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

Who am I?

Although we will spend a great deal of time discussing the meaning of the self and what it means to pursue a ‘realization of the self’ in spiritual practice, at this point, while discussing our way of knowing and of thinking, we will simply point out that we see external objects much more readily than we do our interior selves. We are far more enigmatic than the stone or the tree. Even if we are sensitive to the meaning behind the appearance of things, we stand speechless at the doorway to our inner lives.

We instinctively deploy the term “I” as a way of distinguishing ourselves from other selves, as we encounter them and consider them; but as to the content and nature of this “I” we struggle to get much further than its negative use, whereby we only know what it is not. I am not that man over there, nor am I that rock. But the voice that is saying this, where does it originate? Is that the “I”? We are not sure, because we have already begun speaking about the “I” as if it were itself an object to us, and if my self is an object to me that I examine and understand, then from where do I examine it and what is my actual relation to it? It seems I only recede further from things as I make them objects of understanding. So much for the ‘unity’ of the personality, since any attempt to understand our own results in an infinite ‘stepping backwards’ to get a better view of me, only to find that once I’ve stepped back I must step back again.

Here we begin to become aware of the traditional distinction between the ego and the true self: the ego is the ‘I’ that we conceptualize and objectify, which we to some extent ‘design’ according to our actions and tastes and which serves as our ‘personality’. The self, now in the traditional sense, is that which stands above the ego, the true center of our individual being, which cannot be objectified, which defies our inner vision, but which is more truly the kernel of our identity than the ego could ever be.

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