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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Scientific causality and the life of cultures

Each culture can be viewed as a living organism grown up in a specific environment and constituted in a peculiar way with its own attributes and powers. However diverse this culture-organism might be in terms of its members, it has its own soul shared by all.[1]

By adopting the view of cultures as pseudo-organic beings of their own order—not in the same order as individual beings, but of the supra-individual order—we are liberated from the materialistic view of history which traces all happenings to the most inferior of causes. This is because each organism is a kind of being, and as the ancients tell us, every being has a soul even if not all souls have intellect. Since each culture has a soul, it has a lifespan that includes gestation, birth, growth, maturity, decadence, death. And like the living being, after death its most external parts either return to the earth or are appropriated by whatever living beings take up where it left off—but these things are no longer part of the dead culture. Lastly, a culture-soul, once dead, is gone and cannot come again. Any view of history should take into account these basic realities.

Scientific thinking, or thought based on the principle of material causality,[2] comprehends extension but not direction. It does not understand ends. It must deny purpose or what is called teleology. This is why we say that science cannot comprehend life, since each living being possesses an end toward which it is orientated and in which it is to find its fulfillment. Causality says that the tree can only be understood in terms of the seed. Teleology says that the tree can only be understood in terms of the fully developed Oak in all its glory.

Causality understands extension; teleology understands direction. Both are necessary, in balance. Causality deals with abstract, therefore timeless, space. Only teleology can deal with the progression of time. Causality deals with dead matter, which possesses extension but no direction—that is why it loves to experiment on dead matter and dwell on the results, which are repeatable and controlled and easily classified. But what can it do with life, where each being is different and unrepeatable, where ‘experimental constants’ are in short supply, where time intrudes always and changes everything from instant to instant and thereby shatters the illusion of control? This is why causality, applied to life, becomes a millstone for the mind. Because life can only be understood within the context of time, where it unfolds and comes to fruition.

Time is change, and the whole cosmos is subject to it. This change never ceases. That is why, even if science with all its controls could duplicate a particular being based on DNA and subject it to conditions externally identical to the original, the clone would be unique and something quite different, because it was born at another point in time and, for that reason alone, subject to temporal conditions qualitatively different from those to which the original being was subject. Life can never repeat itself.

Every living organism follows a line of development according to its inner possibilities, possibilities to be actualized within a certain external framework, and these possibilities belong to it alone and will never appear again on the face of the earth.

We can comprehend history because history is itself a record of fulfilled destinies: of culture-souls, of individual beings, of art-forms, of religions, of ideas. If one attempts to understand history in terms of causality-thinking, one only comes up with a history of facts which are meaningless. Only through an understanding that transcends physical causes can we look at the stream of incidents and ‘facts’ and comprehend the organism—the soul—which is expressing itself through those facts, sometimes in cooperation with them and sometimes in direct opposition to them. History has a way of defying incidental pressures. Or to say it another way, life has the power to defy causality.

The type of thinking that see everything as incident, and eventually concludes that life itself is the product of ‘chance or accident’ is obviously the result of a mentality that is locked in the confines of Causality. This mentality will naturally lack any historical sense, and will never understand the soul that is the determining factor in all of History, but will instead only see a mass of accidents which could have been any other way and in which there is no significance whatsoever.

It could be said that the attempt to see behind incident and into the soul of cultures in order to interpret history is to delve into the subjective. This is true, but even the ‘objective’ presentation of history is highly subjective, for the ‘facts’ once collected must be selected, prioritized, organized, and ordered. Much, in fact, must be excluded altogether. Thus, histories written in such ways wind up being just another type of subjective creation. Even a book of nothing but dates undergoes a process of selection.

When ‘scientists’ set out to write history in an objective way, tracing its developments with impartiality, they inevitably run into situations where ‘the evidence’ they have is too scant or too overwhelming, and at these points they must depart from their objectivity and either emphasize what they prefer or else, when evidence is lacking, use the poetic imagination or their intuition to fill in the gaps.

We can see this process displayed in absurd fashion when it comes to the ‘scientific evidence’ for the theory of evolution, which scientists have been in such a mad fever to ‘prove’ for some time now. So passionately and subjectively do they pursue this theory that almost every bit of ‘evidence’ they present is the production of an artist or else is explained by some childish narrative that is obviously a product of fantasy—and a superficial imagination at that. What the evolutionary scientists do with their craft, so do scientific historians. The only difference, in comparison to historians like Spengler, is that the scientists deny the operation of their intuition, and so it operates without their control or conscious engagement, and so haphazardly and without moderation.

There is no ‘calculus’ or method to determine the importance and right ordering of historical events. Only the ‘historical sense’ matters, and a proper understanding of history is dependent on whether or not the historian possesses this sense. It is not a technique, and there is nothing ‘impartial’ about it.

[1] Here we will be speaking metaphorically about culture-souls, and do not intend this to be taken as a point of doctrine.

[2] Again, for clarification, we should say that here we mean causality in the limited materialist sense. These limits would not apply in the context of a more comprehensive causality framework such as that of Aristotle or Aquinas, where we are presented not only with a material cause, but also an efficient, formal, and final cause. The latter categories are in fact what we have in mind when we contrast physical causality with purpose and therefore teleology.

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