good to look at

Brain red

Here is another impossible colour, one you will clearly see but which cannot be painted with light or pigment. Luminous red, or, as cool people call it, brain red, is clearly, unmistakably red, but it is brighter than white. Which is impossible with light, because white is simply all the wavelengths at full blast, and red is only the red wavelengths with everything else off.

But your brain can see more than your eyes, and brain seeing looks just like regular seeing, in that the images are right there, real as a photograph, real as VHS flicker, real as the sick fleeting yellow of a fluorescent tube powering down.

To see brain red you begin with a blue green and tire out your retinas.

It’s specific, this blue green. It’s bluer than true green, and greener than cyan. It is the shade of sunlit barbicide, as the rays first catch it, in the first instant after you set down the glass. You stare, then the brain red follows.

In the image below you will see a circle of blue green with an x in the middle. Stare hard at the x. You will struggle to keep your focus on the x, and you will notice fringing at the edges of the barbicide. This is your retina tiring, a sign that you are about to see brain red.

Keep your attention as tight as you can. After ten seconds the barbicide will be replaced by white, and you will see a circle of brain red in the middle, brighter than the white. It will look like an idealized Japanese flag. After a while the barbicide circle will return and the animation will loop. Each time you see the brain red it will be brighter still.

Set the glass down. Don’t set the glass down. Whichever.

good to look at

Brain blue yellow

This post also has flashing images. If those are not your thing, please be a grownup and go to a different web site. Or, be a mature grownup and go outside, far away from the computer. Chase a stick or something.

If you are still here: brain blue yellow is like brain red green. It looks like two colours you know well, but combines them in a way they cannot be combined using only the normal building blocks of colour, which are: a) light, and; b) your retinas.

A lot of what your retinas do is tell your brain the ratio of blue light to yellow light they’re getting. It’s blue vs yellow, in opposition, or maybe even as enemies. They are not allowed to get along, according to light and your retinas.

But your brain is a brain genius and loves to imagine peaceful coexistence, when nudged. Your brain is lucky to have hot sandwich to nudge it.

In the flashing image below, just like in the brain red green image, there are two squares, each with an x in the middle. Stare at the x’s and let your focus slip, until the two appear to merge into a single x. Hold that, and feel your retinas getting tired, and notice the fringe of afterimage around the one square surrounding the one x.

Your brain will fight you on this one, will try to tell you you’re seeing either blue or yellow, and you will notice spontaneous patterns of lines and even plaids emerging from the confusion.

Hang in there and let the brain blue yellow come to you. When you see it, you’ll know, because it will look both blueish and yellowish without being green, and because the words you might use to describe it will fall out of your vocabulary.

Strain for words. Find a way to describe brain blue yellow. Write the words down. In the virtual spaces of the future, walls will be painted this colour and you’ll want to be able to tell your friends how to find you.

Below these words is a faster version of the same animation (24-ish frames per second rather than the ten above). If you felt at all bad staring at the slow one, please pass on the quick one. But if brain blue yellow was hard to see above, you may have an easier time with quicker strobing.

Once there was a kid who could only see in black and white but who had no trouble finding words for brain colours.

You will be like that, sometime soon.

good to look at

Brain red green

If you are sensitive to flashing images please do not read further.

There is a flashing image lower on this web page and you should only look at it if flashing images make you feel somewhere between neutral and great.

The image is made of a red square and a green one, with the red and the green switching spots ten times a second. In the centre of each square is an x.

If you are sure you want to do this:

Stare at the two x’s. Let your vision go a little blurry, until the two x’s overlap into a single one, as if you are trying to see the dolphin in the autostereogram on the wall in the dentist's office.

You may have an easier time getting the x’s to merge if you use your phone and hold it up close to your face.

Pay attention while the red and green flicker, and observe that the colour you are seeing in your mind behind the merged x is neither red nor green but really is both reddish and greenish at the same time.

There is no wavelength of light for this colour, and no combination of pigments will paint it. Brain red green is only for in your brain.

Stare at the brain red green until you have words to describe it.

After a long time please write the words down and post them on the internet.

If you are still doing OK despite the flashing images, you might enjoy this quicker version of the same picture, which flickers at roughly 24 frames a second.

If you are not doing OK, I apologize.

good to look at

Brain blue

Please continue to enjoy colours that are too much for your eyes.

Today you will see a deep blue against a black background, and the blue will be deeply blue but also just as dark as the black. It will somehow be both lightless and rich.

Brain blue, or as it is called by pedants, stygian blue, is what lingers in your mind after you overdo it on yellow. It’s like a bruise and it slightly looks like one, although its blue is truer.

As with brain orange, seeing brain blue is a matter of staring. In the image below you will see a yellow circle with an x in the middle.

Look at the x. When the yellow flips to black, there, in the spot in your mind where the yellow just was, will be blue. There will be no light, but somehow there will be saturation.

Animation with two frames, looping: 1) a yellow circle against white background, and 2) solid black.

Keep staring at the x as the animation repeats. Think about how brain blue is just as dark as black, yet not black. When you have had enough please feel free to go to another web site.

good to look at

Brain orange

Hello and welcome back to hot sandwich, which you remember fondly and which, because your memory is failing and because every hiatus eventually must herniate, is now back on your computer.

Today on your computer you will see an orange (colour) more orange than any orange (fruit or colour) you have ever seen.

The formal name for what you are about to see is hyperbolic orange, but it is cooler and more accurate to call it brain orange. You are about to see brain orange with your brain, which is the only way to see it, because it is too orange for your eyes.

First: you will see a nice pale blue circle with an x in the middle. Stare at that x. Stare at it as if your continued participation in the meditation retreat depends on it. Which: it does. I am your meditation teacher right now and you can either stare at the x or get the hell off my web site.

After a while: the x and the blue circle will be replaced by a square of pure orange. You will see a phantom circle inside that orange, and the phantom orange will be more orange than the orange square. The phantom orange is brain orange.

The animation loops. Keep staring at the x. The brain orange will grow more impossibly orange with each repetition.

Animation with two frames, looping: 1) a cyan circle against white background, and 2) solid orange.

After a long time please feel free to go to another web site.