I watched one of the last Harry Potter movies recently. Dumbledore, the great wizard, and Voldemort, the scary guy, were in the fight of their lives. As I watched, I thought to myself, what would it be like if the light didn’t always win? Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Cinderella and her stepmother. Aslan and the witch. Peter Pan and Captain Hook.
The gospel of John in the first chapter reads, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” What if the dark did not always succumb to the light? Why is the light continually privileged over the dark? Day is not better than night. Night is not better than day. We need one to know the other. What would it be like if Dumbledore and Voldemort befriended one another? What if Peter Pan and Captain Hook figured it out? What if the mean stepmother sat at the table with Cinderella and the prince? And as the day turns into dusk, the light succumbs to the dark as much as the dark does to the light.
One of the people I interviewed in my dissertation on darkness, the poet Carl Leggo, said this:
The darkness, the dark side, pervades and suffuses and infuses everything. There’s no avoiding the darkness. The darkness, the shadow, is as present and as necessary as is the light. They are not binary oppositions. It’s probably better understood as a kind of a tango, a kind of dance together. And I’m actually wanting to acknowledge that instead of living in binary positions of good and evil and love and hatred and dark and light and so on. Instead of living in those binary oppositions, I am wanting to sort out, in my own imagination at least, how I am in the midst of all of it, all the time, and in the midst of it with everybody else.