Every now and then I see something new where someone is talking about the dark side of nature, and that often gets me thinking about what they mean by this terms, since I don’t see nature as possessing a “dark side”..nature just as it is, with patterns of life and death, evolution and change. But I don’t consider anything of the natural world to possess a “dark side.” Rather the only such darkness that I see as such is the kind that exists by a disruption of nature, whether that is in the natural world or in the nature of the thing. A corruption of the natural state, which I referred to in my post of Apollon as a healing god. Such a dark side, being as it is, isn’t part of the natural world, but is a potential that is carried in imperfect beings. Within people this can exist as a miasma on a person, or willfully blind ignorance that feed potential for aggression and cruelity. The Dark Ages typically makes a great case for this in which knowledge was lost or surpressed, superstition reigned in fervor, and autrocities frequently committed. Examples of Medieval art, with woefully pitiless divine beings displayed, reflects a view of the world encased in a veil of misery. Therefore Dark Ages have been properly named. It is not about the dark side of nature, but a corruption in nature (via sliding backwards and de-evolving of civilization and humanity) and the reign of superstition and terrors over reason.
Therefore that brings me to what I think that most people mean by “dark side”, that which imbues a sense of fear in mortals. Typically this is addressed to our own state of mortality and the fragile state of our existance. As death is part of nature I imagine that this is typically what is referred to be dark side. However, I will say that death is not a dark side of nature, but rather an unreasonable fear of death that a person can hold within them. I happen to like displays such as from Mexico, which celebrate death and the images of death. They go from the unlooming unknown, to a celebration of life and our connections to our family, our ancestors…and acknowledge that one day we too will be as they are to give way to new life. Therefore this is darkness, this is embracing a light of revelation of the truth of nature….all things of earth must eventually cease that something new can rise. Life must progress forward. By recognizing this, whatever supersitious fear we may have of death and dying flees too, though that doesn’t make us any eager to race into the void of the great unknown.
Now I must confess, that it may seem I am treating this topic of death rather flippantly, but I am speaking also from personal experience. I am not in any hurry to die by any means, in fact I will cling to life as any deep rooted vine (something I have proven in my own life experience). But as someone who has been technically dead for a couple of minutes before being revived (and coming out of coma I was never supposed to come out of according to doctors–even my mother had been advised to fly down and say goodbye because my family were told that I would never come off of life support…..HA I say to them!), I had my own experiences that has led to me being unafraid of the eventuality.
So again I must return to the topic of fear. Fear itself can be a result from ignorance as we have seen, but that does not make fear in itself a evil or dark thing. In fact our own life-saving impulses that nature gave us (the ol’ fight or flight deal) is quite handy for survival. And several gods are attributed to bringing fear, but that doesn’t make these gods dark either. In the Hellenic religion Fear is attributed as a son of Ares, and Fear is often accompanied by his less reasonable brother Panic. In war of course they serve useful purposes. A healthy amount of fear will keep one from behaving recklessly with disregard for the lives of oneself or others, and inspiring fear in the opponent hopes for a hasty end to a battle by the pulling back of the opposing side. Panic on the other hand is another matter for it encourage reckless departure and lacks pretty much no reasoning faculties. Panic is pure instinctual uncontrolled reaction to the presence of Fear.
In short Fear is a response that is triggered by a disruption to our environment. That said, it is also about a mastery of fear rather than being led by fear into potential states of panic (and though this instinctual flight can be enormously beneficial to self preservation that is experienced by all living things when they feel their lives threatened…it is by and far not something noble). Therefore the mastery of fear, and thus also the control of one’s panic impulses, is something I think that is quite vital. In order to progress forward, or even in moments that lay in the balance of success or failure, we all come to points where we need a master our fears (an many of which are quite illogical fears). At this point we are able move forward, and to be victorious.
Naturally, there is also a certain love of fear, or rather a love of being scared in a controlled environment. For ages people have told each other scary stories filled with phantoms, monsters etc. It is no less true today whereas perhaps the campfire ghost stories are a bit less told but horror has a booming industry. These allows us to be able to take our fear out and face it directly, feel the endorphins hit us as the response is triggered, and then let it pass. It is carthatic as much as dramas and tragedies allow us to cry. For this purpose too I am very selective about what I enjoy in horror movies….it is never about blood and gore, in fact I can do without it. Some horror movies are little more than that and all they achieve to do is make my skin crawl with disgust. There can be not a drop of blood involved, but if the story is right then it works. And some of them no longer scare me, but rather give me an oppertunity to laugh at old fears.
So fear has a place, but I have yet to see a “dark side” of nature.