Were one to travel to Europe, and one chose a small southern country like Croatia, and flew to the capital, a mid-sized city of about a million, and then drove to a regional port city of about a 100,000, and then a small picturesque town of 10,000, and then a hilltop village nearby of about 100, and then drove a kilometer or two through the forest to a pair of farmhouses recently designated a ‘village,’ and then walked another kilometer or so up the hill to a single stone cabin built before the invention of electricity, and then wandered to the garden behind the house, and then waited for nightfall, and then stood on a slab of flat stone at the edge of the garden barely illuminated by the lantern hanging over the backdoor of the cabin, one could stand at the precipice of civilization, and see for themselves the border between man’s domain and the terror of the unknown.
At the precipice of civilization, bustling cities full of humans and machines seem very alien. In the soft glow of the cabin’s lantern, one can make out tall grass around and see the outline of a towering tree just a few paces ahead. Beyond is the night black, what one might call ‘pitch black’ if only it weren’t blacker than pitch. And yet, this ocean of darkness is not silent, as one might imagine the endless nothingness to be. Nor is it static. No, the night black is loud, and it breathes. The midnight breeze whispers and tousles the flora. A symphony of insects assaults the hearing with mating calls — or whatever they’re doing. Soft cracks and thumps signal the rummaging of cats, deer and wild boars, somewhere just beyond the horizon of sight. Looking down, one sees the grass has already leaned over to caress one’s feet. Grasshoppers leap into the light. Ants crawl onto the legs. The night black beckons.
Modern man has rarely seen this precipice, let alone lived on it. Yet ancient man who first civilized the Earth and created a domain for himself knew it deeply. Out of the night black came predators, diseases, bandits, barbarians, demons and enemy armies. The night black was a constant reminder of the darkness of barbarism and the necessity of the civilization man built himself. For only once there was light could Man perceive the darkness, and yet it has since blinded him, and, blinking, he stumbles backwards into the night black.
There is a reason it’s called the dark age — the Kali Yuga. The task of all good men today should be to relight the flame of civilization. I could re-state the same sentence in a thousand ways: to decrease societal time preference, to renew faith in God and his Word, to improve social technology, etc. And yet, the original civilizers did not civilize through electronic devices, at office desks, on their behinds, during conferences and conventions. The original civilization was a baked mud cabin and a fire illuminating a dangerous black void. It would be wise to remember that theory was a consequence of civilization, and that civilization was a project of stone, sweat, blood, fire and flesh before a project of the mind.