This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Existential insecurity

As suggested already, the modern man has unprecedented expectations laid at his feet in regard both to discernment and behavior. Never before has the common man been so “free” from guidance from the wisdom of tradition or religion. Never before has he been so privileged as to have a say in all of the most complex of political, economic, social, and scientific matters. Having been liberated from all the traditional limitations, he suffers under the weight of his the plethora of new responsibilities which threaten to overwhelm him. Divorced not only from traditional supports, but also even from his neighbor, he must discern for himself in every matter. When the perennial problems of existence assail him, he must formulate his own explanations. He knows he is a sinner and he feels his own weakness, both physically and mentally, and yet he is deprived of any recourse. He is ripe for propaganda. Propaganda is more than happy to offer him simplistic explanations for the most complex social phenomena. These he must accept because the real explanations are impossibly far removed from his competence, and he must have an explanation!—so he takes the only one that is within his reach, however absurd. It is more honorable in this age to be arrogantly ill-informed than to be honestly about one’s ignorance. So much for the struggle with his ignorance. And the struggle with his sinfulness?—with the knowledge that he is weak and that there are ever-present evils in the world with which he must struggle? The wings of the church can no longer shelter him. Again, he must find his own solutions. Propaganda is here again, teaching man how to project his own evils onto an abstract opponent, focusing all of his spite on the enemy. He is taught to separate himself from sin, freeing him of his guilt and his need for repentance, which simultaneously frees him from any obligation to deal charitably with his enemies. Propaganda offers him truth and salvation in a terrifying world that denies the existence of both.

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