Text: Augusto Ramalhão
Photos: Mariana Novaes

16. Oct 2015

Throughout history many have said that
light and the soul are the same thing…

“Light for the soul” – throughout history many have said that light and the soul are one and the same thing, and to be perfectly honest one could approach this topic in a number of seemingly antagonistic ways because they would neither be false nor incorrect. The challenging nature of this topic begs for an active mind and a broad albeit subjective approach. So I will try to focus on exactly how we can gain meaningful insight from this idea, and perhaps a different logic pertaining to the practice of lighting design – or a new lighting design mentality, if you will.

To tackle this apparently esoteric topic many will first demand a clear definition of concepts. The concept of “light” should be clear for the targeted readers so let us focus more on the concept of “soul”. It is curious that up until the 19th century “soul” had never been a controversial concept, neither in classic philosophy nor in classic science. “Soul” and all its connotations have always been commonly accepted and in no way seen as detrimental to the pursuit of any given philosophical doctrine or scientific theory. It is somewhat ironic that it is only with the development of the so-called “soft sciences” or, as I would put it, the anthropocentric sciences of psychology, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, and historical and political sciences, that “soul” – and “spirit” for that matter – have been replaced by the physiological and cognitive domains, respectively. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, “soul” and “spirit” were strictly relegated to the esoteric movements that were so much in vogue at the time. I do not wish to advocate the use of “soul” as has been done before. My goal is to achieve a far more elementary, concise and probably less controversial understanding that is useful to us in the 21st century. If we look at the etymology of the equivalent of “soul” in Latin-based languages, we find its roots in the word anima. […]

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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 99

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