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

Individualism and socialization

One of the greatest crimes of modern individualistic societies is that they deny and therefore deprive people of one of the greatest benefits of membership in a community, which is the collective spiritual education that societies are traditionally understood to provide.

Liberal individualism tends to see spiritual and moral education as a matter of private discernment alone, and when it does not deny the social aspect of this education, it presents it as an ‘interference’ and sometimes as an abuse.

Individualism teaches that man is not fundamentally a social being but is instead a fully autonomous molecule amongst other more or less similar molecules, each possessed of a mutually exclusive ‘free will’. It is then the prerogative of this will to pursue whatever it deems worthy. Hence the popular vision of personal development as ‘self-creation’ where the individual constructs an identity based on his own aspirations and tastes. If this process is derailed or obstructed by the imposition of an external will, it is considered an act of violence because in this paradigm spiritual self-education should not permit any external intrusion except in cases of prior consent.

This view ignores the fact that everyone who was raised under the protection of other humans (and there is no alternative) has already been carried along for years through the influence of another will or by multiple wills, belonging primarily to his parents, and that our will is always in flux and responding to external pressures. This continues throughout adulthood. For individualism, the intrusion of external influences is perceived as injustice, but a more realistic anthropology would suggest that this intrusion is a natural and necessary situation. The real question should be: how do we build up in communities a set of forces that are conducive to healthy spiritual development and not completely ignorant of it or destructive of it.

What is, for individualism, an offense to ‘autonomy’ is for us a gift that in normal cultures is the most significant benefit of living alongside other people. Again, we refer to the Christian principle that it is not good for man to be alone.

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