I see them on my feeds, articles upon articles, each starting with the same words: “The Dark side of…”. For the most part, I ignore them, but every so often I click on one. I don’t really know why, perhaps I am really wondering what could possibly be the dark side of Honeycrisp apples (ok, I’ll tell you… they’re hard to grow, finicky and a pain to transport. OH THE HUMANITY). To me, the phrase is so overused that it has become completely useless. Everything has a hideous “Dark Side” (most of which, not actually so dark). I wandered over to Google and typed in “The Dark Side of” and found myself face to face with a list of the most heinous. Almonds have a dark side, so does emotional intelligence (mental note… read that article), maternity leave, the internet (no kidding), 3D printing, sophing (ok, I didn’t even know what this was, never mind what the dark side was, so I clicked on the article. My brain melted and I still have no idea), beauty, enlightenment, creativity, chocolate, and of course… the moon (but I think that’s a literal one). The list goes on and on.
I read some of the articles and I’m going to stand (sit in my pyjamas) here and tell you the reason why everything has a dark side so we can get over it and move on.
People. People have dark sides. Greedy, inconsiderate, selfish people.
Tada! I have freed the poor almonds and stalks of wheat from the prison of our delusions.
I’m a writer (they say) and I get the attraction to the dark side. I invent characters that are evil, I give my “good” characters fears and greed and insecurity and horrible trials to overcome. How can they triumph if they are not tested? Without bad, choosing to do the right thing is meaningless.
Perhaps the root of our fascination with “the dark side” of things (even if half the articles I read weren’t really that horrible) is because we, for the most part, live in a privileged society. We have what we need (don’t get me started on the difference between needs and wants), have not suffered like generations before us, we have opportunities and choices and knowledge like never before. I have often wondered if we, as humans, are hardwired to fight injustice, to uncover evil and snuff it out. Putting those characteristics into an “easy” world that isn’t rife with oppression, and we go bananas. Suddenly even the poor Honeycrisp apples are an enemy. Why OH WHY can’t we just grow apples that don’t require EFFORT and WATER and TIME?!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for opposing injustices, but what would it be like if we stopped focusing on apples and almonds and emotional intelligence and put our energy into the things that matter*?
(*author’s note: If you are wondering why Honeycrisp apples don’t really matter, I honestly cannot help you. Also, the apple pictured is not actually a Honeycrisp–I don’t eat such heinous apples–and yes, I am totally going to eat that Sharpie face off it. I assure you, I will be fine.)