As I've said in previous rants, I'm a guy who enjoys walking late at night. In fact, I tend to do most of my living at night (ideally, I do most of my sleeping in the afternoon). One reason for this is that I like the atmosphere. Everything is cooler, darker and stiller late at night and very early in the morning. The levels of heat, light and noise which others seem to thrive on, are fairly intolerable to me. Although I do avoid walking on Friday and Saturday nights, because of the increase in human activity; most nights are very pleasant from around 2:00 AM to 5:00 AM. There is such a lack of activity in most parts of the city that I reside in, at this time of the morning that it gives you a sense that you are the only person alive. I like that. And I'm sure that many of you can sense a certain stillness late at night even within your own lairs, that doesn't seem to be present during the day.
Considering the fact that there is such a relative lack of activity at night, I am always surprised by how many people claim to be night people (as in "I'm a night person"). This leads me to wonder about the accuracy of such claims. There seems to be some discrepancy between what I would consider a "night person" and what others seem to think. Searching the web, I notice that many night people seem to prefer to go to sleep around sunrise, where as I prefer to do my sleeping in the afternoon and to awaken as it gets dark. Although I have no doubt that many of the people on the web that are claiming to be night people actually are, I can't say the same for many people that I run across in the real world. I think that "night person", is a term that gets thrown around a lot, partly because of the coolness factor associated with it.
I would say that to be a real night person, you must have truly nocturnal tendencies; to actually live (or at least genuinely desire to live) your life at night (which would include engaging in all manner of activities and routines). And I stress that this should not be confused with people who enjoy an active nightlife simply because that's when all of the best partying takes place or people who just have trouble sleeping at any hour of the day or night. Obviously, both diurnal and nocturnal people are going to be awake during part of the day and night; but it's the person's primary or core schedule that determines whether or not they are actually a night person.
From what I can tell, most people lack the emotional dispositions to be quality night people. Ironically, many of the factors that seemed to turn most people off to the night are the same ones that draw me to it. The solitude and the general lack of activity going on at that hour just doesn't sit well with them. People seem to prefer constant (externally induced) psychological movement and stimulation to help distract them from their own existences, and within the silent darkness of the night, you can easily end up facing a lot more of yourself than most folks would wish to deal with. Another consideration is fear. Most adults will tell you that they're not afraid of the dark. However, when I ask why they don't engage in more activity at night, many of them will confess that they are afraid of things that might be in the dark. The general fear of people, wild life and other dangers which may be present at night may seem valid. Though, as a person who spends a lot of time in lower light levels, it seems to me that these "valid" (often exaggerated) fears of what may be lurking in the dark are basically the same as being afraid of the dark itself. They both basically equate to fear of the unknown. This fear doesn't seem to affect me in the same way that it does others.
Not only am I not frightened by darkness, but I find it comforting. That's why it's so easy for me to see how desperately people try to fight it. Despite the fact that I love many aspects of civilization (I'm a fan of all forms of artificiality and use of technology to improve on or customize things) I think mankind tends to over do it when it comes to illuminating the night. I like seeing city lights from a distance, but I find it annoying (and occasionally downright infuriating) when they're too close and too excessive. Although I realized that there are some obvious practicality issues with lighting streets and other inhabited places at night, symbolically I see this as mankind's attempt to somehow fight this element of the world which frightens him so. To try to combat or put a dent in the darkness, in order to quell his pathetic fear and to assure himself that the presumably safer world of light, which he so desperately clings to, is still there, even after night has fallen.
It seems that humans deal with darkness in much the same way that they approach all perceived "evils" in the world; trying, unsuccessfully, to eliminate them instead of learning to embrace and enjoy them. One characteristic essential to any successful villain (or any great or successful person, for that matter) is to achieve a level of personal empowerment which most do not possess. Most people have a need to be coddled and protected from all possible dangers of this world. Protected by social customs, activism groups, warning labels, police, doctors, attorneys, wet floor signs, democracy, neighborhood watch programs, tests of the emergency broadcast system, labor unions, home owners insurance, and god. The prospect of being responsible for their own fate is terrifying to them. As villains we must strive to break away from societies safeguards against its fears and seize our own power. It is not appropriate for an apex predator to seek safety within the colony, like a frightened little prairie dog. So, when you're walking a dark and lonely road at all hours of the night and you begin thinking to yourself that most other people would be intimidated or on edge in such a situation, you can smile with a sense of sinister superiority, secure in the knowledge that you have nothing to fear, because you are the most capable and most terrifying thing out there.