Don’t Be Light

Shed some light on (a problem)

See the light

Light at the end of the tunnel

Bright idea

To be bright

I see what you mean

To see eye to eye

The answer flashed before his eyes

Mind’s eye

All of those little phrases have to do with knowledge, intelligence and the mind. Not surprisingly, the phrases which imply a lack of knowledge have to do with lack of light or an inability to see:

A shot in the dark

Remain in the dark

A shadow of doubt

A blind spot

A hazy notion

Even the period of time in our history which is considered to be an age of great ignorance and lacking great cultural and scientific achievements is called The Dark Ages.

In pre-classical Greek they used the same word, phaos or phos, for both ‘light’ and ‘eye’ and Aristotle considered the eyes to be the gateway to the intellect. Other ancient Greek words related to phaos and phos are: phantasia “appearance, image, perception, imagination,” phantazesthai “picture to oneself,” phantos “visible,” phainesthai “to imagine, have visions”.

Our words ‘fantasy’, ‘fantastic’, ‘phantom’, ‘phantasm’ – all of which have to do with ’seeing’ something in your mind- come from the Greek word for ‘light’.

Hey, we don’t even have to stick with the Greeks. In Latin, the word for light was lux or luc-. Today when we use the word lucid it can either mean, essentially, to be sane, or we can have a lucid dream, which is when we know we are dreaming. Sanity and the knowledge that we are experiencing a phantasm are all connected to ‘light’.

The metaphor that light is knowledge is as clear as day.

What is light though? What is this thing that we need in order to know, to understand, to… be?

Light is a particle known as a photon. It’s a wave of electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength which is visible to the eye.

And if Sunshine is refracted through a prism, it is broken down into a rainbow.