I fear the light.
It is not a crippling fear. It is the kind of fear that has the tendency to spur one on to actions far greater than one’s potential. It is a fear that dictates one’s life, almost insidiously, and permeates its very essence, rather than a fear that restricts it. Moreover, it is not an irrational fear, one that crumbles under any form of examination. No, my fear is steeped in reason. It is a fear I cherish, for it bears the mark of verity. I fear the light, and whoever is forced to encounter it should be afraid of it as well.
“Why?” the reader thinks to himself.
What does light do? What is its most basic functionality? It illumines.
It brings forth from oblivion and nothingness the entire universe so that our eyes, those menial, insignificant organs of observations, can behold it. It allows no secrets. The only way light could ever conceal anything is if it shone with such exuberance that it blinded the observer. But this bedazzling variety of concealment has more to do with the weakness of the optic organ that is the recipient, rather than with an innate characteristic of light itself.
And so, what light does, essentially, is reveal.
“Fantastic,” says the reader, “All the better to see the world with.”
That is true, and therein lies the problem.
If we were residents of a perfect world, a beautiful world with beautiful people and beautiful monuments to beautiful deeds, then light would be our deity. If we found that the more we learnt of ourselves, the deeper we fell in love with ourselves, then light would be our religion, our tool that constantly reminded us to love. If delving into the labyrinthine, chimerical treasure chests of knowledge yielded pride and gave rise to feelings of harmony and unity, then light would be our identity, our source of self-respect.
Alas, it is not so.
What it is, is the perfect weapon. A weapon that lays bare every imperfection, retardation, aborted attempt, botched idea and failed endeavor that our species, or even life in general has ever had the misfortune of inflicting upon itself and this world.
There is a biological reason for humans sleeping better in the dark. That reason is well known. But for me, there is an addendum. When my senses are not inundated with images of futility, of the malformed fetuses of once noble ideas that populated our world, of the false equanimity that we project onto ourselves to hide the crumbling facade of society underneath, when I am free of this deluge of filth, only then can my mind know rest. While there is light, there is only disgust.
Primitive man feared the dark, because he did not know what it concealed. Fear of the unknown makes sense, it is a good, healthy fear. But if once revealed, the revelation turns out to be even worse than our fear of the unknown, then perhaps we were not so badly off when we hid in our caves trembling at the prospect of imagined monsters and ghouls hidden by the dark.
Light has always held a privileged place in human history. Our language and mythology reflects that almost ceaselessly. But once again, this makes sense only when seen in its historical context. If one were to objectively study this phenomenon now, there would be no justification for this reverence. But we, as a species, have always been lazy to correct our linguistic errors. We categorize or name things erroneously, and then obstinately stick by our error until habit and dreaded tradition takes over and then it is far too late to do anything about it. And so we still refer to a pleasant conversation as “a light-hearted” one and to embarrassments as “the black sheep” of a given family.
The only justification I can find for this continued infatuation with light is masochism. That same, morbid pleasure we feel when slowing down to ogle at a motorcyclist’s brains strewn across the road probably also derives its pleasure from delving into the bilge that is our existence. We enjoy seeing ourselves falter, stumble and ultimately fail, all the while aspiring to the noblest ideals. Oh, we may cloak it in many garbs. We point fun at others, not ourselves. We find the same faults unforgivable in strangers that we ignore or accept in loved ones. We are very careful that this window through which we peek when we masturbate does not turn into a mirror. But that is merely a lie that we have kept up so that our kinks are not revealed in all their perverse glory.
Nature provided us with eyes that work best at medium distances and at medium sizes. We were not meant to look at things that were too far away or too nearby, too large or too small. We are smack bang in the Goldilocks zone of eyesight, and we should take the hint. Close examination of anything, even with an intellect as botched and insufficient as our own, will still reveal to us far too much of the absurdism of the world we inhabit and far too little to arouse our reverence for existence. If anything, the entire universe exists to tell us we don’t matter, and the closer we look, the more bluntly it is put to us. Nature tells us to remain at an arm’s distance, but we hold forth with lust in our eyes, blindly groping, fondling, accosting whatever we can, wallowing in pleasurable humiliation.
And so, light is a weapon. It enables and encourages your masochism, it drains life of meaning and sophistication. It is garish, crude, brash, vulgar, libidinal. It is a device of shaming, of exposure and scandal, of mob mentality. Nothing remains sacred, nothing remains private, nothing retains value.
It is good to fear the light.
Light is nihilism incarnate.