The Power of The Lightbulb

When we encounter an unknown in life, what should we do?
How on earth do you turn on the light in the darkness?
Is there even a light when the unknown is so far from the known? 
What can we do to reach a point of revelation?
How can we ignite lightbulb moments in our lives? 

There are – So. Many. Questions.

But – Try not to let your minds explode just yet. Stick around until the end of this post for some illumination!

Last week we began to dig deep into the desert land of ignorance {see ‘Encounters With The Unknown‘}. Yet, while it is challenging and enriching to explore what is foreign and unknown, there is a beauty to clarity – when things make sense.

The buzz word we are looking for here is revelation (n.), which is to make known something that was unknown. You know those ‘aha!’ moments when something makes sense or you discover something new? Those are revelations. The moments of sense. The glimpses of clarity. The lightbulb moments.

It goes something like this – when you encounter the unknown,  you are left  wondering and stumbling in the dark, getting confused and lost about where-to. In this situation you have two choices. One – remain where you are. Two – reach for the revelation. Now, the very nature of a revelation means that it comes as a surprise. You might then ask:

How do you reach for the unreachable?

Short answer – you stretch. Mental gymnastics. Begin to exercise those cognitive cells and make conceptual connections between the unknown and known. As more friction develops, you will soon find the flickers of a flame, a passion that ignites in your bones for knowledge and understanding. Here you will find the power of the lightbulb – when something comes to life in a new way.

If we return to last week’s context scenario from the  Left Hand of Darkness, the reality is that we cannot truly fathom a society where the significance of gender is lost. So taking this example, how can we attempt to reveal this unknown reality?

TIP #1



First, we need to understand our own limits. We are limited to the framework of our own knowledge and understanding. We need to be careful when we use our imaginations, that we aren’t only bouncing around the confined framework of what we already know. There is a risk of never escaping the darkness or encountering the unknown if we don’t actively choose to preference illumination over imagination. What is the difference?

Illumination, like revelation, brings to light something that was once dark, brings into knowledge something that was once unknown. Imagination doesn’t measure up to illumination, because imagination asks “what-if” when illumination says “this is it”.  It is like entering the land of ignorance and hallucinating. You might think you’re seeing something, finding insight, when really, it’s an illusion. The imagination playing tricks on you.

Don’t get me wrong, the imagination is beautiful. The imagination is the spark of idea-generation. However. The imagination is not the tool for insight-gathering. You’re not idealising what could be, but trying to identify and illuminate what is.

So, instead of imagining what dark shadows are in an abyss, why don’t we try to illuminate the abyss?

TIP #2:



For instance, ask yourself why you don’t know something. When you find yourself in the land of ignorance, facing an unknown reality, an ambiguous abyss – ask yourself what isn’t right. What don’t you know? Why are you uncomfortable? What is different? What is missing? 

Asking more questions can help you to identify where the gaps in your knowledge are, and this can help to fill the space around the unknowns, to bring more light to the dark abyss. When we stumble into the land of ignorance and find ourselves encountering unknowns in life, we must keep stumbling around the unknown spaces in order to trip into truth, to encounter a revelation and reach a lightbulb moment.

We want answers. We want direction. We want clarity. Yet, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe we need to instead want questions, want to get lost, and want to be confused – all the wants the land of ignorance can offer us.

It’s not about bringing an unknown reality into our known reality with our imagination. Rather, it’s about remaining in the dark, consistently turning from assumptions and the ‘known’, to see what comes to light.

Creative buzzes of cognitive energy coming your way, Xx

Respond from the Heart