Saturday, August 26, 2006


When I was young I was told there were six colours in the spectrum (I even learned a little song that names them). Now I'm told there are seven - they added indigo somewhere along the line.

I have refused to accept indigo. So far as I'm concerned, there are still six colours in the spectrum.

Now they are telling me that Pluto is not a planet. Again, I refuse to accept that. So far as I am concerned, Pluto is a planet (and so are Ceres, Xena and Sedna).

Sure, there are authorities that will tell me that there are seven colours in the spectrum and eight planets in the solar system. But on what basis am I required to accept their definition?

I have concluded: none. If I decide there are six colours, or twelve planets, that's up to me. And - my take is - there's no reason why society can't allow both.

It is the idea that there is only one distinct number of colours, or number of planets, that is wrong, and not any particular list of them.

Try it. Try thinking this way. It is incredibly, extraordinarily, liberating.

1 comment:

  1. What is at stake here is whether we agree on common definitions or not. What is a color? What is a planet?

    I'd say that these concepts become less useful when we can't agree on them. We really ought to try to agree on what is a planet and what is a color.

    This being said, in the other extreme, once we agree on one common ontology, there is no more discussion possible. Everything has been said. The rest is a simple matter of logic.

    We wouldn't want that, even if it were possible. But it is not.

    My point? I have none.


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