SHADOWS

SHADOWS

Are shadows just an absence of light or something more than that? Can we literally see them or feel them? Western civilization leaves almost no space for shadows, trying to illuminate our life and strip us of intimacy and mystery. Why do we outstrip in a quest for brighter space?

Shadows make the world more silenced and prove the existence of light. These values are not contrary but complementary. The beauty emerges in the patterns of light tamed by darkness.

Literary inspirations:

“In Praise of Shadows” by Junichiro Tanizaki

“Elegy for the Departure of Pen, Ink and Lamp” by Zbigniew Herbert

“A Treatise on Shelling Beans” by Wieslaw Mysliwski

We grow towards the light, but our roots go deep into the shadow. We come from the shaded womb and as we live, we move towards the Underworld, dark and unknown. But are shadows just an absence of light or something more than that? Can we literally see them or feel them? Western civilization seems to leave almost no space for shadows, trying to illuminate our life and strip us of intimacy and mystery. Why do we outstrip in a quest for brighter space?

The meaning of shadow varies depending on the culture and time, but it often refers to our fear of the unknown – illusions in Plato’s cave, dark wild forests with beasts, closets and our unconsciousness. In Western culture shadow suggests evil, destruction, secretive acts and sinister forces that are hidden around. When the sun sets, the shadows play upon our imagination, just like in the Chinese shadow puppetry.

Every one of us casts a shadow. And we all have shadows within ourselves – the unconscious, repressed parts of the personality. We might also be a part of a collective shadow. However, these dark features contain positive qualities – possibilities, hidden talents and creative impulses.

In Celtic mythology shadows belonged to the land of the dead and the womb of the Mother Nature, announcing the rebirth and eternal cycle. Orientals discovered beauty in darkness, refusing the quest for a brighter light. They find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows and light that one against another creates.

In the shade we find rest and make love. To shadowy nights we entrust our dreams. Because of the shadow we can see the light and paint chiaroscuro or write poems which lead us to endlessly renewed universes.

Shadows make the world more silenced and prove
the existence of light. These two values are not contrary but complementary. The beauty emerges in the patterns of light tamed by darkness, like in African designs inspired by afternoon shadows creating elegant shapes and lines.

Shadow proves our existence.

It becomes hostile only when ignored or misunderstood.

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