Opinion
Thinking in the dark awakens the creative mind
Old Gold & Black
By
Staff Columnist
Friday, September 1, 2017

Lying in bed before I fall asleep, I often have some of my most profound thoughts.

I think it has something to do with my mind relaxing and relieving itself from the scrapes and jostles of the day as it whizzes by. In these shaded intervals, one of the things I often wonder is why I am afraid of the dark, and when I wonder, I also become afraid again. The longer one ponders the dark, the scarier it gets.

The fog doesn’t lift and the monsters don’t go away — more of them appear. Next time you’re alone in the darkness, stare at the abyss and just think. You can think about tomorrow’s interview, today’s meal or whatever. Eventually, the darkness in front of you will make its way to the fore. The vague outlines of doors and shelves will themselves not form monsters, but construct the wispy reality through which your mind’s creatures will walk.

The objects in the room are not central to your waking nightmare, but instead are accessories to a converging point, that point being you lying in your bed, vulnerable and likely sweating a little. It is the power of the imagination that takes over — the creative and generative qualities of the human mind that can create more from less. Total darkness can be frightening, and the maleficent being can pop out of the gloom and end you, but it is in half-light that our mind is most scared, because it creates a narrative as opposed to accepting a two-second demise. In halflight, we can construct a figure who slowly creaks open the bedroom door that sits in our nocturnal fog, or startle ourselves with a figure standing in front of the poster on our far wall.

Darkness makes of the world provincial things. Your desk is now a blocky rectangle, your bookshelf’s edges blur to make an antique. It is this lost definitiveness of things that makes the mind churn out creative thought. It is not the complete unknown though. The known becomes blurred, not extinguished.

The objects that make up our intimate space excrete a different energy in the dark than they do in the light. We toss them into our cauldron, and mix them with aspects of a different reality. Sure, this can be scary, but it can be productive, too. It is when we succumb to these creative disparities that lurk in the dark that we expand our minds and begin to see reality differently. I’m not saying we begin to see things in the light as we saw them in the dark, but our minds begin to mimic the mental patterns used to create our dark reality. That is, we build a new mental architecture motivated by original thinking and driven by the intricate discernments of a creative mind. It causes us to no longer think linearly about flowers in the light.

No longer do we catalogue objects via checklists; we begin to inspect, to look for detail and spin objects outward, placing them in a framework that is not as drab as our previous one. The flowers become not just flowers to be catalogued as singular objects in a world of things placed, but things that bloom, things that exist in a world of vibration and movement.

Dynamism of the mind makes the world more interesting. It vests meaning and enjoyment out of the ordinary.  The hospital lights of objectivity melt into a ponderable and pleasurable subjective. Practice creativity in the dark, and the light becomes that much more interesting.

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