The same old song will keep playing whether or not I refrain from singing it, but perhaps consciousness of the acutely malevolent harmony can prove the needed watershed. The song of civilization—an insult to music and an assault on musicality—has degraded so much of our environment and our faculties that it persists with greater force concurrent with our deteriorating ability to resist. The losses taking place are across the entire range of experience, and happen in an overall holistic fashion despite the analytic mind’s tendency to dissociate phenomena to distinct spheres. I thought it would be best to focus in (while focusing is still an option!) on the visual losses incurred because of human civilization’s pushing recklessly onward to sterilize the land of vitality. By the points of arrows, in fitting with the theme, I will list how both the colors in the environment and the visual perception of them are both dulling and atrophying.
→ Paradoxically, the more artificial light we shine on our surroundings, whether it be during the dark of night or the variable light of the day, reduces the rich range of color. When every elaboration of color is exposed to additional light, the degree of difference between the subtle shades of colors is all averaged down, reduced in degree of difference to a more common denominator of whitened (un-appreciable) light; there are fewer types of photons even as the intensity and quantity of those photons increases. Color suffers even greater dilution by light of a narrow spectrum which forces photons in to a narrower field.
→ By this increased light—whether it be a screen LED light, a CFL, a welding arc, or even a fire—our pupils are constricting and not exposed to as wide a spectrum, leaving our visual perception organs with less information to use to “view” reality. The visual apparatuses for detecting even more subtle sensations will be allowed to waste for want of use. The colors of the shadows that our ancestors used to appreciate are not even known to exist by us, for there is both a lack of eye opening exposure to the dark and a blunting of pupil training to open quickly and accurately given a variable dosing of light. The harsh visual environment even has our eyelids failing their nightly task, illuminated by the very fact that eye covers are now a common bedtime accessory.
→ Being in closed and walled spaces has generally made us nearsighted. We are losing our abilities to see far for a host of reasons brewing together which can be described as genetic, epi-genetic, physiological, and cultural. We are homebodies with home-eyes, having every reason to leave our homes but having imagination to access none of them. Nearsightedness correlates with near living that is part and parcel of civilization’s sedentary “do nothing, see nothing” motif.
→ As humans spend greater and greater majorities of their time surrounded by artificial creations (possessions, the walls of their dwellings, cooled and dried air) rather than those derived by an eco-systemic community (a lush hillside, a mangrove, a balmy humid air), their understanding of subtlety will only come to be as deep as the creations they surround themselves with. As more and more of our possessions and the paints for our walls and appliances are mass produced, there is little room in the mechanized manufacturing process for intricate difference. It is the reduction of such physical objects to mere utility that would see them colored from end to end all in the same shade and same lacquer. The only thing redeeming about an indoor space is if there are other humans there; without a social gathering it is nothing more than an early tomb deceptively decorated.
→ The specific color schemes that are manufactured in large quantities are made out of a range of subtler and more variably colored raw materials that are combined and averaged together to make something specific: the plurality of forms are reduced to uniforms. Those raw colors cease to exist once they are turned in to a new “civilized” color, and they only can come again in force once nature finds the materials out of which to create them. However, being that those materials were just tied up in the industrial color, the degree of availability will not be present until the industrial color is decomposed and recycled. In this case it is true that there cannot be a new life of a color without a same quantity of color(s) elsewhere dying. A zero-sum game is correct in the quantity sense but not in the moral sense—the sum is far more negative. The goal of ethnic purity is condemned for the it’s anti-social outcome, why should not similar ills and impoverishments emerge in an ecosystem when purity is pursued to the loss of diversity? Purification is the goal of a lower order virus.
→ The depth and richness of colors cannot be produced by organisms when there are deficiencies in nutrients. Soil health is deteriorating for a variety of reasons: erosion, unbalanced and erratic hydration, antibiotic chemical attack on bacteria/fungi, lack of bioavailable nutrients due to soil ecology waning. Vibrant and subtle colors are associated with a higher level of vitality that is in sync with a reproductive desire, but reproduction concerns are being suffocated by the very need of survival. The belt is tightening and beautiful colors will become more and more an unfeasible luxury.
→ This last arrow, perhaps the most crucial but also the most abstract, is that civilization has been making the world gradient (in part through purification) where it was once more continuous. It is reification made visible, even if reification is usually done invisibly and the victimage remains veiled. Colors of all shapes and proclivities are subjected to a cookie cutter that removes the natural sweetness for artificial flavoring. The space in between the remaining colors is vacated, turned in to a void, which is the space now for a stark transition between grades; the fragile smoothness of human vision is now gradated (and degraded), reinforced by the surroundings for it to perceive, and it is devolving to adapt to. The inductive and conductive wholly middle is excluded for a reductive and deductive separateness. It is tautological in its feedback looping, and it is akin to calculus breaking a curve in to several discrete alternating horizontal and vertical directions of a line. We are losing grip of reality in part because there is less to grasp; expansive big-box stores replace more balanced sustenance “Mom and Pop” stores, and trucking to these stores and your doorstep keeps you from walking to stores not distant from your doorstep. This Lego → Duplo → Mega Blok image might make the case better than words:
← ← Aiming Our Arrow In A New Direction ← ←
Hope you see where we need to go (back is forwards, adding fuel to the postulate that our age is one of contradiction). Color loss is a symptom that would be folly to try and treat directly. The root cause is the lack of rooting space for life to take hold and diversify. We need to both stop our industrial land (and water) destruction processes and regenerate what has been lost through targeted personal and communal micro-climate re-establishment. The best way to fight climate loss (the non-euphemistic term for climate change) is by adding back micro-climates, which are the foundations of climate stability and harmony.