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 warrior and the teacher

We said at the very beginning of this discussion that there is no one-size-fits-all imperative when it comes to the form of resistance that a person must deploy. This means that although resistance is obligatory, the form of resistance is personally determined, at least in part.

The situation always carries unique complexities, but the condition of each individual carries even more complexities and these are what dictate who must and must not resort to physical compulsion. For one thing, the use of physical compulsion, especially in the extreme form of combat, carries great spiritual risks, and not everyone is able to face them. But aside from that, there are questions of general vocation and part of the misunderstanding about physical compulsion is the mistaken tendency to project these actions onto people for whom these actions would never be appropriate.

For example, if your vocation is to teach, meaning that you possess spiritual clarity and verbal fluency, which translates to a high aptitude for conveying ideas, then you would likely be called to the service of the truth using these skills. This personal calling helps us ‘delimit’ the form and degree of resistance to evil to which you are called. Note that we did not say that vocation is everything, but it is significant as a starting point.

If you possess the nature of a teacher, then your vocation would indicate that when resistance to evil is called for and the appropriate form of resistance is that of persuasion in the form of a call to clarity, hoping to awaken by words the love of truth, then you can be of great service. It is here that you provide a powerful service to the community. However, outside of that specific context, it might happen that your aptitudes do not fit, and that it would be an act of pride or ignorance for you to go further since your aptitudes and temperament will doom you to failure.

Too often we deny this complexity and unconsciously try to universalize the appropriate response to evil. It is ignored that in situations wherein verbal persuasion has proven futile, that a different sort of person with a different set of attributes is required. It requires the warrior type. This does not imply an alteration in values or morality. Just because the warrior and the teacher use drastically different means of delivery, it does not follow that one serves good and the other serves evil, or that one is weak and inadequate when it comes to resistance while the other is strong and effective. They serve the good in different capacities, and each are ‘weak and ineffective’ only when they try to switch places and step outside of their competence.

The vocation of the warrior does not require that he display verbal fluidity, and it is no insult to the soldier if he is unlearned, or ignorant of high moral theory, and proves unable to provide sophisticated justifications for what he must do. His service does not involve the use of speeches to awaken spiritual sight in the mind of the evildoer. On the contrary, those called to persuade through words have likely failed in their task by the time the warrior makes his appearance. If anyone has the right to condescend, it is not the academic but the warrior, since the failure of the teacher is what allowed the situation to get bad enough that he had to show up. At any rate, the warrior is called to meet evil by physically intervention, by using direct physical force to control the damage the evil is doing. The resulting confrontation may involve injury and bloodshed and destruction, and this eruption will naturally spread fear, suffering, hunger, death, grief, confusion, etc. But all of this is permitted on the grounds that it is the only way left to resist evil that does not involve surrendering to it and joining forces with it.

We should pause an acknowledge that even if this explanation we have had to oversimplify. It is, of course, possible that persons of mixed vocation exist who are competent in academics and at combat. We only mean to say that this is not the norm. Additionally, we do not mean to give the impression that once physical force is called for, then everything else goes out the window. Even during war, certain narrow possibilities for the expression of love still present themselves, as demonstrated by the rules involving treatment of prisoners in war and the killing of the wounded. It has always been a test of righteousness whether an army remembers the other forms of love during conflict or if, on the contrary, they give in to brutality plain and simple.

And so again, we will recall that by the time the warrior is called to the scene, the situation has clearly beyond civil discourse and rendered impossible the ‘lighter’ forms of resistance such as the pressure of social disapproval. What is necessary, in the last resort, is the clearing away of hell so that a semblance of peace can be reestablished.

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