Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Night is not an object

"When [...] the world of clear and articulate objects is abolished, our perceptual being, cut off from its world, evolves a spatiality without things. This is what happens in the night. Night is not an object before me; it enwraps me and infiltrates through all my senses, stifling my recollections and almost destroying my personal identity. I am no longer withdrawn into my perceptual look-out from which I watch the outlines of objects moving by at a distance. Night has no outlines; it is itself in contact with me and its unity is the mystical union of the mana. Even shouts or a distant light people it only vaguely, and then it comes to life in its entirety; it is pure depth without foreground or background, without surface and without any distance separating it from me." (Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, 1945)

Isn't this quality of night part of what makes people interact differently after dark? The light reinforces our sense of separate identity, watching the world from our personal lighthouse, the dark begins to dissolve it.

Photo by Anthony Rahayel at Picable, taken at BO18 club in Beirut. Quote sourced from Documents.

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