Summary of Light by Bruce Watson | Free Audiobook

Your Think
8 min readMar 23, 2022


Do you remember the first time you allowed about light? As a baby, you presumably plant it comforting because it was the absence of darkness. As a child, you heard people say effects like, “ Oh good, it’s a sunny day!” and you learned to associate sun with happiness. Numerous kiddies also find light more comforting because we ’re spooked of what we ca n’t see in the dark. Popular culture also reinforces the communication that light is desirable and safe. Pictures, ridiculous books, and videotape games educate us about the forces of good and evil by showing us that they’re represented by the contrasts of darkness and light. Also, we see heroic numbers like Jesus, superheroes, and angels represented by a halo of light that tells us they’ve come to save the day. But what’s light really? How does it work? What part does it really play in our world? Over the course of this summary, we ’ll explore the answers to these questions and further.
Lesson 1

I detest power outages. We ’ve all lived through them — those moments when some form of natural disaster knocks out our electricity and running water and leaves us in the dark. And although some people may find it cozy, I ’ve always plant it horrifying to know that, for an indefinite period of time, I’ll be stranded in the dark. No matter how numerous times I flip the light switch, the light won’t come on until the power has been restored. No matter how numerous candles I compass myself with, it’ll noway be the same as watching an entire room come completely illuminated with a film of a switch. And because I’m so dependent on light, I feel misplaced whenever I ca n’t have it, indeed if it’s only for a brief period of time. I imagine numerous other people feel the same way. Because whether we realize it or not, we’re so used to having access to light that we occasionally take it for granted. We can imagine, in an out- handed kind of way, what it must have been like in the Dark Periods, but we view it as being a time so far removed from us that it’s nearly beyond appreciation.
But for the purposes of this chapter, I want you to imagine — really imagine — what it would be like to be without electricity. Imagine you ’ve noway indeed heard of it. What would that be like? For starters, your life would literally be ruled by the rising and setting of the sun. While you have daylight, you can read. You can work. You can pursue your pursuits. And formerly the sun has gone to bed for the night, you have little choice but to do the same. There’s only so much you can do by candle- light, after all. And if your life were controlled by the inexplainable rising and setting of the sun, it’s easy to understand why you might attribute it to the control of a advanced power. With no knowledge of wisdom, the rainfall, or amount proposition, you would have little choice but to assume that the sun — and, along with it, all other natural marvels — are controlled by God.
This is the perspective that governed the lives and sense of our ancestors until the nineteenth century. It’s thus unsurprising that people embraced what we now consider to be outdated and primitive beliefs. Devoid of any other explanation, it’s no wonder that early man worshipped light and attributed its actuality to the act of a benevolent deity. It’s no wonder that all creation myths — ranging from Christian theology to ancient Egypt to Aztec lore — position light as a noble gift from God. (Fun fact did you know that there are further than 100 Bible verses about light? There are also further than 90 creation myths about light from a host of different societies! And of course, we ’ve all heard the notorious Book verses similar as “ Let there be light!” and “ I’m the light of the world!”) Because light was similar a complete riddle, utmost people felt that an act of God was the only feasible explanation. But because there are always a many inquiring minds in every population, we will always have scientists, proponents, and thinkers who’ll push the envelope and challenge the conventional supposition. Experimenter Jane Brox observes that there were also those who tried to harness the power of light for themselves.
First, there were the troglodytes who discovered fire, embracing its life- giving powers of warmth and visibility. In the tropics, people would catch fireflies and make a kind of firefly lantern to give a form of artificial light at night. And in primitive Scotland, there was this raspberry called the storm petrel. Brox describes this raspberry as “ a veritably unctuous seabird, which they’d catch and dry and thread a wick down its throat and also light it. And also that was a beacon.” Brox’s exploration has also proven that in ancient Babylon, you could pay for enough candles to illuminate an entire room at night, but it was incredibly precious and you did n’t get a lot of value for your plutocrat. By Brox’s computations, a day drudge’s entire payment for one day could go him about 10 twinkles of light. But indeed though people were obsessed with light and hopeless to acquire it, no bone really knew what it was. It was, of course, the early scientists who first posited that light might not be a mysterious force distributed by the vagrancy of a deity. Perhaps it was commodity that could be studied, examined, and reproduced. And thanks to inquiring minds who asked questions as early as the 5th century, we developed the study of light.

Lesson 2

Because light has an endless capability to capture the imagination, it’s hardly surprising that it touched the minds of artists and scientists likewise. So, while early scientists were trying to figure out what light is and how to study it, artists were trying to represent light in their oils, delineations, music, and poetry. The history of religious associations with light meant that light was primarily depicted as holy. This was true of cultural representations across multiple persuasions. In fact, Christianity, Islam, and numerous ethnical persuasions all depict light as being holy in their art! And this was noway more apparent than during the Renaissance. The Renaissanceinitiated a holistic shift in art, culture, music, and allowed, and light was at the heart of this transition. Painters began experimenting with the discrepancy of light and dark space in their workshop. Religious oils characterized saints by a gleam of pure light. And it was also during this time that light garnered numerous of the associations we see moment in popular culture, similar as chastity, innocence, purity, and stopgap.
The Renaissance also paved the way for an period known as the “ age of Enlightenment,” and there are a number of reasons for that. But you ’ve presumably formerly guessed the main reason it was called the age of Enlightenment because people were so interested in light! Still, this reference to light is both nonfictional and tropical. Although people were indeed fascinated by the mechanics of illumination, they were also interested in the intellectual enlightenment that comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Where ignorance is represented by darkness, light embodied the freedom of new knowledge and discovery. And during this time, people across the globe were fascinated by the unlimited eventuality of discovery. Art, wisdom, and the humanities flowed seamlessly together, with each discipline benefiting from the other’s newfound perceptivity. The study of light was a pivotal focal point of study during this time as well and this interest steered in the scientific resolution. Historian Darrin McMahon observes that Enlightenment and illumination are thick; without the study of light, the perceptivity achieved during the Enlightenment would have been insolvable.
For illustration, he remarks that “ a surprising number of Enlightenment numbers were themselves directly interested in lighting and illumination. Benjamin Franklin, the son of a tallow chandler, took a keen interest in lantern design and helped to organize the public lighting of the megacity of Philadelphia. Lavoisier penned a composition on the stylish means to light a great megacity like Paris, and experimented constantly with energies, wicks, and the angles of reflection and refraction in the light emitted from lanterns. Voltaire, too, like Marat and Madame Du Châtelet, experimented with dears. Diderot wrote about the history of candles. Jefferson studied Goliath canvas, among the 18th-century’s most important lighting energies. Goethe not only studied optics, but also concerned himself with the complications of stage lighting.
Just as importantly, a host of lower lights pursued Enlightenment through illumination. Some, like the innovator and mastermind Bourgeois de Chateaublanc, devoted their energy to specialized matters, like perfecting the new glass lights, the réverbères. Others, similar as Jean-Francois Dreux du Radier and his‘ society of men of letters’, wrote sarcastic histories of lanterns, mocking the pretensions of a new kidney, the relative history of light. Still others, like Pierre Tourtille-Sangrain or Charles de Rabiqueau, pursued the business of illumination as the counterpart to the business ofEnlightenment. As the ultimate declared on his calling card, flashing his services as an entrepreneur de l’illumination, Rabiqueau could‘ enlighten the mind as well as matter.”
And last but “ maybe most importantly, public lighting created the conditions for a extensively expanded civic conviviality that was central to the emergence of the public sphere. Shops stayed open longer, theatre curtain times were pushed back, and caffs and cafés served long after dark, latterly than ever ahead. Salons and visiting hours were also extended into the night, meaning that enlightened discussion was veritably frequently conducted after the sun went down. Street lighting led the way, creating the appearance (if not always the reality) of lesser safety and rational control over the terrain, combatting not just crime but superstition and fear.” Although we so constantly take it for granted, light is responsible for every one of the ultramodern freedoms we enjoy! And none of them would be possible without the early studies that were conducted on the parcels and functions of light.

THE Elaboration OF LIGHT
Still, despite these times of study, humans still did n’t have light figured out. The Renaissance and the Enlightenment had driven the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, incubating our understanding of wisdom, art, poetry, music, and illumination. But artificial light hadn’t yet been commoditized and there was much further to discover. In fact, by the nineteenth century, no bone could really tell you what exactly light was. At the end of the day, you were still back at the delineation board light was primarily defined as a source of alleviation and a gift from God. But no bone was relatively suitable to examine it in a laboratory or identify its scientific principles. Fortunately, still, this did n’t stop the discovery and product of artificial light. Just as primitive people used fireflies in a jar to produce light, nineteenth century formulators were also trying to harness the power of artificial light.


From the beginning of human existence, light has been a constant source of inspiration, wonder, and power for human beings. Today, however, we often take it for granted. Because we have access to light at the flip of a switch, few people know about the long and complex history of light and the discoveries it has inspired. But in fact, light has influenced art, poetry, music, science, and technology. And the invention of commercial light bulbs have enabled us to enjoy the modern freedoms we take for granted today.