In western civilization, the period ruled by mysticism is known as the 'Dark Ages' and the 'Middle Ages'. I will assume that you know the nature of that period and the state of human existence in those ages. The Renaissance broke the rules of the mystics. "Renaissance" means the "rebirth". Few people today will care to remind you that it was a rebirth of reason - of man's mind.
The dark ages still reign over all humanity, and the depth and persistence of this domination are only now becoming clear. This Dark Ages prison has no steel bars, chains, or locks. Instead, it is locked by misorientation and built of misinformation. Caught up in a plethora of conditioned reflexes and driven by the human ego, both warden and prisoner attempt meagerly to compete with God. All are intractably skeptical of what they do not understand. We are powerfully imprisoned in these Dark Ages simply by the terms in which we have been conditioned to think.
R. Buckminster Fuller
This we take it is the grand characteristic of our age. By our skill in Mechanism, it has come to pass, that in the management ofexternal things we excel all other ages; while in whatever respects the pure moral nature, in true dignity of soul and character, we are perhaps inferior to most civilised ages.
Mountains have been formed by one [or other] of the causes of the formation of stone, most probably from agglutinative clay which slowly dried and petrified during ages of which we have no record. It seems likely that this habitable world was in former days uninhabitable and, indeed, submerged beneath the ocean. Then, becoming exposed little by little, it petrified in the course of ages.
The long summer was over. For ages a tropical climate had prevailed over a great part of the earth, and animals whose home is now beneath the Equator roamed over the world from the far South to the very borders of the Arctics ... But their reign was over. A sudden intense winter, that was also to last for ages, fell upon our globe.
Man passes; he knows that he is dust; nothing is more evident than his frailty. If he should for a single moment forget it, what a chorus of voices would recall it to him! And yet, in the drop of existence which he absorbs, he takes in ages through memory and ages through presentiment. In the moments as they pass, he dimly sees eternity, and more than this, he possesses it by anticipation.
Those who professed themselves unable to believe in the reality of human progress ought to cheer themselves up, as the students under examination had conceivably been cheered up, by a short study of the Middle Ages. The hydrogen bomb, the South African Government, Chioang Kaidick, Senator McCarthy himself, would then seem a light price to pay for no longer being in the Middle Ages.
What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without ground for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time.
Can you believe approximately 17 percent of American children ages 2 to 19 years are obese? How about this fact: approximately 60 percent of overweight children ages 5 to 10 already have at least one risk factor for heart disease? We are all to blame for this - parents, schools, kids - all of us.
The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That's over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it's going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.
There is a relation between the hours of our life and the centuries of time. As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, so the hours should be instructed by the ages and the ages explained by the hours.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother; for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
Ephrem the Syrian
The great ideals of the past failed not by being outlived (which must mean over-lived), but by not being lived enough. Mankind has not passed through the Middle Ages. Rather mankind has retreated from the Middle Ages in reaction and rout. The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
... ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance... A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon -- so long as there is no answer to it -- gives claws to the weak.
The experience of the ages that are past, the hopes of the ages that are yet to come, unite their voices in an appeal to us; they implore us to think more of the character of our people than of its vast numbers; to look upon our vast natural resources, not as tempters to ostentation and pride, but as means to be converted, by the refining alchemy of education, into mental and spiritual treasures-and thus give to the world the example of a nation whose wisdom increases with its prosperity, and whose virtues are equal to its power.
The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject... And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them... Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.
In the Middle Ages the king offered protection to his subjects in return for their loyalty, and the subjects were doubly protected, for the church also sheltered them. The need for shelter - for a father image that cares and will hopefully provide and give some meaning to human lives - remains as real as it was in the Middle Ages, but modern technocracy has no place for either the father or the church and provides no substitute.
We're living in a Dark Age of macroeconomics. Remember, what defined the Dark Ages wasn't the fact that they were primitive — the Bronze Age was primitive, too. What made the Dark Ages dark was the fact that so much knowledge had been lost, that so much known to the Greeks and Romans had been forgotten by the barbarian kingdoms that followed.