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).

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

The externalization of the spiritual life

If a community is vigorous in its pursuit of moral and spiritual development, these energies of willful self-discipline overflow from the individual domain and combine to form complex social institutions. These institutions (customs, laws, literature, art) are the hard-earned products of a collective project in spiritual progress.

Art, to take only one example, is not only a ‘product’ of the spiritual vitality of a people, but is also a guide and cause of education for new members, such as children. To grow up in the shadow of a Catholic cathedral is to receive a certain inner formation: it imposes a certain spiritual style by mere proximity. The same goes for all the various products of culture. They are formative.

All of what we have been discussing involves a degree of mental coercion, and imposes itself on the free will of each member of society. The overall task of these socially organized forms is not to take over from the individual the responsibility of self-inducement, which remains necessary always; rather, they exist to reinforce individual self-education by supporting the shared goal of moral development. Again, this is the greatest gift offered to the individual by society, and only becomes a curse when the society in question is corrupt in such a way that it reinforces vice instead of virtue.

Lastly, we can say that religion, and the moral ambience it provides, is the most powerful formative force for the individual conscience. The principle of ‘separation of church and state’ which in the modern world amounts to the exile of religious expression to the home and to certain officially designated buildings is a horrible injustice. It does precisely what it was intended to do: renders the moral and spiritual influence of religion inert.

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