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).

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Inseparability of the physical and spiritual

We typically envision reality as being constituted by two orders: spiritual and physical. This is not quite adequate, as we will see in our discussions of cosmology and spiritual anthropology, but since it is the normal way of seeing things in our time, we can begin here and insist that, even within this simplistic paradigm, we must understand the spiritual and the physical as intermingling. The physical cannot invade or assert itself against the spiritual, because it is of an inferior order, but the spiritual and invisible can and does intermingle with everything we consider ‘physical’. Nothing is ‘purely physical’ and there is, from the point of view of metaphysics, no such thing as ‘matter’ as we normally imagine it. In other words, all beings are in some sense like man, who is at the same time spiritual and material, yet always directed primarily by his invisible principle, else he would cease to exist immediately, in the same way that even the body of a dead man ceases to be a body, strictly speaking, as soon as life is no longer present, and enters ‘decomposition’ at that very moment.

In the beginning, man was ordered to perfection by the superior spiritual principle, and the spiritual will always have the final say, just as all material effects can be traced, ultimately, to an immaterial cause. For primordial man, the spiritual predominated almost completely over the physical—and this is why men communed so easily with the gods in the beginning, almost to the point of walking and speaking with them as if they were literally in their midst. However, as the laws of dissolution proceed (after the ‘Fall’) he becomes progressively disordered, both visibly and invisibly. Chaos begins to assert itself. In fact, we could envision the history of the world as a process of cosmic collapse, so gradual as to be imperceptible. As the cosmological hierarchy collapses, the physical begins to predominate over the spiritual, the visible over the invisible. This is what we mean when we speak of the ‘solidification of the world’.

Entropy increases constantly on every level. For this reason, the increasingly chaotic nature of each age presupposes changing conditions not only in the world but within man himself. Man is always man, but due to progressive degeneration it is possible to distinguish between men of different ages based on the stage of degeneration in which they find themselves.

Again we can refer to the modern scientific law of entropy, simply expanding that law to man’s spirituality in addition to the physical orders of the cosmos. Remember that it was not until later Ages that man was forced to toil for his daily bread. This is a natural consequence of dissolution in the physical order, which causes earth stop willingly yielding its fruit, and instead of Edenic coexistence, the Earth and all life on it becomes somewhat antagonistic to man: plant life ceases to present itself as a plentiful garden and instead becomes instead a field to be tilled and nurtured against draught; wildlife becomes elusive, withdrawn, predatory; even the biological system that is the body is assailed by disease and imperfection. Thus, man develops agriculture to coerce the hostile ground into providing him his daily bread. He must hunt and butcher to acquire meat. He will even learn to amputate his own limbs and remove his own organs when they fail him and turn against him.

This is not a denial but an affirmation of the doctrine of the Fall. Man’s spiritual disorder must have been introduced before any disordering in the earth itself. In whatever manner we envision it—literal or symbolic—we must insist that, by the very order of things, the spiritual offense preceded the material consequences.

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