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darkness vs. light
Chordal
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Post: #1
darkness vs. light
On this forum we use the terms "darkness" and "light" a lot, though I haven't seen any thread in particular which defines what anyone means by the definitions. I have been asked what the former means, in my lexicon, but that probably really doesn't apply to anyone else. I can kind of grok what is meant, as I've definitely run across chaotic/light people (makes my darkness all the more apparent)...but a general feeling doesn't really explain things, either.

The other day I was thinking about this symbolism (as it does seem clearly to be symbolism) and the phenomenon of optics... I was thinking that the only reason we can even perceive light is that some sort of apparatus appeared on a distant ancestor which was sensitive to electromagnetic radiation, and proved to be beneficial as regards survival...that is, color is entirely an invention of our minds. Color harmonies and color symbolism -- the states evoked when we see colors, or (to a lesser extent) hear colors mentioned -- are also a byproduct of our minds.

And then there's the concept of the lack of color/light, or of perceived void. I suppose this wouldn't be in essence speaking about the lack of light so much as the lack of usability of vision. But a lack of vision, to a being who doesn't depend on vision, probably wouldn't be that frightening... If you're navigating by feel or taste or scent, or something else, that is.

I mentioned a while back having read one of Archer's articles on the nature of her plane, and I may have just re-read a thread where she mentioned something to the same extent -- endless darkness, but a darkness whose texture changes. They remind me of a type of energy mentioned on...probably a few, of the science specials I've viewed. For one thing, we've got dark matter -- if I recall correctly, material dispersed through the universe that doesn't give off (or interact with?) light. For another thing, we've got dark energy -- responsible for the accelerating outward expansion of the universe. (I assume they are "dark" because they are not immediately apparent to those with vision.)

And...okay, I've just linked to Wikipedia under "dark matter" and there is a gigantic page there. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> I probably shouldn't try to read the entire thing right now. <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->

Anyhow. It seems like "darkness"...hm, how to put this? It seems like "darkness" is used as a stand-in term to symbolize "that which we do not understand," "we", in this case being the majority of humans. This gets paralleled to "good" versus "evil", in that "good" is what we think we can understand (it's metaphorically "visible", or at least "explainable", no matter how poorly) and "evil" is what we can't or don't try to, normally because it's too painful, exposes our own biases, and takes too much energy.

I was one of those kids who was afraid of the dark (I had my own shadow guy who apparently found me brushing my teeth interesting -- though of note, I also did legitimately dissociate during these periods [30 minutes of tooth-brushing for the win]), but the night light, after a while, casting freaky Rorschach shadows around my room, didn't help.

In my own experience...psychically speaking, it's apparent by the feel of a being whether...to be more concise, it's apparent whether a being may mean me harm or not, though I understand that largely through what's projected towards me. (It's not like me to get into a situation where I'll be struck at without warning.) I haven't had large enough forays in the spiritual sense to have come across many of these, having largely stayed "at home." I think I can recall two. The first instance would logically have benefited from psychic violence on my part (though if I'm going by Dion Fortune, it's probably better in the long run that I didn't indulge the urge to destruction [other than some pretty vicious barriers]); in the second I was lucky enough to have an ally explain the situation for me.

But I don't attribute the willingness of these beings to screw with me to their darkness, even though it's pretty doubtless that the lack of human morals did play a part (though for the record, I haven't even found the beneficial spirits I've contacted to play by human morals).

And...now I seem to be going off on something else, so I should probably end here.

What are your definitions of darkness as versus light?
2011-01-18 6:16
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Archer
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Post: #2
Re: darkness vs. light
Chordal Wrote:Anyhow. It seems like "darkness"...hm, how to put this? It seems like "darkness" is used as a stand-in term to symbolize "that which we do not understand," "we", in this case being the majority of humans.

Absolutely - humans, being primarily visual creatures, rely a huge amount on "light". The idea of "light = truth" is also some kind of fundamental metaphor in some cognitive linguistics theory, which is a polite way of saying "someone much more famous than Archer also believes that the concepts of light and truth are inextricably linked in human thought."

I'd argue that this goes for everything from the first thoughts proto-humans had when they were hiding from proto-tigers, right up to pop culture like Star Wars (in which the "dark side" doesn't produce any more tangible evil than the "light side", both really fuck up, but the dark side is much harder to quantify and understand whereas the light side can be understood through thought).

Quote:This gets paralleled to "good" versus "evil", in that "good" is what we think we can understand (it's metaphorically "visible", or at least "explainable", no matter how poorly) and "evil" is what we can't or don't try to, normally because it's too painful, exposes our own biases, and takes too much energy.

I'd say the reasoning goes something like "That's dark. I don't understand it. It could be dangerous. I have no way to defend myself against it. It's trying to harm me. It's EVIL and I should be AFRAID!" - that kind of reasoning keeps people alive much longer than "oooooh, I wonder what's in that dark cav------AAARRRGHGHHHHHH!!" But then I'm a big fan of evolutionary psychology.

Now, where does this tie in with things in the otherkin sense? I certainly think that shadows "embody dark" and brighty lighties "embody light", but I don't think one is inherently more dangerous than the other.

I should note that I'm also a big believer that how we describe and even understand the "other" life is very much through the lens of this life.

That said: to an entity that primarily perceives things through sight, "shadows" and other "dark entities" are notable and disturbing largely because they cannot be seen. I think if an entity that communicated mainly by, say, sonar was to meet a shadow, that entity wouldn't call it "dark" - it would call it "silent". Elves I know who communicate through the energetic connection of "elfnet" (errr, I want to say des'tai, but I'm out of touch on elenari terminology) have reported that "shadows" seem to lack those connections; it's not a big dark thing with an energetic signal, so much as a big energetic void. Etc, etc, etc.

In other words, shadows and other dark beings aren't necessarily "entities that are devoid of the particular kind of electromagnetic radiation that can be sensed by human eyes". It's more like: "entities that do not emit sensory information that can be easily decoded, or perhaps decoded at all, by most other entities."

Brighty lighties, on the other hand, emit vast amounts of that sensory data: to beings-with-eyes (that's us, folks) they seem light. To beings that communicate with sound perhaps they seem like a symphony. To beings that use smell to say hello, maybe they're rose gardens (or manure, or cheese, or whatever).

So that's what the concepts are, to me: dark = a lack of interpretable sensory data, both physically and energetically; light = an excess of interpretable sensory data, both physically and energetically. Language breaks down a little bit here, because I don't see it in the sense of yin and yang (ie, one lighter, one darker) - rather as two separate properties that are quite possibly mutually exclusive, in that while a creature could have dark and light parts, it couldn't have grey. And in that the muffled, indistinct nature of "dark" isn't so much "lack of light" as it is "presence of dark".

Well, that made sense to me, anyway.

I'd also note that I don't think either is particularly healthy for non-darky or non-lighty entities to eat: essentially, something dark can conceal information from you by blindfolding you, whereas something light can conceal information from you by drowning you in so much information you can't find what you need. Picture . . . the dark can starve you by hiding all the food. The light can starve you by giving you lots of food, but surrounded by so many empty cans that you can't find the full ones before you starve. Equally, the dark can aid you by hiding you from your enemies, while the light can aid you by showing you how to escape them.

These metaphors only go so far, but it's a concept that I "see" quite clearly but cannot always transfer to language: it's a bit like trying to explain to someone who has never seen sport what it feels like to score a goal, or make a big save.

Perhaps a situational metaphor would work better than a verbal one. Excess of "darkness" is being alone in the dark and everything is silent and cold and you can't even scream for help or hear your own heart beating; excess of "light" is adrift on a raft in the middle of the ocean with your ears full of the crash of waves burned by sun surrounded by water too salty too drink.

"Just enough" dark is lying comfortable in bed, wrapped up, unconcerned by anything. "Just enough" light is seeing the puck come towards you, in slow motion, all senses perfect, but giving you no information you don't require, as you catch it and make the save with ease.

That's dark and light, broadly, as I experience them in relation to human existence. In relation to energetic existence, astral projection and whathaveyou, it's as simple as "Oh. THIS over HERE is what dark is like. And THAT over THERE is what light is like. And over there is another thing entirely, and another this way, and another over here . . ."

Quote:I was one of those kids who was afraid of the dark (I had my own shadow guy who apparently found me brushing my teeth interesting -- though of note, I also did legitimately dissociate during these periods [30 minutes of tooth-brushing for the win]), but the night light, after a while, casting freaky Rorschach shadows around my room, didn't help.

Yes well, shadows tend to find these personal hygeine rituals fascinating <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue -->

Quote:In my own experience...psychically speaking, it's apparent by the feel of a being whether...to be more concise, it's apparent whether a being may mean me harm or not, though I understand that largely through what's projected towards me. (It's not like me to get into a situation where I'll be struck at without warning.) I haven't had large enough forays in the spiritual sense to have come across many of these, having largely stayed "at home." I think I can recall two. The first instance would logically have benefited from psychic violence on my part (though if I'm going by Dion Fortune, it's probably better in the long run that I didn't indulge the urge to destruction [other than some pretty vicious barriers]); in the second I was lucky enough to have an ally explain the situation for me.

Re psychic self defence in general, I think one of the Corleones suggested that if you bring a fist, I bring a knife, then you bring a gun, etc. In other words it's always best to not escalate things unless you have a really big gun.

Quote:But I don't attribute the willingness of these beings to screw with me to their darkness, even though it's pretty doubtless that the lack of human morals did play a part (though for the record, I haven't even found the beneficial spirits I've contacted to play by human morals).

Some dark things lack human morals. So do some light things. So do lions. So do Asimos (gorgeous cute creatures that they are). I think the willingness to display human-seeming morals is a product of how willing an entity is to be accepted by a human, nothing more, very roughly speaking. There are dark entities that wouldn't care at all if they swallowed your soul up and destroyed it completely; but there are also light entities who wouldn't care at all if they shone on you so brightly you sublimated into nothingness. However, in my experience, humans (and just about everything else physical or close to it) are far less damaged by excess light than by excess darkness, and in many cases any dark energy is unpleasant and even damaging. It's not a direct symmetry. The most obvious reason to me is that human-type creatures survive by virture of taking in information and processing it, which "dark energy" fundamentally acts against . . . kind of like how cyanide is antithecal aerobic life.

Quote:And...now I seem to be going off on something else, so I should probably end here.

I never let that bother me <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue -->

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2011-01-19 0:02
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Post: #3
Re: darkness vs. light
Heh! <!-- sBig Grin --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- sBig Grin -->

Um, ok so I was writing a response to my own post when I saw your post, and your post was so much more interesting that I stopped. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> What's funny is that your response rings true for me, even just on the level that I like to take my time and choose my words carefully (moreso now than when I was younger, though the majority of my life has been nearly silent, save a rebellious teenage/early young adult phase). It's also interesting that a reason I decided against being an author as a career is that I didn't want to be known...though now I'm looking back into that because dealing with people is wearing on me. That's an aside, but I am pretty much a solitary person, who finds it difficult to deal with most people. Being receptive is much more comfortable to me than having to talk and interact. And there's something comforting about physical darkness and quiet.

In light of current dynamics, I'm going to hold off and reconsider what I was about to post. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> 'Cos this is more interesting and deeper. ^_^ Less potentially drama-inducing as well (though it wasn't my intent to spark drama!). <!-- sBig Grin --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- sBig Grin -->

The thing that came to me when I was reading your post, though...is the friendly spirit who drops by sometimes. It seems as though it would be easier to be selective about what one shows, gentle; if one isn't giving off much information, anyway. But then my interaction with "light" has been ...well, unusual, let's say that. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
2011-01-19 1:39
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Post: #4
Re: darkness vs. light
So...eh, right. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> Getting back to this...by the way, apologies in advance if I don't make much sense, I haven't been using language much today. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> But I figured I was letting this drag on for too long.

Initially the post that I backed off of showing tried to give an overall idea of my experience of dark people as versus light people. But then I realized that this could quickly turn stereotypical (especially if no one posts different definitions or no one challenges mine), which wasn't my intent. And later than that I realized that a lot of what I was listing could have sociological or cultural, not inherent, reasons and thus just be overall question marks that could be indicative of an orientation, but could also be right or wrong. It's when the factors cluster that they may be more accurate (as much as a subjective interpretation of the nature of someone else can be).

Chordal Wrote:When I see someone who I recognize as "light," some of the things which come to mind are nonviolence, at times playfulness, a sense of order, a wariness (or hatred) of darkness (which may be polarized out into/confused with "evil"), a feeling that the world is essentially good (except for the otherworldly evil), a strong sense of morality. Group focus on similarity and common elements. Oftentimes there's some sense of a deity that organizes everything in here, but it isn't necessary. There's also often a sense of faith in something beyond oneself (which I'm tagging as independent of theism).
Chordal Wrote:When I see someone I recognize as "dark," some of the things which come to mind: generally allowing oneself to consider doing what they need to do to get things done, regardless of external judgment on the actions (as versus not allowing oneself to mentally "go there", except where morals allow it); there isn't a sense of inherent order to the universe, or a sense that everything will turn out all right because it *has to*. If morals figure in at all, the person will likely have their own independent system of conduct, or take everything on a case-by-case basis with allowances for wide shades of grey. Often there is not a group to speak of, or that group -- of necessity -- allows for wide variations in interpretation and diversity.
And, of course, there's the standard disclaimer here that I don't expect anyone to wholly fit either of these two categories as described, which just speaks to the fact that they're conceptual/ideal, not real. But as I'm looking at this now, the categories seem to hinge on community (and all the methods of social control [plus reaction to it] that can bring up, including faith, nonviolence, and the concept of "evil"), faith (or lack of it), and morality (or lack of faith in external morality). Which, altogether...that's pretty cohesive, though I can't phrase it well right now. It's like "dark" is equivalent to "independent" and "light" is equivalent to "member", though I'm not trying to bring in LHP/RHP terminology or definitions, here.

Then there's the entire back-and-forth (if one can call it that) between demonized/persecuted groups and dominant groups, but I'm not sure if I would equate "dark" with "demonized/persecuted". I mean, we have some pretty twisted episodes of history here (e.g. Knights Templar and their demise, the situation that gave rise to the Malleus Maleficarum, the Crusades, etc. -- which I might mention I don't know terribly much about, but I know that I can look into them). One could really argue if the Inquisition was at its core dark or light (or just entirely out of its mind). Then you get into the revival of the Western Occult Tradition and have people urgently saying "we aren't dark" and creating a straw man/whipping boy in order to deflect another Witches' Hammer (e.g. "The Great White Brotherhood" versus "The Black Brothers"), but in the process demonizing those not like themselves and creating a mythology about some hidden, possibly evil organization that manipulates world history. Or, in my case, reincarnates into poorly-fitting bodies, leading to mental unbalance and paranormal mayhem as a result.

But that's an aside that goes on for too long.

Interesting question: we know here that there is the definition of "demonkin" (a.k.a. entity primarily composed of chaos...reminds me of Tiamat here) and the definition(s) of "demons", which get loose to the point of idiocy when applied cross-culturally. For demons who are not in the flesh (like, say, in the Dukante or Goetic hierarchies, or Qlippotic arch-demons), in people's experiences, do they vary as to whether they're dark or light, or are they all dark (or, as interesting a possibility as this may be, all light)? Why?
2011-01-22 5:59
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Post: #5
Re: darkness vs. light
(Note other response above; this was just an afterthought)

Archer Wrote:I'd also note that I don't think either is particularly healthy for non-darky or non-lighty entities to eat:
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Are you talking about the metaphor or are you saying I shouldn't eat them? <!-- s:?: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_question.gif" alt=":?:" title="Question" /><!-- s:?: --> <!-- s:?: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_question.gif" alt=":?:" title="Question" /><!-- s:?: --> <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->
2011-01-22 6:09
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Post: #6
Re: darkness vs. light
To me darkness is not a thing in and of itself. It exists only as an absence of light.

i am not into duality.
2011-02-18 7:32
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Post: #7
Re: darkness vs. light
Acta non Verba Wrote:To me darkness is not a thing in and of itself. It exists only as an absence of light.

i am not into duality.

Why can't light just be the absence of darkness?

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2011-02-22 3:49
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Post: #8
Re: darkness vs. light
simim23 Wrote:Why can't light just be the absence of darkness?

Because light can be created. You can't create darkness by adding something, darkness exists on its own. You can, however, create light be adding something. Thus, darkness is the absence of light, not the other way around.

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2011-02-22 4:37
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Post: #9
Re: darkness vs. light
thetruthbetween Wrote:
simim23 Wrote:Why can't light just be the absence of darkness?

Because light can be created. You can't create darkness by adding something, darkness exists on its own. You can, however, create light be adding something. Thus, darkness is the absence of light, not the other way around.

I dunno about that. I mean, if you have to create something, why does it get more importance?

I mean, you don't define an oven by it's absence of cake.

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2011-02-22 4:49
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Post: #10
Re: darkness vs. light
simim23 Wrote:I dunno about that. I mean, if you have to create something, why does it get more importance?

I mean, you don't define an oven by it's absence of cake.

It's not that light is more important. It's that without light, there is darkness. That's... kinda just the way it goes. You asked why light couldn't be the absence of darkness -- the reason is that darkness is there first. We know that darkness is there first because darkness cannot be created. Thus, without creation, without outside influence, there is darkness. Darkness is the default mode, which, to me, gives darkness more importance. Light is the interloper, the catalyst, the upset, whatever you want to call it. If light was the absence of darkness, light would be the default, and darkness would be the thing you could take away, but darkness isn't anything that can have a tangible form, unlike light.

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2011-02-22 5:12
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