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

Esoterism is not a standalone archetypal doctrine

When we begin to comprehend the universality of Truth by means of the apparently universal language of metaphysics and the unanimity of the doctrinal principles of the traditional world, we have a sense of having discovered the essence of religion and this gives the impression of having come into possession of the meta-doctrine or having access to a meta-religion, or even an ‘archetypal theology’ which is itself the principle of all specific theologies.

This is, in itself, an appropriate intuition, for the Truth really is universal and this is precisely what we are trying to approach, not only through the general study of doctrine and metaphysics, but through any religion in particular. The error, however, is in overestimating the level we have achieved, or confusing the concept, which has come into our possession, with the true essence of which it is only an anticipation. No matter how universal our concept, it is, as a concept, still relative, and is not identical to the essence it attempts to express.

If one forgets this, one runs into grave spiritual and psychology problems because one not only severs oneself from the true sense of each particular religion, which can only speak for itself, but also—and this is much worse—one begins to entertain an illusion of superiority over all adherents to a religious form, as if they are inferior for not having ‘transcended form’ and climbed to the heights of universality.

Again, we emphasize the distinction between the universal and the general, and emphasize that often when esoterism is spoken of as a self-sufficient body of sacred knowledge, what is in question is something general and conceptual rather than universal, and that, while one might arrive at contemplation of the universal via these concepts, insofar as they are true, one also approaches the universal through the paths provided by the religions themselves. To put in another way, if the doctrinal expression of a religion belongs to the ‘particular’ and general esoterism belongs to the ‘general,’ we can approach the universal through either, because both in fact belong to the same plane, even if the second give the impression of being beyond the first.

We can perhaps drive this point home by observing that anyone who truly enters the universal cannot repeat what he ‘knows’ when he descends back into the individual domain, since memory and the rational faculties only resume their function at that time. This does not make the knowledge any less real—it only means that this knowledge was direct and that it cannot be ‘brought down’ to the individual domain. Esoterism allows us to perceive this universality but, in light of what has just been said, it is obviously not universal knowledge itself, but is rather a perspective  or a way of understanding the mystery which has been revealed.

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