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 line of demarcation between exoteric and esoteric

Because mental aptitude varies widely throughout a population, it might seem that the distinction between esoteric and exoteric must be either a matter of identifying an ‘average intelligence,’ and then dividing doctrine accordingly, or it must seem an arbitrary division, as if some priest one day decided that this doctrine will be directed toward the few and not the many. Both of these notions are false, because the distinction between esoteric and exoteric is dictated by the knowledge itself, and the order to which it belongs. That which belongs to the exoteric order is easily comprehensible and available to all, and it is available to all because it is easily comprehensible. It is ‘external’ and obvious. The knowledge that belongs to the esoteric order is always a knowledge of metaphysical principles, and a specific mental constitution is necessary in order to attain to it. It is ‘interior’ and it is not obvious, and for this reason it remains impenetrable to most people; this exclusiveness is not due to the will of any sect or society. Metaphysics is inherently exclusive. So we find, then, that the line of demarcation between the exoteric and the esoteric tends to be the same as that between metaphysics and all other orders of knowledge. This paradigm is of course not rigid, and in our section on Christianity, we will expand a bit more on the unique approach that tradition has adopted with respect to the esoteric/exoteric divide. But what we have said above and the further remarks we will offer below can serve as a working model for an understanding of why students of doctrine so often utilize these terms.

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