The Meaning of “Black Sun”
The name “Black Sun Journal” refers strictly to this blogs’ approach to intellectual, political, and psychological inquiry. Themes hidden or underexplored in the mainstream culture or media are emphasized here. Black Sun refers to shedding light on the darker side of human nature. It also refers to taking an inverted, uncommon, but not necessarily negative, viewpoint on the issues of the day.
The heading “Black Sun Journal” works for the “Energy Transition” page, too, since industrial pollution often threatens in some parts of the world to “black out the sun.” It is also a workable metaphor for “black” oil and fossil fuel dependency and the wide shadow that has cast on modern civilization. In another considered play on words, global warming causes a growing menace to human society, giving a black quality to the sun, which has traditionally been humankind’s source of life and even its object of worship.
Personally, the name has high value to me. In my journey through life, there have been many dark nights of personal or existential crisis. I’m sure there will be many more in the years to come. We all have them. Some try to escape or develop coping mechanisms in any way they can. (such as antidepressants*, overwork, not admitting it to oneself, etc.) For me, every such crisis presents a further opportunity to develop an interior light to guide my way, free from the need for external crutches or rhetorical devices (such as: religion, following leaders, not thinking about death, or false hopes of an afterlife) to pull me through. Some of my writings are based on my struggles. What others might see as too much self-revelation, I view as saying what others may be thinking.
BSJ is also about individualism. I consider one of the best things about life to be friends and family. They are simply irreplacable. Life would not be worth living without them. Sometimes they fail us, however, or have their own needs which do not include us. As Ian Anderson once sang “…put your bet on number one, and it comes up every time…” We are born alone, and we will die alone. So we must be prepared to take care of ourselves. Relying on others with no plan B is a guaranteed offense to Darwin, and he will (metaphorically) exact a heavy price. In my view, a large majority of the world’s problems are caused or exacerbated by collectivism of one sort or another. The oldest and most powerful metaphor for this is the “Tragedy of the Commons.” Strong individuals build strong businesses and strong communities. Strong individuals radiate an example of self-reliance for others. This is not necessarily a “black” radiance–but it IS contrary to what we are taught by most authorities from kindergarten on–that to be good citizens we should put others before ourselves.
Writing this page would be hypocritical if I didn’t acknowledge individualism’s “black” side. A few examples are amorality, bigotry, narcissism, hubris, abuse of power, manipulation, greed, corporate externalities, and dictatorship. As with corporations, checks and balances on individualism must come from without. Each individual or corporation should strive to advance itself as strongly as possible, and society must design a balanced approach and legal framework for managing the ensuing conflict of interests. i.e. if corporations have become too powerful, it is not the fault of the corporations, who are doing what they are designed (and required by their customers and shareholders) to do–it is the fault of the government for not implementing stronger regulations.
One last play on words has to do with the social structure I was born into. At one time in my life, I was a “favorite son” in my parents’ church organization, expected to eventually assume leadership. I did briefly take on the role of a minister and Vice President of the organization. When I left, many people who were still involved thought of me as having become a “black sheep” and a few have continued vicious verbal attacks over the years. I haven’t paid much attention to the naysayers, but I’ve never much cared for the idea of being thought of as any kind of sheep. Sheep are mostly docile and follow others. Hence in my mind, “black sheep” became “black son” became “Black Sun.”
*I know many people are genuinely helped by antidepressants, and my intention is not to mount a Scientology-style diatribe against their use. I only wish that users would also take the time to seek out deep psychotherapy and shadow work to see if they can confront some of the uncomfortable existential issues which led them to seek pharmacological help.