Week 2 History of Creativity: Reading – Living in fear… then there was light!!

Life before light was considered a ‘dangerous’ time for most people. Who wouldn’t be scared of the dark without light to see your path you are treading on, who knows who you might bump into… like a witch. For a very long time I was scared of the night as I would always dream of nightmares ever single night for 7 years. I would always sleep with the light seeping through my door as it was my protection, now I can’t sleep unless I am in pure blackness as I get awoken too easily with light now.

Darkness is always seen as a negative word, without it we would never rest, never experience fear of the unknown, we would never be totally alone in our own world, and privacy will be minimal. “With darkness diminished, opportunities for privacy, intimacy, and self – reflection will grow more scarce. Should that luminous day arrive, we stand to lose a vital element of our humanity – one as precious as it is timeless.” (Ekirch, A. R. 2005 p 339) But there are always superstitions and predictions that have been told from generation to generation with children stories of monsters, witches, and evilness that occur at night.

Artists, authors, poets all celebrated the darkness of night by incorporating it in their work and designing a definition of the word. The work darkness captured different emotional connotations depending on the genre of the product. There are lots of meanings for darkness, passion, love, murder, violence, evil, superstitions, spirits, monsters, romance, privacy, alone. Darkness has given us a fantasy world to travel in by making your own fairy tales about evil characters that embrace the darkness.

(Y.O.U.A.D.O.R.E.D.M.E, 2009)

The darkness can bring out the truth about individuals as it can show you how vulnerable they can be. This can be a feeling of insecurity, a fear of the unknown as you can’t see very clearly. You can’t detect enemies or danger around you. Stories can scare you for life, movies (horror, thriller) can cause mini panic attacks by creating objects and
people jumping out of dark corners.  Criminals could be sneaking around your house; there can be creepy noises that you can’t recognise. Things that is easily recognisable in the light look and sound different at night. Without darkness means no Halloween which is a celebrated tradition mainly in America, it is played upon mainly in the darkness. If Halloween was celebrated in the light I don’t think it would have the same meaning as today.

The arrival of the invention of light was celebrated by many “With the decline in magical beliefs, night time for most urban households became less menacing… Darkness lost most of its aura of terror and mystery… Darkness fell subject to consumerism and nascent industrialization, both fuelled by a commercial revolution.” (Ekirch, A. R. 2005 p 326) “Not only did people stay up later, but, more importantly, growing numbers after dark ventured outdoors in search of pleasure and profit” (Ekirch, A. R. 2005 p 324)

When lights captivated the cities and suburbs darkness became less of a burden and people risked their lives to go out in the night with lights. Lights are seen as protection, even today parents tell their children to never go down dark alley ways and always walk in the light. I don’t think there is a difference between light and dark. In many situations when something bad is happening in the light bi standers ignore it and walk away even when an individual is in desperate need, all we can do is either stare and
not do anything or turn our heads away. Do you think bi standers are heroes at night? No it’s the same situation as in light. If you are being hurt at night with light surrounding you, you will most likely encounter individuals who will walk away. This is when we question is light in darkness really a sense of protection? With this question comes many more. Would we be scared if there was no darkness? Will our safety be at ease? Will there be an increase or decrease in robberies, murders, deaths? We can only answer I don’t know, evilness doesn’t sleep its everywhere day and night, some of us are just lucky to never encounter a terrifying situation. Who knows criminal activity rates might go through the roof if there is no darkness at all because it will give them better vision as we can see better in light then in darkness.


Ekirch, A. R. (2005). At days close: Night in times past (pp. 324-339). New York: Norton
and Company

(2009, August 17). Monster under my bed. Retrieved 2011, from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clockwork_doll/3830802163/


~ by courtzbb on June 4, 2011.

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