I got to thinking about the color red the other evening after viewing a spectacular sunset from the window of my darkened study.
In terms of physics, red is at the upper end of the spectrum that is visible to humans, in the band of electromagnetic radiation with wavelength of around 700 nanometers plus or minus. But it wasn’t the physics of red that popped into my mind as the sun slowly set across the wintry landscape of my neighborhood.
It is the symbolism, the metaphor, the linguistic tropes and cultural encrustations that adhere to the color and concept red that intrigue me. Some of this is fairly obvious, others, less so.
It is an interesting fact uncovered by anthropological linguistics that virtually all known languages have distinct lexical terms for black and white, but many of them can only approximately speak of colors like brown or purple, for example…
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