Icarus got too close to the sun. He felt it as he soared, and wanted to get close to the thing that gave him good feelings. He wanted more. Then he got an urge to see if he could soar higher and higher, to see if he could perhaps touch the thing that even the gods had to fear. He didn’t respect it. It melted his great wax wings, impressive as they were. The liquified fat sprayed all about him, as his shrinking wings struggled to keep him afloat. So great was the span of his wings that the wax fell several kilometers from the point above the earth where they flailed.
Many literary analysts say this story is about man and his hubris. His greed for more. His blind trek toward that which he does not deserve. Maybe it was literally about the sun. I’m sure more than one ancient Greek has experienced the magnificent power of the sun. Both in the way that it made him feel excellent, basking in it, as well as the way his skin got destroyed when he stayed too long in it. Everyone knows that clothes can pale from sun bleaching. But leave them just long enough, and you get fresh, dry laundry. Plants become brown and crisp when they can no longer stand the energy of the fiery globe. But before that, they absorb the sun’s light and turn it into sugars to feed the growth of their stems, roots, and leaves, and to make full, sweet fruit.
Too much sun hurts. But the right amount is one of life’s staple ingredients.
Someone, somewhere, fed the fear of the sun with “links” to cancer. Yes, there is research linking overexposure to the sun with skin cancer. A good look at this research shows weak relations between sunlight and skin cancer. It shows that the relationship exists with people of specific traits: European origin, sensitive to the sun, and reduced skin DNA repair abilities.
Avoiding the sun, on the other hand, leads to vitamin D deficiency, which is related to bone and muscle problems, increases in cancers, autoimmune disease, and cardiovascular disease.
One billion people are vitamin D deficient. Many of them are in this state because of their fear of the sun. Funny, eh? Not really. Fear is a serious thing. It’s literally keeping our race from a staple of life.
To get enough sunlight, you need the following:
- At least 40% skin exposed
- 15-20 minutes
- Every day
Things that block UV-B from spurring vitamin D and cholesterol sulphate production:
- Sun block
- Glass windows of houses and cars
You who have decreased production of Vitamin D in the sun if you are:
- Heavily clothed
- Darker in skin shade
- A child or infant
Use your common sense in being in the sun. Don’t stay if it hurts, it’s too hot, or it’s uncomfortable. Just be out enough to feel good. If you have problems stopping at satiety, you are not alone. Figure out how to end things when they are good. Look into meditation.
The tale of Icarus ends in tragedy, but it expounds on a basic human instinct. After all, it is about the sun. There’s a reason we love it.
Be in the sun at the right time, for the right amount of time.
Like all good things, have until satiety. Then stop.