gemütlichkeit: enlightened dark

the following is the text of a comment i posted to an article published at Houzz. interestingly and to note, and sadly consistent with current censorial trends that favor weakened and dependent states of being: it has been deleted. 

my now-deleted comment, slightly tweaked for this blog post:

A critically important aspect of decor as regards interior lighting beyond aesthetics and the design/decorating industry is about us consumers being able to re-program our perspectives so as to 1) accept and then actually 2) enjoy long dark nights and inclement weather where days are also darker.

Media (mainstream news as well as paid advertisement) promotion – persuasion –  on the effects of seasonal disorders is part n parcel of our consumerist proclivity to focus and fixate on issues and ailments that, in the end, serve to support and grow the big business of healthcare, especially pharmaceuticals. As real as these issues/ailments are, or made to be via 24/7 “info” inundation, the proof lies in the end result: supply, demand and sales of pharma-based product. From time immemorial, societies have thrived and evolved by candlelight and firelight, which is proof to something key about who we are and how we function. Ditto on western aka modern societal evolution, which was spawned in northern climes. Now we have more leisure time, a double-edged privilege as it also holds potential for (too much) inactivity burdened with society-promoted negative perception (boredom misinterpreted as others ills).

To help find balance, where the Houzz article speaks to, we consumers need to focus on a what I call Gemütlichkeit, a great, single word that we don’t really have in our English language; it takes us entire phrases and sentences to describe this term. Gemütlichkeit is an environmental ambience combined with the cozy comfort and good cheer of those existing within it. As it pertains to this article, it’s about creating and then enjoying environments in lower lit times. It’s about “being ok with” the darker environs of long nights and so called “bad” weather days, and the autumn and winter seasons.

Think about it: rainy days, water being what gives life, are not “bad,” yet we lament them as such….

Candles: Don’t just set them up as knick-knacks, letting them grow stale and old, never used as if they were sculptures. Use them. Stock up on discounted, good-quality candles right after the holidays. Don’t fall victim to over-scented candles; unscented candles are out there, too. Burn down those big, pricey ones too until small votives can be tucked into the recesses, if that helps justify the burning of high-cost candles. Light candles on ordinary nights, even during the day. Usher in the twilight with a lit candle, and a nicer mood can be conjured with smallest effort. Light them if you are alone, or if it’s just the two of you, or immediate family only. They are not just for a once-a-year, formal, dressed-to-impress dinner table.

Lamps: Even cheapest big box stores sell great looking lamps in all sizes. I just found darling little ceramic jug style lamps at Walmart! From Target to Walmart to eBay, to online sources that access the world, there is something for every budget, high and low. Rooms really do look better – and even we look better – with lighting, set at table height and even lower. Think, what a magic effect a strand of fairy lights (Christmas lights, camping lights, etc) have. Find ways to use them year around. My daughter has them in her bedroom. Beautiful, little sculptural lights or plainest bulbs add atmosphere and practical illumination.

Nightlights: I use lighted outlet covers/nightlights all around the house. With light sensors, these little lights glow like fireflies when darkness falls. Near the floor, they illuminate halls and paths. In bathrooms, sometimes it’s all the light needed for a quick stop in. Even under counters and on backsplashes in kitchens etc, where unused outlet plugs are situated, nightlights erase shadowed voids and can spotlight decorative details.

Bulbs: Whose idea was it to build an industry around those ghastly stark bright white bulbs? Even restaurants and street lights using them? Let us hope this is a fad that passes; light pollution is bad enough already. As for stark utility lighting everywhere; this alone will not change those in society who need to see the light first from within, against whom some think we are protected if all is awash in cold starkness. Thank goodness, supply has caught up with the logic and beauty of “old fashioned” candle/warm glow and made available energy efficient bulbs that emulate incandescent bulbs. For a while, I was stockpiling old bulbs so as to have the warm lighting effects; happily I can now buy current product.

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