Chapter 02 of the book The Healing power of color. Color's dimensions

In this chapter, the Master continues to explain to Kumar about the color's dimensions.



7/18/20235 min read

Chap. 2. The healing power of color

The color's dimensions

Kumar: master, what are the dimensions of color?

Master: In general terms, we can talk about the three dimensions of color: the physical dimension, the psychological or emotional dimension, and the sacred dimension. Both three interact with each other and feedback. Each one fulfills an important function, but the most interesting thing is that despite being able to seem dissociated, it is not like that, there is an invisible thread that unites them.

Color Physical Dimension

It is framed in physical phenomena, in the interaction of our ability to look with light, the eye with light and its perception of color on surfaces. The main exponent of the physical theory of color is Newton and his experiments on the refraction of light through a prism, to achieve the colors of the rainbow, are well known. In this sense we can say that color is a physical phenomenon, although later you will see that it goes even further.

Within this physical dimension of color, it has certain intrinsic qualities, known as: hue or tone (color as such), saturation (degree of purity) and brightness (level of light and darkness).

Psychological or emotional dimension of color

In this dimension, color operates at the level of psychological effect, even beyond the conscious, color psychology studies this in depth and advertising makes great use of this knowledge, using color according to human behavior. As human behavior is predictable, color can be used for a specific purpose, make people feel particular things, and induce behaviors and actions in people.

Here we can meet Goethe, Kandinsky, Itten and Albers. It is very important to deepen your ideas.

Goethe and his color theory

Goethe approached color in a different direction than Newton, for Goethe color is beyond the merely physical, he considered that color is in nature and had a great influence on the human psyche, ideas that made him the forerunner of color psychology.

For Goethe, colors have their own personality, they are not simple spectrums of light perceived by the eye, they are in a dimension beyond the physical, at this point we can talk about Goethe and later with the research of Schopenhauer, who was a disciple of Goethe, research on color landed in another dimension, the psychological or emotional dimension of color.

For Goethe, color has its own personality, so we find, for example, that blue is linked to thought and tranquility, while red evokes activity and passion. These are ideas that today may seem very familiar to us, but in their time they were a true revolution.

Among the main contributions given by Goethe in his color theory, three very important ideas stand out:

1. There are colors that appear in things and objects.

2. There are colors that exist in the eye.

3. There are colors that exist in the mind.

In this way, based on these ideas, he conceived his chromatic circle, as well as his famous triangle of colors, the final result of his research. Where he proposes his triangle as a diagram of the human mind to explain and understand the effects of color on behavior and the psyche.

Goethe mentions 5 main mental states and illustrates them in his famous color triangles, these mental states are: lucid, serious, melancholic, powerful and serene.

Kandinsky and the spiritual color

When Kandinsky writes his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art, he dedicates a good part to the subject of color, in fact he quotes Goethe at various points, since Kandinsky was a follower of the idea of color with its own personality, giving vital importance to the color temperature. For Kandinsky, when color is perceived, it has two effects on the human being: a physical effect and a psychological one. The physical is the superficial of the color, while the psychological is linked to the emotions derived from it, what he calls the spiritual part or psychic stimulation from the color.

Kandinsky refers to colors as if they were living entities, so we find that he refers to red as being exciting because of its connection with blood, producing a psychic effect of pain. He likewise refers to light yellow as something acidic because of its resemblance to lemon. He also talks about qualities in colors such as being bristly, rough or velvety, and thus continues to describe the different qualities of color, its links with what exists in the world of experience and the psychological effects it produces. As a curious fact, Kandinsky mentions chromo therapy, to refer to the treatment of diseases through color, in fact he makes a comment where he specifies that it is a field that has been little studied.

Johannes Itten and subjective color

In his famous treatise on color, "Art of Color", Johannes Itten dedicates a chapter to the subject of subjectivity in color, based on the exercises developed with his students, during his years of teaching in various schools, among which the Bauhaus stands out. For Itten, color goes beyond the physical plane, it delves into the dimension of the symbolic and the subjective, playing a fundamental role in the personality of each person.

For Itten, taste is subject to the nature of each one, and this has a color, even manifest, in the physical aspects of people, something that he applied to guide his students in their vocations, during the Bauhaus times. Thus, he could determine with incredible precision that the students could engage in certain activities and trades that were their own by nature, whether it was cabinetmaking, blacksmithing, stained glass, etc. He did it with such precision that the student who was inclined more by his judgments of taste, more than by his nature, sooner or later, would return to Itten to ask for advice, and thus headed towards the office proper to his nature. It is something that I have always found fascinating, especially because of the relevance of his ideas and the multiple applications in daily life.

Another important aspect in Itten's subjective studies of color is linked to the importance of the symbolic, a determining aspect when using one color or another in certain contexts. Thus, Itten goes a step further in Goethe's conceptions, bordering on ideas very typical of Eastern thought, manifested in the Vedas, mainly in the Ayurvedic treatises on the color of energy fields or chakras. It must be remembered that Itten was a man deeply involved in the esoteric world, a student of oriental philosophy, and thus his research was impregnated with those non-rational ideas.

Josef Albers and the secret life of colors

Josef Albers' studies on color, beyond being a theory as such, what they seek, in the words of Albers himself, is to show the infinite possibilities of color, beyond form, beyond texture, beyond of the dimensions.

The famous tributes of him to the square, left these ideas about color, as the main element in his painting.

In Albers, as in Goethe, color has personality, he even creates a wonderful series of metaphors to illustrate the ideas of his paintings, where colors relate to each other as people, marry, copulate, have children and nephews, but they also have very particular characteristics such as being rancid or fine, exquisite, fat and skinny. They are eminently literary elements, introduced by Albers to tell us, from his point of view, about the symbolism of colors, what he himself called the secret life of colors.

Sacred dimension of color

It is the dimension of the original color of universal energy, the energy centers or sacred chakras. There are 7 chakras each of a specific color, they are distributed in the form of a tree, starting at the root (red) to the crown (violet in general). I already explained to you, what are the colors of the sacred-symbolic chromatic circle, and how I incorporated 3 additional colors. They are the same colors of the chakras.

In this dimension, the healing process can be activated at will, from the contemplation of color, immersion in color and with deep meditations.