Afraid of the Dark?

Something that I have been thinking about is the relationship between humans and light. Now, before I start please stretch your definition of nature to include nearly everything but the creations of humans. So, this was all triggered by the film Paranormal Activity. In this film a lot of creepy stuff happens at night but during the day the couple who are being haunted just calm down. Why is this? What is it about the light that calms us? But, more importantly what is it about the night that scares us?

Now this is a very simple question. I feel most people just answer that back in the day when we were living in the wild we had to be careful at night because that was when we were being hunted. Now that is a perfectly sound answer, if we were living in the stone age but, alas, we aren’t. Right now we are at the top of our game, the only predators that really hunt us are other humans. Every other attack from a predator stands out because it is such a rarity that a human is killed by anything but another human. So, why are we still afraid of the dark even though we are the top predators in the world?

Many will agree with me that there are a diversity of reasons. To Doctor Who fans the answer is simply Vashta Nerada, but the most common reason is that when we were all little some cruel older sibling thought it would be funny to tell us that there were creatures in the darkness that wanted to eat us. But all of these reasons are unrealistic, we all know there are no monsters, no ghosts, and no ghouls (or are there?). So why are we still afraid? My favorite explanation is that we are afraid of the unknown, the uncertain, and the unseen. We are creatures that have become reliant on sight and light. In comparison to other animals we are the ones that most depend on sight. We really have become spoiled by light and always knowing what is in front of us.


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