Reality or Perception? Do Colors Exist?


According to Dictionary, Color, or colour, is the nature of optical perception expressed through color categories, with names such as yellow, green, orange, green, red, or blue. This perception of color stems from the stimulation of photoreceptor cells by radiation.

That’s how the dictionary describes colors- the same boring scientific description that can be studied, but not understood.

However, have you ever wondered if colors really exist? We see them, we notice them. We can even recognize different animals and appreciate various art forms through colors. But do they exist? 

NYK Daily will Answer the Question

We indeed see the colors. Walk down to the beach, and look below, you see the golden-yellow sand. Look ahead, while you are at the same beach, you can notice blue. You could also witness grumpy olive-green sea turtles at the bank of the beach, trying to crawl back to the ocean.

We have many colors, many variations of shades, and we can identify them, name them, and create a vibrant optical scene. But individual colors as an independent product is just not available.

We can pick up a yellow banana, talk about green grass, but we cannot hold and inspect yellow or green itself. If hypothetically, we all lose our vision, then the colors could just fade from our world.

———— Fade to Black ————

Why? Colors appear to be a viewpoint in our mind since free of our human mind-objects has the actual property not of the colors but of returning light at specific wavelengths. Those wavelengths of light don’t have a natural glow. 

To further explain the point above, consider wavelengths outside the visible human spectrum. Do they have shades? We don’t know because we can’t’ see it. Science shows us that we can indeed pick these wavelengths apart and determine their frequencies and amplitude to imagine how those wavelengths look like. Notice the word- ‘imagination.’

The same is valid for other impulses, such as taste and hearing. We can hold a musical instrument, but we can’t hold a can of sound. If we lose our ability to hear, the music will just become another vibration dancing in the air. 

This does not contradict the fact that music, colors, and taste are real to us. Our perceptions are as genuine to us as anything. Some would say our opinions, although not something we can put in a bucket and weigh, are the most real things we have. But without those perceptions, light is just vibrations and wavelengths dancing in the air. 


Colors exist in the same way as love. Color is just a perception of the human visual system and is not an inherent property. Things don’t have a color; they give off light that seems to be a shade. Wavelengths and vibrations exist in the physical world, but color exists only in the beholder’s mind- just like love. 

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