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).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

The centripetal force of tradition

Civilizations established on a traditional basis are subject to the conditions of becoming, as all are, but by virtue of the spiritual center around which they revolve, they are imbued with a unifying and ‘regenerating’ force. This is why they seem to cling to their way of life so obstinately. Their stubbornness is most pronounced when it comes to technological development, which can easily displace and outpace moral and spiritual considerations, at the same time accelerating social change in ways that are always extremely difficult to foresee, much less control. They are not wrong in this, and after all the law of unintended consequences teaches us that intervention in any complex system produces a chain reaction of consequences, of which the unintended will always outnumber the intended.

Traditional societies sense this peril and only proceed with great caution. In this way a precarious equilibrium is maintained between two tendencies that are always at work. First, there is the inevitable tendency toward dispersion, which leads them to live and procreate, to perfect themselves through earthly and productive vocations, to produce art, and to grow patiently in practical knowledge. But over and above this force is the ‘magnetic’ force of tradition which, in addition to revitalizing the culture and instilling order in the face of the encroaching chaos, can render the tendency toward dispersion healthy, or if not healthy, at least relatively benign. At any rate, the forces of becoming are kept in check ‘from above’, and never allowed to predominate. This is why Eastern civilization was, until recently, characterized by a degree of cultural stability, and by a persistent order of life. It is why ‘nations’ do not appear, since nations are a sign of fractured unity and alienation. The centrality of the transcendent principles of the tradition penetrate all of life and hover above it, and this creates a focus ‘upward and inward’ rather than ‘downward and outward.’ This is the only explanation for the apparent ‘immortality’ of civilizations like India and China. It is why they appear so old that we cannot even determine their age, as compared to the West which even now, still in its ‘youth’, seems on the verge of destroying itself in some nuclear, environmental, or cultural catastrophe.

Share This