To quote Game of Thrones: Winter is coming, and we’ve arrived at the issue of darkness. Observing the current state of society and mainstream media, it’s easy to lose all hope Dante-style. But to paraphrase one of the claims claimed by Kings Leif 1 and Michael I in an interview in this magazine: The (inner) microcosm reflects the (outer) microcosm – as above, so above, etc. Those of us not working in world politics can still hope to benefit the whole by improving our microcosm – starting with the person in the mirror, to paraphrase MJ – for example by adjusting the idea of dualism that citizens of the west often base the assessment of reality upon. When facing what we don’t want to face in ourselves, or do not want others to see in us, we tend to barricade ourselves behind shields of polarizing ideology, and commence that good old simian throwing of metaphoric excrement towards the opposing side. Extremism cultivates extremism, condemnation and disgust are fashionable. At the risk of sounding so extremely corny that you’d rather do the opposite: Acceptance and forgiveness go a long way – and the reconciliation with (one’s inner) darkness is a prerequisite. A shaman once told me that in order to heal others, one must first heal oneself. Quoting Alan Watts, speaking about the Chinese Taoist Yin (dark) and Yang (light):
In the metaphors of other cultures, light is at war with darkness, life with death, good with evil, and the positive with the negative, and thus an idealism to cultivate the former and be rid of the latter flourishes throughout much of the world. [...] Idealists (in the moral sense of the word) regard the universe as different and separate from themselves – that is, as a system of external objects which needs to be subjugated. Taoists view the universe as the same as, or inseparable from, themselves so that Lao-tzu could say, “Without leaving my house, I know the whole universe.” [...] Thus the art of life is not seen as holding to yang and banishing yin, but as keeping the two in balance, because there cannot be one without the other.
That is not to say that you should close your eyes. To paraphrase the Norwegian poet Arnulf Øverland: You must not sleep! But sometimes one must sleep. Pitch black documentation of The Sleepover Project Space, in which Kreuzberg Pavillon offered affordable housing to Documenta 14 visitors, can be found spread across different spreads in this magazine. And in the essay Finnish Noir we learn that melas is the Greek word for black. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland, the third eye, the seat of the soul (according to Descartes), and the light you’re exposed to affects how much is secreted – during the dark of night, hence its name. Those of us kept up by the dark night of the soul – even though we must sleep – might masticate melatonin medicine. To quote Game of Thrones: The night is dark and full of terrors.