Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A Cosmos in Leafing Color

Hey, wait a minute -- this is no cold, this is a flu! I won't say it's "the" flu, since I always get a flu shot. But it's certainly a flu, what with the aches, the fever, and the sweats last night. The latter means I've turned a corner on it. But I slept way too late, plus I have to work today. And on top of that, I'm still in the process of debriefing Will on his supersecret mission to locate a shortcut between the interior horizon and the northern territories of Upper Tonga.

So the best I can do is rewordgitate an old post that even I don't remember. It doesn't seem like the sort of thing thing that can be skimmed. Rather, it must be lingered over and pondered in order to even be properly misunderstood. In my opinion.

An allnewtous commenter observes 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 by Schuon in Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts, in which he goes off a deep end in a curiously 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 such 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 light and dark and nothing in between?

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 our commenter's 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 -- just as the Tree of Life is a center of pneumasynthesis for those whose wood beleaf. 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, as in the Christmas tree). 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 a balance of blue and red, crowned in yellow in a backdrop of green. Discuss amongst yourselves.


julie said...

...the aches, the fever, and the sweats last night.

Oh, sounds wretched. I hope that Mrs. G and FL are spared, and that you feel better very soon.

Gagdad Bob said...

Eh. It's okay, so long as I don't have to do anything. Got it from the boy. All the students, teachers and parents have it....

Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of which, I'm reading a great book about the last year of WWII, during which men were constantly sick while trying to catch an hour or two of sleep while sitting up in a wet hole with bullets flying overhead and shells dropping all around. So I feel pretty pampered.

julie said...


It's amazing what a little perspective can do.

Love the post, btw - need to ponder it some more.

ge said...

the Green Man tradition is one I am enhanced & entranced by

Green is especially holy in Islam-sufism
deathless Initiator Khidr-Khizr means 'the verdant one'

julie said...

I suppose Christ would be a balance of blue and red

With that in mind, I'm sure it's no mere coincidence that the two colors of blood are blue and red, representing in living color the function of ⇅.

julie said...

And re. blood, it goes further. The blue of blood represents the Mystery, given that it only ever appears as blue enclosed the veil of healthy flesh, whereas the red represents both vitality and violence.

mushroom said...

For colds and flu, my nephew recommends 100-proof "Hot Damn" which is some kind of peppermint schnapps, I think. Back in the '70's I worked with an elderly German lady who never missed a day even when things were going around the office. She had a nip of "Rock'n'Rye" whenever signs of a cold were present.

I was over at my nephew's after Christmas and still coughing from "a" flu. I confess to taking a very small, purely medicinal draught of his HD, which opened up my head and stopped my cough. It's nasty, though.

will said...

>>Following the principle of metaphysical correspondence (as above, so below<<

Ah, the law of likenesses, not only for that which is inscribed in nature, but for events as well. The current turmoil in Egypt and the rest of the mid-east - what's going on in the upper planes that it should reflect so below?

>>I'm still in the process of debriefing Will on his supersecret mission to locate a shortcut between the interior horizon and the northern territories of Upper Tonga>>

Great. My cover might be blown. Wikileaks, here I come!

will said...

BTW, astrologically-speaking, this year features the element of fire, as opposed to past years that featured the element of water (floods, tsunami)

Expect volcanic activity, explosions . . . and revolutions, for better, but probably worse.

julie said...

Will, you mean like this?

Re. revolutions. DH and I were just talking last night about how exceptionally rare the American Revolution was. I don't know of any other, in fact, that yielded such beneficial fruit, no matter how many cries of "freedom" are bandied about. All too often, one form of tyranny is simply replaced by another, and just as frequently the new masters are worse than the old. Perhaps even especially in the Middle East.

heh - wv says it's gonna be a boomer.

Gagdad Bob said...

A key point is that it wasn't actually a "revolutionary war," but rather, a war for independence. A revolution would have implied an overturning of the existing way of doing things, but it was in fact an affirmation of it, minus the British.

will said...

Yes, Julie, something like that Japanese volcano. And the slam dance in Cairo.

It's gonna be a red couple of years, in other words.

will said...

Not long ago, some Canadian official jackass upbraided the USA for its unbecoming revolution against the Queen. You know, we're all just so red in tooth and claw here in the States whereas Canada is so becalmed and civilized.That would be the Canada where if you say something that muslims find insulting, you get put on trial.

Canada should have joined us in the war of independence because now they're going to have a revolution to get out from under the Euro-tinged, multicultural blanket.

JP said...

And generationally dynamically speaking, we are now clearly in a Fourth Turning/Crisis Era.

What's happening in Egypt is a crisis-type event.

And, generationally speaking, the reason the Revolutionary War went so well was that it pitted a GI generation (the colonists) against a Boomer generation (England).

Compare this when Revolutionary France (a GI generation) ended up fighting a major crisis war against another GI generation (England).

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speakin' of colors, I hope 2012 is a red year as far as American politics go.

Incidently, I read this at Ace's recently concerning Paul's departure from Powerline:

"Why Paul Mirengoff Stopped Blogging at Power Line-

Paul abruptly announced last week that he would no longer be blogging at Power Line but didn't give any reasons. I figured it was probably due to some kind of pressure from his personal life, and today William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection gives us the rest of the story.

Apparently Paul's recent critique of the Giffords memorial having a Yaqui prayer said when none of the victims was a follower of the Yaqui religion - the assumption apparently being that one religion's prayer is as good as any other - ruffled some native American feathers. Paul works at Akin Gump, a big law firm in DC, and another partner there, James Meggesto, took grave offense and demanded that Paul remove the post and apologize.

Apparently fearing for his job Paul has disappeared the post, issued a groveling apology and ceased blogging. So bottom line: Political correctness/Indian casino money 1, Free speech 0."

Not sure how accurate this is but whether it is or not, PC is one of the most insidious evils there is.

Anonymous said...

Instinct is the prince of this world , but in Man it hasn't got the power to control His nature ~ Love all~

will said...

>>men were constantly sick while trying to catch an hour or two of sleep while sitting up in a wet hole with bullets flying overhead and shells dropping all around. So I feel pretty pampered<<

Here's something that should make you feel even better, Bob - American Korean War vets often fought pneumonia, 30 to 40 degrees below temps, and hordes of screaming Chinese who outnumbered the Americans 20:1. Those who are still with us continue to suffer from frostbite.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...


As Julie mentioned, the proper perspective really helps.

My perspective, however, must be warped, 'cause it brought to mind this quote:

"I cried because I had no shoes, 'till I met a man who had no feet. So I said, 'You got any shoes you're not using'?"
Steven Wright

I don't know how I live with myself sometimes.

will said...

>>I don't know how I live with myself sometimes<<

I don't know you live with you either, Ben. Pretty funny, though.

ge said...

i will always asociate my [first] lifechanging immersion into THE WORLD AS WILL & REPRESENTATION with the worse week of back pain i ever had

bucityl --sounds like some new b.s. drug

will said...

GE -

Life-changing immersion? Severe back pain?

A case of activated Kundalini?

I'm saying, could be, but I can't tell from here.

jwm said...

It's a little late, but I had to share this:


Hey Will! Glad to see you. You'll appreciate the link, as it incorporates the best of all possible worlds: cats, n' coons


Van said...

While as a programmer, I certainly appreciate the RGB configuration, but as a person, I wonder how green-eyed envy fits in here?

julie said...

Van, I'd say that each color contains its opposite. For instance, blue can also mean death, as any parent who has seen their child's lips turn blue during an asthma attack can attest, and green can represent rot or poison as well as verdure (and isn't envy a sort of poison?), while red can represent ruddy good health, etc.

Van said...

Julie said " I'd say that each color contains its opposite. For instance, blue can also mean death..."

Good point Julie, good point.