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In my fantasy world, there's something called the Darkness. It isn't real in a physical sense. It's more like a living idea. It embodies all of our dark emotions—fear, anger, hatred.

It is drawn to and fueled by these emotions, and it has a stronger presence wherever these emotions can be found or where the emotions are associated with. If you've got a lot of really angry people in one place, or a single place that everyone's afraid of, the Darkness will have a strong presence there.

How could you remove the Darkness after it comes to dominate a place? Simply fighting it only fuels it, so you have to find other ways. The main people who would be equipped to handle the Darkness would be mages, whose magic I discussed in part here. I'm trying to think of something between psychological manipulation and some sort of magical ritual to banish the Darkness from an area.

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  • $\begingroup$ The thread's title question would make me think this should be closed, so it should be changed, but the question itself is a perfectly reasonable and acceptable question that it seems people are choosing to not read and just close v.v $\endgroup$ – Durakken Nov 1 '16 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not convinced, this feels very opinion based to me. What would make one answer objectively better than another? $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 8 '16 at 13:29

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My first recommendation would be to create grades of Darkness. Not everything we deal with is the epitome of anger hate and fear. There's anger towards specific things. There's fear of the dark, or fear of drowning. Each one would have its own flavor, and inherently have a weakness which the mages can leverage.

The inky blackness of true Darkness is trickier. What do you do with the case where the Darkness doesn't seem to have a weakness, and attacking it only makes it stronger? There's a huge body of content within humanity for approaches to combat darkness, so I wouldn't say "here is the one true way to combat darkness." However, I will make an observation. Fear, anger, and hate all have a common trait: they are willing to consume their own energy to expand themselves. Fear rapidly propagates, generating rigidity. Anger burns brightly. Hate often expands its domain, trying to hate more things.

Perhaps the best way to combat the Darkness is simply to smile. Smile at it, hold your ground, and never actually oppose it directly. Of course, it will naturally spawn off lesser Darknesses, but as we discussed before, those can be banished, and each time the Darkness is using up energy. In theory, it can run out. Thus, you don't banish the darkness -- the darkness eventually banishes itself.

Never forget to smile.

Smiling at demons

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Music. The entire crowd is exposed at once and resets their frame of mind.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah yes, for Music is the food of the soul; and like any expensive meal it has the ability to make us feel either jovial and satisfied, or give us mild food poisoning and a 3 hour stint in the restaurant lavatory... Moral: Don't listen to One Direction whilst eating. $\endgroup$ – Harry David Oct 26 '16 at 8:25
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This sounds like the setup for a cliched "love conquers all" moment.

In the end, your mages just have to remember that... friendship is magic :P

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There is something called the Light. Darkness cannot stand against it since Darkness is not real in a physical sense. Some even claim that Darkness is simply a lack of Light

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If "The Darkness" is a concentration of all the negative emotions, then the logical step is to counteract that with positive emotions like love and hope to nullify the hatred and despair.

Perhaps the mages could harness and somehow store positive vibrations from many people in a happy place and unleash this energy into the areas of the darkness. Maybe this energy could be stored in a crystal or liquid or such, which when touched/drank balanced out the negative emotions leaving a person calm and emotionless for a time?

If you still wanted to have a physical confrontation then the mages could shoot crystal tipped darts or arrows to subdue people infected by the darkness.

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The obvious answer is, as many have already said, to counter darkness with light, balance positive feelings with negative. But I think there's an angle that hasn't been covered yet...

When matter and antimatter meet, they annihilate each other. When cold air and hot air meet, the result is warm air. You can't cancel out negativity with positivity and end up with the same amount of positivity you started with.

An interesting tack would be using up whatever goodness you use to cancel out the darkness. If you try to counter hate by singing of love, your singers should end up drained and unable to feel either emotion. Light should be used up when it shines through the dark. A party held in the dark place leaves the celebrants exhausted and hung over.

It adds an interesting element of resource management to the 'love conquers all' trope - how much love can you afford to sacrifice to defeat the hate?

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This sounds like a job for a dedicated team of hope-ers or super excited fans. It's possible you have a group of people who enter this place with candles and chant uplifting chants and hope it all away.

Or you have some kind of animé/cartoon /(really fun and uplifting media) convention there. Excited fans flock to it and all their giddy excitement makes the darkness sick to its non-existent tummy.

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Whatever you use to break up the darkness, music, light, hope etc you need to know how to place it to full effectiveness.

A single ray of light or beam of happiness will dissipate the darkness in the immediate vicinity but the remaining darkness will contract and condense making lots of smaller nasty quagmires, that may been even more potent than the larger mass. Smaller yes, but if It does end up being more powerful, then It will be that much harder to dispel (almost like cutting off the head a Hydra, only to have two heads grow back)

I recommend you have multiple sources of (insert darkness banishing idea here). like a lattice. While this will break the darkness into smaller puddles as well as a single source would, the puddles will be that much more diffuse and that much easier to handle.

  • multiple rays of light, from multiple sources criss-crossing and giving the darkness no place to run.
  • Multiple sources of music, positioned to reinforce the sonic vibrations.
  • Wizards, Mages, do-gooders, pacing up and down through the darkness spell-casting, chanting, sprinking holy water or burning incense etc as they go.

ie. Not a single concentrated beam of 'goodness'.

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If the mages are allowed, simply (magically) dispersing drugs that can alleviate anger/anxiety can fix the problem for a few hours. You can add music and celebration to further enhance the effect. This is a solution with 100% chances of success because the dark emotions are ultimately biochemicals in the brain that we're physically getting rid of.

Mass hypnosis is another solution if the Mages are capable. The chances of success will depend on the skill of the mages and predisposition of people to be hypnotized.

Yoga is another very good solution that doesn't require any magic. Just get people to start deep breathing. It's pretty much impossible to stay angry or anxious when breathing slowly and deeply.

Food and other sensory pleasures will do it as well. People are usually happier when they're eating their preferred delicacies or experiencing other sensory pleasures that they're in mood for.

Blue color is also known to calm people a bit, so using an appropriate color scheme with calming sounds/music (perhaps supernaturally amplified by magic) can help.

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Assuming a simple magic spell is between psychological manipulation and a magic ritual, try just knocking people out. It would render them unconscious, causing most emotion to fade or disappear until the person awakes (why 'sleeping on it' is a solution to anger or helps remove emotion from decision-making, and why when a patient is agitated the patient is sedated to bring vitals back to normal).

It's a temporary solution, but would likely be enough to overcome the evil incarnate. For the time being...

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If it is indeed an idea inside the mind, there is no real way for it to be destroyed. But, Love and life can thrive even in the most unlikely of places. Hope can exist where you would expect there to be none.

Just look at history to see the futility in fighting Ideas: Wars against the spread of certain political doctrines, aka ideas, where both sides end up slaughtering each other but neither sides ideas die. I guess one could always institute some sort of mind altering program that clamps down on the emotions that lead to evil....but that in and of itself could be its own form of evil, as it removes from people that which makes them who they are.

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You build giant choaches/carriages with folks inside that want to "party." That might be a feast, carousal, revelry, orgy or whatever creates positive energy. Every such coach is manned by some mages who keep the darkness away from the coaches and the horses while letting the positive emotions out. Drive such coaches to the locations dominated by darkness. There the party gets off the coach, places some kind of memorial, gets back on the coach and drives home. Now every time those people involved remember the good time they had the memorial is instilled with their positive feelings towards that place and over time darkness is weakened or even banished.

But beware! Everyone should be able to take part in such activities or envy will set in and strengthen the darkness.

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Children

Children are innocent, and when they are young enough, they do not know anger or hatred. If the most fearless children were trained to wander about where the darkness is strongest, they could destroy it.

Can the darkness retreat ? If it cannot, it will spend as much energy as it currently has to destroy the innocent child. If the child is truly pure, the darkness will empty itself.

Side note : that solution could add a dark secret to your story, where in fact, the darkness origin is linked to these children's innocence being sacrificed to fight it.

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By eliminating the ego?

Most eastern philosophy has, in some way or another, the darkness resulting as a product of the ego asserting itself. When the practitioner works to dissolve their ego and id, through selfless acts and meditation, the darkness dissolves too, leaving the practitioner free of the dichotomy of good vs evil.

Kali would be a one nice way to name your darkness, going by the brief description in the question. According to legend, Kali goes on an angry rampage and is about to destroy the universe, but is stopped by her husband, Shiva, who is passive and lies down before her. Kali steps on him, and gets embarrassed, and stops the rampage. Or another way, if you get into an argument with someone and both of you are irritated and grumpy, you can "win" simply by genuinely saying sorry. This leaves the other one powerless and feeling embarassed, and they usually apologise too :) But the passive side who backs down first is actually dominating and controlling the situation. That's kinda neat.

In practice, you cannot decide to just eliminate the darkness, since that is a type of desire for control, a coersion and asserting your will on them, whch is only spreading and generating more Darkness. You just need to change the one thing you can change, yourself, and hope the rest of the world finds it inspiring and follows suit. Your mages could fight as best they see fit, but they'll end up only replacing the darkness. Have them educate and guide the population instead, so they become light.

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You could attack it with the opposite force like light (e.g., happiness, joy, etc.) or if you don't want a one-sided story then perhaps you can fight fire with fire, for example, sadness and depression can get in the way of anger and hatred. And eventually have them neutralised each other or at the very least minimise the effects. Sometimes the same thing is better than the opposite for example, in math, + multiplied with - or - multiplied with + will always equal -, but + multiplied with + or - multiplied with - will always equal +.

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