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

Vertical interdependence

Any sane civilization must have order, and order implies hierarchy. Abstract notions about popular sovereignty and self-government are illusions which flatter the emotions while fogging the mind. Thus, the hierarchical arrangement of the caste represents a real functional interdependence, and is not the result of privileged groups asserting themselves over the powerless. We tend to see such structures in that light—as inflexible grades of unfounded privilege—only because that is how our regime is arranged, so that we cannot imagine one in which the powerful do not oppress, and in which the wealthy do not hold the highest positions. Proof of this can be seen in the simple fact that the highest caste was the priesthood, and priests do not hold the wealth. The Catholic Church in the Middle Ages held massive amounts of property, it is true, but to suggest that individual priests lived like kings is ridiculous. Thus, materially speaking, the hierarchically supreme caste was never the economically supreme caste, as we see today. Again, the arrangement was based on function, and power was allotted accordingly. The caste which did wield most of the material and economic power, the Kshatriyas, did so because it was necessary to the accomplishment of their function. Medieval kings, it is known, paid servants and administered out of their own funds. Lords of the manor were responsible for the local infrastructure and, as we have already mentioned, the military defense of the region. Had they not had the wealth, they could not have carried out their function. Likewise, the craftsmen and peasants (Vaishyas and Shudras) did not need to accumulate large quantities of wealth. They were secure—more secure than any member of the American middle class—in their stead, and so to accumulate a large degree of property or wealth would have moved them into another caste, carrying with it a new degree of responsibility. Mobility was always possible, but it did not mean extra leisure, but extra responsibility for one’s subordinates. Thus, the men suited to labor did not dream all day long of one day becoming “well-off”—because that would have placed upon them responsibilities of government and philanthropy that they did not desire to take upon themselves. If further proof is needed, we can simply say that the priesthood—the highest and most influential caste in the land—was never terribly exclusive. Anyone from any class could join the clergy in the Middle Ages, provided their desire and faith were believed sincere. And yet, because people believed in serving a function according to their nature rather than in accord with aspirations of great wealth, they usually remained in the more or less humble role which God and tradition had allotted them. And history represents the humble peasantry as an unusually merry demographic indeed—more merry, I dare say, than any modern factory “workforce.”

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