Color

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Imagine if, like most mammals, we saw the world in black and white. We might know autumn as the time when the leaves try to match the cloudless sky in clarity, just before they free themselves from their tenuous attachments.

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Imagine – answers the cynic – if we didn’t see the world in black and white. Sharp contrasts are pleasing to the eye and the mind of a creature whose not-so-distant ancestors relied on depth perception to keep from falling, perhaps to their death.

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Imagine how different, how much more modulated our sense of the world would be if the nostrils were our main doors of perception. While our eyes can perceive only a narrow spectrum of colors, the number of smells our noses can distinguish is said to be virtually infinite. Given the troubles we have with leaders whose outstanding characteristic is a fondness for dichotomy, I wonder what would happen if we restricted positions of power to those with highly sensitive olfactory organs?

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Probably things wouldn’t turn out too differently. I can think of plenty of highly sensitive people – many poets, for example – who don’t know the first thing about compassion. It’s the heart that needs to learn more hues than red.

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