This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
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).

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Albert Camus

Perhaps we’ll know that the crisis of the modern world is over when Camus’s The Stranger no longer resonates with the youth. The entire conflict is a conflict of inertia, and it opens with the main character overlooking his deceased mother. He shows no emotion, and simply drinks milk and smokes in front of the coffin. He continually surprises the reader with his lack of empathy, and this lack of empathy is precisely the element that speaks to people today. The only feeling they can empathize with is this frustrating lack of human empathy—the inability to grieve when a normal person should grieve. The man ends up on trial for murder, ridiculousness ensues, and he is sentenced to death by the guillotine. A chaplain comes to offer him the solace of faith in God, but finds that he cannot really meet the chaplain in any way. He rages and attacks the chaplain, and then finally comes to terms with his existence:

As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the benign indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself—so like a brother, really—I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.

A better introduction to the modern spirit could not be had, and again, that is precisely why The Stranger resonates with so many. It is an introduction to an entirely new world and a new set of conditions. Having freed himself from all the oppressions of religion, mores, and traditions, he now suffers not from restriction but from anarchy.

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