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

Beyond thought and prior to it

We must begin by acknowledging that the most significant truths we encounter in life are not expressible and must be wrestled with in solitude. Such things come to us, but we find that despite our sincerest efforts, the content of the encounter is not communicable.

Even those who are gifted in the verbalization of inner experiences are only able to approximate these realities, hinting at them, giving to others a small taste of what they mean, but the formulation is never exhaustive, never complete, never true to the reality in question.

This gives us our first hint at what will become more and more clear, which is that the more profound our understanding, and often the more meaningful and intimate it is to us, the less susceptible to rational expression it becomes. We will find that this is not because it is irrational or sub-rational, as simple emotion, but because the level of understanding in question is beyond rationality, as if the rational faculty were an electronic circuit which is too weak to handle the voltage of the truth undiluted.

The notion that the inexpressible is more profound, more true, than the expressible, is demonstrated by the fact, clear to any sensitive being, that all great works of art, all poetry, is the manifestation of an attempt to give form to an experience that is prior to form, and the production of beautiful things is a response to an encounter with something far more beautiful than the sum total of the any artist’s life work. Art is a striving to externalize an inner experience of something that can only be expressed in diluted form. The Sistine Chapel is the clothing sewn by a sensitive soul, draped over a vision that defied concrete expression.

To write off the history of art as belonging to the irrational side of man, simply because we can obviously not explain it by rational speculation, is frankly dishonest.

To utter profound things is to bear witness to a greater profundity that cannot be taught but only intimated; but it can only be intimated by someone who knows it intimately, and to such a one it is more real than any feeble external productions, which cannot be more than vague recollections of what was seen in a flash of insight.

It does not help matters that this flash of insight is like a sudden vision of the sun: we come away dazzled, even blinded, and by the time we regain our senses we are only left seeing spots, as if the only thing we have to show for the experience is a kind of wounding that is incommensurable with the light we perceived.

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