In a generation where society is attracted climatic episodes, glimmering effects, and relatable characters, darkness appears to rise as an evermore appropriate theme. The vigilante of Gotham of an older generation now has a motion picture of his dark hours of adolescence. The undead now claim an entire film genre category, and the wars fought by realtime rendered remotely controlled characters are no longer simply against evil, they are deceased by it. It isn’t difficult to see the rise of the trend. Light shows up better amidst darkness. Explosions break up the monotony of night. Screams of rage, and cries of ghastly apparitions are more conducive for the Call to arms. Proper screenplays and narratives are permitted greater budget and significance when the audience is ensured for them. Furthermore, classical literature is littered with the stuff of our modern theatrical realizations. The stories of half-men, half-god creatures, picturesque Norse gods, and men endowed with superhuman strength tends to fuel the informal conversations during the work week.
The night has become the new blank slate in a tech-savvy age of theater. Now, we don masks of full virtual immersion, our imaginative interpretations of what has happened, what could have happened, or what may yet happen, embody a level of definition never before available. New characters, landscapes, and dimensions are coined from the peripheral capacity the new cinema tech has opened up. The interactive variable pushes the story off out of the director’s hands and into the audience’. Score-based systems are developed to keep the tension elevated, and the senses peaked, and procedural infinity awaits the more inquisitive. Where is the tunnels end? Is there even light existing outside of it?
The many of the brave souls motivated (or forced) to embark on the darkest war of the last century survived long enough to see the darkest of the dark in that tunnel (or valley, if you will). Some survived only to perish there, other evaded physical death, but endured the slower, more subtly paralyzing realities of war. Yet the light at the end of the tunnel they finally found. I would imagine it was warmly welcomed, at that.
This perception of life suggests to me the abandonment of faith. Faith in our own society, faith in our history, and even our faith in the imaginations of generations before us. The message of faith is one of hope the endures amidst the fiercest gales. Our determination is not merely unbroken, it is reinforced by the same spirit held by those near us in struggle. Faith is a fading remnant of our society, often synonymous with the religious icons of long-held historical traditions who, at times, have failed to present satisfying havens. But it is also faith that presses the more enigmatic among us to envision things supposedly impossible, or attempt to achieve goals deemed unachievable, or define things considered undefinable. Faith unveils the spaces previously considered nonexistent. One of the irrevocable elements of faith’s effectiveness though is action. Where would we be without Alexander the Great conquering the known world of his day, Luther challenging the hallmarks of the Catholic church, or Tesla blazing the trail for Alternating Current? Moments of wonder may have their dark moments, but what allowed them to be considered wonderful and worthy of cherishing in the end was their illumination of at least part of the path leading up to those goals and breakthroughs, not the depths of darkness of the journey.
The old cliché “War is hell” was a popular slogan of the last century, and rightly said. But our theatrically-sought demons have made war all-but-common. Sounds of the siege are now often heard in the background, even as the sounds of sarcasm, ridicule, and disillusionment roll on in the foreground. It is as the light of day is no longer attractive, and innovation has become the only synthetic light of dawn we now year for.