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 line between healthy and abusive inducement

Anyone who has set before themselves the task of spiritual self-education knows that mental self-inducement and physical self-compulsion are primary ways of making spiritual or moral progress in this life. The task is to find the line between necessary, healthy self-inducement and perverse inducement that is abusive and therefore violent.

The process of forgiveness, presented by Christianity as an essential component of spiritual development, is an excellent example of how inducement comes into play, because forgiveness in spite of pain always involves discipline in the form of mental self-compulsion. Prayer itself involves inducement, since to ‘pray without ceasing’ we must exercise regular discipline.

Self-inducement is not only for lofty spiritual goals. Normal mental hygiene (not letting oneself get carried away by negative emotions, for example) is maintained first and foremost by the correct application of mental self-inducement.

On the other hand, it is possible to mentally induce oneself in a harmful way and to become guilty of self-abuse. In order to justify our vices or avoid punishment for a crime, we might compel the mind to invent lies, distorting its true function which is the discernment of truth. We may also use our intelligence to manipulate others to their detriment, and so on, and in these cases our self-compulsion becomes self-abuse.

Physical self-inducement is healthy when it gets us out of bed in the morning and causes us to carry out our physical labors, and in matters of health and medicine. But on the other hand it is possible to coerce oneself into committing all types of illicit acts, and typically the mental self-abuse mentioned above is accompanied by forms of physical self-compulsion. A manipulative liar will ‘put on a good face’ and act in all kinds of disingenuous ways, enlisting his body as an instrument of deceit. How many of us have, in our lowest moments, had to ‘force ourselves’ to ignore the voice of conscience and to overcome our own disgust in order to be able to accomplish a clearly recognized evil? All of the above represent attacks on oneself, and are forms of violence.

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