This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Disguised transcendence

We finally sense, after so many inadequate answers and after so many failed attempts to conceive of ourselves and only coming into possession of an empty shell, that the self is something transcendent in disguise. We know it intimately and immediately, that it is real, but it defies conceptualization, and so we begin to discern that it somehow straddles the line between the comprehensible and the inexpressible, and the first true step in the path of spiritual realization is to discover, in the direct and certain way, that we are specialized beings who sit as it were on the threshold between the created world and the uncreated world. We notice that there is a barrier, a curtain, between the two, and we begin to feel that we are firmly rooted behind the curtain and this stage on which the life of the world is acted out is before us, but we are only barely leaning through an opening in the curtain, acting on the stage, within time, but with our feet planted in the unknown, beyond the performance and in the ultimately real. We begin to see ourselves as an actor on that stage, with a role to play, but whose essence is not identical with that role, not limited to it, knowing that when the performance is finished, and even throughout its duration, there is a reality that is more real that surrounds the stage.

A man’s life in the world begins to look like that of an unwilling actor given a mask and sent out onto the stage to deliver lines that were not given to him, tasked with making real a character that was never described to him, and eventually discovering that in the unfolding of the narrative he is somehow actor and director at the same time, but in what relation he does not quite know.

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