SPIRITUALISM-THE COLORS OF LIFE:
I would like to begin with a special tribute to Sir Isaac Newton who had discovered that white light is composed of every color in the spectrum. No single function can fully explain the coloration of living things. We need to integrate the optical, visual, physiological functions of biological coloration and I would like to carefully suggest the spiritual dimension of color as I am not convinced about the role of color in what had been described as “Natural Selection.” Color plays an important role in every aspect of life. Most of us are familiar with coloration changes; the physiological, seasonal, age-related changes in color that are regulated by environmental stimuli such as light and temperature, coloration change due to emotions like excitement, and hormonal changes that are related to color function. Graying hair is a familiar badge of the elderly. The brilliant colors produced by a prism is an optical phenomenon caused by diffraction or dispersion, or interference of light. However, the understanding of color involves not only physics, but physiology and psychology as well. The term ‘Optics’ describes the scientific study of light. Physical Optics is concerned with the genesis, nature, and properties of light. Geometrical Optics is concerned with the Geometry involved in the reflection and refraction of light as encountered in the study of mirror, lens, and prism. Physiological Optics is concerned with the role of light in causing visual sensation. I would like to add the dimension that I often describe as ‘Spiritualism’ to obtain a greater understanding of color as a function of living things. The New Testament Book of The Gospel According to Apostle John, Chapter 1, verses 3 and 4 read: ” Through Him all things were made, without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” There is a direct relationship between life and light and hence there is a need to describe Spiritual Optics and know the coloration of living things as a spiritual function.
WHAT IS COLOR?
Color is a sensation that is aroused when light falls on the retina of the eye. Color is the visual effect resulting from the eye’s ability to distinguish the different wavelengths or frequencies of light. The apparent color of an object depends on the wavelength of the light that it reflects. Light may originate directly from a light source or as reflected light. Color perception depends on the different degrees to which various wavelengths of light stimulate the eye. In white light, an opaque object that reflects all wavelengths appears white and the object that absorbs all wavelengths appears black. White light is perceived as colorless as only a neutral sensation is aroused by it. Any three primary or spectral colors can be combined in various proportions to produce any other color sensation. The ‘additive mixing’ involves combining colored lights. A painter uses a process called ‘subtractive mixing’ to generate colors when pigments are combined to produce the desired visual effect. It must be noted that a strict definition of color is difficult as different observers attach different meanings. The chemist is conscious of color as a quality concerning a pigment or a dye. The psychologist describes color in terms of visual perception, and this perception is further modified by human civilization that attached meanings, qualities, feelings, moods, and other special values to the colors perceived. The physicist may describe color in terms of qualities such as the wavelength of light, its intensity or brightness, and its hue, a particular shade or tint of a given color.
Animals have distinctive color patterns that seem to play an important role to support their existence in a given ecological community that shares a common physical environment. The color may serve the purpose of protection by concealing the organism from predators or its own prey. The term ‘protective coloration’ describes coloration or color pattern that facilitates escape from observation by predators or prey. The color may help reproductive success and is used to attract mates, or to get recognized by the members of its own group. The color may constitute a warning to its natural enemies. Plants extensively use attractive colors to assist the process called pollination.
The most widespread form of coloration is called cryptic resemblance or cryptic coloration in which the coloration and pattern on the skin of the animal enables it to blend in with the coloration of its natural habitat. This kind of coloration may conceal the animal from its predator or prey and it involves the use of colors that have general resemblance with its surroundings. The advantageous resemblance of one species to another, often unrelated species or to a feature of its own habitat is predetermined by its own genetic endowment.
Coloration is an adaptive mechanism and an animal can conceal its presence by imitating the appearance of a natural object present in its environment.
WARNING COLORATION AND BATESIAN MIMICRY:
Warning coloration consists of bold markings that warn predators away from inedible or poisonous animals. Mimicry is a deceptive coloration in which the animal resembles or mimic a warning-colored animal or predator.
SUDDEN CHANGES IN COLORATION:
Chameleon is famous for its ability to change its color suddenly to express anger or fright. The change is caused by movement of pigment called chromatophores within the cells.
SEASONAL CHANGES IN COLORATION:
The Snow Hare is white in winter and is Brown during Summer and Autumn.
COLORATION FOR REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS:
The use of color may serve the purpose of getting recognition from other members of its own group and it may specifically attract the attention of mates during the reproductive season. Many plants use colors to aid pollination by bees and moths.
THE PROBLEM OF ALBINISM:
Albino describes animal or plant lacking normal pigmentation. The albino body covering such as skin, eyes, hair, and feathers lack pigment. Melanin is the pigment found in human skin, hair, and eyes. The amino acid tyrosine is required for melanin synthesis. An inherited lack of enzyme required for melanin synthesis results in one form of albinism. This defect is inherited as a recessive trait.
Biological Coloration is genetically determined and the living organism does not voluntarily select the colors it may display. Human beings could be an exception as man uses colors for purposes other than those designed by Nature for human existence.
WHAT IS THE COLOR OF MAN?
WHAT IS THE TRUE COLOR OF MAN?
To explore the spiritual basis of biological coloration, in my next post, I would discuss as to how living things generate colors that play a vital role in biochemical reactions such as photosynthesis, maintenance of thermal balance and other physiological functions.
Rudra Narasimham. Rebbapragada, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.,