Friday, April 17, 2015
Boo! Why darkness scares us
As soon as it gets dark, she says, her senses go on alert for weird sounds or sights. If she hears something, her blood turns to ice.
We are instinctively afraid of what the darkness hides. And it's not just little kids.
This is our evolutionary urge to remain safe talking. (Or whispering.)
First, the lack of light impairs our ability to see clearly--snatching away control. Humans don't have good night vision.
We are also hard-wired to avoid predators at night. For instance, one study showed that lions in Tanzania were 60% more likely to attack humans at night. This ancient possibility is locked into our brains.
We fear walking home alone in the dark--yet crimes happen pretty much around the clock.
Modern people lie in the dark and while a lion attack is probably not in the cards, we go deeper and deeper into our subconscious. All our "demons"--sadness, fears--creep out.
Freud said this is because our parents left us in a dark room and went away at night. Voila--nightlights!
The minute lights go on, we feel silly, we regain perspective.
But this is real and was baked in long ago.