In Brightest Night

brightest night

For a good portion of my life, I was rather nihilistic. Everyday -- especially during my teenage years -- I did not seem to refrain from becoming drunk on ungebluzen (being forlorn).

In becoming more observant with my Jewish heritage, I find myself moving leagues beyond these sentiments that used to define me. Yet as I journey toward the brighter tomorrow, it seems mainstream media and culture are embracing those feelings that once made me loom over the chasm over oblivion.

It seems everywhere from Hollywood, the newsroom, the television, our newsfeed, etc. is smattered or drenched in either a sense bleakness or riding the bandwagon of the apocalyptic genre. It gets to the point where -- as someone who had sought to move beyond it -- it almost becomes palpable.

More glaring than simply observing the extent of this trend, my continued learning has caused me to consider an inverse view beyond the dismal -- that while the night is composed of black, an incalculable abundance of stars and lights bathe even the night with radiance and wonder.

This worldview emerged after I came across a piece on Chabad.org with a particular passage that jumped out at me: "The mandate of darkness is to become light; the mandate of a busy, messy world is to find oneness."

Since familiarizing this message, it has become one of my core philosophies. It has also made me become more acquainted with the theme in Jewish philosophy of how the mind rules over the heart and the relationship between the animal and godly souls within us.

In terms of what this means in the context of today's desolation proliferation, it can be seen that the relationship between the heart and mind parallels the relationship between the light and the dark. Much like how the mind and godly soul keep the heart and animal soul in check, balancing ourselves so we can strive toward becoming better people, so too does our perspective of our world. Basically, while everything appears to be spiraling downward, that is only from observing the "now" and does not represent the larger picture of the progression of our world.

Of course, uncertainty remains for what the world will become, but tomorrow always remains uncertain until we go out and interact with it and either add or subtract from its potential through our actions to brighten that day and repair another portion of the world.

I feel the media relies too heavily on the present's pathos without accounting for the logos and ethos to balance it all out. The result is the image of a world crumbling and shrouded in bad news. However, this is only the perception when the heart is left in charge of the whole without the mind helping to properly process. When the mind is allowed to rule over the heart, it becomes apparent that the mandate of darkness is universal: Within the bad news, there is an equal if not greater amount of good news intertwined.

To our emotions, it seems like everything might go up in flames at any moment these days, but if we invite the rest of our faculties to process our observations, the world looks more like one that is changing and heading toward a brighter tomorrow. Sure, things are transitioning haphazardly, but they are heading in a brighter direction nonetheless. There will be bumps and struggles along the way, but they will enable us to reach ever higher levels of consciousness.


Barrett Ried Goldflies photo 375
Barrett is a native Chicagoan and graduate of the University of Chicago (UIC). While attending, he pursued is natural love of history and anthropology, as well as discovered his passion for Jewish culture and the Jewish faith. Currently he works as a cashier a... Read More



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