Perspective affects everything, doesn’t it.
It’s often been repeated here that historical eras or epochs are generally defined AFTER the fact. For instance, those living in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire might very well have reacted incredulously at the suggestion that the empire had fallen.
Case in point, it is historians who have given the title of Byzantine Empire to the eastern half of the Roman Empire. The Byzantines themselves would not have called themselves Byzantines as they considered their empire simply to be the still functioning, eastern half, of the Roman Empire.
So it is with that in mind that we look back to the more recent past and examine the curve and flow, or lack thereof. And in doing that we can’t help but notice the dark giant shadow that has seemingly swallowed the world whole over the past few centuries.
History, as in the normative day-to-day course of human lives/events as ordained by nature, went completely off the rails in the 18th century. Yes, it had been trying to jump the tracks since the 16th century, but by the late 1790’s it had leapt completely off the rails and landed in a swamp (where its wheels continued to spin for some time).
You see, when Nietzsche wrote, “God is dead” he wasn’t trying to troll Christendom. He was lamenting that Western Man had become smug and arrogant in his ignorant belief that he had, at last, the world by the tail and could re-forge the elements to fit his whims and fancies (which is to say, his notion of “progress”). This “new man” was obtusely celebrating his discovery of fire, oblivious to the forest burning down around him.
So yes, what is being said here is that the Dark Ages actually began about the time when many modernists have suggested that they ended.
If that runs counter to everything you’ve been told to think, consider the conundrum that both medieval tales and “post-apocalyptic” stories hold a certain appeal to people because they present a world more relatable and natural than the present system.
Civilization has indeed been lost.
Yes, science and technology have advanced, in some ways, but technological advancements have never been the measuring rod with which to adduce civilization’s standing pillars. (Right now, somewhere in the world, along a muddy road littered with garbage and sewage, stands a cobbled together shack with no running water; within which sits a semi-literate man in raggedy clothes checking his facebook updates.)
We have interesting gadgets all right. And we desperately need them to distract us from the horror and chaos enveloping us at every corner.
Technology has advanced to the point that we can get paramedics in automobiles promptly out to the scene of accidents, caused by automobiles.
Thus one of Civilizations central pillars, the concept of Cause and Effect, has long since crumbled, technology not withstanding.
And the cornerstone of civilization, Truth, has been thrown down in favor of populist slogans such as “Freedom and Equality” which, un-ironically, was essentially Satan’s rallying cry in the Garden of Eden.
In Dark Ages “new truths” are revered and enshrined, even as they posit a reality that inverts and perverts the very notion of truth.
As such, in our day,
We have access to better “healthcare”, and, subsequently, fewer hospitals.
We have “democracy” and, subsequently, our government is populist, morally ambiguous and self-serving.
We have “buying power” and, subsequently, our lives are full of cheap plastic junk.
We are “empowered”, and, subsequently, feel isolated and atomized.
We are “independent” and, subsequently, have the mammoth nanny welfare state that autocratically meets our every want from womb to tomb.
We have “freedom” and, subsequently, broken homes and more prisons.
We have “diversity” and, subsequently, the para-militaristic police forces that accompany it.
We are “more tolerant and less judgmental” and, subsequently, have the medications, antidepressants and ever-burgeoning number of mental health specialists to keep us from jumping off of bridges.
We “liberate” other peoples and, subsequently, have terrorist attacks in our own lands.
We are “better informed than people in the past” and, subsequently, score lower on tests in math, science, history, civics, biology, and geography, et al.
The list goes ever on.
No sane man or woman, of any era, could look upon the streets of the present age and not shudder at the sight. And it wouldn’t be the dazzling lights, towering buildings or dizzying technology that would catch their attention. No, it would be the slug-like denizens wandering the streets, nearly all of them drugged, obese, opaque and oblivious.
In other words, you could take a man from the 12th century and drop him into the 21th century and it would take him all of about two weeks to adapt to (and be comfortable with) recent technology, from cars to cell phones.
However he would most likely be unable to embrace 21st century Western Civilization’s sense of being. He would pity us as ignorant, dumb, vulgar and backwards. Which is to say, he would view us as uncivilized.
A great many people are deeply distraught and stressed out over what they see happening around them. Yes, it’s obvious the Age is coming to an end. But it’s the Dark Age that is coming to a close, and that is reason enough to have hope.
Our “way of life” is only falling apart if you think of it as “our way of life”. It’s a system that is dying, not the world; an unnatural system that has shrouded civilization in darkness for centuries. Its collapse was inevitable.
That system may have, for a moment, seemed like a mighty sorcerer bringing all under his spell, but increasingly it is revealed to be yet another phantom in the night, brushed away by the coming of dawn.
As the coming days and years unfold and the collapse of this Dark Age System rapidly increases, the spell will be broken and the system will be done in, not by armed conflict, but through ignoring it and letting it wither away.
In the meantime, you don’t conquer a wasteland by sword and fire, but by planting trees and gardens.
Turn away from the shadow and begin to rebuild and restore in the light.