Rose Tinted: Is It So Wrong?

I wear glasses and for cycling I use one of those interchangeable lens systems that sit in front of prescription lenses. It’s all-plastic and shatter-proof – not cheap but I think on balance money well spent. The thought of glass lenses shattering in your eyes isn’t nice. Even if I didn’t need glasses for vision, I’m an advocate of wearing them for cycling anyway, for protection.

Today was so dull and grey that wearing sunglass-type lenses while out riding would have been daft. So, instead of sunglasses I put in some pink-ish tinged ones, good for dull days, and lo! The world looked a lot better. It really did.

Of course, the phrase ‘seeing through rose-tinted glasses’ came to mind. Generally, it’s used as a criticism, as in ‘you’re just seeing everything through rose-tinted glasses’, to mean that you’re seeing something in a falsely good light.

What today made me wonder was whether that’s a universally valid criticism. The world genuinely looked better for me today, and after all this relentless rain and grey that was a good thing. Yes, I was seeing something supposedly bogus, artificially altered, but that question of ‘reality’ versus ‘artificiality’ is a very tricky one. We’d all do well to remember that we all look at the world through different eyes all of the time, regardless of glasses.

Yes, by-and-large self-delusion is going to end in tears if the delusion is going to have consequences, is going to be brought to an end at some point; but if it’s harmless? Would all of the rain-soaked British be feeling just a little bit happier if they were looking through lenses that made the world just a touch brighter, and would that be bad? Does seeing the world in a rosier light trigger some basic instinctive reaction, nothing to do with conscious thought?

As it was, I grabbed an hour’s ride in the dry, in a seemingly quite pleasantly bright countryside.

Grey sky with a rose tint

With …

Grey sky without a rose tint

Without …