The Dark of Night

It’s hard to tell, for me personally if I am a morning or night person. I love to wake up early to get work done and also to get up at a time when it is quiet since nobody in the house is awake. However, I do appreciate staying up late with friends or family and enjoying sharing time together either infront of a television screen or a bonfire. Though both times of the day do attract me, I lean more to the night time. This is mainly because I am less tired during the night, and I also enjoy experiencing life with other people who I am close to, where as I can’t do this during the early hours of the morning.

In Elemental Philosophy, by David Macauley, there are a few key ideas that Macauley brings up that I either had no idea about or that still interest me even if they are recurring statements. Found on page 284, Rilke has a quote that says “The sky puts on the darkening blue coat / held for it by the road of ancient trees; / you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight, / one journeying to the heaven, one that falls; / and leave you, not at home in either one.” I personally like this quote because Rilke makes night seem like God’s artwork; how the ancient trees are like stitchings that keep the dark blue sky in place. After reading a few quotes from Bachelard, I feel that he finds the nature of night in an original way. He states that night “penetrates the waters, saturates the pool” with darkness. He also states that night “invades” dreams and imagination. Because of these feeling of night, I feel that Bachelard finds night as an intruding force of nature, and that it has no problem taking the day’s place by force. Finally, on page 291 of Elemental Philosophy, Macauley shares a quote from Diane Ackerman. After reading the quote, I believe that Ackerman finds night as a source of freedom for people. She goes on to explain that we can see far-off galaxies in the night sky, and that we are no longer “sunblinded” during the night”, giving us full access to exploring the deep, dark blue sky. Her quote gives me a more whole-hearted feeling of the night, no matter how much more dangerous the night is during the day.

Brassai photograph

This is an example of Bassai photography. In this photo, the viewer can see a small distance ahead of them, thanks to the street lights, how there are two vacant benches and the weather is rain. Not only does the rain bring a depressing feel to the photo, but the vacant spots on the benches make the photo feel even more vacant. Finally, the darkness of the night ultimately brings a tense feeling to the viewer that makes one feel alone and nervous for what is about to happen next.

 

Going off from what I have stated before, night can bring a tense and suspenseful sensation to any human, no matter how valiant. This idea of night can also be found in certain forms of media, including video games and films. Like the photo attached above, nighttime brings a somber tone to any type of literature or media. Throughout the book Night, by Elie Wiesel, the main character, Wiesel as a young boy, fights through the Holocaust with his father. They battle sicknesses, starvation, and lack of energy. Though his father dies in the middle of the book, Elie ultimately fights through the Holocaust, making his way to America freely. The main symbol used in this book is actually “night”, which symbolizes several key aspects of his life during this time; including the fading of his faith, the way his life was slowly dimming to an end, and the dark and evil traits of the Nazi soldiers.

Finally, I personally have studied night and what it can achieve specifically in videogames. Thought there are a lot of examples in which night is used to bring a terrifying tone to these games, the one game that catches my eye the most is Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. In this game, you control Simon, the protagonist of the game, and fight your way through numerous enemies and mini bosses until you finally arrive at Dracula’s Castle. Though this game’s predecessor, titled simply Castlevania, has you run through different levels regardless of the time of day, Castlevania II has gameplay which involves a day and night cycle. Throughout your journey, when it is day time, you stumble across and defeat simple and main enemies similar to the enemies found in this game’s predecessor. However, when it is night time, not only do you fight more challenging enemies, but houses and churches in the towns scattered throughout the game are all locked. After playing this game all the way through, the importance and meaning of night, for the first time, was actually drilled into my head. Not only did this game teach me that there will be struggles through life regardless of the times, but also that it is easier to find my way during the day time rather than night.

before night

This is the message the player is given just before night time starts in Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. This message is brief but long enough to give the player the incentive to make sure they have enough resources and courage to fight through the dangers of the night.

This is the message shown to the player just before day starts in the game Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. In this message, the player is told that the horrible night has come to an end, giving the player not only an easier feeling for what is ahead, but also satisfaction for making it through the night without dying.

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cLoud

It seems to me that the world feels a lot more barren when there are no clouds in the air. I feel more vulnerable and helpless when the air shows the openness of space, and the infinite area that exceeds the view my eyes can allow me. When clouds roam the sky, I feel secure in my own right, unconsciously knowing that we are safe from any space invasions. For us as humans, clouds speak volumes when it comes to freedom and spiritual beliefs. They give us a feeling of hope; the glowing white that they cast down onto us gives us mental strength to move on with our lives, and allows us, not all, to keep faith in our beliefs of the afterlife, ultimately giving ourselves a reason to reach and achieve higher every day. Though they are merely balls of condensed water vapor, clouds do have the ability to not only cause both minor and extreme weather changes, but also to help humans, and maybe even other creatures, feel free and motivated.

In David Macauley’s Elemental Philosophy, he states ways in how philosophers, poets, writers, religious figures, and other humans see and value the clouds. Philosophers such as Anaximenes first sought ways of how clouds were shaped and created to begin with: Water condenses and forms together to create cotton ball figures miles in the sky. According to Oscar Wilde, people would have never thought much of clouds if it weren’t for poets and painters. Artists such as these brought about the true character of clouds, something more than just a pillow of vapor. Religions such as Judaism and Christianity look to clouds as guiding figures for the believers to follow, and the grand home of God himself. People ourselves see clouds as “emblems of freedom, harbingers of doom, and symbols of the divine”, stated by Macauley himself. The most interesting idea that Macauley brings to the table in this interstice of clouds is the paintings of clouds by Magritte. The paintings I have found by Magritte show interesting and mind blowing ways of clouds existing in unnatural places, such as drinking glasses and in the human eye. These paintings, personally, make me to believe that clouds have the ability to be anywhere other than high in the sky and that they can take the shape of any form.

eye cloud

This is a painting by Magritte. This painting can be interpreted in several ways: Are the clouds inside the person, symbolizing that we are our own world? Or is this a mere reflection of the sky from the person’s eye? And if the latter remains true, then is this painting creating a lesson that  we should look towards the sky for answers, or should we understand that the sky is the limit of our successes? So many questions can be asked just by looking at this simple yet extraordinary painting.

Honestly, I don’t find clouds all that interesting. Even after reading this interstice, I find that we as humans have shown little interest in clouds, compared to the other elements shared in this book Elemental Philosophy. I feel like we should dig deeper – or better yet fly higher-  and find more ways to find how clouds represent something true and meaningful in our lives. Personally, after experiencing quite a few forms and types of media, including videogames and films, I have found that designers and artists find it easier to make a skybox by illustrating the sky with clouds. I feel that adding far away buildings, planets, stars, or anything else that can be found in space far away is too difficult to paint than simple clouds. Though this may sound lazy, it still does add atmosphere to the area, breathing life to not only the close-up area which the screen shows us, but also to the sky and any creature that can be found in the background. I hope that in the future, designers and artists find more ways to incorporate clouds into their games/films other than in the sky, such as clouds and fog inside of a building that brings both suspense and imagination to what’s actually in the given room.

Destiny_Venus_skybox

This is the skybox in the game Destiny. As you can see, the sky of Venus portrayed in this picture is filled with mostly clouds. I feel that the artists of the game could have made a skybox with less clouds, and more of actual space and tall buildings humans have created on Venus.

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Joey Gladstone: “Do you want some…Wood?”

As in Full House, when Joey would have the chipmunk with him there were always an abundance of wood jokes. Wood has an abundance of impacts on today’s world.

What fascinates me the most is their ability to be “silent witnesses” as well as be co-evolutionary . Many tress in our own backyards have seen generations move in, out, and grow. Memories of tree houses, to pinatas hung by branches, kids jumping in leaves during fall all are from the same trees to people sometimes hundreds of years ago.

Trees can always give shade which then gives relaxation. On a warm summer day sitting beneath a big oak tree listening to the breeze rustle through the leaves brings people to peace. As Asian religion/philosophy discussed in Macauley, trees became sacred areas.

But, trees form together and make a forest, they become dark places many find almost forbidding. I think it is human nature to not want to go into something that does not have a definite way or knowing. As the Latin word foresta means outside, exclude, off-limits. I think that wood/forests shows a deeper meaning in ourselves. Looking outside of a forest an array of beautiful trees are shown, but as you walk deeper into the forest it becomes dark and sometimes scary. I think that could be a metaphor on when we go deeper inside ourselves, we discover dark and sometimes scary things about ourselves. As well as not many people want to get a deeper meaning, because it can be ambiguous.

As a child I used to always want to climb a tree. The satisfaction of being able to be high above ground motived me. I think the tall element of trees and how they over look the world shows their impact on us. If it was not for trees we would not be able to exist. They produce our oxygen and cool us down from the sun’s intense rays. Almost how parents over look their children, trees over look theirs:the world’s population.

Maybe Joey Gladstone liked to talk about wood because like to many of us have a connection to our care givers. Trees are our greatest one.

 

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