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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Two souls at war in my breast

Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast;
And each is fain to leave its brother.
The one, fast clinging, to the world adheres
With clutching organs, in love’s sturdy lust;
The other strongly lifts itself from dust
To yonder high, ancestral spheres.

~ Goethe[1]

If we start from the assumption that dualism is part and parcel of the created order, we can the move to the problem of the ‘personification’ of Satan which in turn becomes a question of ‘localizing’ the source of evil in the inner life of man. Here too we are affirmed by the unanimous teachings of tradition that ‘there are two in us,’ or in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas ‘two natures.’[2] Everyone understands this, at least in common parlance, where we use terms such as ‘self-control,’ which implies the existence of a self which controls and a self which is controlled. Here we would head off any misunderstanding, fostered by the ‘democratic mentality’ and the myth of ‘self-government,’ by stating a basic truth of causality: nothing acts upon itself. Or, to quote Plato, “the same thing can never do or suffer opposites in the same respect or in relation to the same thing at the same time,”[3] or again from Aquinas, “no one imposes a law upon his own actions.”[4] Self-government is therefore just a way of describing a relation between ruler and the ruled that veils that very relationship. But returning to the question of ‘self-control’ we can say again that this implies a duality, and it is this duality that we are concerned with when we trace the presence of ‘evil’ in man. These are the two ‘selves’ that fight for government of the single man, and we can distinguish them by calling them the true Self, belonging to the spiritual order, and the psycho-physical ‘personality.’ The Self and the ego.

[1] Faust, “Outside the Gate of the Town.”

[2] St. Thomas Aquinas, Sum. Theol. II-II.26.4.

[3] Republic, 436B.

[4] St. Thomas Aquinas, Sum. Theol. I.93.5.

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