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 Dark Age

We have briefly outlined the doctrine of the Four Ages. We can now turn to the question of where precisely we stand on this cosmic timeline. Here tradition is unanimous in its response: We live in the final period—the Iron Age. Norse myth calls it Ragnarok (literally “Twilight of the Gods”), or the “Age of the Wolf.” In Hindu terminology, it is the Kali Yuga (literally, “age of vice,” or “age of the demon”). This Age is characterized by strife, moral debasement, and spiritual inertia. Even more specifically, tradition teaches that modern man finds himself near the end of the last Age, for it is said that the Dark Age began long ago, before what we know as ‘recorded history’ even began. This means that we stand on the last stretch of a long descent into a dark and treacherous valley, at the center of which  is the final chaos.

This is not some rash proclamation that the Apocalypse is upon us, as we would find on a pamphlet handed out on a street-corner. We should in fact be very cautious about trying to precisely predict the end of things. We can prophecy an end, since that much is metaphysically undeniable, and we can identify characteristics that will necessarily accompany it, which is what we have been doing here, but to preach that the end is coming tomorrow or next year—this is all a bit simpleminded, resulting from literalistic readings of scripture that have no respect for symbolism.

The ages may last many thousands of years. To say that we are in the last phase of the last Age is not to speak with any kind of precision. There is really no reason to suspect that the end of our current period is immanent. Nor are we concerned about that kind of knowledge—for it is, in truth, better not to know and not to try to know.

Why, then, do we dwell so much on this doctrine? The real significance of this knowledge, for us, lies in its interpretive value, because all traditions assumed that certain characteristics accompany each age and make it distinct from those before or after. Each epoch and each civilization is therefore unique—history can never repeat itself. Looking at the characteristics of the Dark Age, we can then understand our environment, adjusting our expectations and guiding our actions accordingly so as to avoid the mad confusion that afflicts our contemporaries due to the fact that they are in no way acquainted with the reality of their situation. After all, it is also said that spiritual methodology alters throughout the ages. At one point man spoke directly to God, at another, he can hardly admit God’s existence. By understanding how and why this is the case, we can further understand why the religions provide the means of spiritual realization that they do, and what techniques might be most effective. We learn about our historical situation, not in order to fear the Apocalypse, but simply in order to know ourselves as deeply as possible, so that we may pursue, based on this self-knowledge, our spiritual development.

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