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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Systematization mania

One of the reasons it is necessary to reject most philosophical systems out of hand is for the plain and simple fact that they are systems, and although it is sometimes expedient to systematize for the sake of expediency, in philosophy this amounts to the implicit exclusion of metaphysical notions from consideration. Remember we have said that metaphysical notions, whether symbolic or doctrinal, must always leave some room for the inexpressible, because the universal principles, which are the end of these symbols and doctrines, are themselves inexhaustible. To translate these conceptions into formal expression already places limits on them, but this is necessary for them to be expressed at all, and so that the higher can be attained by a focus on a limited aspect of it. But again, the formal expression must never be ‘closed’, which is to say it can never be a ‘system’.

Taking this into account and looking at a survey of modern philosophy, it can be seen that it is but a procession of systems that are really only the development of some individual concern, hence the attachment to them of an individual’s name, or else the rigid development of a very specific hypothesis, which the developer usually attempts to identify not simply as true from his limited point of view, but true absolutely; and this is why he encloses it as a system. He wishes to ‘complete’ his truth and let it stand on its own, which is never possible unless he is dealing with metaphysics itself, and even then it is not possible in the way he thinks it is. Thus, he imposes more or less rigid definitions on his ideas and develops it in a way that excludes more truth than it isolates and enlightens, and in the end sacrifices everything outside itself to whatever notion has mesmerized its author. We can adopt here the saying of Leibnitz, that ‘every system is true in what it affirms and false in what it denies’. This is not at all a problem if done consciously and with a specific intent, since any project must have limits and sometimes we must stake out a more or less limited territory in order to accomplish something, but when it is done under pretenses of totality, then it becomes an expression of ignorance.

Once acquainted with a pure metaphysics, we can see that most of the ‘-isms’ that sometimes fly under that banner are not really qualified to bear the name. In these cases we should prefer the term ‘pseudo-metaphysics’, and this would apply to systems such as materialism, pantheism, idealism, and certainly to all those ‘theories of knowledge’, namely rationalism and empiricism.

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