This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Acceptance of our historical situation has consequences

By now we have developed our interpretation of history and of our historical situation enough to understand the conditions which prevail during this period and the human types that tend to be produced within this ambience.

If you accept what I’ve said as true in this regard, then certain consequences follow. Things change for you, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. What is normal for your ambience might appear toxic to you now, and you are faced with the problem of living in your ambience without being driven insane by its contradictions and its perversions. Your primary task is to find a way to reconcile yourself to the time in which providence has placed you without at the same compromising the spiritual sense which providence has awakened in your heart. This requires a different approach to life. The way you handle even the trivial things of life must be altered in order for what was toxic to become nourishing. Thus you do not have to overthrow or ‘fix’ the world, and instead you deal with it in a more conducive way. This involves a kind of alchemy. Your decisions will be made differently, or perhaps they will be the same decisions, but they must proceed from a different center. You will come to see the world in a different light, clearer but perhaps darker and more foreboding.

The goal of happiness, for example, which is the end-all-be-all of your contemporaries, is abandoned for the sake of the discernment of spiritual significance, for the sake of truth, which is to say, you take on the vocation of discipleship and all that this entails. Happiness becomes not a goal but rather a side-effect of certain situations: only the search for meaning is able to help us reconcile ourselves with a world that is full of suffering, and to embrace suffering for the sake of meaning. One cannot “embrace” suffering for the sake of happiness, since the two are mutually exclusive. Once one understands that life is suffering and that suffering is necessary in the search for meaning, everything is approached differently. One raises one’s children differently, for example, than the person who understands life’s goal as the attainment of maximum happiness. The latter tries to make their children as happy as possible and sets them up for disappointment in the face of a harsh world; the former permits their children to struggle, controlling the struggle within an environment of compassion and love and prudence, and sees their parental role as one who guides children through struggle into meaning, embracing happiness along the way but never setting it up as some sort of absolute ideal.

In other words, by accepting what I’ve said elsewhere, you embark on a journey that leads you to feel and live and think differently, and this process and its outcomes are not always pleasant, just as the parenting example I just gave will not be a pleasant to everyone. In fact, I would guess that this process would normally be very unpleasant. My purpose here is to help cope with this process and, in the long term, to grapple with issues that may arise throughout this re-orientation and as a result of having nurtured in yourself a ‘sense for the traditional’ and an inner identification with it.

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