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).

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

Beneficial aspects of the situation

We might ask ourselves if this is all a bit overly pessimistic. Would it not be better, or at least more psychologically and emotionally healthy, to focus on the good and not the bad?

Yet this frames the question improperly, for it assumes that there is nothing ‘good’ about life for mankind during the Dark Age, and that under such conditions the only conclusion could be despair, and that all is lost; but we have never drawn this conclusion and would never wish despair upon anyone. The whole point of our writing is to save whoever we can from that fate. On the contrary, nothing is lost, and a man born in this time was made for it, and his path and the tools before him are unique, yes, but effective. The invitation to spiritual development remains in effect, and it is still possible to answer it, and to lead a meaningful existence here as at any other point in history. We point out disadvantages not to disarm and defeat the reader, but so that ineffective pursuits may be rejected and more appropriate methods introduced. There are, we insist, specific advantages to our situation, but you could not see them if you permitted yourself a perverse optimism. The stars by which you must be guided are only visible at night, but you’ll never see them, never look for them, if you remain satisfied and ‘optimistic’ under the perpetual fluorescent daylight of modern industrial civilization, in all its cold sterility.

What, then, could possibly be seen as beneficial about living the last Age, when everything is falling part? Consider the following ideas, which are not exhaustive but will serve to illustrate our point:

First, it is much easier to accomplish the detachment necessary for the pursuit of spiritual things when the illusion of the world, so beautiful and seductive under normal conditions, is becoming ugly, poisoned, and dissatisfying. It is difficult to see, under present conditions, how anyone could fall under any kind of utopian illusion or convince themselves that man’s happiness lies in this life along: should he try he will fall into despair, but this itself drives him back upon himself and eventually to the alternative: that happiness is to be sought elsewhere. If there is truth to the old observation that trials strengthen and refine man while wealth and comfort diminish him, then we can see in this light that the age of chaos is a blessing rife with opportunities for awakening and constant motivation to look beyond the world for meaning.

Second, we live in an abundance of knowledge. Granted, it is almost impossible to handle the sheer volume of knowledge we have at our fingertips, but to those who are careful and sincere, access to sources of wisdom are inexhaustible. A book such as, for example, could not possibly have been written at any other point in history and has only come into being due to the availability of literature and learning. None of this is to ignore the flipside of this blessing, which is that by and large, since the great mass of men do not know what to do with this knowledge, it is more often used to harm and manipulate than to help. There is also the conflict and mutual comprehension that accompanies the intermingling of ‘worlds’, which leads to hatred, violence, and exploitation. Yet the blessing remains, as a rose almost hidden among poisonous thorns, to be sought with extreme care, priceless if obtained.

Third, we must revel in the outpouring of mercy promised to the laborers who arrive in the latter part of the day, even as the sun sets.

Such is the meaning of the Islamic teaching that ‘the fires of hell will grow cold’ in the last days. As man becomes weaker, blinder, and afflicted, so the mercy of God, always outpacing his wrath, is given in superabundance, for God will never judge us as if we had no obstacles to overcome, as if the deck were not stacked against us.

This principle is neatly summarized by the Prophet in the following Hadith:

“In the beginning, if one omits a tenth of the law, he will be punished, but at the end of time, if one accomplishes a tenth of the law, he will be saved.”

Thus, we can say that any attempt to deny the more unpleasant aspects of reality in favor of a more ‘optimistic’ worldview is quite literally a delusion and could not be healthy on any level, whatever reprieve it may seem to promise. Rather, true peace of mind is to be found in reconciling oneself to reality as it is, not in the superficial social sense but in the sense of aligning one’s one will with the will of God, which is the only reality that matters. Then, seeing that we are where we are because God wills it, and thus willing it ourselves, and then determining our vocation and our path to spiritual realization here and now, we may find what our hearts desire.

Having said all of that, we must return now to a more critical frame of mind, knowing that we tear down only so that we might make some space to breath, to regain our senses, and to rebuild.

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