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).

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The character of metaphysics

Throughout this manual we refer to metaphysics and so it will be good to describe its nature and to distinguish it from types of knowledge or ways of knowing. We intend to address gnosis as a doctrinal subject separately, and so in this section we will only discuss metaphysics as a feature of the overarching traditions and in relation to reason, philosophy, and theology.

Metaphysical knowledge surpasses the individual order. This implies that it cannot be ‘discovered’ by discursive reason, which is capable of dealing only with the individual domain. Reason is also capable of dealing with the general, but the general does not surpass the individual, but rather stands in opposition to the particular. The general and the particular being two aspects of individuated being. Thus, any well-reasoned generalization will always remain within the individual order.

The method of reasoning, which is discursive, is conforms to its limitation and evidences this in its manner of operation. That is to say, it takes things one at a time, dealing first with one particular and then with another, and deriving generalizations from this process. From this observation alone it can be understood why the reason could do its work indefinitely and yet never intersect with the universal, which is beyond the individual domain. It does not matter how many reasoned conclusions are added together, they are still individual steps, and will grow in quantity but never change in quality.

In the order of metaphysics, and when we speak of metaphysical knowledge, things work differently. The object is not obtained one detail or one conclusion at a time, but immediately or ‘all at once’, in terms of something like an epiphany or a recollection in the ancient sense. Contact is made with the universal, and this contact transcends the ‘subject and object’ division that characterizes reasoning.

Metaphysics pertains to the universal, or to principles of the universal order, and is therefore permanently out of the reach of the rational faculty. In order to approach it, it is necessary to utilize the supra-rational faculty of the intellect, which is to be understood here in the traditional sense as a power superior to the reason and the only power capable of attaining to the universal.

When knowledge of the universal is apprehended, it implies the identity of subject with object, which is to say truth and metaphysical knowledge are one and the same thing, and to know it is to be identified with it. This is why the term ‘contemplation’—as opposed to reasoning or even philosophizing—is more appropriate when we are concerned with the ‘means’ of obtaining metaphysical knowledge, and this is why the religions all view with such high regard the great contemplatives and consider their work and witness to be of utmost importance to the life of the faith.

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