What is Darkness?
This is a complex question. To answer it, we first need to understand what is meant by 'darkness'. What does the word imply? People use it for many things, and they're all right. The fact of the matter is, the word darkness encompasses more than any one concept. Grab a beverage and a snack, because I'm about to wax the phisosophic with you.
To start with, there is darkness in morality. This is what we know as evil. Human vices, cruelty, and all our capacity for destruction. To some degree or another, we all have some darkness in us. Some do a better job of hiding it than others. But it's always there. Every person has their shadow. Every person has parts of them they'd probably rather keep hidden, for shame of their imperfection, but at the same time, we must realize that it is human to have some darkness in us. Good can't exist without evil, and darkness must exist for men to see the light.
There is darkness in the literal sense. The absence of light. Without light for our eyes to interpret as images of the world around us, all we see is nothing. In this sense, darkness is the void. It is the absence of substance. It's not inherently bad, and in fact cannot be bad, because only something of substance can be good or bad. In the physical world, we have matter. In physics, there is the recent discovery of "dark" matter, or negative energy. This would be the opposite of matter we're familiar with. In this case, the darkness is truly neutral. It contains neither matter nor antimatter, neither form nor substance. To say at all that darkness "exists" is something of a paradox in itself.
Then there's darkness in knowledge or philosophy. This is the sense that something is hidden. For instance, if you are standing in a dark room, all you see is darkness. There may be things in the room around you, but they're beyond your observation. This may be part of the reason that darkness is associated with fear. We know physical darkness in the world around us isn't dangerous itself, but it may hide unseen dangers just out of reach. From this emerges our fear of the unknown, and so our fear of the darkness.
To some degree, darkness is always representative of that which is hidden. It's that which is unknown to us, or that which we want to remain hidden. But the darkness is not the thing we fear; it's the thing that shrouds our fears. We fear darkness in the world around us that keeps us from seeing things for what they are. We fear darkness in ourselves because of our shame, our lack of understanding, and the dangers our hidden selves can cause.
Now, let's consider people who identify with darkness; your goths, emos, or whatever you want to label them as. In my opinion, most of these people are just trying to understand their darkness. Think of these kids in high school who go around in Goth-style black outfits all the time, wearing black makeup and hiding in the corner writing poetry. There can be different reasons for why a person chooses to embrace darkness in their life this way, but the end result is the same: they are separating themselves from people who cherish the light. They are trying to take themselves out of contemporary society, either because they don't feel like they fit in or because they don't want to. For some, it may just be morbid curiosity; a desire to learn more about what's hiding in the darkness. For others, they may have been born into darkness; a tragic childhood breeds a human being who feels more comfortable hiding in darkness than being exposed to the light.
It seems like the more a person tries to analyze darkness, the more questions arise. That is the nature of darkness, after all. But still, sometimes our curiosity can't stop us. If you ask me, though, this is not something to be overanalyzed. Darkness should not be a complete taboo in mainstream culture, but neither should it become a morbid fixation with confused youth. Darkness is something we must all gradually learn to accept. We cannot and will not know everything about the world around us, or even about ourselves. The sooner we all realize and accept this, the sooner we can find the healthy balance of light and dark in our own lives.
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