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

Only the strong

The vocation of the warrior shares a danger similar to the possession of great wealth. It is not a sin in itself to possess a massive fortune, but wealth is rightly termed an occasion of sin by the Catholic Church because it presents certain dangers and easily distorts the soul of anyone exposed to it.

The vocation of the sword carries a like danger, as an occasion of sin. To be presented with the duty to expose oneself to such risk, to the vicissitudes of combat, to the split-second decisions where life hangs in the balance and is extinguished in a moment, is to be exposed to a thousand occasions of sin, and the potential for so many crucial moral errors is far more immediate and graver than what might afflict the millionaire. An abundance of economic power is one thing: an abundance of military power is something else.

For this reason, we can say again that only the strong should take up the sword, and by strong we do not mean the reckless, the wanton, the violent. We do not mean those with a will to violence or an excess of testosterone. We do not have in mind the man that the film industry and popular culture present to us as the manliest. We intend something very precise. By strong we mean the one in whom the conscience is both well-formed and powerfully operative, and this latter depends on strength of will. The strong warrior remains safe from spiritual peril by resting with confidence in the health of his conscience, and he can only rest in this after undergoing rigorous spiritual formation.

It is said that power corrupts but this is not true. It is rather that power is magnetic to the corruptible and draws them to itself. Great wealth attracts the corruptible. Likewise, the warrior vocation is susceptible to being degraded by the degenerate man, the weak man, who cannot endure the demands of the compromise and in the face of necessary unrighteousness grants himself liberties, who goes further than necessity demands, who perhaps vents his rage or lets his impulses run too free. Such are the behaviors of those who are not up to the demands of the spiritual compromise. The strong come out wounded but spiritually intact and they recover through cleansing, which we will describe below. But the weak are not so lucky; they may not recover at all and even when they survive physically, they are mortally wounded internally.

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