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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Unrealism and abstraction

“It is characteristic, however, of the course of democracy, that the authors of popular constitutions have never had any idea of the actual workings of their schemes…Since these forms of theirs are not, like feudalism, the result of growth, but of thought (and based, moreover, not on deep knowledge of men and things, but on abstract ideas of right and justice), a gulf opens between the intellectual side of the laws and the practical habits that silently form under the pressure of them, and either adapt them to, or fend them off from, the rhythm of actual life.”

~ Oswald Spengler[1]

Rationalism divorces man from reality, as Descartes did through the mind-body antithesis, or Protestantism through the dichotomizing of body and soul. This is why Julius Evola thought that unrealism was the most conspicuous characteristic of modern civilization. It is difficult to disagree with his assessment. In every area of life man is further removed from the concrete reality of things than ever before. In his daily work he never sees a whole picture, but only a very specific part of a massive process that he neither understands nor experiences; in his politics he thinks and speaks in abstract about things he’s never experienced or studies; in the news he watches he learns to internalize the concerns of the Middle East, which he then expresses in his own sphere of influence where they do not belong. He lives in a verbal universe. An unborn child, for example, is not what it looks like, what it feels like, what everyone previous to our society acknowledged it to be: a human child. No, for him it is or is not a “person,” and a person is an abstract thing that can be believed or not depending on one’s choice ideology, which is just a cheat-sheet used to handle easily all the abstractions.

Tocqueville said that “nothing is a greater waste of effort for the human mind than an abstraction.”[2] He may have been right. Even the lofty thought of St. Thomas was thoroughly realist, perhaps the most realist of any philosophy to date.

Keep this in mind when considering the principles of Liberalism in general, which were the principles of the American Founding Fathers, and which have been integrated into the American psyche. The whole edifice was not born out of the ground but built in the air, out of pure abstraction—out of humanist optimism. The seeds of the Revolution and the New Order were not taken from a strong tree but conjured from the intellect; there was no need to test the soil or take into account history’s lessons, so confident were the Liberals in their untried imaginings, but this has already been discussed in more depth in our study on America in particular.

[1] Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West: Perspectives of World History (New York: Knopf, 1928), p. 455.

[2] Tocqueville, op. cit., p. 716.

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