Jan. 22, 2005
I think it was George Carlin who postulated:
"What is the Speed of Dark?"....................
The answer might seem to be very straightforward and logical. It would be all too easy to deduce that light must "push" the dark away at the same speed it approaches. So the speed of dark must also be 186,000 miles per second.
But there are many complicating matters. Darkness is much heavier than light, and therefore much more subject to the laws of gravity. Darkness only has mass within an atmosphere. It doesn't take a black hole to capture dark; the earth's gravity is sufficient.
This is where we get the expression "night fell," and more broadly it accounts for the common reference to "darkness falling." It is also why your eyes feel heavy as one lingers into the nighttime hours (the weight of encroaching darkness is felt in the eyelids, which contain some of the weakest and most sensitive muscles in the body).
Furthermore, when we indicate that we will "sleep on" an idea, we are in fact sleeping *under* the veil of darkness, which tends to impress the thought upon our minds.
If you were to swim just below the surface of a lake, you would encounter ample brightness. However, if you were to slowly swim deeper and deeper, you would notice it getting darker and darker. When you reached a sufficient depth, you would be in total darkness. This is because the heavier dark sinks to the bottom of the lake and the lighter light floats at the top. That is, in fact, why it is called LIGHT.
As an aside note, always drink water from a *glass*, so that light is able to fully push the darkness out as you drink it. A cup (particularly a covered one) would only serve to hold the darkness in. The introduction of light into the gastrointestinal tract is an important aid in proper digestion.
Consider the introduction of foods labeled "lite." Not only are they more readily digestible from a caloric standpoint, but being "liter" (lighter) in color, they help aid the flow of intestinal matter, as dark materials are "pushed" from the stomach.
A similar effect can be obtained by standing on the equator at 12 noon on the Spring equinox, looking straight up (eyes closed) and holding your mouth open. This is a common and ancient cure among many native tribes for curing chronic constipation, especially after having consumed and accumulated much dark-colored food - such as coffee, beef jerky and chocolate, during the winter months.
Light from the sun (mostly) is constantly "pushing" dark towards the surface of the earth. It is a common myth that atmospheric pressure at sea level is greater due to the weight of the atmosphere alone. And for general purposes, this can be assumed, since darkness is very light.
But fully .000079 of the 14.7 psi at the earth's surface is due to the weight of dark. Since atmospheric pressure is usually only calculated to an accuracy of 3 digits - 14.691 psi, the weight of dark appears to be negligible.
However, even .000079 pounds per square inch would add up over a given period of time, crushing all life beneath it.
One theory holds that this eventually led to the extinction of the dinosaurs: occasional wildfires during Mesozoic and cretaceous periods formed light at the surface of the earth which helped to push the accumulated darkness back into space.
During the Jurassic period though, dinosaurs had thinned plant growth to the point that wildfires were much less prevalent...the weight of dark eventually increased, crushing everything except for small cave-dwelling mammals, and the seeds they stored as food.
Later, humans appeared on the scene and, barely able to hold their eyes open, learned to create fire just before they too were crushed by the darkness buildup.
Of course, with the advent of artificial lighting, the problem is now solved by default.
For years, it has been believed that electric bulbs emit light, but recent studies have proved otherwise. Electric bulbs don't emit light; they suck dark. Thus, we call these bulbs "Dark Suckers."
The basis of the Dark Sucker Theory is that electric bulbs suck dark. For example, take the Dark Sucker in the room you are in. There is much less dark right next to it than there is elsewhere. The larger the Dark Sucker, the greater its capacity to suck dark. Dark Suckers atop parking lot utility poles have a much greater capacity to suck dark than the ones in a household lamp.
As with all things, Dark Suckers don't last forever. Once they are full of dark, they can no longer suck. This is proven by the visible dark spot on a full Dark Sucker.
Candles are primitive Dark Suckers. A new candle has a white wick. You will note that after the first use, the wick turns black, representing all the dark that has been sucked into it.
Furthermore, if you put a pencil next to the wick of an operating candle, it will turn black. This is because it got in the way of the dark flowing into the candle.
One of the disadvantages of these primitive Dark Suckers is their limited range. But with the advent of Dark Storage Units [sometimes referred- to as "ever readies" since they are always available for immediate use], we now have portable Dark Suckers.
In these, the bulbs can't handle all the dark by themselves and must be aided by the Dark Storage Unit[s]. When the Dark Storage Unit[s] is/are full, it/they must be emptied and replaced before the portable Dark Sucker can operate again.
The Dark Sucker Theory and the existence of dark suckers further proves that dark has mass and is heavier than light: Dark has mass. When dark goes into a Dark Sucker, friction from the mass generates heat. Thus, it is not prudent to touch an operating Dark Sucker.
Candles present a special problem as the mass must travel into a solid wick instead of through clear glass. This generates a great amount of heat and therefore it is very unwise to touch an operating candle.
The actual *speed* of dark is seldom noticeable, except in certain instances - such as when a light is turned on in a dark room. At such times, the impact of the speedily escaping darkness is felt as painful pressure against the eyeball.
This fact helps to prove that dark is indeed faster than light. If you were to stand in a lit room in front of a closed, dark closet, and slowly opened the closet door, you would see the light slowly enter the closet. But since dark is so fast, you would not be able to see the dark leave the closet.
Since Darkness is the absence of light then it should weigh less as the light photons have been subtracted out. This is why when you turn off the light, dark seems so empty, because before the room was "full" of light.
Since darkness has less mass it can move quicker. Have you ever noticed that you cannot sneak up on darkness? You switch on the light and "poof," the darkness is gone.
When light speeds through the universe, what does it find waiting for it when it arrives? Darkness......which already had enough time to get there and rest up for the arrival of the light.
[While it is true that darkness can *accelerate* faster than light, thus being "ahead" of the light pushing it, the actual *velocity* of dark does not exceed that of light. Darkness seems to be "lying in wait" because it was *already there* - at rest. The "anticipation" and corresponding acceleration of dark prevents shock waves from forming whenever there is illumination].
So although speed of dark *seems* to exceed the speed of light, we know that this is only because it is not "full of light waves." Thus, we can eat lunch, watch some dark comedy, and still arrive ahead of the light. Look at the darkness waiting right now in your closet for light to arrive. [It is at rest!]
I hope this sheds a little light on such a dim subject. We will conclude with Part 2 tomorrow, including questions and answers.
About the author: Michael J. Coppi is a freelance writer from Arcadia, California.
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