This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

The origin of society

Origin of society has a number of theories, or ‘ways of putting it’. Don’t get too wrapped up in the correctness of any particular theory, since anything touching origins must take on an aspect of myth. We need only allow that in these theories what is essential is not so much their historical precision as their underlying principles, and that some are more true than others, and some are simply nonsense.

One way of putting it, used by the Catholic popes, is that the family is the fundamental unit of society. This is true and for all the reasons they say. However, another way of putting it is to say that society has its origins in the bond between men, giving rise to a hierarchical group ordered on the basis of ability and strength, mutual fidelity and risk, and that this provides the basis of civilization, and all else follows from that. This is also true, and for all the reasons they say.

We’d be in trouble if we tried to accept one and exclude the other. They go well, and they balance each other by painting the picture from a slightly different perspective. There are also many others which we won’t mention.

So long as you are certain that they are true and good, it does not so much matter how many of these theories you take into consideration. You only get into trouble when you either adopt one true observation to the exclusion of other true observations, or else you allow a false one to come in and poison the whole lot.

Exclusivity and error. Those are the dangers. Inclusivity is never a problem so long as what you are including is true and so long as you combine these truths in such a way that they do not contradict one another but instead fit together to form a coherent and properly ordered whole. Failure to properly integrate various truths results in syncretism and is a result of one’s inability to competently handle the material. What is to be aimed at is therefore not syncretism, but synthesis.

Share This