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Black, Essay Example

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Oxford Dictionary defines the word black as something “of the darkest color owing to the absence of or complete absorption of light: the opposite of white” (Oxford Dictionaries). The dictionary defines the term black in a scientific manner because an object that absorbs all colors appear as black to our eyes and similarly an object that reflects all colors appear as white to our eyes.

While the dictionary defines black in the context of a color, black can also be understood in other ways. Black could also be called another name for ignorance. A knowledgeable person is informed and can use the knowledge in a productive manner. But an ignorant person is unable to make a good decision because just like the color black, he is in darkness. Thus, he can easily be manipulated by others or even manipulated by his own selfish desires.

Black could also be seen as the personification of ‘evil’. The color that best describes night is black and the time of the day that is best suited to evil things is night. At night, it is easier to engage in evil things and not being caught because darkness makes it harder to monitor the evil. In addition, darkness also weakens the defense of the good which works in evil’s advantage. A dark veil increases the probability of evil things because it lowers the risk of getting caught. And nothing is better than the black veil provided by the night. We also use the term black to emphasize the evil nature of an act such as black magic. Black

Black can also be understood as sadness. Things that emit light or have light colors put us in cheerful mood. No wonder we feel happy at the sight of a rainbow because it is a beautiful display of colors that are closer to light than darkness. Similarly, we enjoy fireworks because vibrant display of light colors excites us. All of our celebrations involve some presence of light because dark environment ruins the mood. Even when we engage in celebrations at night, we arrange for presence of light in some manner. But we adorn black clothes when we mourn over a loss or want to express our solidarity with someone who has been through a tragedy. We even use the term ‘black day’ when a particular day has been difficult for us. Similarly, we use the term ‘black episode’ to define phases of our lives we are embarrassed of and want to forget about. When it comes to our emotions, we often associate the term black with sadness, embarrassment, and pain.

We can also associate the term black with secret or something hidden. An object appears as black to us because it has absorbed all colors and none of the color it absorbed is visible to us. In other words, a black object has successful hidden all the colors from our eyes. Similarly, a black night is also skilled at hiding objects which is why we use light to find our way or lighthouses exist to guide sailors at night.

But black doesn’t always generate negative associations. It is actually the preferred color when it comes to economic matters. America probably waits more anxiously for “Black Fridays” than any other shopping-related events. An investor always desires to see his portfolio in the back. Wall Street doesn’t only care whether a particular company’s financial statements are in the black but also asks “how much in the black?” Thus, black is also the color that best represents economic stability and prosperity. Maybe, it is not a surprise that economic prosperity which is represented by the color black also attracts negative reactions such as criticism because economic achievements are often credited to and sometimes do result from corruption and evil business practices.

The term black often arouses negative perceptions such as evil, ignorance, sadness, and secrecy because it is the polar opposite of light or the color white which usually have positive associations. Moreover, the use of the color black seems to follow similar patterns in visual representations across cultures as well which may be an indication that perceptions associated with black are universal. For example, we usually see death god wearing black clothes or holding black scythe in western and eastern art. But black also represents economic stability and prosperity, thus, is extremely desired in matters related to wealth.

Reference

Oxford Dictionaries. black. 5 December 2012 <http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/black>.

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