- Education and Science
What is DARKNESS? How it is DEFINED?
DARKNESS, What is IT?
Contextually and physically, darkness is defined as the absence of light. Darkness is also where and how the universe began. The universe in its inception was a dark void and then there was light and subsequently the ensuing creation and evolution process. Darkness is the mother and father of all life forms. It contains every genetic material imaginable from the most minute to the most complex of all life forms. It is the beginning, even beyond the beginning of it all.
Since darkness is the absence of light, it has been the subject of fear, trepidation, negativity, and loathing in the human mind and consciousness. Light was and is seen more positively, welcomed, and embraced in the human mind and consciousness because it was evident and on the surface. Light furthermore represent what is good, pure, wholesome, and trustworthy in addition to other stellar qualities. As a result of such positive qualities, humankind was and is more comfortable and at ease in the light.
In the daylight, everything and everyone seems to be copacetic and safe. Light began to be incorporated in the human consciousness and psyche as goodness and Because darkness is the absence of light, it has been the subject of fear and sometimes loathing in the human mind and consciousness. Light was seen more positively and welcomed in the human mind and consciousness because it was evident and on the surface. As a result of such qualities, humankind was more comfortable and at ease in the light. In the daylight, everything and everyone seems to be copacetic and safe. Light began to be incorporated in the human consciousness and psyche as rectitude, benevolence, and morality. There was and is the perception that there was as goodness and positivity. There was less danger when it was light.
In contrast, darkness was and is suspect, even malevolent. Darkness is thought of as hidden and beneath the surface. The human mind really cannot fathom and decipher the dark. Darkness represents the unknown, even strange. One never knows what or whom may be lurking in the dark, ready to catch them and to do unspeakable horror to him/her. The human mind, consciousness, and psyche are hardwired to be apprehensive and wary of darkness for basic survival reasons. Darkness in primordial, ancient, even medieval times were times of uncertainty and foreboding. It simply was not safe to venture out in the dark because of animal and human marauders.
In addition to such marauders lurking around in the dark, many humans believed that there were dark spiritual and/or supernatural entities waiting to seize their souls. Besides to representing and symbolizing the suspect and the hidden, darkness had a connotation of evil and negativity. It is no accident that nighttime, when it is the darkest, was and still is a time of fear and apprehension. From primordial times until the present, people are told to be more alert and aware at night. This is a holdover from times when if one went out at night, particularly alone, he/she would be in a quite precarious situation, if not life threatening.
Darkness represents so many things to humans physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or psychically. For some, darkness symbolizes fear and terror. It is the harbinger of an omen or terrible events which are thought to occur. For others, darkness is the essence of what is forbidden and/or taboo. They see darkness as something spicy to be embraced and indulged in. They see darkness as a rebellion against the conventional way of thinking, believing, and doing things. Darkness to a few is the deeper recesses of the human psyche which one dares not to face or delve into for one reason or another. Darkness can be long held and/or unmentionable secrets which one is afraid to divulge, recognize, or admit to. Darkness can be hitting the abject rock bottom of despair from which there can be no foreseeable return or respite. either physically, psychologically, or spiritually.
Darkness as............. UNNERVING
People, depending upon their background, upbringing, life attitude/outlook, philosophy, and psychology, view darkness in different perspectives. Darkness can be quite unnerving to some people. They contend that darkness is terrifying. Darkness can cause them to become discombobulated emotionally, mentally, even psychically. It is their assertion that darkness is a source of omens of a physical or mental nature. There are even a few who see darkness as a source of nocturnal entities physically, psychologically, psychically, even spiritually. Darkness causes an overwhelming, even paralyzing, claustrophobic feeling for them.
Darkness causes other people to feel extremely vulnerable. They feel as if all their psychological armor is down and they are left brutally exposed. They feel analogous to babes in the woods. Subconsciously, the view the dark the way our more primordial ancestors viewed it. They contend that darkness is extremely dangerous and if they could, they would avoid darkness altogether. Darkness creates such a strong, negative visceral reaction in such people. Perhaps, darkness reminds them of horrific and unmentionable childhood horrors which they elect not to address. Darkness could conjure up childhood memories of being abandoned by their parents during wartime or being imprisoned in a concentration camp. Darkness could induce memories of being horrifically abused by parents or other adult authoritative figures. Darkness may also remind them of being left alone and bereft as a child, struggling to survive yet another day. Children who were subjected to such horrific circumstances view darkness as a representation of abandonment and/or cruelty that appeared when they were at their most vulnerable psychologically.
Not only children, people who endured extreme traumatic events see darkness as quite unnerving, even catastrophic. Many of them fear night because of the floodgates which occur to them subconsciously in their dreams, classified as nightmarish in scope. Many concentration camp survivors fear night because during this time, they have recurring dreams of being in a concentration camp or enduring related events such as having guards chase or shoot them. Yes, for those who have endured horrific and/or hellish events, darkness reminds them of such long gone events.
Darkness in many people's minds and consciousness is the epitome of evil. Darkness as evil has been represented in various symbols and mythologies from ancient times. Primordial humans viewed darkness as something sinister at best and evil at worst. They considered darkness to be the diametrical opposite of lightness. Lightness was viewed as something benevolent and good which could be trusted. Things and matters were deemed to be on the level during the day time as it was thought that nothing was hidden. However, as darkness set in, things suddenly became indecipherable. Since one could not readily decipher the elements in the dark, the dark was given a less than positive connotation. The dark began to be associated with the shadow, the unfathomable, and what was beneath the surface reading to strike unannounced and unexpectedly.
Nighttime, the darkest period of the day, is seen as a period where one must be the most guarded and alert regarding the immediate environment. It is oftentimes associated with dangerous, nefarious, and underhanded activities, many times of a criminal nature. Many crimes occur at night where criminal feel freer to commit such acts as they are not watched as much as they would be in the daytime. Also, nighttime is a period where people cast aside their societal persona, let their guard down, and let their most primal, even banal nature surface. They feel that they can act at night in ways that would be frowned upon and prohibited during the day. They are more in touch with their unconscious nature. Because nighttime is seen as a more dangerous time, people go out in groups as groups are less vulnerable than individuals, especially in the minds of criminals and other societal outlaws.
It is not an accident that demons, vampires, and monsters are associated with nighttime, darkness, and evil. It was believed in less modern times that such denizens are the most powerful and active during the night. This explains why people in those times stayed indoors and took every precaution against such denizens when darkness approached. In many myths, folkloric tales, and legends, nighttime is the period where it was strongly purported that the dead and especially the evil undead travelled fast and the living had better beware.
Even in these postmodern times, urban myths, folklore, and legends relay that nighttime is still an extremely dangerous time of the day. They also purport that there are denizens of the night lurking about so people had better be extremely wary of travelling about during nighttime hours. For example, one is strongly warned not to venture on Clinton Road, New Jersey. It is said that it is PITCH BLACK at night. Besides that, there is supposedly a demonic phantom truck waiting to either scare or tailgate you off the road. Yes, the idea that nighttime is evil and is inhabited by dark spirits and/or entities has existed beyond the Middle Ages where such beliefs were commonplace. It still exists in the postmodern human mind and consciousness.
Autumn and winter are considered to be the darkest periods of the year. They consist of very short days and extremely long nights. In less modern times, people also stayed indoors during such periods as the dark was foreboding and frightening to them. Coincidentally, Halloween happens to occur during one of the darkest periods of the year. Halloween is associated with darkness and its subtext evil. It is nothing for people to celebrate Halloween wearing some of the most macabre costumes imaginable. After all, Halloween is a holiday where one can safely and legally access his/her evilness.
Darkness as..................EMBRACING and BREAKING SOCIETAL TABOOS
While there are people who fear and loathe darkness, there are others who actually embrace and revel in it. To such people, darkness represents the forbidden and taboo. It is doing what parents and other authoritative members have instructed them not to do nor to cross that certain boundary. It is throwing conventionality to the wind. Darkness, to such people, is living life on their and their terms only.
To those who love darkness and its aspects, bad is good and good can be bad, even psychically stifling. Such people refuse to see darkness as any type of negativity. Instead, they view darkness is just another part of life and living. They maintain that darkness add juiciness and verve to an otherwise humdrum grey existence. They love to explore and delve into what conventional society deem to be forbidden and off limits. They see such societal strictures to be extremely elementary in its premise in addition to being psychically restricting and detrimental to their full human development.
Some people refuse to believe that there is the forbidden. They strongly contend that the so-called forbidden is a societal label to infantilize the masses into some type of blind obedience to an authority figure. They furthermore believe that the forbidden is a label to keep the masses ignorant, preventing them from gaining knowledge in order to prevent human development. To them, there is no such thing as the forbidden. They want to experience life in its components. No one is about to tell them what and when to do and follow. In their mindset, how is one going to grow and evolve into his/her personhood if one is told to obey and follow some societal and/or preordained script. They are their own lords and masters, obeying no one and nothing.
These people see the inane folly in what is considered to be taboo. They view the implementation of taboos as a means of controlling and stratifying people as to who can do and cannot do what according to the powers that be. They are of the school that what is forbidden and taboo is classified is deemed as evil as a control measure. To them, what is forbidden and taboo is only a construct based upon some inane societal conventions, nothing more, nothing less. They argue as long as it feels good, elevate one's psyche, and does not infringe upon the rights of others, then forget about what society thinks. They strongly contend that breaking societal rules regarding by delving into the forbidden and taboo is actually good and liberating for the soul.
To summarize, darkness is not a monolithic construct. It means different things to different people. For some, darkness is wholly negative and evil, something to be avoided, if necessary. Others dread and become quite apprehensive of darkness. There are a few who actually embrace darkness, seeing it as an affront and a slap to the face to societal conventions. They feel that darkness offers an exciting and delicious alternative to the monotony of conventional life. What is darkness? It is up to the individual person to decide what the meaning and significance of darkness is to him/ her.
© 2014 Grace Marguerite Williams