Our innate fear of darkness disappeared when man mastered fire
Man has always been afraid of the dark. He is not a nocturnal animal, never has been, and even if over the centuries he has more or less "tamed" night and darkness, he has remained a daytime being, reassured by light, brightness and vivid colours.
Certainly, since ancient times, poets, like Orpheus, have sung at night. "mothers of gods and men, origin of all created things", but the common man has long been afraid of it. Fear of darkness and its dangers; fear of beings who live and prowl in the dark; fear of animals whose fur or plumage is the colour of darkness; fear of the night, source of nightmares and perdition. You don't need to be a researcher of archetypes to understand that these fears come from far, very far away, from times when man had not yet mastered fire and, with it, partially mastered light. I confess that I have never been able to grasp the universal symbolism of colours. Independent of time and space and common to all civilisations. On the contrary, I have always emphasised the extent to which the problems and challenges of colour are cultural, closely cultural, and forbid the historian to juggle with periods and geographical areas. There are nevertheless - I must admit - some chromatic references that can be found in almost all societies. They are few in number: fire and blood for red; vegetation for green; light for white; night for black. A night that is ambivalent, even ambiguous, but always and everywhere more worrying or destructive than fertile or reassuring. It will never be said how much in the history of mankind the mastery of fire, around 500,000 years before the present time, was the essential turning point. It was the control of fire by Homo erectus that definitively distinguished the human being from the animal. Mastered, domesticated and produced at will, fire enabled man not only to heat himself, to cook his food and to make his first altars, but also and above all to light himself. The immense fear of darkness began to recede and with it the terror of the night and the terror of dark or underground places. It was no longer completely black.
[...] the act of reading is a secret, and sometimes fertile, ceremony of communion. Anyone who reads something that is really worth the trouble does not read with impunity. Reading one of those books that breathe when you put them to your ear does not leave you untouched: it changes you, even if only a little bit, it integrates something into you, something that you did not know or had not imagined, and it invites you to seek, to ask questions. And more still: sometimes it can even help you to discover the true meaning of words betrayed by the dictionary of our times. What more could a critical consciousness want?
One piece of information followed by a denial, that's two pieces of information.
The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.
Dear Mr. —
It comes down to the meaning of ‘needless.’ Often a word can be removed without destroying the structure of a sentence, but that does not necessarily mean that the word is needless or that the sentence has gained by its removal.
If you were to put a narrow construction on the word ‘needless,’ you would have to remove tens of thousands of words from Shakespeare, who seldom said anything in six words that could be said in twenty. Writing is not an exercise in excision, it’s a journey into sound. How about [Macbeth’s] ‘tomorrow and ...