Our fantastic civilization has fallen out of touch with many aspects of nature, and with none more completely than with night. Primitive folk, gathered at a cave mouth round a fire, do not fear night; they fear, rather, the energies and creatures to whom night gives power; we of the age of the machines, having delivered ourselves of nocturnal enemies, now have a dislike of night itself. With lights and ever more lights, we drive the holiness and beauty of night back to the forests and the sea; the little villages, the crossroads even, will have none of it. Are modern folk, perhaps, afraid of night? Do they fear that vast serenity, the mystery of infinite space, the austerity of stars? Having made themselves at home in a civilization obsessed with power, which explains its whole world in terms of energy, do they fear at night for their dull acquiescence and the pattern of their beliefs? Be the answer what it will, to-day's civilization is full of people who have not the slightest notion of the character or the poetry of night, who have never even seen night. Yet to live thus, to know only artificial night, is as absurd and evil as to know only artificial day.
Solemnity, I don't know what it's for. I mean, what is the point of it? The two most beautiful memorial services that I've ever attended both had a lot of humor. It somehow freed us all and made the services inspiring and cathartic. But solemnity, it serves pomposity. The self important always know at some level of their consciousness that their egotism is going to be punctured by humor. That's why they see it as a threat! And so, dishonestly, they pretend that their deficiency makes their views more substantial.