We have all heard of Carpe Diem (Seize the Day), or YOLO, for the younger generation. To live in the present with little regard for the future. It means to enjoy the sunshine, take in the light and live life in the present. It’s important for our well being to do this from time to time but doesn’t mean to act in a stupid manner or take unnecessary risks as some subscribers of YOLO might think. It does mean to take advantage of opportunities that life presents us and simply enjoy them.
There are always two sides to the coin and we as a society have forgotten this. The other side of the coin is Carpe Noctem (Seize the Night). To live with little or no regard of fear. We have forgotten that the night hides things. It hides our fears, our fears for the future, our fears for safety, the fear of the unknown and of hidden things. I believe our forefathers knew this. They lived in times where maps ended with “Here there be Dragons” but they sailed there anyway. They lived in a time where nursery rhymes were scary and times where venturing into the dark was risky. Their nursery rhymes weren’t warnings though. They were lessons. Lessons in how to conquer fear, how to give it a name to make it smaller, how our fears can be beaten and all it takes is a brave soul. That being afraid is OK but bravery is the act of conquering your fears.
In our world today we put lights and cameras on every street as if they could banish the night. But the night is still there, it still hides things and our fears are more real than ever before. Danger real or imagined lies behind every dim lit street, it lies with ever stranger, it lies with all that we do not know and lies with our very futures. We have forgotten to teach our kids our fairy tales, forgotten to teach them how to name our fears to make them smaller, how to be brave and how to conquer their fears. Now we live in a world where a man 10,000 miles away can say boo and a million people jump in fright. Where daemons on TV are scarier then the predators on our doorsteps.
Carpe Noctem. We need to seize the night. We need to take back the night and look into it to see it’s wonder. The brave souls offering to face abuse and racism on behalf of a stranger for #IllRideWithYou seized the night. They decided to live in a world without hatred and racism rather than live with the fear of terrorism. Those tortured souls at #YesAllWomen who shared their stories in the hope it may help others seized the night. They decided to live in a world where abuse could be stopped rather than live with the fear of shame. Everywhere I look there are countless people who know how to seize the night. They are are everyday people who face their fears and choose to do what is right and necessary anyway. The bloggers supporting the downtrodden and abused, the volunteers, the activists, the ordinary mums and dads teaching their children to do the right things regardless of what society says. The fairy tales may no longer be being read but these people understand how to seize the night.
So when you next face your fears are you going to seize back the night, or are you going to erect lamp posts in the hope the night will vanish.
Photo: Flickr/Paul Walker