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

Anything less than perfect is distasteful

It is natural to wish to be faultless, and to try and find perfection in our acts. It is natural to be disturbed at the presence of ambiguity in our motives. This is true especially for the weak-willed, since they more others must have assurances that their acts are ‘safe’ and that there is no risk involved. If they saw the truth about their mixed motives, then they would not be able to bring themselves to act at all. It takes great courage to act in spite of doubt and without any assurances that the decision we made was the right one.

This is true also of collective actions. A nation wants to believe that its military interventions are acts of unquestionable heroism and goodwill. We strive to imagine our country as the noble savior coming to the aid of the weak and persecuted. Our national motives must be pure, and the means honorable. To question this narrative, and to wonder if perhaps our motives are sometimes mixed and our means a bit too pragmatic, is to be unpatriotic.

As individuals or as a collectivity, we yearn to be blameless so that we do not have to question our moral uprightness.

This is why conflicts, whether political or military, tend to be presented as matters of black and white, Christ vs. anti-Christ. We enemy must be ‘all wrong’ because if they were ‘partly right’ then this would have implications. We cannot admit of any good in the enemy, no legitimacy can be granted to their complaints. If that were the case, then they would have a certain share in heroism and this could mean that we have a certain share in unrighteousness, and although this is always and everywhere the case to some degree, we cannot admit it consciously or else we would not be able to bring the full force of our wills to the task.

The mark of the truly courageous and strong-willed man is that he can act even in the face of his own personal unrighteousness, in the face of a real antagonism between the God he serves and the imperfect way he serves him. He is able to fight while admitting that his opponent has some good in him, and that he must in some way respect his enemy. He can fight with all his will, allowing all the while that, yes, he too is a sinner.

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