- There are no standard colors that are good for business or corporations.
- There aren’t any standard colors for directions — that is, all walls to the north should not be painted blue, black, or indigo, for example.
- There are no colors that are inherently good for children, career, or romance — or any such nonsense that McFengshui enthusiasts would have you believe.
People who claim such colors exist are actually proclaiming their ignorance of feng shui, physics, and human physiology.
Color vision is in the eye, and mind, of the beholder
Color is not a universal quality of the world. Color is not a uniform experience in humans, and human vision does not provide us the real colors of any object. We experience the world through bodies that interpret what is around us. The human interpretation is one possible version of the world. Our interpretation is not necessarily more real than another creature’s.
There is no ‘absolute’ color. What I call ‘red’ isn’t necessarily the same color others experience as ‘red.’ — Patrick Cavanagh, a Harvard professor of psychology
There is no evidence that the colors you see are part of the “real world.” An object may, in fact, have no color except that generated by our brains. A human born without eyes or blind from birth can see colors if an electrode is used to stimulate their fusiform gyri. People who cannot experience colors (achromatopsia) can still see the world, because this ailment is often caused by damage to the area of the brain that processes colors — and each eye has its own area.
Color information goes to areas concerned with motion, shape, texture, etc., and helps people to experience these other parts of vision. –Patrick Cavanaugh
We do not need to have a color-generating ability if color exists in the world. We need to have this ability if we’re interpreting the world and that interpretation helps us survive.
When babies look at the world, they process colors in areas of the brain that are older (in terms of evolution) than the human acquisition of language (“prelinguistic” areas of the brain, in the right hemisphere). When the babies become adults, they process colors through sections of the brain that are used for language (in the left hemisphere). In essence, adults have narrowed their vision to accept only those colors they have names for.1
For example, native speakers of Russian can identify shades of blue that native English speakers see as one color. Perhaps a Russian family would not want to hire a native speaker of English as an interior decorator — but this also raises important questions about the ability of color to influence your surroundings.
It is unikely that a color can influence anything except you. Consider the effects of fifteen minutes of exposure to Baker-Miller pink.
There is no “color” it seems
There are others who don’t let language get in the way of their color experience. Some can identify more colors than the limited selections our brains allow. Birds, tropical fish, spiders, bees, and some women see in the ultraviolet range (they are tetrachromats or pentachromats). Colors and qualities exist that the rest of us simply cannot imagine.
I have a very hard time even giving names to colors because I see so many other colors inside them.— Mrs Hogan, a likely tetrachromat
You may be surprised to learn that I think the McBagua color spectrum suffers from tritanomaly, or low blue color blindness.
Feng shui consultants can advise clients on color schemes, but only in a limited way. Someone with colorblindness or who is aged (and whose corneas have yellowed) would be frustrated and annoyed if I insisted on my “purple” (or red, or blue, etc.) instead of what they experience. And a tetrachromat would see other colors even in the most common “purple,” “blue,” etc.
- A. Franklin, G. V. Drivonikou, L. Bevis, I. R. L. Davies, P. Kay, and T. Regier. Categorical perception of color is lateralized to the right hemisphere in infants, but to the left hemisphere in adults. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 3221-3225; published online as 10.1073/pnas.0712286105