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

Scientific knowledge is not opposed to gnosis

The secular world presents the world as a painting that is only partially unveiled: a finite whole which ‘the sciences’ are working to diligently unveil completely. The sense of the inexpressible, the religious impulse, the belief in God, the entirety of spiritual knowledge: these are but a manifestation of man’s ignorance, perhaps combined with evolutionary holdovers and biological needs. They are a kind of animal response to those regions of our reality that the empirical sciences have not mapped. As science slowly pulls back the veil, it completes its map, and it is believed that as this happens, the regions inhabited by the sacred begin to dwindle, and the hold of religious superstition begins to dissolve, until at some point in the secularist dream-future, religion disappears completely, or at least is conclusively explained away.

Such a view is convincing only to the modern world wherein the sense of the sacred has been betrayed and covered over with so many layers of concrete, hymns drowned in the inescapable din of a thousand form of media that never shut off. If it seems true it can only be because we have tirelessly worked to make it true, and have in some ways succeeded. That is to say, it is possible to reduce the horizons of knowledge to the empirical alone: it simply takes generations of work. It is possible to numb the sense of the ineffable to such an extent that few become aware of it, and those who become aware of it explain it away: but it takes an intense educational process to bring it about.

For those who have remained sensitive to the interior dimension of what it means to be human, and in whom the indoctrination was not quite successful, the results of scientific progress are admitted, as they must be, but the result, with respect to our sense of the transcendent, is the opposite of that described above. For the spiritually sensitive man, the further he travels along the path blazed by scientific knowledge, the greater scope he gives to his sense of what is unknown in the known. In every phenomenon that is explained, he sense a thousand new questions. His awareness of the meaning-beyond-the-fact is enhanced rather than deadened. It is no surprise to him, then, that every time the sciences unveil an inch of their map, the veiled region extends itself several feet in response. He knows that scientific research is a voyage into an endless jungle that only gets darker and more impenetrable, and for every leg of the journey that is adequately mapped, a hundred new territories are discovered. A problem is solved: we stand face to face with a greater problem we could not have anticipated. Every answer gives rise to a more complex question. This is because everything points to something beyond itself and the further it is pursued the more this ‘pointing’ seems to indicate transcendence, and eventually the tools of the sciences become useless and even the scientists begin to talk like theologians, as we commonly see today among physicists who speak of the universe as a kind of cosmic expression of mind. In this they come full circle to the beginnings of metaphysics, to what the religions have been teachings for millennia, like a stubborn child who insists on finding answers himself rather than listening to his parents.

What matters, in the end, is that an acquaintance with the divine makes it clear that any ‘map’ of reality is a point on the periphery of the indescribable infinite, which is a region that defies conceptualized and obviously cannot circumscribed by the experimental sciences. In this way we are prepared for what is discovered and nothing surprises or confounds us, so long as it is true. The sincerely religious man should not be disturbed by either the legitimate discoveries that science makes, nor its illegitimate claims to self-sufficiency. He awed by the first and smiles at the second. He permits these researchers to transport him to the borderlands of the inexpressible. While they fight to eliminate all wonder from the human experience, they amplify his. They frantically try to eliminate the need for God, while at the same time delivering him into God’s presence.

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