I do not think it wise to dwell overmuch on the dark. Our faith lets us know right from the beginning that we are only seeing a part of the entire picture—and not merely that, but a chaotic, incoherent part. Heaven is orderly, Hell discordant—therefore we can learn a little about all of Heaven (and creation) by glimpsing only a small part, whereas Hell carries no such guarantees, at war with itself.
And yet. Here we are. Darkly enlightened.
It is, of course, something of an affectation to use the word “dark.” Why should any particular knowledge be inherently dark? And yet there are various factors that move us in that direction:
– we see widespread lies, sin, and ignorance
– we see conflicts between genders, races, and religions that are not solvable by simply “getting along”
– those who would prefer to believe in easier answers to the these dilemmas often shoot the messengers. If enough people tell you you’re dark, you start to believe it.
– this by itself cannot help but be a cynical-making experience. Having found a bit of truth, and seeing it consistently rejected, tends to make one see the glass as half-empty
– the magnitude of the opposition, and the broad vistas opened by what we’ve learned, can throw into sharp relief the nobility and beauty of the heights we can achieve…but they also ratchet up where we “should” be. And despite an intellectual belief in Grace…I mean, maybe you only found the Red Pill because Grace wasn’t coming through, you know?
One of the dangers of being the sole local possessor of knowledge you find important, is that there is no one that can talk you out of it when that knowledge condemns you. Benevolence isn’t enough: they are ignorant.
If you’re not careful, you can start to abandon the quest for peace as hopeless, and settle for superiority:
O blind your eyes and break your heart and hack your hand away,
And lose your love and shave your head; but do not go to stay
At the little place in What’sitsname where folks are rich and clever;
The golden and the goodly house, where things grow worse for ever;
(The Aristocrat, Chesterton)
That line about things “grow[ing] worse for ever” is really a horrifying one. It doesn’t mean simple decline; it means actual growth, self-transformation, in the wrong direction. It is one thing to heal the wounded; it is quite another when someone has voluntarily begun to grow venom sacs under their armpits. The Savior healed the blind with some clay; but reversing a reptilian tint to the eyes, once it has set in, might be a bit more involved.
But even if you resist, your aspiration works against you. You know, walking home from the grocery store, that superiority is both illusory and not the point. But that places you not one iota closer to where you should be. My father had three kids at my age, you think. And he did it on the East Coast. What kind of natalist-traditionalist am I, a single Mormon dude in Provo with easy access to a dating pool worth killing for, and no prospects in sight. If I’m the hope of the West, well, we might as well pack it up. And you know that this very attitude makes it worse—which, alas, doesn’t make it wrong.
Be someone’s rock? Reassure that everything will be all right? I’m Darkly Enlightened, I’m nowhere near qualified for that job. If only that meant anyone else was. You can name five different reasons things will not be alright, and you are very, very confident you can defend them. But the fact of their incompetence does nothing to solve yours.
I’m supposed to provide validation? I need validation. And I don’t know a single person I trust to give it. Do they even aristocrat, brah?
And finally it comes to me. There is one person who will accept my efforts without trying to dissuade me from my aspirations. And you consider: have I been properly meek? Were I bid to wash in the Jordan seven times, would I? Have I done the equivalent? Perhaps not.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.