COLUMN: Psychological-physiological reactions to colors

-A A +A

Guest Columnist

Editor Vince Luecke’s Jan. 14 column concerning the winter blahs didn’t give much importance to the power of colors, especially orange and the winter blahs. That is where I can add something from Dr. Marx Luscher, a Swiss research psychiatrists’ color test, which I have used in teaching counseling psychology classes and with prison inmates.

The color test starts with eight basic colors that can be broken down into 16, 32 or 64 shades with associated meanings. One of my professors at San Diego State was an individual psychologist dealing with colors in aircraft, auto marketing, packaging in grocery stores and all advertising. Religion uses colors to communicate feelings.
Hot orange is a mixture of red and yellow. It represents an energy-expanding physiological condition.

It is recommended for the shorter darker days of winter in the northern hemisphere because it speeds up the pulse, raises blood pressure and increases the respiratory rate.
Orange is the expression of vital force, of nervous and glandular activity and so it has the meaning of desire and of all forms of appetite and craving. It is associated with the urge to achieve results, to win success. It urges one to desire all things which offer intensity of living and fullness of experience.

Red-orange is impulse, the will to win, and all forms of vitality and power from sexual potency to revolutionary transformations. It is the impulse toward active doing, toward sports, struggle, competition, eroticism and productivity.

Sexually red-orange in the Luscher Color Test standing by itself suggests a more or less controlled sexual drive.

However, if the red-orange feelings are very strong and associated with other factors such as drugs, anger and bad luck, the person may not be able to deal with his or her sexuality in a satisfactory way.

Compulsive demands may lead to conquests, sexual experimentation, promiscuity and frequent infidelities.

In extreme cases where the red-orange feelings are out of control, this can include the nymphomaniac and the Don Juan type personality neither of whom ever achieves real satisfaction or release from the tension through sexual acts.

This is the level of pathological behavior. Rape and sexual murders issue from this level where no satisfaction issues from the act and the partner is attacked and blamed by the rapist for his problems. Heavy drug and alcohol use can create impotency at an early age and leads to a lot of the domestic violence.

Two more conservation adjustments to sexual desires is to restrict sexual intercourse to a single partner who complies with most of the shared cultural understandings.

The last group I’ll discuss here is the indifferent partner, where sexuality is becoming inhibited. When sexuality is rejected the sexual desire has either largely disappeared, is being rigorously suppressed or impotence or frigidity has set in.

Catholics have some avoidance of orange and may think it works. There was a Catholic-Protestant battle in England in 1688. This political battle has nothing to do with the color orange for generating energy in winter time. So, people who avoid the color orange in winter because of a battle in 1688 are already sick.

Here is a quick outline of what happened.

1. William of Orange from the Dutch House of Orange was made captain-general of the United Dutch Province in 1670.

2. In 1677 William III of Orange married Princess Mary, daughter of the Duke of York, in Northern England.

3. In 1688 Seven English Lords invited William of Orange to invade England. John Churchhill had switched sides.

4. King James II was driven out of England. He escaped to France.

5. In 1689 William and Mary were proclaimed king and queen for life.

6. In 1694 Queen Mary of England wife of William III died.

7. In 1690 William, king of England, took his army back to Holland to drive the French out of his homeland.

8. William died in 1702 and was succeeded by Queen Ann, who died in 1614 and was succeeded by King George I until his death in 1727.

9. This same territory was fought over by King Leopold, who refused to serve under a constitutional arrangement.

10. The priest who set up Leopold in Perry County never appreciated constitutional or democratic forms of government back home or here.

I have not had the winter blahs this year, though I would like to be spending more time at the M and E Motor Home Park at Naples, Fla. I wear bright orange sweat clothing rather than pajamas here in winter and I dance two nights per week.

My spirits were greatly satisfied when President Obama was given a second term by the people and he gave a very power-hopeful inaugural speech Jan. 21. He is in my opinion our 21st Century Lincoln.

Sandage is a Tell City author.