I know how it feels to love the night, but only because we’re all perfect in the dark. It’s comforting to be wrapped in the pitch as though no one could see the emptiness where your soul should be, or the stains on what’s left of it. It feels safe like camouflage, like home. And solitude is preferable for the same, and other, reasons: out of sight, out of mind are the happy people living in the daylight who remind you of things you don’t have and can’t even feel; like being a beggar clad in rags and shoes with holes, peering through the window of a warm home as a family sits down to eat a holiday dinner in their Sunday best, but more than the sensation of peeking into another world there’s the sensation that this is the natural order, the way things belong.
The longer you remain in the darkness the more it warps your mind. Fear, anger, hatred, jealousy, all become oversized drives until they burn everything else away. When your dreams are dead only your nightmares can be brought to life. So instead of prioritizing properly clothing a beggar the priority becomes everyone else must know the same suffering and hardship. Your focus is on the punitive rather than the reformative. To say nothing of their merit, schools of thought exist as proponents for justifying, reinforcing, and expanding upon every disturbing worldview. Eventually the right philosophy meets the right depressed and anxious mind and suddenly the world makes sense, horrible sense.
Every time there’s another school shooting, or a white nationalist commits an act terror someone inevitably shares a meme declaring that we don’t have a gun problem, “we have a people problem”, or “a heart problem.” Usually they entail a bit about putting God back in school as if terrorists never had religious motivations. But, despite their religious overtones, and despite the fact we have a gun problem too, we do indeed have a “people,” or “heart” problem. We have too many lonely, isolated individuals doing their best to struggle and cope with a cold, indifferent world made worse by unrelenting stress from social standards of perfection, of normal, and bleak financial prospects.
Interestingly, in “Star Wars” it’s said the Dark Side is addictive and whenever you use the Dark Side of the Force it gets the user high which is why Vader was able to defeat the Emperor so easily in the end of “Return of the Jedi.” And in real life the brain itself is wired to release pleasurable chemicals when we witness, or experience, acts of cruelty towards those we perceive as deserving, or as “others.” Depressive thoughts can become familiar, comforting, and addictive in their own right. Meaning not only are we susceptible to dark thoughts, but we have a biological reward system for them. And if we’re not getting pleasure from healthy socializing then unhealthy socializing will have to do. With the right environmental and biological variables it’s easy to create maladjusted minds. It reminds me of a scene from “The Walking Dead” when someone is explaining what happened at Woodbury and how the Governor tried to make brothers fight to the death: someone asks “What kind of man would do something like that?” To which Herschel replies “The kind this world creates.” It’s often no less true in this world.
The Dark Side is a part of all of us and try as we might to banish it from our minds entirely it’s likely both impossible and unnatural. While I found my way back, the darkness discovered on that path never really goes away, or at least so far it hasn’t for me. There’s still a rage in my bones, feels like there always has been, and I’ve accepted that as part of who I am. And that’s okay. The trick is to just let it be; don’t put time, or effort towards those thoughts; let it become unnoticed like a static fixture you see every day, but can’t recall any details of.
In the end, there’s nothing in the dark, there’s nothing to sustain, or fulfill you, but it can seem like that’s just the default setting of life. Not everyone who enters The Dark Side and embraces the comforts of the night comes back to the light, but it is possible. The first step is realizing you’ll bear no fruits if you salt and burn all the fields.