In the dark, is everything black?

Waking up as if a light had been switched on in his brain (as usual), he had no idea if he had come to the end of his siesta or a night’s sleep. The room was so dark that he could see nothing. He knew that the bathroom, which called insistently, was NNW from the direction of his feet. An outstretched arm touched a wall. Too far to the right, he thought. So, felt his way left, looking for a door.

Then, in sequence, he felt a bookshelf, a corner, a dressing table, another corner, some furniture, and finally his bed. Although he had not slept in this room before, he remembered the heavy curtains which cut out all light available through the large window. The darkness was total, black!

So, try NNE he told his brain, while he controlled the impending waterworks. First the switch, then the rush through the door – and all was well. Pulling the curtains apart told him that it was a siesta that he had enjoyed – the joy of being dead during the light of the day.

Since his brain and mind were working together again, he wondered what it would be like to be awake in the blackness of deep space. Would I be able to see the sparkling stars which carpeted the pollution-free sky during my early life in the tropics, he wondered. Surely, I should be able to see anything on fire, like the myriad suns.

If everything is on fire, as Heraclitus reportedly said, there should be sprinkles of light available throughout space. How then does ‘dark matter’ hide itself? Is it really matter? Or, is it like the material in the darkened room which he could not see, but which yet existed? Or, like the hobgoblin under his bed which he had never seen, and which, hopefully, would not find him.