Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dark vs Light

     The chaos in the world today makes me think that a kind of darkness is sweeping over the world; like the moon’s shadow passing across the earth.

            While hiking a logging road this morning with Gayle and my dog, Dakota, I was ruminating out loud about concepts that probably only interest me.  Gayle listened patiently and silently, while Dakota chased lizards and squirrels.  Neither cared.

            Actually, I was contemplating darkness and thinking of different ways to understand it. This was just mental recreation; nothing of consequence, but interesting to me.   

            Actually, darkness in not a “thing.”  Darkness is the absence of a “thing;” that thing being light.  Similarly, cold is the absence of heat.  Death is the absence of life.  Maybe these are not opposites and darkness, cold, death, for example, are not substantive things in and of themselves.  Maybe they are defined by what they lack. 

            Science talks about the speed of light, but no matter how fast light travels where ever it arrives darkness is already there – waiting.  Is the absence of light, i.e. darkness, the natural state of the universe? 

            If you blew out all the stars and could eliminate their light, obviously there would be only darkness.  The first thought that came to me was from the Bible when God said, “Let there be light.”  Maybe this command was more profound than I previously thought.  Maybe light is the anomaly. Maybe light had to be created. Maybe light is a foreign element in a dark universe. 

            Translated metaphorically to human life, could darkness also be the natural state of mankind?  This opens the argument as to whether the basic nature of a human being is “good” or evil.  Mark Twain said, “Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”

            Along those lines, the famous psychiatrist Carl Jung said, “How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow?  I must have a dark side also if I am to be whole.”  According to Jung’s rationalization, a human being is not good by nature.  If we give human nature a free reign, and don’t tame our babies and civilize our young, we end up with sociopathic savages.

            What is “evil?”  Is evil simply the absence of good?  Or the absence of God? 

            Is evil then like cold, i.e. the absence of heat or darkness the absence of light or death the absence of life?  Thinking of things this way obviates the duality concept where light is the opposite of darkness and good is the opposite of evil. 

            If we focus on mankind and accept the premise that there is darkness in the world, to one degree or another there are still glimmers of light in the shadows.  But as the light diminishes, the darkness increases, as implied in my first sentence.  As I type this, the soulless savages of ISIS are snuffing out the lights in Iraq.

            “Don’t curse the darkness, but light a candle,” Brother Andrew said in “God’s Smuggler.”   He also said, “The bigger the darkness, the easier it is to spot your little light.”  

            Mark Boyer poetically opined, “When lost in the darkness, he who lights the way marks himself as easy prey.”  It doesn’t require a great imagination to think of historical examples of this truth.  The most obvious to me is the crucifixion of Christ.  Galileo and Copernicus are also examples of men who suffered for “lighting the way.”  And there are many more.

            Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” “Love your enemies.”  

            Plato made a profound statement when he said, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; but the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”   

            Those are some thoughts I brought home from the forest today.   Let your mind rummage around in the concept and the quotes.  I’m sure that you can take these ideas further than I have in this brief article. 

            And if you think you’re getting way out in left field, don’t worry.  From left field you have a view of the entire playing field. 


  1. I might be wrried that the forest is in the dark...

  2. Ralph this is a related article that makes it clear that dark is not necessarily what we think of as 'Bad". In fact it not only is part of our universe, it's the major part: http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/astronomy-terms/dark-matter-dark-energy.htm

    1. That's an interesting article. It does confirm that between dark energy and dark matter, over 95% of the universe falls into the "dark" category. Atoms only make up a little over 4%. The interesting thing is that scientists don't know what dark energy and dark matter are. If they don't know, I sure don't, so I'll just settle on the idea that the universe is "dark."

  3. Great blog it is amazing how much you are up to speed on politics when most people don't have a clue.
    Thank you for your blogs they are great.