All That's Colored

Posted on: September 19, 2013

When the shift occurred, without reason or warning, there were enough talking heads to fill a stadium – and many did. Lecterns were manned with the rapidity of automatic machine gun fire. But this was always an intellectual war, fought in city council meetings and university halls, among other places. Theories and ideas were lobbed with a casual surety that had never been reserved for bullets. They settled on calling it evolution, and when they did, the divisive nature of the human race took form in two very different but equally important questions. Which question you asked would ultimately define you in this new age of COLORBLINDNESS. I use this word in the most literal sense because over a period of 252 days from Mid-February to Late-October, mankind – the human species in its entirety – lost its collective ability to perceive color. The world through our eyes had become entirely black and white. As I said before, there were two immediate questions. The first – HOW? asked by the scientists among us. Theories were raised and dismissed until only one possibility was left standing – evolution. By a method of deduction, it was acknowledged by the scientific elite that receptors in the human eye had been somehow naturally modified. Strange it seems that, given the cavalier nature in which we use a word such as evolution, there have been no significant theories proposed regarding the so-called end game. We are evolving, but to what? There have been reports of increased audioception, gustaoception, olfacoception, and tactioception in test subjects, though the authenticity of these reports has been questioned. Regardless, they are known collectively as “The Mutation Papers,” and bring us to the next question – WHY?

In the days of THE BLINDING, most found themselves in their house of God. I was no different. I sat with my mother and father, brother, and little sister on wooden pews. With my hands clasped together and my elbows resting on my knees, I bowed my head and prayed. The Sunday morning televangelists coined the term THE BLINDING. They shouted into microphones chronicling our many sins and thousands fell at their feet. My father, disgusted, would turn the channel and whisper, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen. Like most everyone as time went by, we continued on. My father rested after a hard day’s work. My sister attended second grade. My mother cut fresh-grown tomatoes in the evening and sprinkled them with salt. And yet every morning I believe each of us opened our eyes, and for a brief instant, it seemed possible that the world was once again overwhelmed with color. I surely did. My mother jokingly called it the hindsight of the damned. Many believed this to be some sort of punishment, while a few others thought it an awakening. To this day, we all fail to speak of the future. There will be a time, not so far off, when the last set of eyes that recognized color will finally close - and on that day we all will have lost something and we will ask why. But my mother used to say that day would also bring our salvation, and I prefer to think of our future as such. God has taken our color because we will survive, we will persevere, but we will never be the same. I believe there is assurance in that.

We’ve come to this place because some need to see it and some need to feel it. Some need to remember what it meant to have these walls, these gorgeous murals with all this color smashed together. Bold and bright they sit in our memories like beacons in the sea. Of all the cultural phenomena that have taken place since the blindness, the glorification of graffiti must be the greatest. Across the globe people flock to these places like they once flocked to Roman ruins. These walls of graffiti, from California to Buenos Aires to Jerusalem and back again, have become something more powerful than simple tagging. They’ve become remnants of a lost age – like Stonehenge or the Easter Island heads – wrapped in wonder, mystery, and a bit of sadness. I suppose our mystery is that nobody does graffiti anymore. They still sell spray-paint of course, and one could still physically tag a clean wall - but nobody does. Out of some mutual desire we’ve decided that creating new pieces like the one in front of us is disrespectful, or even evil. Personally, I think everyone knows that if we create new graffiti the old pieces don’t work, don’t mean anything, and if that happens then what do we have left? Some would say we are left with a species and a world that is unexplained, and we as a civilization are afraid of nothing more than the unknown. So in some form of group therapy we’ve decided that we without color are different. We do not yet know how we’ve changed, or how we will continue to progress in this particularly shaded world, we just know that we miss our color. So we take comfort in memories like graffitied walls, and we lean on them like vibrant walking sticks. We crowd around the scribbles because there will be no others like them and because there is communion in past appreciation, even if said appreciation was not so long ago outlawed. We look because we are now black and we are now white and ultimately, we are all in this together.

Photograph by: Emily Blincoe
Written by: Logan Theissen

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