LOVE IN DARKNESS
Hal Pepinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, pepinsky.blogspot.com
September 4, 2013
I was intrigued by an exchange between host Krista Tippett and her guest, astronomer Natalie Batalha, on last week’s interview at onbeing.org . Ms. Batalha likened love—that which connects people—to dark matter. Ms. Tippett responded that yes, love has been likened to dark energy.
I can find no other reference to love as either dark matter or energy as love, but I was moved to explore what Batalha meant as she described evidence that gas and solid matter in solar systems including ours accounts for less than 5 percent of the matter and energy it must take to hold planets together and in stable orbit around stars in any solar system. About 2/3 of the rest must be dark matter, the other third dark energy. And I ask myself: How does the twin darkness figure in my notion of good and evil (August 30 post on this blog)—in my notion of the interplay between what I know as forces of fear and love and their effects on our relations? And how do I account for the difference between Batalha calling love dark matter, and Tippett calling love dark energy?
I used to think “we know” that most of your body and mine is water. Now I’m told that over 60% of my material self is undetectable. It is the primary stuff I am made of. It maintains bodily integrity, homeostasis that is, from conception through growth and decay until the body stops regenerating itself altogether. You and I are mostly dark, literally invisible matter. It represents love to Batalha in that it holds us as it holds planetary systems together. It is literally the most abundant substance of all living creatures.
Like Tippett, I find myself regarding love as dark energy. Dark energy manifests itself to us, if at all, as consciousness, which is so real that we control our behavior by it, yet otherwise so dark as to be jammed by the electrical noise our most sensitive measuring instruments make. Dark energy flows through our conscious and unconscious mind in currents, through neural pathways, between two sides of our brains. The less measurably electrically active side of the brain is the side of incoming information flow exerting greater power over our actions. That side becomes open to incoming information because the other side is drawing off measurable electrical energy that merely holds onto information. When the right brain lights up, the left brain is listening to the outside world unconditionally. When the left brain lights up, the right brain is freed to respond to information from various places inside ourselves.
There must be a whole lot more information from outside we let redirect our attention and behavior, than information we knowingly act upon. We humans would have let fly and exterminated ourselves rather abruptly if the dark energy of fear consistently overwhelmed the energy of love keeping us alive across generations. We can’t materially detect the dark force of love that so dominates our lives. Try as we might, the force of love cannot be quantified, but we have words for feeling its effects, words of relief from social entropy or heat, words like harmony, trust and security. We can become conscious of patterns (archetypes?), in stories/accounts/narratives of how people have connected in moments of separation. I consider these to be stories of triumph of love over fear, stories of peacemaking. Whether we connect with others or separate is essentially a matter of balance of dark forces flowing through and among us.
Darkness normally connotes separation from life: inferiority (as in “darkest Africa”), hiddenness or secrecy, dangerousness, death, or at worst, evil. But light, as in torture and in the half of the brain that is all lit up, can also connote pain, fear, and ignorance. Ironically, it is awareness of the force of darkness that leads me, and apparently most of the people in my nation, let alone in others, to resist my president’s call to “solve” a problem of violence in Syria with military action. On this occasion, whether the dark force of love I let control my behavior prevails over the force that now dominates even my formerly anti-war secretary of state's current rhetoric--that convictions like mine are “armchair” thinking--remains to be seen.
At the moment, all US news reports and commentary I hear (democracynow.org excepted) are framed exclusively on whether my president gets the go-ahead from my congress. They overlook the position President Obama is about to enter at a G-20 summit hosted by a Russian president who sounds to me and much of the rest of the world to be a voice of reason. Could it be that so long after the Cold War supposedly has ended, my pro-Russian view might be taken at un-American? Time will tell…love and peace--hal