Man is a blind insect. Crawling through a universe of luminous color, he can only perceive a tiny fraction of the spectrum. His eyes are meaty cages for the glowing rods and cones, tuned to the meager range of visible light. Reds, greens, and blues, a paltry trick compared to the ultraviolet symphony that surrounds him.

Man is a bug trapped in a meat body. His senses are tuned to a narrow band of vibrations. He can only perceive a tiny fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. Beyond the visible range there is a world of color and energy invisible to his naked eye.

Flowers, for instance, are not what they seem. To a bee or butterfly, bathed in the ultraviolet light invisible to man, the world is a psychedelic riot of color. The flower that appears to be a simple red or yellow to a human is ablaze with fluorescent neons, beckoning the insect with its promise of nectar.

But man, poor fellow, is stuck in his black and white movie. He sees only a pale reflection of reality. He is surrounded by mysteries he cannot even begin to fathom.

Here is a fun fact: Some flowers are even known to reflect ultraviolet light patterns that resemble bullseyes or landing strips, specifically to guide pollinators in.

Man is a hapless bug trapped in a sensory deprivation chamber. His eyes are meaty portholes that only allow a sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum to tickle his optic nerves. He can perceive a narrow band of wavelengths we call visible light. Reds, greens, and blues – that’s all folks. But beyond the visible spectrum lies a whole universe of electromagnetic energy, unseen and unfelt by man.

Bees and butterflies, however, can perceive ultraviolet light. For them, the world is a psychedelic lightshow, a riot of colors invisible to the human eye. The flower in the image might appear dull and lifeless to us, but to a bee it glows with an otherworldly luminescence, a beacon beckoning them in with the promise of sweet nectar.

Burroughs would likely have reveled in this idea of hidden realities, invisible worlds just beyond the reach of our senses. He might have talked about cutting up our perception, of rewiring our eyes to see the ultraviolet light that bees see. He might have imagined a world saturated with psychedelic colors, a world where human perception is finally set free from the shackles of biology.

But for now, we are stuck with our meat portholes and our limited spectrum. We can only dream of the world as it appears to bees and butterflies, a world of unimaginable beauty and strangeness.

These are the secrets that the flowers hold, written in invisible light. A message scrawled in cosmic ink, unseen by the fleshy masses that blunder through the garden. But for those with the right eyes, the universe is a swirling kaleidoscope of color.

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