Saturday, April 28, 2012

How Much Does Darkness Weigh?

I heard someone talk about this question the other day in connection with the Titanic and thought it was a very interesting question. I thought I'd take a shot at answering it and perhaps take it in a direction the original querist never imagined. At first glance this looks like it might be an easy question to answer.

Darkness doesn't "weigh" anything. Weight is a unit of heaviness or mass as measured against gravity. Weight, like most everything else in this universe, is relative. There's all kinds of variables to consider. For instance, I would say that the darkness at the bottom of the ocean is much heavier than the darkness in your closet. It's pretty much an accepted fact that one weighs more on earth than he does on the moon. The darkness on the moon is probably lighter too. Now, I don't think things actually weigh more or less, I don't believe things lose mass, it's just that more or less gravity is acting upon them so they are pushing down more or less upon the scale.

So, how much does darkness weigh? Well, that depends upon the mass of that darkness. It depends upon the composition of that darkness which changes the mass. It depends upon the scale one uses to measure darkness and how that scale works. I mean, after all, even air has some measure of mass and weight, but your bathroom scale is not going to pick up on that, unless you want it to so you can use it as an excuse for that extra 5 pounds you put on over the holidays. In short, scientifically speaking, the weight of darkness varies.

Of course, when you talk about something like darkness, often the words can take on more than one meaning. Darkness usually means the absence of light, which is a different measure than weight. Light is measured in lumens and is relevant to the human eye, which is the instrument used to detect the light. Darkness would then be the absence of lumens relevant to the human eye's ability to detect light. So the unit used to detect the darkness comes into play in such a discussion. When figuring the weight of darkness, much of the above involves using the brain as an instrument for determination of the variables involved. What happens if instead of using the brain, we use the heart?

I have heard that darkness can weigh very heavy on the heart. I suppose that can be very true. In dark times, people have a tendency to lose hope. They can become depressed and despondent. Darkness can also weigh heavy on the soul. It can drag down the spirit into the depths of despair and cause untold damage. If one uses those organs as the instrument of determination, darkness can be very heavy. This means it can be hard to move, it can be difficult to push away, it will take quite a bit of effort to get rid of it.

Yet to shed darkness one just needs light. Funny how the language works. Light can make the darkness lighter. More lumens means less weight, at least on the heart and soul. Light instantly pushes darkness away and so it weighs less than nothing because it is not even there. With light hope comes flooding into the soul. Depression is less likely. Despondency gives way to action. The heart raises above despair and wonders at the creative power that can spring forth when necessity demands it. And yet even in the brightest light of day thoughts of darkness can creep into the brain. The brightness detected by the eye doesn't always reach the heart and soul. Even in the best of times some hearts can be quite burdened by darkness.

This leads to another question, how much do thoughts weigh? What instruments can we use to measure such weight? Are dark thoughts heavier than light ones? Do they reside in the brain, or in the heart, or in a more ethereal mind, or in the soul? Perhaps dark thoughts originate in such places, but flee the entity once one begins to produce thoughts of the lighter variety. Perhaps then they find a dark shadow to nest in until some other gloomy Gus presents himself and it has the opportunity to infect him. What toll does darkness demand when its weight settles upon one's being?

There is a lot of darkness in this world. I think it's safe to say we've all experienced it. I comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, a multitude of varieties. It doesn't always have to be a lack of lumens. It can form in the minds and escape in the thoughts of many. It manifests as fear, hatred, and other negative emotions that prevent us from knowing each other. Some people have learned to tap the darkness and use it to their advantage. In doing so, they create an army that unwittingly perpetuate the darkness. To relieve the weight of the darkness, one merely needs to let the light in.

How much does darkness weigh? As much as you let it. How much do thoughts weigh? As much as you want them to. The individual has more power than one knows. He can make the darkness lighter. He can make his thoughts brighter. He can stand in the pitch and let his inner light shine into the universe until the heaviest darkness turns away in search of easier prey. It is up to each of us whether to become crushed by the weight of the darkness, or whether to create the light thoughts that lighten the load and lift the spirit.

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