Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Photophobia

Photophobia is the fear of light.

"One can easily understand a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when grown men and women are afraid of the light."
-Plato

Light imagery is often used in discussing the concepts of Christianity, and for good reason. We can't fully explain or understand what it is or how it functions. Is it a wave? Is it a particle? Can it be both? How are light and time interrelated? So many questions that could make our heads whirl with more questions... No wonder Jesus described himself as "the light"--he was the master of using one question to bring about many more important questions!

But back to the metaphor we started with. If "light" represents God's truth, what makes us afraid of it?
-Light exposes things we would prefer not to see.
-Light, when it is really bright, is so overwhelming to our sensitivities that our first reaction is to squint or close our eyes. Sometimes it seems like it is simply too much for us to handle.
-Light, with its elusive and mysterious properties, can be unpredictable and cause unexpected effects on what and how we see.

What are other reasons we are afraid of the light?
Please add to my short list with your comments.
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The quote from Plato was sent to me today from the Bruderhof Community website. I highly recommend signing up for the Daily Dig.
See the whole list of phobias at www.phobialist.com. I had no idea there was so much to fear!

4 comments:

LK said...

Another reason light can be frigtening is that it exposes wonderful things. The dark lets us sit back and be content with "ok" and not amazing.

Ruth said...

Woah, yeah. How often do we keep from letting ourselves see the wonderful things in and around us, and as a result, limit God from using us in the grand ways He wishes to? Great point.

ShoeGirl said...

Interesting. We chose the exact same design for our website. Sometimes I think of changing it and then I think, "no, i like it."

Tmproff said...

Light is so fundamental. It is the first thing that God created....He said it was good.

Light gives us perspective. In Mere Christianity, Lewis first establishes the difference between a Prime Mover (a god that set the universe in motion only) and a loving caring God that Christians believe in. Without Darkness, how can you define light?

How can we understand anything without the absence of it?