A colleague of mine presented me with a philosophical question at lunch yesterday. She said that since humans can never experience each others emotions because our experiences are subjective, created by our brains, based on out previous experiences. But this is only partly true.
Her example has using as an example that we can never be sure that one persons red is the same as another persons perception of red. Your red might well be the color I perceive as blue, but I might still call it red.
Well here’s my take on the problem:
The question is a bit stupid from the start. Colors as we know them are constructed by our minds from the wavelengths of light that is bounced of different surfaces. This means that the same wavelengths hit all of us. This doesn’t prove that we experience the same thing though.
In certain fields colors are used to give people a certain emotion, in art, design, marketing, this is a very powerful tool. And it works for all people, with different values given to different colors depending on cultural status.
Now here’s the twist:
Color has an evolutionary function. We use color to distinguish what is good and what is bad (green is attractive to all people, as is red, while yellow and black stripes usually mean bad things). This means that our emotional response to color is not random and far from incidental. It is a part of the natural selection that created humankind.
So in my opinion color is really the judgement of our emotional response to a certain wavelength. We don’t need to perceive the same red, because we do perceive the same emotion. Color could therefore be added by the mind afterwords. Or in other words: After you see a color the mind gives you feeling to each color, that feeling is your perceived color, and that feeling is measurable to some extent, and known to be alike for most people.
Hard to follow? Am I wrong? Then shoot me down in the comments, I’ll respond to all serious comments.
This post is a step outside my normal boundaries but when I though about this I knew I had to share.
All life is formed by the seemingly random process of evolution through external demands made on the life form. Evolution is basically each individual unit of each race trying it’s hardest to survive, the ones with better skills or genes will reproduce more and through hundreds of generations this process can form quite complex new biological patterns for life (the human eye for example).
Why am I talking about evolution with a title like this you ask? Well as life becomes more and more complex through adapting to a more complex ecosystem. Life forms will be forced to process more and more information. This brute force processing is not what we normally call intelligence but more the basis of intellect.
Couple a lot of brute force processing power with great complexity, for example living in a flock that has some form of communication and abstraction capabilities (communicating things that are not there at the time of communication), will lead to the right environment for the evolution of intelligent life.
This is a very short and shakily constructed version of how intelligent life comes about. We still lack enough knowledge to make more then guesses about the subject.
But tracing back to evolution all these components are important enough for any life form,in almost any stage of evolution, that they will happen if the external environment allows it.
This means that we can claim intelligent life to be an evolutionary imperative. A evolutionary stage that is a focal point of the evolutionary process. Not THE, but A. We have no idea what we, as a species, have been through or where we’re going.
If this is even partly true intelligent life, in some form, is extremely likely to exist. But will we recognize it? Or will humanity still exist when it comes about? Is it already dead?
No matter what the answer to these questions; it is a comforting thought that there is intelligent life somewhere in the universe.