Darkest Before Dawn
A Logical Disconnect that Is True

It seems that no matter where we look in the world, people are suffering in the darkness of the night. Whether in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, or America, everyone wants to survive. Beyond the human instinct to survive, it is quite difficult to see beyond the darkness of the night while hoping for the morning and a brighter day. That is a reality of life.

We often hear people telling those that are suffering that it is darkest before the dawn. While that comforting statement is an attempt to be supportive of the person wandering in the darkness of the night, all too often those in darkness write it off as factual nonsense. In reality, it is not darkest just before the morning dawns. The darkest hours are in the middle of the night.

While at first glance, it seems that it is darkest in the middle of the night not just before dawn. Contrary to the obvious, it is darkest before the dawn. Many will diss that statement as untrue. However, I contend that it is darkest before the dawn, and I can prove it.

Enter Saul Alinsky. He was a radical reformer and community organizer who worked at changing America for the better in the mid-20th century. Interestingly, he also inspired the next generation of community organizers like Barack Obama.

Saul Alinsky

Saul Alinsky

Alinsky spelled it out his truth about the relationship between the darkness and the dawn. He said, "We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it."

Stop for a moment. Reread Alinsky's contention. You need to comprehend this seeming logical disconnect.

Enter Søren Kierkegaard. When I was a senior in college in '65, I wrote about Søren Kierkegaard in my senior seminar. Kierkegaard's critics called him the dismal Dane.

The Dismal Dane, aka Søren Kierkegaard

However, there was not anything dismal about this thinking. He was famous for his assertion that truth was subjective. I would love to know whether Alinsky read Kierkegaard. In addition, I will ask President Obama when I get a chance to interview him for my webpage whether he will know whether Alinsky read Kierkegaard. I am sure that he will know for certain.

Alinsky and Kierkegaard were both saying that if you believe that the dawn will arrive amidst the sheer darkness, you will see the dawn of a new day. Believe in the new and brighter world that lies just before you while you wander in darkness. That is a critical truism.

I have wandered in darkness and danced with death a couple of times. I would only add to both Alinsky and Kierkegaard something that I have found helpful when darkness surrounds me. Believe, even tentatively, that dawn will arrive amidst the darkest hours, but MOVE. Do not stop moving until the dawn arrives. Do not sit there complaining, crying, and mourning about what might have been.

Okay. You and I have permission to pout about what we might have lost for a week or maybe two weeks. Then move and do not stop until a brighter day dawns. Interestingly, my suggestion predates me by two and a half millennia. Confucius said essentially the same thing, "It doesn't matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."

Do not worry about how fast you move...but MOVE.

Do not worry about how fast you move...but MOVE.
Photo has been edited by me.

Confucius was not alone about moving. Three hundred years ago, Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion said a similar thing, "Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it."

If we do not listen to either the philosopher or the scientist, we will exacerbates the problem. We will stop amidst the darkness, sit, and complain about the darkness. When the dawn breaks, we will miss the dawning of a new day completely while still complaining about the dark cloud of despair that still surrounds us.

Several weeks ago, I was sitting at an outdoor restaurant waiting to have lunch with a good friend of mine, Ray Hewlett. A couple of years ago, Ray gave me the link to Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford. I have benefitted from that speech immensely personally and have used it in more than a dozen articles on my website.

There I was waiting in bright sunny day that was over 90-degrees. To make matters worse, I cancelled another errand and arrived at the restaurant about an hour before Ray and I were to meet. There I sat sweltering in the sun. A server brought me a drink while I waited for Ray's arrival. I started to write about various problems facing me. In fact, much of the rough draft of this essay was written there in the hot sun of a very bright day while I was surrounded by darkness.

Al writing

The server who brought me a drink mused over what I was doing. She took this picture after refilling my drink. Fifteen minutes later, she returned just as I started to connect the dots and form them into this article. This is her second snapshot of me connecting the dots.

Al thinking

Finally, the dots Steve Jobs talked about connected. Here is my 4-step approach to seeing a new and brighter day.

Step 1. Believe Alinsky's statement, "We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it."

Step 2. Start moving toward the new and beautiful world while still in the darkness.

Step 3. Keep the faith and MOVE. The more you move will result in the dawn coming even sooner.

Step 4. During the 60s, Bobby Kennedy was my mentor along with mentoring millions of others in America and overseas. He wrote these words, "Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not." We all can utilize his wisdom in our hours of darkness. Dream what seems the impossible dream...and you will reach it. If you merely sit admist fear and trembling, you lenghten the time before the new and beautiful world dawns. Trust me. It does work.

Pete Seeger wrote and sang Quite Early Morning, which sums it all up musically.

Quite Early Morning

Don't you know it's darkest before the dawn
And it's this thought keeps me moving on
If we could heed these early warnings
The time is now quite early morning
If we could heed these early warnings
The time is now quite early morning

Some say that humankind won't long endure
But what makes them so doggone sure?
I know that you who hear my singing
Could make those freedom bells go ringing
I know that you who hear my singing
Could make those freedom bells go ringing
And so keep on while we live

Until we have no, no more to give
And when these fingers can strum no longer
Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger
And when these fingers can strum no longer
Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger

So though it's darkest before the dawn
These thoughts keep us moving on
Through all this world of joy and sorrow
We still can have singing tomorrows
Through all this world of joy and sorrow
We still can have singing tomorrows



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On Seeing the Light

Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.



Connecting The Dots

Connecting the Dots

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Darkest Before Dawn

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Confucius Said

Confucius

Visit the Confucius Said page to read more about this topic.

08/15/14