This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Quantity

Reduction is evident in the way modern man has become incapable of making qualitative judgments of any kind. Quality has been reduced almost entirely to quantity; or, said another way, the only ‘quality’ men are now capable of conceiving lies in measures of quantity. This is the basis of the political theory of democracy, which teaches that truth is not discovered by discerning the qualities of things, but is decided via a quantity, in this case, ‘majority rule’, and truth becomes equivalent to whatever is the majority opinion. The ‘quantitative worldview’ is also at the heart of the socio-economic obsession leading nations to direct all their policies and efforts toward production and exchange, assuming that quality of life is directly proportional to the quantity of goods produced and consumed. In America, this sort of ‘quantity monomania’ has developed so far as to have created an entirely new form of aristocracy based on quantitative accumulation. No other civilization in history equated wealth accumulation with worth or virtue. Ancient kings were wealthy because they were believed to be kingly men, to be superior men, but they were never considered superior simply because they were good at accumulating wealth. Wealth may be a consequence of superiority, but it is not evidence of it. In our modern money aristocracy the traditional principle is reversed: men become kings simply because they are wealthy, and nobility and wealth mean precisely the same thing. This does not bode well for the poor, who are likewise appraised according to their aptitude for wealth accumulation (which is of course inferior) rather than any qualitative measure based on virtue, nobility, dignity, social function, etc. Such is the result of an outlook on life that discerns quantity instead of quality. Indeed, the modern term “quality of life” itself is measured entirely by quantities: life expectancy, income, years of education, etc. Set this in contrast to the ancient wisdom which saw something demonic in quantitative obsessions. Consider the Old Testament prohibitions against census-taking. The counting of heads, which seems so normal to our understanding, would have seemed perverse to the Hebrew people who could sense the underlying truth of the matter. Even today it is possible to encounter this sensitivity in certain less developed societies. There are shepherds alive today who will tell you that more animals die when the heard is regularly counted, as opposed to when they are left to themselves. It is probably no coincidence that Christ came at the time of a great census. There is just something infernal in quantitative reductions, and something like a ‘social security number’ would likely have horrified a traditional people. Further, modern man seeks quantity not only in his pursuits, but in his fears as well. When he thinks of his extinction he thinks of overpopulation. He thinks of emissions and temperature changes, both quantifiable measures. He thinks of these things because he senses the presence of a danger but cannot discern its nature because its subtlety surpasses his impoverished perception; and so he concentrates on superficialities. He concentrates on those things which, although they present truths of a sort, are only the most exterior and secondary aspects of the spiritual darkness he feels enveloping him.

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