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 universal and the general with regard to esoterism

We do not deny that esoterism aims at seeking out the essence of a revealed truth, but this does not mean that its formulations are identical with that essence. In other words, esoterism will always deal with concepts, and even if these concepts are universal, they are universal by abstraction, which is to say they are what Guenon would term ‘general’ rather than ‘universal.’ This is a way of saying that as much as the promoters of an esoteric meta-doctrine would like to claim universality, which is really in question is a collection of general concepts, universal in their way but not identical with the essence they intend to approach.

This distinction helps to illustrate why it is wrong to envision the religions as paths to the summit, while the esoteric meta-religion stands at the summit. Rather, what is really in question is a set of general concepts (although we grant that these are the loftiest concepts to which the human understanding can aspire). This is why even the ‘universality’ of the Guenonian doctrine turns out to be relative to his time and to those with his mental characteristics, which is to say his concepts are marked by his own relativity and not always intelligible to others.

To say it another way, if it were possible to have a universally intelligible conceptual framework for understanding the various Revelations and their respective religious doctrines, then we would have to deny the necessity of the plurality of religions which is one of the very postulates put forward, rightly so, by Guenon. If there is a plurality of religions, it is because they are necessary as paths to spiritual ascent. If a universal set of concepts could be brought to bear on the problems of the spiritual life in such a way as to render the religions unnecessary, then that possibility itself renders the religions unnecessary.

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