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You can't have one without the other...

There is no left without a right. No up without a down. No inside without an outside. Opposites give each other meaning and are inextricably connected to each another. One of the great dualities or dichotomies is the one consisting of light and dark. The creation and separation of light and dark comes up in the myths of creation or cosmogony—from kosmos from Greek, meaning “order,” and genesis, meaning “birth.” A cosmogony or cosmic creation story is also a metaphor for not just cosmic birth but individual birth and the birth of individual consciousness.

For me, the dark night expresses what each of us holds as a potential for change and transformation. We are not alone in our dark night, for all others too, must journey through this phase of their lives. As we traverse this plane of existence, we must also recognize that there is always opportunity for change.

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For many, the creation of the universe given to us from Christianity is well-known. We are told that “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Later, “God said, let there be light: and there was light.” Ultimately, “God divided the light from the darkness.” So initially, in this telling, darkness and light are connected—if not one—and later divided. Hesiod’s Theogony says that “First of all, the void came into being” and “out of void came darkness and black night, and out of night came light and day.” Even the big bang, which originated from our modern mythology of science, is described as an explosion of light. In various Chinese cosmogonic myths, light and dark have a prominent role as essential features and forces of the universe. Whereas light, active, male energy forms yin energy, yang energy is formed from dark, passive, female energy. The stereotypical gender assignments notwithstanding, the yin and yang concept expresses a very important theory of creation, personality.

One of the best examples of the light/dark symbolization is the Star Wars saga. One can oversimplify it as a series of movies about a bunch of space wizards twirling light sticks around. But there is a whole lot more going on. One of the foundations of the series is that a light and a dark side exist as opposite, but related, manifestations of a larger power called the force. A select group known as Jedi can tap into the force and gain enhanced abilities. The light side is about defense, peace, and objective considered action. The dark side is about war, aggression, greed and triggered emotion reaction. Essentially, the light side is the good side and the dark side is the bad side. In reality, we may be quick to put people into “good” or “bad” buckets, where our behavior toward them is influenced by the stereotypes and behaviors we associate with such people. A few characters in Star Wars move from one side to the other or at least venture toward the perimeters, but for the most part, once they are on the path, it is the path they stay on. This type of character may reflect something of how we think about ourselves and others.

Perhaps we are not battling for the fate of the universe, overthrowing a destructive empire, or seeking to liberate all the known worlds, but that does not mean our struggles, our choices, our paths are insignificant. At the personal level the same fundamental questions are just as present as at the universal level. We need to continuously be honest with ourselves when asking fundamental questions. Are we working for something good or are we working for something bad? Are our perceptions of a person or their group influencing our behavior toward them? Are we happy or unhappy? Are we being cognitively lazy and not challenging our ideas of what is good and what is bad? Are we moving through this world with goodwill and a helpful intent or are we just looking out for ourselves and calculating through and choosing strategies that will bring us what we think we want at the expense of other people and beings? What are we trying to gain and why? Which path are we on?

What can we do to truly change our world for the betterment of humanity?

Please share with us below in the comments.

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Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
From The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952, 1953 Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1966, 1967 the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1938, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1971 New Directions Publishing Corp. Used with permission.


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