What is the Blue Blog?

I guess that the first thing in starting up a blog is to define what exactly you are trying to do. It is important to set some expectations with respect to what subject matter you intend to write about, and to put your ideas into some sort of context as far as who you are and where you are coming from. Maybe we can leave those last two things, namely my background and how I define myself, for later posts.

As our book, The Rarest Blue, goes to print, I decided to initiate this blog as a running discussion relating in some way to the topics we talk about in the book. We cover a lot of ground in retelling the 4000-year history of the blue dye, but the subject matter goes far beyond that. It’s the intersection of religion and science, of art, technology, history, and psychology. Our research has led us to ask deep questions about how our brains work, how we interpret the world around us, and how that world works on the most fundamental levels.

So a blog that talks about things related to the ancient blue dye, tekhelet, can really be a blog about anything. That having been said, I will try not to go too far afield, (unless I think I have something really worthwhile to say…) and stick to remarks where the relationship to the core subject matter is somewhat straightforward.

Here is a section that was in an early draft of the book, but didn’t make it to the final version:

Life is in essence the history of small coincidences that add up to the chronicle of the world and the story of mankind. Any one topic will be packed with interesting facts, profound ideas and principles, insightful laws of nature, universal and particular truths, and, perhaps most importantly, interrelated pieces of information that serve as the foundation for science and for our understanding of the universe that we inhabit and the path it took to bring us to this place.

But we humans are not content to ask only quantitative questions such as “how?” or “in what way?” and so we search for meaning and relevance as well. The subjective interplay between natural phenomena and our perception, sensations, and emotions, leads us to ask questions like “for what purpose?” and “how does that make me feel?” This is the realm where psychology, philosophy, art, and religion take over from physics and chemistry, and the matters of the mind and heart take on greater importance than statistical charts or objective measurements. It is in this context that we ask the question: “What does the color blue mean?”

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