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 dual criteria of love and spiritual insight

Since it is clear that people will disagree about when and how inducement actually crosses the line between the reasonable and necessary and the abusive and violent, we should identify what standard we can use ourselves in this discussion.

We can say generally that inducement guided by love is valid, and that inducement that acts against love, which is to say, inducement motivated by indifference or hate, is likely to be abusive. Yet this is not nearly specific enough, since it is not clear what we mean by love. Further clarification is in order.

Love means first and foremost a genuine concern for the well-being of the beloved.

The beloved could be another person, or it might be oneself. We are, in fact, required to love ourselves, and self-love is almost a precondition to knowing how to love others properly. When it is a question of self-inducement, it should be within the context of a healthy love for ourselves, such that it is for our own good to action or inaction. When it comes to inducement of others, it should be for their good, and not according to our own pleasure or arbitrary ends.

Yet we have still not been specific enough, since, if love means to desire the good of the beloved, there is too drastic a variation between one person and another to know with any precision what that good would look like. Since our understanding of individual good derives from our understanding of the Good as an objective and transcendent truth, then it is clear that disagreement about personal or social goods always boil down to disagreement as to the nature of Goodness Itself, since I cannot will your good if I do not know what Goodness looks like.

We take for granted in this manual that there is a spiritual dimension to man and that man’s ultimate good is beyond this life and that temporal goods are subordinate to his spiritual good. Thus, in order to love anyone, the lover must first and foremost have a degree of spiritual sightedness. In other words, to love, we must know God and know what He looks like, else we cannot know how to love any creature. The lover must acknowledge and be able to see with some degree of clarity who God is, what his attributes are, so that he may truly discern the spiritual end of the beloved. This goes back to what was said above about desiring the Good, since God is Good, and love of God is the basis of all true love for his creatures.

Just as earthly delights can come between creature and Creator, so also can temporal and intermediate goods undermine the ultimate good of the human person. What is implied here is that at times our love for another might mean withholding from them a temporal good if this subordinate good undermines the ultimate, spiritual good of the being. This is true not just when weighing the temporal against the absolute, but even in weighing various temporal goods against one another. I might deny myself the pleasure of eating additional servings of delicious food, even though the pleasure of food is itself a good, in order to pursue the superior good of bodily health, so that in turn I may pursue the still superior goods of peace, clarity of mind, and temperance. These are goods properly ordered.

Likewise, anyone with some level of moral discernment regularly forgoes immediate pleasures and inferior goods for the sake of superior goods that might be more lasting and more edifying. The spiritually attuned person will, for this reason, deny themselves certain temporal goods which interfere with the pursuit of the one good that is everlasting and of ultimate value, which is union with the Divine.

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