I got an email yesterday from John Bachner at the National Lighting Bureau with a press release about something the NLB is fighting – the use of the phrase “Artificial Lighting.” Â The NLB is not happy with the way that ‘artificial’ and ‘lighting’ get used together. Â From the press release:
â€œThis is not the first time weâ€™ve attempted to eliminate â€˜artificial lighting,â€™â€ said Bureau Executive Director John Bachner. â€œBut no matter what we do, we see it every day.â€ Heâ€™s not talking about the illumination systems that make contemporary living possible â€“ think how little would get done well or at all without lighting â€“ but rather the term â€œartificial lighting.â€
â€œâ€˜Artificial lightingâ€™ is a misnomer; it makes no sense,â€ Bachner said. â€œArtificial things arenâ€™t real. Artificial leather is not leather. It may look like leather, it may feel like leather, it might even smell like leather, but itâ€™s not leather. And the same could be said about artificial glass, artificial wood, and even artificial foods, like artificial crab and artificial cheese. They may be real something, but theyâ€™re fake whatever it is theyâ€™re trying to appear or taste or smell to be. Thatâ€™s not the case with lighting.â€
Bachner should know whereof he speaks. A National Lighting Bureau staff executive since 1976, he is a Harvard English major who has been published extensively on a variety of subjects, including proper use of the English language.
â€œThe light we get from electric illumination systems is real light,â€ Bachner said. â€œThereâ€™s nothing artificial about it.â€ He suggested that the term â€œartificialâ€ was applied to distinguish electric and other types of man-made lighting from â€œnatural lighting.â€ â€œâ€˜Natural lightingâ€™ is also referred to as â€˜daylighting,â€™â€ Bachner said, â€œbut not all natural lighting is â€˜daylighting,â€™ or â€“ more appropriately â€“ sunlight. The light we get from the moon is natural, as is the light we get from the stars and even swamp gas and lightning. Man-made lighting is predominantly electric, of course, but gas lighting is still used in places, as are torches made from tree limbs and kerosene-soaked rags, at least in the movies.â€
Like many things in our lives, semantics means everything when it comes to the opinion of the masses. Â What do you all think of this?
Read the entire NLB press release here: