32: Pillar

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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A comic by my brother Doug, redrawn and rewritten by me
Title text: A comic by my brother Doug, redrawn and rewritten by me


In this comic, the two characters ponder the unanswerable philosophical question of whether all people observe the universe the same, or whether, for example, what one person sees as "red" might be what another see as "green". They muse that no one really knows how anyone else sees the world.

The misdirection and punchline of the comic comes when lefty asks if righty can get him down from the pole he's been standing on for the entire comic. Righty's reply indicates that he does not see a pole, proving that one person does observe the world differently than another; in this case, in a far more extreme and unexpected way than color differences.

As noted, this comic is based on a comic drawn by Randall's brother Doug, although Randall apparently redrew and rewrote it. Unlike most other xkcd comics, the "panels" of this comic are not divided and are drawn within a single frame.


This one is mostly by my little brother, Doug.
[Person on a tall pillar is talking to person on the ground]
Person on pillar: The sky is so blue, and all the leaves are green.
Person on ground: Haven't you ever wondered if we really see the same colors as everyone else? It's all perception.
Person on pillar: Well, you might as well call into question all of human experience. Who really knows what world someone else sees?
Person on ground: Yeah, I guess.
Person on pillar: Anyway, can you help me down from this pole?
Person on ground: What pole?


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I have oft wondered about the color thing. 21:49, 23 October 2012 (UTC) Bigger problem- how do you know there are other people?

The incessantly thumping bass from your neighbour's "music" is a bit of a clue. :-) BinaryDigit (talk) 09:23, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Is that Comic Sans (the font) in the top left? Caagr98 (talk) 15:06, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Augh, it is Comic Sans! 21:00, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Also, it could be that Righty doesn't see a pole, but a pillar, as suggested by the title of the comic. That's why he asks, "What pole?", implying, "I only see a pillar". (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The song "Shpadoinkle" from Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Cannibal! The Musical" begins with the line, "The sky is blue, and all the leaves are green." Trueflint (talk) 17:15, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Anecdotally, I don't even perceive colors the same between my eyes. When I stare at a white wall, my left eye perceives it as tinted red, and my right eye perceives it as tinted green. 03:18, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

That's really interesting. Was it ever investigated why that is the case? And could that maybe be scientifically relevant? Fabian42 (talk) 09:12, 24 August 2017 (UTC)