2 thoughts on “How Animals’ Eyesight Differs From Ours

  1. Bix Post author

    I was wondering what ultraviolet light would look like and found this:


    I like this question because it illustrates a point that many people don’t understand. Colors do NOT exist in nature, they exist only in our brains. What exists in nature is electromagnetic radiation, including ultraviolet and infrared (and other) frequencies. Somehow in the course of evolution, nature found a way to turn these different frequencies into a perception of color. The visible spectrum, from red to violet (but not infrared or ultraviolet) was chosen apparently because it gives a better perception of reality than other frequencies. We are all so used to seeing things in color that we never give any thought to where it came from. In my book I use color as an artificial way of visualizing fields. Here is a quote from the Introduction, which you can read free at Understand Physics Through Quantum Field Theory. And while you’re there, don’t miss Fig. 1-1, which is a remarkable demonstration of the “unreality” of colors.

    There is another reason why imaginary color is an appropriate tool for visualizing fields. You may be surprised to hear this, but the colors that we perceive in nature are also imaginary; they exist only in our minds (see Fig. 1-1). In nature there are no colors – only light waves of various frequencies. Even the vivid colors of a rainbow are not really there; the rainbow is created by water droplets that reflect light of different frequencies through different angles. It is in our brain, and only in our brain, that these signals are magically (and I do mean magically) translated into a perception of color. So when I invoke imaginary colors to represent a physical property, I am actually using a trick that our brains developed a long time ago.

    There are no colors in nature. Colors that we see exist only in our minds, or brains. Wow. I wonder what else exists only in our minds.



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