This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

Admitting to differentiation

Our section on contemporary social issues, which enumerated so many challenges to spiritual development presented by our society, contained a number observations about the spiritual and mental condition of the general population, and however true those observations might have been, it is time to face another truth, perhaps even more unpleasant than any of the preceding: that however true those remarks might have been, the vast majority of people will never suspect any of it, and if confronted with these things will usually not even be able to discern that there is a problem that runs deeper than party politics. If you tell the average believer that he suffers from agnosticism, for example, or tell the average ‘patriotic’ American that their patriotic fervor is really the result of misplaced religiosity, you will not receive a good response. And as you contemplate the state of things, you will feel yourself more and more alienated from your neighbors because they cannot, or will not—it doesn’t matter which at this point—see what is to you undeniable. You will become more and more alienated from your peers and this alienation will be much deeper and more total than what occurs between Democrats and Republicans, or Catholics and Protestants, because even those agree on certain basic premises, and it is precisely these premises, these basic certainties from which everyone else starts, that you have left behind. Sooner or later you will have to admit, not out of arrogance but out of honesty, that you are ‘not one of them’—again not out of condescension but as a matter of your own sanity. You will begin to suspect that your very nature differs from theirs, and the purpose of this section is to tell you that you are right in what you suspect. That there are those whose fate is to lead ‘differentiated lives,’ and whose spiritual type, while sharing in some sense all of the characteristics of the modern man, does not belong. My purpose here is to explain to you what this means and how to live with it without letting it destroy you. It is also important—exceedingly important—that you understand how to live as a ‘differentiated type’ without growing to despise everyone around you; and that is precisely the next section. Here, however, we will first and foremost examine the differentiated life, and once we understand that, we will discuss how we might use this understanding to ‘love our neighbor as our self,’ rather than allowing our necessary solitude to express itself in alienation and hatred of others, who after all cannot be anything other than what they are.

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