The Dark Sides, And Why We Need And Love Them

There are two sorts of Dark Sides. There is the Dark Side in the sense of Evil… Which all religions admit exist, independently of the Good Lord, or, and, various benevolent divinities (“Mary”, better angels, etc.). Christianism and Islamism have the same solution, Satan, inherited from Hades/Pluto or Angra Mainyu, or other child-killing gods such as the Carthaginian Cronus (or the would-be child killing god of Abraham). 

However the Bible God and his Muslim version spend an inordinate amount of time being completely enraged… So it’s even recognized that the Good Side needs the Dark Side:

“Be Angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger”- Ephesians 4:26.  

If one wants to chase a lion away, prehistoric people knew very well that one can’t just turn the other cheek. Some modern “philosophers” who don’t get that one, would not have made it, intellectually and biologically speaking, three million years ago… (And that was the problem all too many had with Hitler, as Israel knows very well, baffling the simplistic Berlin, a Jewish philosopher of renown among ectoplasms…)

(I hit once a dangerous bear which had charged me, with a large rock. It didn’t like it, and fled. Three weeks later the same bear injured a grandmother and rangers killed it. Just in California in the last few weeks, there were instances of children mauled by coyotes and mountain lions; each time a charge by the parents got the ferocious beast off; I have personally charged American lions three times… and once baffled terminally an African lioness just when she was going to kill a third party…)

Van Gogh absinthe fuelled starry night delirium… The night, the time when, undistracted by reality, one can imagine worlds with more possibilities than those apparently observed so far…

And then there is the Dark Side one meets at night. After a hard day generally finished by a bit of outside exercise, bathing, preparing dinner for the higher-ups (one of them ten years old) and a bit of reading and writing, I love to extinguish the light, and enjoy total obscurity. Where does this love for The Dark come from? Is it related to the other… Dark Side? Well, it partly, just partly comes from there. 

The explanation is simple: darkness elicits melatonin, a sleep hormone and antioxydant, enabling the world of dreams, those parallel universes where imagination is master of all, slave to none. That’s when neural networks go crazy, includes those oen didn’t know one had, including what they are up to…

In a sense, dreaming is ultimate entertainment, it’s sketched with evocation of imagination. Imagination is not just entertainment, and goes beyond knowledge of facts, as it opens the landscape of possibilities, even the craziest ones


A relation of dreams with Evil is that, as evil all too often does, nocturnal imagination anticipates all the possibilities. Indeed quite often people engage in evil behavior in anticipation of what they imagine could be going on, or could, someday, happen. 

Dreams are both heavens and hell, among other things. Recent dreams of mine saw me being smothered by giant octopuses (once, as a child, I attacked in the sea an octopus which fought back and bit me)… perishing from heat (nearly happened for real in Africa when I was less than 2 years old), or being witness to an imaginary party where male and female plutocrats rushed around tables where free needles are there which they inject in their arms (I have seen arguably even more degenerate Pluto parties, for real, where participants ate gold… and were just as hysterical, what they call “having fun”…)


When people behave, not always optimally, pontificators often opine that it is out of fear. And fear is derided as something one should not just fear, but also despite and condemn. But as a mountain runner, fear has always been my friend. And not just to speed up when I spot an ominous cloud, harbinger of icy cold, hail, wind and lightning. Once on a single track path in the mountains, running around a corner (not a good idea), I saw a large rattlesnake. No time to brake. But fear was in command, paying attention, and did the obvious: accelerate, jump above it. Another time, high altitude skiing in spring, I observed a large avalanche coming my way (thanks to fear looking up in a timely manner). I displaced myself slightly on an eminence and thousands of tons of the heavy duty wet snow avalanche passed a few meters away. I could go on like that for another page (I go out in nature a lot).

What fear does first is to keep one aware and awake. The fundamental fear for the mountain runner being as simple as spraining one’s ankle, one mountain range away from the closest road. In cases like that I always tried to be as fearful as possible. Once I determine that a climbing partner is not afraid enough, I will lecture them about that, and if that’s not enough, not climb with them (in spite of these precautions my spouse and I nearly got killed by partners who were not afraid enough…) 


So fear is, of course, contrarily to its ugly repute from caviar philosophers, noble. Without fear to steer our species and their ancestors in the last few million years, there would be no humanity. A recent example is that Coronavirus: much more fear, early on, would have saved many lives and economic disruption. And, in the future, it will be wise to fear much more the thermonuclear, internet controlled dictatorship of a guy called Xi, elected by no one, but for an oligarchy of his fellow crooks and goons… 


Imagination, in other words, dreams, can feed evil, feared, imposed, anticipated or experienced and reciprocally…

Patrice Ayme

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2 Responses to “The Dark Sides, And Why We Need And Love Them”

  1. Don Kemerling Says:

    I don’t think of fear as noble so much as natural. Sometimes it’s a measure of sensitivity or intelligence. Some people aren’t smart enough to be scared sometimes. Fear can be used. When I rode a motorcycle I kept in mind that I was very likely to die if I went under truck I shared the road with, or the old woman who didn’t see me.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      NOBLE: c. 1200, “illustrious, distinguished, of high rank or birth,” from Old French noble “of noble bearing or birth,” from Latin nobilis “well-known, famous, renowned; excellent, superior, splendid; high-born, of superior birth,” earlier *gnobilis, literally “knowable,” from gnoscere “to come to know,” from PIE root *gno- “to know.”
      The point I tried to make was that fear is generally viewed as despicable… whereas it enables us to manage adventure, hence enables us to engage in it, thus anables us to gather knowledge…


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