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

Reduction to simplicity

One consequence of the “efficient mentality,” when applied to communication, is a preference for the reduction of concepts to their most simplistic form. An idea that is difficult, subtle, or multifaceted cannot be easily transmitted to masses of varying dispositions, nor can it be communicated in the almost instantaneous fashion required by the modern lifestyle. Some concept which presupposes familiarity with distant historical factors, for example, is impossible to present to a democratic population. The mass of men may not have the time, and perhaps not even the aptitude, for the required comprehension, and so this renders the effort inefficient in the utmost. How then to proceed? Associations here are central for the propagandist, and so he must appeal to pre-existing mental constructs, as well as universal reflex actions, within his audience. What this means, in short, is that entire subjects must be reduced to agendas, agendas reduced to “platforms,” and platforms reduced to mere slogans and catchphrases. Any experience with contemporary politics is enough to see that slogans are a favorite of modern mass man. Consider President Obama’s 2008 slogan, “Change we can believe in,” which is in every way meaningless if analyzed from a rational point of view, but becomes very powerful if analyzed from a purely emotional standpoint devoid of intellectual meaning. The vague notion of “change” has universal appeal to a nation that is almost always dissatisfied with present circumstance, and the notion of something which we can “believe in” creates in those already predisposed a response akin to “faith,” or at least signals to them that this slogan represents not a particular truth, but “truth” in the abstract, which obviously deserves unquestionable loyalty of all. In 2012, Obama’s slogan changed simply to “Forward,” which, again, is not only meaningless from a rational standpoint, but is actually in direct contradiction to the 2008 slogan. Nonetheless, it prevails on an emotional level regardless of any contradictions it might entail.

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