As it happens, the United Nations is currently celebrating the “Year of Light.” To be more specific, it’s the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, or IYL 2015, for short.

According to the initiative’s steering committee chairman, John Dudley,

“An International Year of Light is a tremendous opportunity to ensure that international policymakers and stakeholders are made aware of the problem-solving potential of light technology. We now have a unique opportunity to raise global awareness of this.”

With that in mind, today’s Daily Create challenge revolves around one simple question: Why might light matter to us digital storytellers?

As much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think going for a literal translation of this question will provide me a sure answer this time. While artificial light does allow us to see things in the dark, mankind’s connection with light, dating back to the discovery of fire itself, is something that’s been taken for granted nowadays.

So, how, or why, does light matter to people like me, in a day and age where, to many, it doesn’t? Well, since light is treated as nothing new, but the warmth it gives is not, the rather simple answer here is that the light can’t shine upon everyone, all the time, and some of us can still give a little warmth to those who deserve it the most.

In her 1902 short story, “Vesalius in Zante (1564),” novelist Edith Wharton said, “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
What this means is that the warmth, that light gives us directly, can still be reflected, onto those who don’t receive it as much as others.

Simply put, Miss Wharton’s argument is that the way we choose to live our lives comes down to one of two choices. You can light the world on your own power, like a candle, following your conscience and doing whatever makes you happy, or you can use the reflection of the light of another, like a mirror, following the teachings and beliefs of others.

My argument is that, although the first argument still stands, the stance represented by the mirror is more inclined to help others, not follow their orders. The unavoidable truth of the matter is that not everyone can live in the proverbial lap of luxury. Although, given how much of a joke the act of being there in someone’s time of need has become in the last century or so, I can’t imagine why.

To me, at least, light matters to digital storytellers because of how we can pass on its warmth to others. You can either be selfish, and help yourself, or selfless, and help the less fortunate members of your section of society.

It’s a short-term decision, with long-term ramifications, both for you and others like you. Make it a great day, or not. The choice is yours.


Posted in Daily Create, Digital Storytelling (#ds106) Tagged with: , ,