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not like it used to be

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#1 schinia

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 07:21 PM

i never noticed the stars at night in bayridge (brooklyn) ny. but after the family moved to massapequa,ny in 1952, us kids used to lay on the grass at night watching the sky. as the years passed the sky at night became invisible.it's funny now that i started complaining about light pollution 40 years ago, and people thought i was crazy. then in 1966 we moved to upstate ny. and you could see the stars again. then it started to disappear as the years passed. then we moved to emerald isle,nc in 1993. and you could see the stars again, if you walked out to the ocean on the beach. then it started to disappear again. they started to put really bright lights on these long poles and you had a hard time just seeing where you were walking. some times you wonder about people. why do they think they have to flood vast areas with these blinding lights. now i'm in a subdivision in the woods, and the street lamps are 150 feet apart. the whole place is lit up ! if i could only get everyone to get into telescopes ? you cany even go out on the fishing piers, they flood them with bright lights too.

#2 amicus sidera

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 09:35 PM

some times you wonder about people. why do they think they have to flood vast areas with these blinding lights.


Selfishness, ignorance, aping what others are doing out of pack mentality; all these figure into the situation to a degree. However, I think that the overriding reason is fear - fear of the dark and what it might hold.

There was a time within living memory when most people had light within, metaphysically speaking, and darkness held no horrors for them. If one looks around today, it is apparent that this internal illumination has for the most part faded away; the increase in light pollution is proportional to the population's descent into spiritual darkness. The inner light having gone out in the souls of most, the enveloping darkness ignites a well-founded dread within them... the result is an external, unsuccessful attempt, via excessive lighting, to banish the shadows, and more importantly, what lurks within them.

Light pollution is indicative of spiritual pollution, a symptom of a sick world; one wildly out of balance and careening towards destruction.


#3 schinia

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 03:25 PM

very well said. also very sad.

#4 Tony Flanders

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 04:05 PM

I think that the overriding reason is fear - fear of the dark and what it might hold.


That's certainly a huge factor. Arguably even more important are safety and convenience. Street lighting makes things much safer for pedestrians, both to avoid stumbling on obstacles and to avoid getting hit by cars. And it greatly reduces certain classes of car accidents -- though it probably slightly increases others.

There was a time within living memory when most people had light within, metaphysically speaking, and darkness held no horrors for them.


Yeah, right. So how come "darkness" has been used as a metaphor for ignorance and terror since time immemorial? As in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness."

Fear of darkness is innate in our species -- for good reason. As mammals go, we have exceptionally poor night vision. Together with mediocre hearing and virtually nonexistent sense of smell -- the other senses that most animals rely on at night.

I'm not saying that fear is the only innate reaction to darkness; we also have an innate love of darkness that tends to be suppressed in modern society.

Of course, the modern fear of darkness goes beyond what's innate; it's also conditioned in our society precisely because darkness is so rare. Back before electric lights, people had to get used to darkness whether they liked it or not. Not so now. So now, fear of the unfamiliar (another universal human trait) is a big factor in fear of darkness.

If I had to blame a single factor for light pollution, it would be the automobile, which has alienated us from nature in every conceivable way.

#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 01:49 AM

Fear of darkness is innate in our species -- for good reason. As mammals go, we have exceptionally poor night vision. Together with mediocre hearing and virtually nonexistent sense of smell -- the other senses that most animals rely on at night.



Tony:

Good points... Awareness and apprehension, fear is a reasonable emotion and a valuable emotion, it prevents us from doing foolish things.

My inner light allows others to light the night if they feel the need.

Jon

#6 derangedhermit

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:15 AM

The inner light having gone out in the souls of most, the enveloping darkness ignites a well-founded dread within them...


Why do you think this "dread" is well-founded?

This post mentions the mystic, spirituality, "metaphysics", the "soul", etc. Do your beliefs have a mainstream name?

#7 Tony Flanders

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 01:36 PM

The inner light having gone out in the souls of most, the enveloping darkness ignites a well-founded dread within them...


Why do you think this "dread" is well-founded?

This post mentions the mystic, spirituality, "metaphysics", the "soul", etc. Do your beliefs have a mainstream name?


Better not go there.

#8 derangedhermit

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:22 PM

It's not me going there. I was pointing out the obvious.

People put lights on fishing piers:
1) to provide light for what they are doing, often with small objects, tying knots in line, or using knives cutting bait
2) to attract fish; people drop floating light onto the water's surface to do the same thing.

#9 richard7

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:23 PM


Better not go there.


Yup.

#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 05:10 PM

The inner light having gone out in the souls of most, the enveloping darkness ignites a well-founded dread within them...


Why do you think this "dread" is well-founded?

This post mentions the mystic, spirituality, "metaphysics", the "soul", etc. Do your beliefs have a mainstream name?


When it comes to fear and dread, I find it valuable to consider my own and not make presumptions/projections about the inner lives of others.

Jon

#11 derangedhermit

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 05:22 PM

I have found this helpful over the years, often when most needed - and I do believe it is most appropriate for cloudynights.com.

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry (with permission)

#12 mountain monk

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 07:41 PM

Yes, a fine poem, one of his best. May we all heed it.

I like darkness and solitude and find great peace there.

Dark skies.

Jack

#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:16 PM

Yes, a fine poem, one of his best. May we all heed it.

I like darkness and solitude and find great peace there.

Dark skies.

Jack


Jack:

When I saw that had posted to this thread... I immediately thought to myself:

In all your trips to the top, you must have spent more than a few clear nights on top of Grand Teton. How glorious would that be? nearly 14,000 feet, looking out over the valley, up to Yellowstone, to the south and to the west... and nothing but bright, bright stars overhead...

Jon

#14 mountain monk

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:55 PM

Jon,

Not many nights on top--a few after climbing the Exum Ridge in the moonlight--but over 400 nights at our hut at 11,700 feet. We left for the climb at 4am, and since everyone was huffing and puffing and wanted to rest, there were many chances to point out the stars, some constellations, and rattle on about their stories. When the weather was good, we slept outside. I always had my binoculars, and I can't think of many (some) things better than crashed in a sleeping bag looking at the dark sky. Fond memories of all that!

Do you remember the tune:

"I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world."

Louis Armstrong

Dark skies.

Jack

#15 Starlon

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 03:40 PM

"THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more."

Wordsworth got that right, the 'celestial light' emanating from our own galaxy and all the faint fuzzies !

And so, ever since Edison demonstrated to and was backed by financiers, including J.P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family in late 1879, which also included lighting J.P. Morgan's and the few other investor's homes. And that date in 1882 when he threw the switch that engaged the syndicate's six 'Jumbo' dynamos at the Pearl Street power plant, and lit up Broadway... we started on the long road to bright nights. And BIG buck$ for all the ensuing corporations that quickly cashed-in on the lighting industry. Although better ways of lighting developed fairly quickly, such as the fluorescent light. Edison invented a fluorescent lamp in 1896 and got a patent in 1907, it was not put into production. Hmm.. too efficient? It would cut into the profits of JP's syndicate. Even the CFL was from the 1940s. But - like right up to today, the dark-age incandescent bulbs, just like from 135 years ago.. STILL pollute the sky. The power of corporate lobbies ! :mad:

But.. nothing lasts forever. It seems the economics of LED lighting which is mostly quite directional - as in down lighting, will increasingly creep into every city around the planet.

Darker nights are coming ! :jump:

#16 Mxplx2

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:54 PM

"not like it used to be" is only evident to anyone old enough to know how it used to be. To the younger generation, it's always been this way, it's all they know. So why would they support any return to the way it used to be?

#17 mountain monk

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:27 PM

A key point.

That's why it is so important to encourage people, especially young people, to get to a black or gray zone sky--to see the beauty of the night sky, to see it's possibilities and wonder. Continuous observing under a white zone sky produces a skewed vision of what astronomy can be, increases acceptance of diminished skies, and suppresses a vivid sense of the need for change. Yes, many people are stuck with it, make the best of it, etc., and more power to them, bless them. But.... It's rather like having an opinion of Rembrandt when you have only viewed his paintings through sandblasted glass. The wonder of dark skies is lost, and it is that wonder that drives science, poetry, enchantment, and much else of value. IMHO, of course.

Dark skies.

Jack

#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 06:07 AM

"not like it used to be" is only evident to anyone old enough to know how it used to be. To the younger generation, it's always been this way, it's all they know. So why would they support any return to the way it used to be?


As Jack points out, getting out to dark skies, something that many city dwellers do when camping and such, is important. I think it is a good thing.

I have no with any goal in mind but simply believe it should be part of everyone's experience.

I do take issue with the idea that light pollution and electric lights are some sort of corporate scheme.

We all use electricity, we all use electric lights, we all benefit from electric lights at night and we are all partially responsible for light pollution. Imagine cross the street in a busy intersection if the cars and buses had no lights...

Jon

#19 Tony Flanders

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 07:40 AM

We are all partially responsible for light pollution.


Hear, hear! This is why holier-than-thou statements irk me so much.

Imagine cross the street in a busy intersection if the cars and buses had no lights.


Done that; it's common enough in 3rd-world countries. Works OK, sort of. But fatality rates are much higher than here.

#20 schinia

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:21 AM

not to get off the subject, but did you know that grave sites and some small cemeteries are disappearing every day in this country. dating back to the 1700's we are losing part of ourselves. even the forests. did you know the colonists had tree Bee's, to clear more than an acre for a cabin. by taking down over 300 year old trees, on virgin land. that had not had the sun hit the ground for centuries, starting in the morning and were able to see the stars by nightfall ! yes just a few hours. you wouldn't believe how they did it with just axes.

#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:37 AM

Hear, hear! This is why holier-than-thou statements irk me so much.



OK...

I am partially responsible for the light pollution...

There's a question that each of us might ask ourselves.

Jon

#22 Ebyl

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:45 AM

Everyone cares about different things. The most you can do is try to politely educate people about the things you care about and hope some of it rubs off.

I don't think it's an indicator of the degradation of humans, their spirits, or anything else. It's just human nature that you can't care about everything, and as was mentioned, many people don't have much experience outside of cities to compare anything to.

Every single person does "stupid" and "unreasonable" stuff each day. Multiple times. Some of it will bother one person, while another (including the person doing it) won't think anything of it.

That's life as a human.

#23 Mxplx2

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 12:46 PM

Is it more light pollution by itself or more people needing lights? I'm old enough to remember when the population in the U.S. was 180 million. It's over 300 million now and all afraid of the dark (or maybe of eachother), hence more lights.

#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 01:07 PM

Everyone cares about different things. The most you can do is try to politely educate people about the things you care about and hope some of it rubs off.

I don't think it's an indicator of the degradation of humans, their spirits, or anything else. It's just human nature that you can't care about everything, and as was mentioned, many people don't have much experience outside of cities to compare anything to.

Every single person does "stupid" and "unreasonable" stuff each day. Multiple times. Some of it will bother one person, while another (including the person doing it) won't think anything of it.

That's life as a human.


:waytogo:

Very well said..

Everyone does the best they can...

Jon

#25 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 01:22 PM

Something to keep in mind:

Gas stations open at all hours.
Grocery stores open at all hours.
Many businesses needing to be open at all hours to deal with an electronically connected world.

Street lights required to be on at all hours for those people who have to shop at 2am.

Lawsuits because of accidents that happened in the dark.






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