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

Shame

In addition to your spiritual paralysis, you may feel a nagging guilt at your powerlessness. You share with Dostoyevsky a strange conviction: “…whichever way you look at it, I was always guilty in the first place, and what is most vexing is that I was guilty without guilt, by virtue of the laws of nature.”

It is that desperately masked but undeniable tinge of guilt which, like our agnosticism, seems to color everything we do or create. I see it in our music and in our art; I see it in our revolutions; it underpins even our most trifling pursuits. And what makes it so peculiar is that we were apparently born that way, somehow at fault just for existing, as if the doctor slapped us in the delivery room, not so that we would take a first breath, but rather to teach us a lesson for having misbehaved, and for coming out of our little rooms before we were told.

Those, therefore, who condemn young people as “shameless,” do not know how right they are, and in what way! If your shame is, as Dostoevsky said, a guiltless guilt, there from the start, then shamelessness is the only possible reaction.

To say it another way, having come to feel your guilt as a start rather than a finish, as the beginning rather than as the end result of some crime, your sense of justice is immediately thrown askew.

So where does this come from? Where is its seat within us? Is there really no cause? We must find one—or else we risk insanity.

The first thing we can know about ourselves is that we were born guilty, not of original sin, or at least not of that only, but of something worse. We’re guilty of shattering dreams. Having been born at this particular place and time, we are predestined to give the lie to a thousand false hopes—false hopes upon which an entire civilization was built. Like reluctant and unwilling Messiahs, we’ve come at the “fullness of time” to bring about something new, and we cannot help but be crucified for such a crime. I don’t draw the analogy to make us sound noble. We are unwilling and usually unwitting, but we were born at this time and so that’s that.

What has been for many generations a great stock of dreams will likely collapse under your feet. You won’t know what’s happening or why—but it will all be your fault. It all is your fault, because you were born here, and now. That’s our tragedy and the wellspring of our shame. It’s also the wellspring of our agnosticism, by the way. The two are Siamese twins woven into the modern soul. Our project is to extricate them from the spiritual tapestry, because they are poisoning the whole project, making it ugly, and unless we deal with the problem we’ll never get anywhere.

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