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

Different worlds of meaning

This is the point at which men of contemplation and men of action show how different are the worlds they occupy. The scholar and the warrior operate via a different interpretive apparatus, a different life hermeneutic.

What is meaningful and true and good is always the same for every person in terms of ultimate ends, but in the order of human experience the locus of meaning for each is radically different. The man of contemplation (of which the teacher is an example), deals with meaning in the form of concepts and with a view toward the possession of pure unadulterated truth. For this reason, he cannot readily grasp the hermeneutic used by the warrior. For the latter, immanence, rather than abstraction, is the point of departure, and so the warrior sets himself to confronting a chao and overcoming it in the physical domain. Through this fight he approaches the same good as the contemplative, but he approaches by a different road.

What distinguishes the man of action (of which the warrior is an example) is that he begins in the here and now, in the concrete, and so takes for granted the imperfection and contradiction of circumstances. If he demanded perfect order before acting, he could never act and would become useless. For someone who must act, and act within time and place, it is absurd to demand the path of perfection and purity first and foremost, as contemplatives try to do, and only to proceed once assurances of perfect righteousness are given. Only the monk or the academic, safely walled into the convent or the university, can emphasize perfection as if that were a feasible starting point for a life actually lived.

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