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 self made man

In order to become real, to become yourself and not some self-chosen illusion that can never be, you have to let go of the image you always had of what you wanted to be. Those who cannot do this, who try to make themselves more real not by surrendering to a higher artist’s hand but by insisting on asserting their own desires in their own self-creation, wind up merely reacting to the assertions of other, either by conforming to the desires of other and imitating what they do and what they choose, or in violent rejection of the desires of others. This latter path they assume is an assertion of their individuality against the herd, but they do not realize that it was still the herd that determined alternatives. Go ahead, choose for or against the herd, but remember that in either case it was the herd that chose what it was that you were to decide upon. Agree or disagree, you allowed the herd to choose the subject of conversation.

Along the way, those who try to make themselves real by self-assertion tend to assemble their self piecemeal, not only by gathering opinions from here and there, but also by gathering things. This is the secret of materialism and greed, and perhaps the reason advertisements are so effective in this age is because the available audience is composed of individuals who starve for an identity, and who are trained to seek that identity through the collection of things and through the satisfaction of desires. There is no better audience for the advertiser, for they will be easily convinced to desire anything, and to be discontent no matter how much they have. Since the desire will persist no matter how much these people come to possess, and since there is a limit to how much wealth can exist in the world at any one time, war is the inevitable outcome of the process, and it will always be justified as “self-preservation” in one way or another, but the “self” they preserve is a lie.

Self-creation through self-assertion contains in it the root of all violence; it is contrary to reality, and destines all who engage in it to frustration, hatred, and conflict.

We fight to become real by distinguishing ourselves from one another–by separating ourselves from one another. Our opinions must be original, must be “our own” (but they always wind up simply becoming those we heard on television, or the prevailing opinions of our group). Our home decor must be unique, whether futuristic or retro (but it usually winds up mimicking something we saw on the internet). We fight to be distinguished, and at the same time we become a cliche. Only God can save you from becoming a cliche.

Enter the ‘cult of personality,’ another product of a bad autology, or of a Christianity that has no autology. We seek to have a ‘personality’ that is unique, ‘quirky,’ ‘colorful. We must have a personality that is not like his, or hers, in fact even the designation of “he” or “her” is too restrictive for us. We must be able to choose even this. And the process of self-creation ends, even before death, in a kind of suicidal self-mutilation due to an inability to feel at home anywhere, even in our own bodies. Everything we did not choose for ourselves is felt as a kind of mistake in the creation process, and we cannot accept it.

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