It is at this time of year that many questions regarding the dark and what dwells within come into question. Whether or not fear is truly justified in the realm of the unseen is completely dependent on one's understanding of what exactly is meant by unseen. To some, it simply refers to the actual physical darkness in which the light of either the sun or artificial light sources does not reach. To others, term applies in a much more metaphorical sense to anything not known to either an individual or to the public. It is crucial in this discussion to specify the difference in the understanding of this term and which aspects of these terms are to be used in the discussion made in this piece.
For the purpose of this article, darkness will be defined in the metaphorical sense. It should be clearly pointed out, however, that physical darkness does also apply in this sense as what is present or absent in darkness is unknown to any typical observer. Be sure to keep in mind as well that physical darkness is not restricted to visual darkness either, as darkness can also refer to any physical sense in which receptions of physical stimuli are completely removed or are all together absent. Loss of a sense of hearing, touch, smell, or taste can be equally disconcerting as a loss of sight if it occurs in the right context.
With the term now defined, the point of examination is whether or not the fear expressed or felt as a result of the presence of darkness is truly justified. Biologically speaking, one could make the argument that the fear of the unknown stems from an evolutionary trait which was meant to protect the species from potentially harmful or dangerous situations. Socially speaking, this could stem from an innate distrust in the population as a whole, a belief that we should expect the worst from people when they are given the cover of ambiguity found in the dark. In either case, there is ample evidence to support these viewpoints, much of which people are able to confirm independently though their own personal experiences.
While I hear these cases in favor of fear, I cannot help but question these answers to what may seem to be such an arbitrary question. These solutions are both dependent on the population as a whole, either acting against the interests of themselves or others. To this I offer my own rebuttal: if those who gambled with the darkness knew of its presence and the potential dangers found therein, then why did they choose to make the risk in the first place? If fear was truly an evolutionary trait, then why is it that ventures into the dark unknown are still seen as a valuable quality in people? Why is it that people who are willing to trust in society and venture to those places where knowledge or security are scarce is still done, oftentimes, with little in terms of incentive or necessity?
As it has been mentioned before, I do not offer answers to such questions, I only seek to question those answers already made. In truth, it is up to the reader of this piece to decide for themselves whether to have faith and leap in the darkness accepting whatever may come as a result. They may use the size or depth of darkness into consideration, or they may find some other aspects to use when determining the potential risk to themselves and those around them. Whatever their decision may be, the truth in my mind will continue to remain crystal clear: there is nothing in the darkness that was not already there in the light. What one does with this fact is, in truth, of no real concern of mine.