This metaphor–light-versus-dark—is so pervasive and persistent because it taps into an undeniable stream of human experience: light enables us to see, the absence of light hinders our perception. When is it easier to walk through a forest? At noon, or at midnight? Our very existence is, in fact, dependent upon illumination, upon the unfailing brightness of a star many millions of miles away. Yet, there is a darker side to light; it can enable vision and take it away. Consider the sun again. We live via and because of the light it provides, but we cannot behold the sun itself. To look at the sun is to be blinded by it.
This has applications to our own quest for understanding. We seek to illuminate the darkness around us. We seek to dispel the shadows of uncertainty and doubt, of fear and terror and pain. To what end? Simply, to see with unerring clarity and thus navigate our time here with confidence and grace. But the deeper I go into myself and the world around me, the more I begin to distrust this ingrained, implicit, never-ending quest for vision, for illumination, for light.
What is light without the darkness? How can we understand the array of fact if we attempt to purge ourselves of exposure to fiction? How can I know what is right if I do not know what is wrong? How will I tell the true from the false without an equal sample of evidence from both camps?
We shudder at the thought of all-consuming, inescapable darkness. But the idea of never-ending light should conjure unease in equal amounts. So, perhaps a reminder?
No right without wrong.
No truth without falsity.
No reality without narrative.
No light without dark.