Monday, April 06, 2015

What is it About Darkness?

            Colleen was out of the country with her family for most of the week, leaving me at home and in charge of the various animals in the house (For those who don’t regularly follow this blog, I live with my in-laws with the house separated into two separate units). It was on an overcast night when I was taking the dog out before bed that I noticed just how dark it was. We live out in the country, so the only lights around at night are the ones on the houses. Outside the bubble of light from the house, the rest of the one-acre property was almost completely black.

            My stomach clenched in its way of saying, “We’re not really going out there, are we?” while the dog tugged playfully at the end of his leash. It struck me, then, how much instinct we have built into our system – and close to the top of those instincts is a fear of the dark.

            I found myself wondering why that is. The answer is obvious for if we look to the past, before we had all this technology – back then, there was a lot of danger out in the darkness. Now, though, we've tamed the world. At least, the parts we live in. There’s almost no chance of a threat being out there.

            Yet, still, our instincts tell us to freeze – to stay in the safety of the light. We know it is safe. In my case, I even had a dog with me, with senses far better than mine, showing no signs of distress.

            Still, I hesitated. My instincts told me not to go. I realized that it was more about the uncertainty than the darkness itself. I'm used to being able to see everything around me, of knowing when there was a threat. What the darkness hid wasn't something I was afraid of, but the potential of something – anything – being out there. The fear wasn't of the dark, but of the inability to know for certain everything was fine, even though I was already certain.

            Once I left the “safety” of the light, my eyes started adjusting to the darkness. It wasn't so much that I could see everything, but I could see enough to feel comfortable and confident. That’s when I realised there could be something more behind our innate fear of darkness.

            Our ability to create light.

            Ever since we discovered how to make fire, humans have been able to control light and banish the darkness. Our instincts became based around staying in the light, where we could see clearly. Meanwhile, those same instincts gradually forgot that by being out in the darkness for just a little while, our eyes adjust and we can actually see fairly well. So, we keep to the light.

            The ironic part is that someone (or something) out in the dark can actually see more than someone in the light. More than that, from the darkness, someone in the light sticks out as a clear target.

Click here to find the charity anthology containing a couple of my short stories.

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If there's any subject you'd like to see me ramble on about, feel free to leave a comment asking me to do so.

1 comment:

  1. "No matter how powerful the light is, no matter how fast and how brilliant we all think it to be...darkness was always there first, waiting for it by the time it arrived."

    We fear the dark because we are programmed instinctually to fear it. We are fools if we truly believe us "mastering" light ha made much difference. Lights will always go out, and then...what? emptiness, darkness and the beast within. We fear it because its smart to our ancestors knew why, many people in far off countries still know why (such as area where children are abducted at night by wild animals from their beds). As said in Game of Throne "the night is dark and full of terrors"...its not too far off. Darkness deserves our respect, but do not mistake my respect for it for you said, light can still banish it, as long as the light remains strong.

    Since the beginning of history, we have had to deal with night-time predators and dangers, pitfalls and the like that the darkness obscures...and you're right they can see us better than we see them. The same can be said much about the metaphysical world as well, for those who believe...or even in our modern safe house of technology and security, we still have night time robberies, horrendous crimes of violence or loss of property....vigilance in the darkest of times will keep us safer. Staying alert, and yes some may say, even moderately or at least logically afraid, of the dark, will allow us to keep about our senses. Because, as the Joker once said (to paraphrase) "the monsters aren't under the bed, they are within us". As long as there are bad people willing to use that darkness, there will always be reason to be wary of it....after all, you wouldn't with your new found notion of courage, walk down a dark city street alleyway, alone would you? ;)

    This is the first of your writings I've randomly taken much interest into...I look forward to seeing more.