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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You can tell a lot about someone by the questions they ask

If you decide to discuss these things with others, a good way of discerning very quickly if the effort will bear fruit is by paying attention to kinds of questions they ask. The questions we ask tend to reveal our unconscious premises, and the premises on which a person reasons will determine whether they will be able to comprehend a new idea. Therefore, discern their premises through their questions, and do this carefully before you offer an answer, even if the answer seems straightforward. Sometimes it is worthwhile to pose an answer at all and is better to divert into some other subject and forget the whole thing. That is to say, you may perceive in their questions certain familiar premises that you know will severely limit the range of conceptions they are capable of accepting, and this along with their prejudices and petty political alliances are put on display by the way they frame their words. You will begin to understand that in many instances the questioner is not questioning in order to hear an answer, but because he wishes to hear a particular answer so that he can either be affirmed through agreement or else offer a pre-packaged rebuttal. Other times, the answer you give does not matter at all, but is merely a formality that must be endured so that this person can offer the packaged opinion, regardless of what the answer was. In the end—although it is of course up to you how you conduct yourself—I find that it is better to follow the maxim that the wise should not disturb the minds of the ignorant.[1] Some criticism is worth answering, some is not. Some is merely evidence that the very presentation of the doctrine was imprudent, at which point the fault can only lie, not with the ignorant, since they cannot be other than they are, but with ourselves, for being so starved for affirmation that we blindly presented doctrine to those who could not possibly make use of it. In other words, the saying about throwing pearls before swine is less an insult to the swine as it is a censure to the owner of the pearls for mistreating them in such a way.

[1] “But a wise man should not perturb the minds of the ignorant, who are attached to action; let him perform his own actions in the right spirit, with concentration on Me, thus inspiring all to do the same.” Bhagavad Gita, 3.26.

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