Hello Darkness, my dear old friend…

Oh how I have missed your company. For it is in you that I can hear the inner voice that always speaks.

From the unknown, all things are created, all things are healed, all things are restored.

Did you know that violent movies hamper violence levels, and horror movies deter horror? I remember growing up with this belief engrained in me that everything dark was evil. Everything scary was bad, and should be avoided like the plague. Yet I’d watch a ton of horror movies, despite my very strict and disciplined upbringing. And I grew up not even wanting to hurt a fly, valuing every life as if it were my own.

There was a moral judgment in previous generations that violent movies and violent video games were ruining civilization. Yet despite all of the media bullshit, violent crimes in the 90s plummeted, and continued to hit all time lows in the 2000s. Clearly violent media wasn’t making matters worse. I’m not saying to go out and just fill your mind with violent movies and games (although I love fighting games). I’m a big proponent of guarding one’s mind and thoughts. However, violent media actually slows the trend of violent crimes, meaning there is a light to the darkness.

In fact, UC Berkeley released a study showing that for every one million viewers of a violent film, violent crime dropped by 1.3%. Similar studies have been raised in other areas finding the exact same results. For example, studies have found that legalizing drugs, and giving people drugs actually reduced drug abuse, and overdosing dropped tremendously. In fact, crime dropped. I remember writing a paper on the exact topic in college.

But it was found that harsher prison sentences actually encourage more crime. For example, the war on drugs in the USA 🇺🇸, stretched for four decades, and filled our prisons to the point of overflowing. The USA has 4.25% of the world’s 🌍 population, yet houses 21% of its prisoners, if housing is even appropriate wordage. And that’s because half of these prisoners are there for extremely high penalties for drug offenses, yet despite the harsh penalties, drug abuse continues to rise in the USA.

But what does reduce crime is education. When we see someone doing something wrong, our human instinct is vengeance, its punishment, putting them away in a box, out of sight, out of mind. Yet if we reward criminals with education, they won’t harm their community again, or at the very least, the numbers will drop drastically. These people hurt us, but clinging to our vengeance is hurting us as well.

Being kind is more important than being right! We must be the reason someone believes in the goodness in people.

It’s time to stop denying the dark side of our nature. We are all sick and twisted to some extent. The denial of our darkness only encourages more destruction and brokenness. Accepting the darkness brings it into the light.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King

There’s irony in all of this. I spoke about Friedrich Nietzsche and Lou Salomé in my last post, focusing heavily around Nietzsche. But Russian born poet, Lou Andreas-Salomé (February 12, 1861 – February 5, 1937) was a psychoanalyst that worked very closely with Sigmund Freud while romantically involved with Friedrich Nietzsche. She set a new standard for women, being a philosopher in a time when women were neither expected nor allowed to study philosophy.

As a side note, I share the same birthday with Lou Salomé.

Lou Salomé spent much of her time with Freud discussing papers and patients, while exchanging views on everything from narcissism to anxiety, while pondering the psychology of the artist. She addressed Sigmund Freud as “Dear Professor.” Lou Salomé actually helped Freud to gain an unflinching optimism of the human spirit. She argued to Freud in letters about the inherent duality of good and evil, light and darkness, in each of us, and for the choice we have, as individuals and as a civilization, as to which half we feed – a choice divided between hope and cynicism. She heavily influenced both Freud, Einstein, and so many other great thinkers, helping them to each see the good in everything.

Hymn To Life (1882 letter from Lou Salomé to Sigmund Freud, which so inspired her lover at the time, Nietzsche, to set it to music)

“Surely, a friend loves a friend the way

That I love you, enigmatic life –

Whether I rejoiced or wept with you,

Whether you gave me joy or pain.

I love you with all your harms;

And if you must destroy me,

I wrestle myself from your arms,

As a friend tears himself away from a

Friend’s breast.

I embrace you with all my strength!

Let all your flames ignite me,

Let me in the ardor of the struggle

Probe your enigma even deeper.

To live and think millennia!

Enclose me now in both your arms:

If you have no more joy to give me –

Well then – there still remains your pain.”

I guess we can see why Nietzsche was so fond of her at the time.

The entire works of Lou Salomé is actually quite the forgotten treasure.

“The main thing is that life-faith is essentially and vitally present, by means of which we survive.” -Lou Salomé

Sometimes my own actions and words lack tact, and I apologize for that to all of my readers, and to those close to me in my life. But difficult things make regular life less difficult. It’s the law of opposites in action. There’s a saying, “Once I understood grace, I had a lot more patience with people.” – Francia Raisa

I recognize the darkness in me, the raging monster. I accept it, bring it to light, so that way I won’t continue to cast shadows on those around me, especially those I care deeply for. It’s a lesson for us all. And if I can communicate this in a calm, clear, concise, and eloquent manner, I hope that each of you do the same. The best gift you can ever give someone is permission to feel safe in their own skin – to feel worthy, to feel like they are enough, with both their light and darkness.

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