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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The confusion of the psychic and the spiritual

Although some may not like it very much, we would suggest that St. Teresa of Avila spent most of her time describing the phenomenological concomitants of the spiritual journey. This is no small thing, but as we have already said, it runs the risk of fixating on the level of psychology. Again, this is not really a problem except when this ‘level’ or descriptive mode come to be seen as the essence of mysticism.

The result is that any kind of literature that adopts this style could be equally termed ‘mystical’, whether or not it is Christian and whether or not it has anything to do with mystery as ‘inner knowledge of a sacred reality.’

To understand what we mean, simply read the works of Teresa next to those of Sartre. The latter is profane, yet, but they are both clearly operating in the same descriptive mode, which produces similarities of style.

It is this same confusion—similar to what Guenon called the confusion of the psychic and the spiritual—that would allow Henri Bergson to be seen by so many, even within Christianity, as a kind of authority and spiritual guide for the mystical way. But ultimately he was a psychologist, working everything out in terms of joy, ecstasy, and motivation for action.

Once mysticism is understood in the sense of subjective experience only, believers rightly begin to ask themselves: what has the liturgy to do with the mystical way? And certain signs that were, in themselves, only the concomitants of the mystical experience, are taken to be the thing itself.

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