“What is your favorite color?”
Really? I’m on to them now. I see the brainwashing inherent in the system, revealed in the question, applied in the assumptions.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m not even that interested in conspiracies generally because, to me, I just sort of assume that those in power use that power to fuck everyone over behind the scenes. So what’s the novelty? Where’s the surprise? To me, lying and abuse of power by those who assume authority covertly will seek to maintain that authority covertly. If it turns out that the government did have something to do with 911 or Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination…shrug. It just sort of falls in line with everything I’ve been saying about those who think they have a right to BE everyone else…which is precisely the assumption held by those who presume to have some kind of divine enlightenment which grants them the power of the Primary Consciousness (the “church”, the “party”, the “people”, the “tribe”, the “Bible”…pick your tyrannical flavor of the month) to use force (violence) to compel human behavior. And as soon as minds become fair game…well, lives are usually the flip side of the coin. Remember, in every form of government ever established with the exception of certain representative governments such as the pre-Saul Jewish state and the American Constitutional Republic founded by Washington, et. al., which was built upon the legacy of John Locke and the Enlightenment, you don’t EXIST as a human being apart from the “collective” which is defined, continuously and impetuously, by the state. So when I say conspiracy? I am not trying to be a sensationalist. I am trying to say…
Still…take this with a grain of salt. Whatever “conspiracy” may have existed as the purpose of the question, “What is your favorite color?”, in some form or another in the past has long since been buried under the the many blankets of history…it isn’t so much a conspiracy now as it is a testimony to the fact that the conspiracy to push Platonism on the world actually worked quite well. And now, there is no conspiracy to push Platonism on everyone, there is just…well, Platonism. In its many tyrannical forms. Catholicism, Calvinism, Marxism, Scientific determinism, Biblicism, and so on and so forth. We are at the point now where most of us just shut up and tithe, to use a metaphor here. We bow our heads and surrender our wills and our property to strangers in front of plexiglass podiums because we think that just because they SAY they have been called by God to rule over you as God in-the-stead (which really just means “God”, period) then that is a good enough argument according to the philosophical assumptions that form the crux of all thought in the world today: we can’t know truth; the pastors (or whatever leaders) must know it for us. So we all just shrug and accept the fact that those urinal cakes in the men’s room aren’t going to clean themselves. And off we go with our brushes and bottles. Remember, being approved by God is biblically defined by doing a lot of free shit for the owners of the business called the “local church”.
This post will probably be a little more tongue-in-cheek than I want it to be. What I mean by that is that I think there is something to this…I mean, at some point Platonism had to be foisted upon civilization. What is “learned” at the academic level, in whatever generation, has a funny and persistent way of becoming “divine inspiration” when the academics are discussing their ideas with the masses. In other words, what “educated” people discuss and and debate to arrive at their conclusions within the four walls of their ivory towers (with the requisite amount of beheadings and stake-burnings of the requisite number of detractors…Michael Servetus comes to mind) tends to be introduced by means of something like a slow, almost subconscious intravenous drip. The masses in general never get a chance to debate these ideas because, well, they just aren’t smart enough we are told. The “laws of logic and nature which govern” are introduced as the primary consciousness of whatever body of thought happens to be in question, and they are bulwarked by small ideas, notions, rhetorical and self-serving questions, and “truisms” which are intended to be easily digestible, bite-sized morsels with which to fatten up the masses for the slaughter.
Okay, I’m sounding like an old crank. And I don’t begrudge academics…oh good grief no. How many times have we heard the mystic overlords rail against evolution or big-bang theory, plowing ahead with their rhetoric despite their utter lack of experience and education, possessing not even a rudimentary knowledge of the science? So it isn’t that, necessarily. It’s more like…when you realize at a certain point in your life that you have been had by a foundational philosophy which infects essentially every body of thought and every idea in the world and is responsible for so much human destruction that even natural selection couldn’t hold a candle to its eviscerating power, you begin to see all the tidbits pointing to the philosophy which swirl about the culture and the language like tiny snowflakes as, you know, actually being there. It’s like, you always knew they were there, but you didn’t really see them. But now they are in your eyes and they sting like hell and you just want them to go away because you realize you can’t ignore them anymore.
Hence, here is me, offering this post for your pleasure. Yes, here is me, probably reading way too much into this, and yet here is me compelled to pontificate about it in a way that will try to convince you that, no, in fact I’m not reading way too much into it, and that these little trivialities have done more to make you a slave of the philosophical destruction of modern epistemology, up to and including almost all of Christian “orthodoxy”, than you probably realized.
And…okay, maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s not so much conspiracy theorizing as it as cynicism. In either case, I don’t think I’m that far off the mark.
“What is your favorite color?” was probably the first question about which you were genuinely excited. And you answered, like we all did and still do: Blue. Green. Red. Periwinkle. Okay, maybe not periwinkle, but you get the idea. ‘Yes, Argo, I know what colors are’, you are saying in your mind. ‘Thanks for that brilliant tutorial on common knowledge.’
And I respond by telling you that your answer to this question is a glaring indication that you still concede the Platonist foundational assumptions which form the philosophical superstructure of the entire western world today, if not THE world in general. And as soon as you walk out of your annual meeting of the Discernment Blogger Institute for Free Thinking Thumbers of Noses I approach you as you hail a cab and I ask you “What is your favorite color?” and you say “blue” and I shake my head and put my arm around your shoulder and offer to buy you a drink while we sit down and talk about why it is you haven’t learned a fucking thing.
“But Argo, I know what colors are. What haven’t I supposedly learned?” And I tell you that you haven’t learned to come out of your meeting of the Free Thinking of Thumbers of Noses and not immediately concede the opposition’s entire fucking philosophical premise before you even get to the street!
And do you you really know what colors are? Do you really think that the answer you provide is rational? By that I mean, logically consistent? If I were to ask you this question, and you said “blue”, and then I were to say “okay, show me blue”…do you know what you would do? I bet I do. I bet I know what you would do. You would look at me like I was an idiot and walk away. And then I would chase you and pester you and follow you to work and throw paper airplanes at your head while you were typing on your computer, and jelly beans in your coffee and eventually out of sheer exasperation you would go, “What do you want from me, you freak?!” And I would say “Show me blue.”
And you would pick up one of the jelly beans that missed your coffee and it would be a blue jelly bean and you would throw it back at me where it would ricochet off my glasses and land in my coffee and you would say with a smirk: “That! That’s blue.”
But its not, you see.
It’s NOT blue at all. It is a jelly bean, which we have qualified as “blue”. We have made a distinction of a characteristic of an observable object (jelly bean) and have used a conceptual abstraction (“blue”, from the “macro” conceptual category of “color”) to define the object’s existence relative to other objects. And incidentally, “blue” is just one of the many conceptual abstractions we use to qualify that particular object’s existence as relatively distinct from that of other objects. The size, shape, smell, speed as it went through the air at my head, even the label “jelly bean”, itself…they are all abstractions used to define relative existence. Products of our conceptualizing brains.
You see, “blue” doesn’t actually exist. Blue is an entirely theoretical concept. We have a picture of “blue” in our minds, but even that very picture is a product of the senses. The eyes at some point when you were just a youngling had seen an OBJECT which was called “blue” by someone you trust, probably mommy, and then confirmed by other people in your world and you noticed pretty quickly that there was a reasonable consensus about the application of that label according to the the language and thus you understood “blue” to mean that characteristic of whatever object you were observing at any given moment. The image was thus fixed in your mind from that point on; and by now–through a lifetime of experience and persistent and consistent verification by society–your ability to properly qualify objects as “blue” is utterly firm…all of this without ever having actually seen “blue”.
Now, some of you might appeal to “light” as the standard of color. But, Argo, you will protest. I understand all that. Blue isn’t really the Jellybean, it is the frequency of the light waves hitting our eyes making it look blue to us, the same way we see blue when we look a the sky. Light is a composite of all colors, and how we see specific hues is merely due to the physical properties of objects which dictate how they absorb certain frequencies of light and reflect others.
How true…and how astute. Obviously, you’re an educated soul. Nothing wrong with that; and nothing you’ve said is false by any conventional standard.
But what is light, I ask, that it may be a “composite of colors”?
Light is a photon. And a photon is what?
A thing. An object.
And what are colors apart from this thing we call a photon?
A conceptual abstraction. Yes, even for color to exist at the subatomic level requires, well…an actual subatomic level, right? A level full of THINGS which we can label as the “carriers of color”. And further, you’ll notice in physics “forces” don’t actually observably exist. There are “particles” which are the “force carriers”. Even in physics there are real forces which somehow exist without needing to present themselves to man’s tools of apprehension (senses) or consistent logic (the logic which demands that everything which we qualify as existing must be a function of what is observable). This should tell us a lot about the Platonist assumptions under-girding “hard science”.
But notice what this question–what is your favorite color?–does. It reinforces not the fact that blue is an abstraction, but that it is an actuality. That it IS something which can exist to be called a “favorite” thing. Perhaps not in so many words, but that is the clear implication. And the problem with this implication is obvious, or should be–namely the fact that colors do NOT exist by any reasonable definition. And with this question we are asking someone to describe a favorite thing amongst a group of things which don’t actually materially exist. So instead of asking the question, “If we consider this particular object, what color of it is your favorite?”, we choose the more abstract rout, which serves, I submit to reinforce the false notion that abstract concepts are causal. The more reasonable rendering of the question is more like: What is your favorite color of car? Red. What is your favorite color of dress? Black. What is your favorite color of wine? White.
But no, the question is: What is your favorite color?
I stopped considering this a legitimate question a long time ago. You see, at some point I realized that the question as it was commonly presented was quite silly. Now, understand that I had no knowledge of Platonism as a philosophical superstructure back in those days. I wasn’t really considering the difference between the actual and the conceptual…that didn’t register to me on John Immel’s “so what?” meter. Back then, I would have said something perfunctory (and scary) like, “Yeah…of course math is real”, and went on my way with nary an inkling of the absurdity. With nary a blush at such a flip and casual rejection of my own ability to observe reality. Without even a brief start at how easily I could utterly reject any rational epistemology. Still the question, “What is your favorite color?” just seemed…hmm, somehow all wrong.
I realized that I had been answering “green” all these years in the full awareness that I did not, in fact, desire everything in my life to be green. I didn’t want my meatloaf to be green, for example. Or my hair. I despised the horribly tacky green bagels and green beer served every year on St. Patrick’s day. I liked my cars red. My coffee black. My glasses frames sliver. And I thought how silly for me to say I have a favorite color when clearly all reason pointed to the fact that this was simply not so. I did not really prefer green. My preference for green was actually quite arrow. I liked a pair of green Dr. Marten shoes I had once. And I wouldn’t want Ireland to be a desert brown. But other than that, there wasn’t much I wanted green.
It was then I started answering this common question with, “Well, it depends”. And it did. I wanted an OBJECT on which to hang the concept on. Without an object, the answer was utterly meaningless. Because “green” doesn’t exist, green apples exist. Black doesn’t exist, black cars exist…and so on. I learned that in order to rationally apply a wholly abstract concept required an object in order for the abstraction to have any value; to make any efficacious sense. And this, incidentally is true not only for “color”, but for any abstraction we use to define objects.
The point is a simple one. Look around and you will see how our society utterly roots itself in a de facto application of Platonism. Whether we are talking color or time or direction or numbers or energy or force…notice the perfunctory assumption that somehow the existence of these concepts doesn’t necessarily require an observable, material object by which they can be valued. Look at how often people cite the “laws of nature”, or the “laws of logic”…as though these things, like the Wizard of Oz, hide behind the curtain of reality and pull their determinist strings in order to give “existence” and “truth” to all that you see. What is unseen is the source of the seen…which means that you aren’t really ever grasping TRUTH. For TRUTH is a direct function of what lies behind the curtain of Platonist assumptions, hidden from all mortal eyes…and this is the root of all the oppression and violations of man. An little innocent question like “what is your favorite color?” has massively destructive implications for human beings.
I heard a fairly well-known, Ph.D. level Christian scientist today refer to “God’s laws of logic”. So now it seems that God is directly responsible for creating and defining abstract concepts which man can by no means ever observe but which man is somehow utterly beholden to. Indeed, in a brief sentence, this hangman of reason managed to combine two Primary Consciousnesses into one great juggernaut of epistemological darkness. And these are the best and brightest Christianity has to offer. Dude…we are sooo in trouble here.
When the question is merely, “What is your favorite color?”, then the object which is an absolute prerequisite for one to observe “color” is completely removed from the equation. And through this kind of thinking–this kind of subtle conditioning–we learn to put the cart before the horse. We learn that what does NOT exist must precede, or as I would say, give value, to that which DOES. Color gives value to the object by preceding it in the Platonist metaphysical food chain. Abstractions give value, not the other way around. In other words, it is not the jelly bean which is green, it is green which is the jelly bean.
And that backwards equation will lead to death. For if the sum and substance of the TRUTH of what you see is unseen, then the sum and substance of its GOOD is unseen, and its VALUE is unseen. This makes it impossible for you to really know anything at all because your senses have been eliminated from your epistemology. Thus, you have no means to challenge the tyrant, because you have no tools with which to fish for truth, let alone catch it.
Therefore, you have no standard of justice upon which to appeal when you are driven to the gas chambers. You have no definition of SELF by which to demand that your government or your church “authority” stop robbing you blind. You have no standard of LOVE to appeal to when they rip your family away from you and sell them into slavery. You have no inherent “self evident” right to LIFE upon which to anchor yourself when they tie you to the stake and burn you for your apostasy.
So…I will ask you again.
What is your favorite color?
4 thoughts on “If They Don’t Exist, How Can I Have a Favorite?: The philosophical implications of the question, “What is your favorite color?””
As a big lover of color, who’s been gazing adoringly at gorgeous interior design images for the past hour or so, this caught my eye, ha! I will have fun pondering this one.
This post was simply a joy to read. This post provides another view/angle, a very good one. Thank you. The more examples the better!
“In other words, it is not the jelly bean which is green, it is green which is the jelly bean.”
Word have meaning! Our lives are what gives them their meaning. You do not disappoint as a champion of life. 🙂
My favorite color? My life & mind determine for me & I choose depending on the situation. I like green Fescue grass, blue spruce, purple & orange crocus, red maples.
Argo, I react as if you are a younger brother to me. My instinct was to protect your voice on TWW. I cheer you on like an older big sister would. Thanks for helping me view my life with more value. I get your message. It’s not in vain. Be encouraged. 🙂
Thank you so much for reading and for your encouragement. You are truly a breath of fresh air and a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark, drab, and complicit blogosphere.
I am glad you “got” this post. I sometimes get concerned that people will dismiss my arguments as taking things way too seriously, reading too much into things, or will find them simply too confusing to be relevant. I do not delude myself or my readers into thinking that this stuff is easy to grasp…I mean, I spend hours obsessing over these ideas, but sometimes I wonder if the points are just too esoteric to even be useable. I am glad that this was not the case with his post.
Nevertheless, I still thing the overall point is valid: only material objects exist. This is something that we simply cannot get around. Everything is informed by our senses, and our senses sense material, object reality…understanding does not “begin” with conceptual abstractions, it begins with seeing THINGS. This means that in the metaphysical food chain, physical things come first. If it weren’t for our observation of what materially IS, we could not even define existence in the first place. In other words, physical existence must precede CONCEPTUAL existence. This means that all concepts are given value by objects observed. Without an object with which to provide a value context (value = meaning, you could say) to the conceptual abstraction, the abstraction can have NO value or meaning at all. This is why having a favorite color isn’t very rational, because a color by itself does not exist. SomeTHING must be colored…what IS your favorite implies that the favorite thing IS. And by itself, color is NOT.
LOL! I hope you have as much fun pondering it as I did!