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).

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Contemplation is the realization of what all Christians believe but do not experience

In other words, it is the experience of one’s ideas about something being blown away in face of the reality that they only vaguely foreshadowed. I have said that contemplation is “a way,” because you must remember that it is not the only way, nor is it the exclusive possession of Christians contemplatives. Members of each of the darshanas in Hinduism, for example, seek to achieve this “realization of the Absolute” by various paths, just as, on a much larger scale, do all of the great religions. But I will dwell on contemplation because it is a way of realization that is most appropriate to the specific nature of Western peoples, and we are included in this group.

Do not worry too much about “being wrong” about contemplation. You will always be wrong about it, and the only way to escape errors of this kind is to experience contemplation–which is contact with the Truth. In other words, do not think you must try to know everything about contemplation before you hope to experience it, because in fact the only way to know about it, and to discard errors about it, is through this experience.

Contemplation is fleeting, and if I were to describe the feeling, it might be in the following terms: an epiphany, in the sense that it has always been fleeting, but instead of a “new idea” like some inspired discovery, you are instead left with the feeling that you will never see the world the same again. You do not know it, but you have been transfigured, even if momentarily, and this gives the impression that the world has shaken on its axis. It might be better to refer to this experience as a “breakthrough,” although that again seems to give the impression of therapy and psychoanalysis. But perhaps that is not altogether a bad association, since it is like those things transposed onto a higher plane.

I will stress that in contemplation, it is you who changes, and not the world, and it is not some new “insight” that you have gained that can be thereafter expressed and communicated to others. You will find that the communication of the contemplative experience is impossible, and this is because to do so would require that you do more than explain something to your neighbor. You would have to change him, as you were changed, and while you can suggest this to him, only God can deliver.

Be suspicious of any attempt to “classify” the experience of contemplation in a scientific or purely psychological way, as a kind of category or on the basis of certain specific criteria. Science is rational, and rationality is not adequate to this task.

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