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).

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Man against himself

An essential point of spiritual anthropology, especially for our discussion here, is the fact of our being able to turn against ourselves. The battle of the spirit and the flesh so often mentioned in the Bible is just one way of depicting this very real situation. We find that we are rarely an inner unity, and there seems to be a multiplicity of selves within us, all vying for control. When out of spiritual blindness we betray ourselves and permit demons to make their home within the inner chamber of the heart, the dignity of free will becomes a bad joke. The situation is described well by Ivan Ilyin:

“…if a person affirms his independence with evil deeds, abusing his autonomy and degradingly perverting his spirituality, his personality turns into a deep inner division. On the one hand, his spirituality is potentially not yet extinguished: somewhere, in its unfulfilled depths, it retains the ability to turn the eye to spiritual perfection and embark on the path of self-restraint and self-government…But, on the other hand, it turns out that the forces of his soul are actually absorbed in anti-spiritual content and aspirations which turn against love, his spiritual eye is closed or blinded, his passions and deeds breathe enmity and division. He does not exercise spirituality, but anti-spirituality, and the inherent power of his love becomes perverted and pernicious. Clarity does not rule him through will, love does not satisfy him; he lives and acts not as a spiritually free lord of his soul and his behavior, but as a helpless slave of his evil impulses and mental mechanisms. He becomes not that which he could potentially be, and cannot become what he is in the hidden meaning of his emptiness. His personality consists of a deceased spirit and an intensely charged anti-spirituality born from a dying love, a cold indifferent cynicism, and searing anger.”[1]

Resisting the free exercise of a will is unacceptable only insofar as we offend the spiritual truth it manifests. Ultimately there is no right but that of truth, and if there are any other rights, they derive from their participation in truth, and they become invalid once they turn against it.

Does this mean that there should be no laws protecting rights? Of course not, since the abuse of a prerogative does not mean that the exercise of the prerogative is itself an evil. What it does mean is that our view of ‘rights’ as ‘absolute and inviolable’ lacks humility and is in need of modification, otherwise the whole conversation is a dead end.

When we use resistant force against the villain, we are not combating spirituality, but anti-spirituality. We are resisting evil, and the enemy is not so much the imprisoned soul as it is the malevolent force which has bound him. We restrain this man for the sake of the spiritual man who is entombed within.

The will of the villain is not a will properly so-called. The will in such a being is latent, which is to say not in force. Due to negligence or weakness or error, it has lost its power of self-discipline. The will of this man is involved in the manifestation of his actions but blindly, without the ability to effectively exercise moral discernment. He is puppet monarch who still seems to sit on the throne, and might even fancy himself in control, but he has become possessed through the manipulations of another.

[1] On Resistance to Evil by Force, p. 44.

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