What colour is happiness?

Boards of Canada have talked about the notion that if you took all the matter in the universe and smeared it evenly in front of you, it would be turquoise. They’ve named songs and studios and coloured records on the basis of this idea.

And their music always sounds a bit turquoise to me.

Happiness might be a little more complex than the universe, and to be honest, my synesthesia doesn’t stretch in that direction much. I don’t really have a hugely visual imaginative vocabulary.

When I hear music, I often feel it throughout my body. But when I feel happy, I don’t hear music, and I certainly don’t see a particular colour.

Perhaps I’m being too literal.

Miranda July, writing about the soundtrack to her film, tells us that as a child she used to save yellow until last when she was colouring and drawing. She would do every other detail first, leaving spaces where the yellow would be, and then she’d savour the transformative effect of the final addition of her favourite colour.

I think happiness feels a lot like that.

It doesn’t really matter what’s been drawn in the first place, but when you add that final ingredient, it’s perfect. A glow infuses everything around you, and the world that was once just a place where you were, becomes the source of utter contentment.

For me,   I can feel the air against my skin more, and the body within my skin more. I guess the world seems clearer.

Is clear a colour?

I guess the obvious answer, at least for the cinematic or seasonally affective among us, is that it’s more about the hue. It’s brightness and light and sunshine, compared to gloom and grey and clouds.

But I don’t think that’s the answer. I’ve been happy under clouds and I’ve been happy in the middle of the greyest and blandest of urban landscapes.

So how can happy be a colour?

Purple’s the colour that catches my eye the most. The one that makes me smile. But does it make me happy?

When I catch a look at my lovely blue eyes in the mirror, I often smile. So maybe the blue of my eyes is happiness?

Lately one of the things making me happy is a track called Growl’s Garden by Chris Clark. The record sleeve is mostly grey. Is grey the colour I’m looking for?

There’s a patent absurdity here. Only touched upon at the beginning.

Feelings are not colours.

But then, colours are just particular frequencies of wave within a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Theoretically, could there be a part of the brain which oscillates at a particular colour’s frequency when we’re happy?

It’s possible.

But the science is beyond me.

And I definitely don’t have the necessary equipment to hand.

So I abstain.

But if I had to pick I’d go with turquoise.

Like the rest of the universe.


Illustration by Lucy

About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Questions by Anna-Kaisa. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What colour is happiness?

  1. Nessa says:

    I feel the same way you do about Purple.

    I don’t know if happiness has a colour now, but when I was a kid, it used to. Whenever I was completely relaxed and content, I would close my eyes and literaly SEE this colour that until now I haven’t been able to describe. I figure it was not an actual colour because otherwise I’d be able to compare it with an existant colour and then painted everything around me with it and be happy forever. Maybe it was a feeling in my brain that had a manifestation perceived as a “colour” without being one.

    I stopped having that experience around the time I developed depression and all that. Would be nice to see it again.

  2. Pingback: What is Creativity? « Unstruck

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