, in the Inferno, Canto IV, discusses the great philosophers sitting together in limbo and who he in vain he attempts to speak with, do you imagine that he is describing limbo, where the great philosophers sit unable to speak to passers by?

When Shakespeare has Lear cry out "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks! ", do you imagine that he is having a character in his play give us a weather report and is alerting us to the dangers of inclement weather?

When Frost writes "Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.", do you imagine that he is discussing stopping by a house in the woods that he thinks he's familiar with as the woods fill up with snow?

Do you imagine that when people spend great chunks of time discussing these works, that they are discussing only the interesting use of fanciful language? Is it possible that they such time, energy and love, because they tell them something of real value? Do you think it is possible that what they are conveying through their poetry, tells of, and is intended to tell of, spiritual Truths about the human soul(and that can be meant in a completely secular fashion... if too scary for you)?

Do you really think that folks here are discussing how simply how particular vibrational frequencies of the electro magnetic spectrum constitute wisdom?

You claim to be a veritable renaissance man, much know-how, does all of that know how tell you nothing about how you know? You claim not to have a philosophy, can we assume that means you make no claims to wisdom either? If so, then you are that man, rich in the world, and so attached to his bundles and baggage’s that he cannot pass through the gated eye of the needle. Truly, what profiteh a man if he gains all the world and loses his soul?

Can you answer that?

That is one of the questions being discussed here, if you have nothing to contribute, if you only wish to darken counsel with your words of anti-wisdom, then please, run the hell along and go play with the other lost boys.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Bravo, Will. Two opposable thumbs up.

I sat in the back and funny to watch the audience nod off every time Xi had a line. Walt, it’s not your fault. Xi had too many lines.

Remember how in the old horror movies you could never really see the monster that well (just kidding, Xi) or he just showed up for 5 seconds at the end. Everyone knows he’s somewhere, could be anywhere, but you never see him. I miss those movies...

OK. Picture this for the sequel. Of course they’re never as good as the original... butt in the end, our reluctant hero has Xi backed up to the cliff. Our hero pulls out his gun, points it at him and pulls the trigger. A little flag pops out that reads “You’re boring!”
Silver bullet. No more monster. The end.
May need a laugh track though..

Lisa said...

Hey Will,

Can I play the part at the end where I walk over to Xi and kick him in the nuts for being such a dumbass?

I know I wasn't written out on purpose even if our secret love has been in a deep slumber lately....;)

will said...

Lisa -

>> . . even if our secret love has been in a deep slumber lately....<<

The dreams are great, though.

And, yes, in the sequel, you've got the martial arts role.

Bob said...

This was a very fascinating discussion. I am really trying to understand everything that has been said. One thing I do not understand. Anonymous keeps referring to the primary colors as being green, blue and red. I was always taught that the primary colors are yellow, red, and blue. I know he mentioned pigmentation versus light, but I don't understand. Can anyone help?