This is a question I often asked myself, but never really found a satisfactory answer to. It may be that I always went about it from a wrong starting point because the question is induced by physics. But I think an evolutionary perspective may be the most satisfactory one to explain this.
Humans and other animals had much to gain from differentiating not only dark and light but also colors to identify edible things, or threats etc. For this purpose we developed multiple types of cone cells. But what reason is there to not perceive light as we perceive sound, in a spectrum? We could easily distinguish said things by just knowing how high or low the light frequency is (or for that matter, what the spectral 'fingerprint' of specific objects is). Why differentiate between an - albeit big - array of colors?
Or, to go one step further, why did we need an extra type of cone in the middle, the yellow-green wavelength? Is there an evolutionary reason? I'd settle for using the three more or less distinct cone sensitivities as explanation that the brain just has enough information to arbitrarily differentiate these into very discrete cognitive signals.
But evolutionarily, there has to be a purpose, so that one of the questions is the right one. The colors must bring something to the table. Or not?
Thanks in advance. I am also grateful for anyone nitpicking my arguments, because it always helps.