How the Human Eye Converts Light Waves to Color

Light to Color

The rather forthright Captain Disillusion (previously) explains how the human eye processes light wavelengths from the electromagnetic spectrum and converts them into what we know as color. The Captain further explains that the part of the spectrum we view is very, very small and that color does not exist outside the brain.

The most important thing to recognize about color is that it doesn’t actually exist. It’s true electromagnetic energy exists all around you. And if we sort it by wavelength, your vision is sensitive to a small sliver of that spectrum. But the sliver isn’t literally filled with the vibrant hues shown in diagrams, it’s just the waves. Colors don’t exist outside your brain.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.