ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Define Darkness?

Updated on April 18, 2009

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.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • danmayerisgod profile image

      danmayerisgod 6 years ago from Scotia, NY


      Neither. Well, maybe both. What I mean is, darkness and light, by their very nature, have to exist together. You cannot have one without the other.

    • profile image

      Mia 6 years ago

      So could you please answer this, (for the sake of my ignorance) without light, there is no darkness or without darkness there is no light?

    • profile image

      Lexi.10xo 7 years ago

      Great insight, used this to form my opinion on my isearch english paper on why darkness affects us negatively, thanks!

    • danmayerisgod profile image

      danmayerisgod 7 years ago from Scotia, NY


      You make a good point. I don't mean to imply people who embrace light are inherently good. Obviously they have darkness in their hearts too. What I'm trying to illustrate is that, in general, people don't want to examine the darkness too closely, for fear of what they'll find. The people who embrace the darkness, as I put it, are typically trying to learn more about it. In many ways, their urge to explore the darkness is admirable.

    • profile image

      michael  7 years ago

      I beg to differ with your statement that "...they are separating themselves from people who cherish the light."

      I disagree as one of the many different reasons a person may chose to isolate themselves from "people who cherish the light" is that the supposed "people who cherish the light" are themselves vile, sadistic, evil sinners. In short, do not presume to know who is "dark" and who is "light" based on appearance. At least read the poetry first and actually learn just who the supposed "people of the light" really are based on what they practice.

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 9 years ago from Earth

      I've not disagreed at all. I was merely trying to show you my take from the time I've spent in the Goth subcult.

      I was Goth, I'm ;)

      There is no darkness and there is no light, there is only "being." Yin and Yang, yadda yadda.

      But at the end of the day..we are our own masters of our lives, and by making a conscious effort to utilize this fact we make good on keeping balance. Its a hard thing to achieve, and no one will be able to do it 100% of the time....but thats life.



    • RickyDLV profile image

      RickyDLV 9 years ago from USA and occasionally other countries.

      I believe this is the best response I've read. RKHenry there is no escape. There is only recognition of the truth. Just as there is right and left, up and down, in and out there is light and dark. They define and thus create one another.

      Recognizing and accepting the darkness is comforting in the proper balance with light. The light of loving yourself, your family, your friends while acknowledging and accepting the darkness. If you believe killing and death are aspects of darkness, you must accept your daily consumption of darkness. For even vegetarians kill and consume the living. They try to justify their consumption as better than killing and eating something with a face. Ask any farmer, botanists, arborist, gardner, Buddhist, naturalist, Taoist and they will tell you they recognize the miracle of life within plants.

      Be Well

    • danmayerisgod profile image

      danmayerisgod 9 years ago from Scotia, NY

      Raven King has it right. One can't simply escape darkness. It's an ever-present thing. The only 'escape' is to just accept it and find a way to move on.

    • Raven King profile image

      Raven King 9 years ago from Cabin Fever

      I think it would be unhealthy to completely oust your own inner darkness. What say you?

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 9 years ago from Earth

      "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."

      Very well put. But I think if we allow ourselves to abandon such a binary view of life we'll find that darkness nor light ever exists.

      And I'll agree with you on the Goth thing. As Goths..we embrace a morbid fascination. We no longer fear death, for we are of it. Many of us, anyway. Unfortuantely all of the philosophy behind the movement has withered and faded, and true Goth went out like Bahaus.

    • RKHenry profile image

      RKHenry 9 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

      So what's the escape?

    • profile image

      badcompany99 9 years ago

      Jeeeez my friend what a dark topic for a Saturday night !