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 plunge of being into becoming

Henry Miller understood that one can live in the world while having withdrawn from it and can turn that action into an incubator for one’s inner being until it is strong enough to act, or until it reaches that point where action is not necessary. Of his own ‘baptism’ he says:

I reached the Gulf of Mexico and I walked right into it and drowned myself. I did it gratis…when I was asked later why I had killed myself I could only think to say—because I wanted to electrify the cosmos…By drowning myself in the Gulf of Mexico I was able to partake of an active life which would permit the real self to hibernate until I was ripe to be born. I understood it perfectly, though I acted blindly and confusedly. I swam back into the stream of human activity until I got to the source…and allowed the tide of humanity to wash over me like great white-capped breakers.[1]

Nietzsche spoke of “the soul that, having being, plunges into becoming.”[2] What is interesting here is that this is an apt description of God’s own creative act, and any creative act, since to create is to express the spirit via nature. The difference is of course that we are not talking about doctrine but about human experience, and the world without God, which necessitates a different way of putting things and gives it a feeling of violence.  We find the same idea in Hermann Hesse:

The way to innocence, to the uncreated and to God leads on, not back, not back to the wolf or to the child, but ever further into sin, ever deeper into human life.

What is in question here is the act of a soul that “by transfiguring itself, transfigures existence.”[3] All of these are general descriptions of the need to reject the possibility of ‘spiritual retreat’ in favor of positive. Inaction, without a traditional framework to support growth while in withdrawal, is not an option for the differentiated man; but to embrace life even when it does not concern him, to exert one’s strength in a job that can offer no fulfillment knowing all the while that the real work to be done is being avoided at all costs by our civilization and there is nothing you can do to change it, to remain alive even among a people whose greatest concern is to make money, even to possess great wealth and then dispose of it without attachment or remorse or concern for just deserts: this is the plunge into become that can only be survived by the soul having being.

 

[1] Tropic of Capricorn, pp. 311, 320.

[2] Ecce Homo, “Also sprach Zarathustra,” sect. 6.

[3] The Will to Power, sect. 1051.

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