Last week, the lights in Chalmers went out. Math classrooms were thrown into chaos. Teachers struggled to restore order however they could. Without light, they were lost and confused. The school rushed to bring back the electricity, and by 6:20 p.m. the lights were back. But looking back, I wish they had stayed off.
In the darkness of Chalmers, I could barely tell one person from another. In some ways, this lack of vision made movement and identification difficult. But it was also a refreshing change.
Prejudice was no longer an issue in the dark. Nobody could judge me on my complexion or my appearance.
Nobody could mock me for my sleek cargo shorts or for my somewhat lanky build. Nobody cared if I hadn’t brushed my hair well enough or if my shave had been less than optimal.
In the dark, all people are equal. We forgot momentarily about our innate prejudices, our pointless opinions and our petty judgments. We realized that, at the end of the day, we’re all just shadows in the dark, looking for a light together.
When the electricity went out, the American dream became reality.
This is what Jefferson had wanted when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. This is the ideal to which Susan B. Anthony aspired. This is the dream that Martin Luther King, Jr. shared with the American public.
Hatred dissolved. Looking around, we didn’t see strangers and others. We didn’t note people’s differences or shortcomings. We realized that fundamentally, we are all the same. We embraced one another as brothers and sisters.
During those dark hours, I felt my primeval instincts take over. I was no longer a student, studying from books and taking tests. I was an evolutionary masterpiece, the result of billions of generations adapting to suit the harsh conditions of planet Earth.
Without my vision, I realized what it meant to be alive. For 18 long years, I had woken up every day and welcomed the sun. I had navigated the world based almost exclusively on what I saw, and I trusted my eyes above all else.
Those days are over. We don’t need to be chained to the daytime. We don’t need to rely on light. We can trust our hearing, our smell, our sense of touch, to guide us through the darkness.
We don’t need electricity or the sun to help us navigate the world; we can forge our own paths.
For so long, we have run from the dark. Darkness has come to represent evil. It inspires fear and distrust. One of the most common fears, especially among young children, is fear of the dark.
I am no longer afraid of the dark. Darkness fears me. I laugh at darkness and its weak attempts to blur my senses. In the cool of the darkness, when I have only my intuition, I am strongest.
For too long, we have trusted our eyes. It’s time to trust our hearts.
We assumed that the world could be illuminated only by physical light. But all this time, we’ve been ignoring the true light: the light inside of us.
Sunlight can show us the paths of life, but it can’t show us which one to take. It can’t show us what is right and what is wrong. It can’t teach us why we exist or where to go. Those answers are inside of us.
I don’t know when the electricity will go out next. But I am ready to embrace the darkness. I am ready to give myself to the Dark Side.