Lighting the darkness in our society

"Security is mostly an illusion. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." Helen Keller in "The Open Door," 1957.

Before the City of Ashland and its phobic citizens rush to light up the multi-use bike path and tennis courts, we should consider its effects.

First, let's look at the simplistic duality of light vs. dark and good vs. evil that has been foisted upon us ever since religious salespersons began plying their trade. Rick Harris of the Ashland Christian Science Church (Tidings, Dec. 10) has his flock "praying to know that the power of light is present to overcome the shadows of evil." Fortunately, the benign power of darkness is real. In fact, our entire universe is composed mostly of dark matter — not light — presenting an astronomical stumbling block for this religious duality. But happily, the majority of scientists don't resort to prayer.

According to local poet Leah E.V. Ireland (Tidings, Dec. 7), "Somewhere in our primal soul we are terrified that light will not return to life. By lighting the bike path we literally light one small step of our way back to the stars." If her first line refers to the origin of celebrating this holiday season, winter solstice, Ms. Ireland should say so, instead of mentioning the much later parody of "Christmas." Only naivete could support her second statement.

This may sound silly to some, but many folks are so caught up in their brightly lit, earthly bound affairs, they fail to realize we're all actually living in the universe. The planets, stars and galaxies are part our universe, connected to us through the "demon-haunted" darkness ... unless, of course, there's so much light pollution, we're unable to make the connection. It's not surprising to me that we're devolving into scared, submissive, maladjusted, machine-dependent creatures.

Subdued, directional lighting on the muti-use bike path makes sense. Creating an obnoxious glare in this open sky area would be an environmentally unfriendly action, and it would not contribute to any reasonable person's perception of safety.

The reality is that psychopaths have always existed, and their numbers will certainly increase as long as we continue to endorse a dysfunctional society based on fantasy, ignorance, hate, violence, greed and consumerism.

Robert Simms


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