Some Questions For DWM
Q. How would you now describe your attitude to life? Does this attitude colour how you view what you describe as your extremist decades?
I would describe my attitude to life now as being somewhat – but only somewhat – reminiscent of the Taoism I studied, over four decades ago, while living in the Far East. An attitude which, with its particular supra-personal, millennial, perspective – and intuition regarding δίκη – is very personal and which, while rather mystical, is not religious in the conventional sense. It is an attitude, a personal way, which embraces and appreciates tolerance, kindness, compassion, honour, and humility.
A personal way of living, discovered by pathei-mathos, that brings an awareness of not only the numinous but also of the importance of love, and yet which awareness also imbues me with sadness because of my own past, because of my mistakes, because of the suffering I personally caused, and because of the suffering that we humans now as in the past inflict on both other humans and the other life which share this planet orbiting one star in one galaxy in a Cosmos replete with billions of other planet-bearing, life-bearing, galaxies. A way which has distanced me so far from involvement with politics – and from having any political views or being concerned about ‘world events’ – it is almost as if I exist in another era.
A way which hields me to appreciate the society in which I am fortunate to live. This is, at least according to my limited knowledge, a society which – as with most if not all other Western ones – provides for the majority a better, a more free, way of life than exists for the majority in most other non-Western societies. Naturally, even in Western societies there are problems, injustices, inequalities, poverty, people who despair and people who suffer because of the deeds, the selfishness, of others. But there are also so many good people in our societies – whether in the West or elsewhere – trying to alleviate such suffering, trying to fix such problems, trying to remove such inequalities and alleviate such suffering, that I am gladdened, but also saddened because I remember how during my extremist decades I – preaching hate, intolerance, and espousing violence – despised such liberal-minded, compassionate, people and not only personally caused suffering but also saught to undermine, disrupt, and replace the society in which I lived – and the societies of the West in general – with a repressive one based on bigotry.
Q. What is your view now of Catholicism in particular and Christianity in general? I ask in relation to your upbringing as a Catholic, your experiences as a Catholic monk, your time as a Muslim, and in particular in relation to what appears to be – judging from some of your recent writings – your support for gay relationships. Is this support recent?
As with other religions, and spiritual ways of life, my attitude is one of tolerance and of appreciating how they all, in their varying ways, preserve and can provide others with that awareness of the numinous which humanizes us. They also can provide – and have provided for many over centuries – such expiation and such catharsis as often interiorly heals, or eases the burden of, those changed by pathei-mathos or suffused with grief.
My own experiences and pathei-mathos – and especially a recognition of my past multitudinous mistakes and hubris – have inclined me not to judge anything or anyone categorically, in an impersonal way, as one does if one has a certitude-of-knowing born of prejudice or from an arrogant belief that one ‘knows’ one is right, and so ‘knows’ either because of belief in some ideology or dogma, or because one is arrogant by nature or arrogant as compensation for an interior imbalance such as often found in those who are interiorly afraid or just too sensitive. Thus, I personally believe that Catholicism, and Christianity, have on balance made a positive difference in the world, and continue to make a positive difference, spiritually and socially, even though my experiences and my feelings mean that I personally disagree with, for example, the teaching of the Catholic Church – and the belief of many Christians, and the majority scholarly opinion in relation to the Muslim Deen – regarding those whose love is for someone of the same gender.
My personal experience of those whose love is for someone of the same gender dates back to my schooldays, and from that time on I have always had such friends, both male and female. During my brief time at University, during my violent, neo-nazi, ‘street fighting days’ in the early 1970′s, during my marriages, even during my time as a monk. While I personally have always desired and shared a human love involving someone of the opposite gender, I never – even from my schooldays – made any kind of distinction between ‘them’ and ‘us’. Rather, I just liked these people as individuals, and – as individuals often tend to do – we gravitated toward each other, and became friends, because we shared similar interests or enthusiasms, especially literature, Art, and classical music, and often because of a certain sensitivity from whence derived those manners that we also shared in common.
One such friendship formed in the Sixth Form of the College where, in the late 1960′s, I was one of the ‘seven day boarders’ and shared a kitchen and other facilities, on the top floor of our hall of residence, with five other schoolboys around my age, one of whom confided in me one Friday night, when we two as usual were playing poker for pennies while listening to a Savoy Brown LP, that he was – as we now say – ‘gay’, although of course he did not use that term, or indeed any other. Rather, he – trusting me – just talked of his feelings, his desires, his hopes, in a very awkward way as if he could not keep them within himself any longer. This was courageous of him, given the prejudice, the intolerance, toward those of his orientation that existed then, not long after the repeal in England of the laws which made homosexual acts a criminal offence. His preference, his nature, made no difference to me – I just liked him for who he was, and I have fond memories of helping him, later on, plan and organize the grandly named The Greek, Fudge, Rock, Blues and Boogie Party by which he desired to celebrate the end of our schooldays when we two, as part of that plan and with some other assistance, brought a Mini into the College hall to form the centrepiece for the dance floor, and which party proved a great success. Over the years I often, wistfully, wondered what became of him, hoping that he had found someone to love who loved him in the gentle, sensitive, way he needed.
Another such personal experience was when I, the monk, became friends with another monk whose love and desires were for someone of the same gender but who, because of his belief in Catholicism, had forsaken that personal love for another. I thus came to know of his prior interior struggles; of how his monastic vows helped him and of the expiation he saught in prayer when such feelings, in however small a way, came back to – in his words – torment him. And I must admit I admired the strength of his faith, the vigour of his determination, and perhaps most of all his humility, placing as he did a pure faith, inexpressible in words, before his own feelings, before his own thoughts, before his needs, before his very life. And, over the years, I wondered whether those feelings, those needs, had finally left him – perhaps so, for I have intermittently followed his career as a priest, knowing of his progression within the institution that is the Catholic Church. Perhaps he is also happy, or at least has found and is living the type of supra-personal happiness, that inner numinous peace, that I personally if only occasionally apprehended and felt during my time as a monk.
In terms, therefore, of how those whose love is for someone of the same gender relate to or believe in such religions as consider such love ‘unnatural’, my fallible view derived from my own experience and from my mutable understanding is that it is a personal matter based on the importance of personal love to us as human beings and the unimportance of gender in matters of love. That, ultimately, it is a question of ontology, of how we personally answer the question regarding the nature of our existence as human beings. Of whether, for example, we believe such obedience is required in order for us to attain a promised after-life (be it in Heaven or Jannah or elsewhere) or required in order to enable us to attain enlightenment, nirvana, or be reborn to progress toward that posited state of being. Or whether we accept – as I am inclined to – a paganus, more metaphysical, answer: of ourselves as simply a temporary and conscious presencing of Life, an affective nexus between Life-before-us and Life-after-us and which temporary and conscious presencing afford us the opportunity of aiding or of negating the evolution and the future presencings of Life; which Life is vast as the Cosmos, and which Life we can aid by a loyal personal love, regardless of the gender of the person we love. For I personally find love to be more numinous – and more spiritual when loyally shared – more life-affirming, than any dogma, than any ideology, than any organized religion which demands we abandon such personal love for obedience to some interpretation of some faith.
Q. I’ve read the extracts from your The Physics of Acausal Energy that have been published. When do you intend to publish the rest, and what experiments have you conducted or are conducting in connection with the theory?
The experiments, such as they were given various other commitments, were undertaken in the 1990′s when I was fortunate enough to have an electronics workshop with space to conduct such experiments. One of my hobbies during that and the previous decade was repairing scientific instruments and electronic equipment of the kind used in schools and universities, and in the 1990′s I occasionally did sub-contract work of a part-time nature for a firm (HSI) specializing in such repairs. I also repaired some physics and electronic equipment for an independent school, which repairs included their numerous old Radford Labpacks (a superb piece of kit) many of which no longer worked and all of which, when used under certain conditions, had a potentially serious fault – related to their high voltage DC output – which required fixing.
One field of experimental enquiry I pursued in the late 1990′s concerned trying to ascertain whether it was possible to usefully measure some physical property of a living organism (of a macro or micro type). One such physical property I explored was electrical resistance, and thus involved measuring the resistance of an organism on the macro level (as for example in a growing plant) and on the micro level (as in plant tissue) and then trying to ascertain whether that resistance changed under various conditions, such as when in close proximity to another living organism of the same and of a different type, and if so, how does that resistance vary with respect to the size or type of organism and to the distance between them. Of course, to be scientific each experiment had to replicated, as exactly as possible, many times in order to ascertain if there were any consistent, reproducible, results.
That set of experiments was never fully completed, due to a change in priorities following my arrest – and the seven hour search of my home – in early 1998 by Detectives from Scotland Yard. Which arrest formed part of what turned out to be a three year long international investigation into my political (and alleged paramilitary and terrorist) activities.
In respect of the theory, I was working on going beyond my original idea of using tensor analysis to describe an acausal space, a description based on equations involving a tensor with nine non-zero symmetric components. Which original idea was of trying to describe acausal space in terms of something either akin to a Riemannian metric or which posited a new type of metric describable in such conventional terms. In effect, I was therefore albeit in a stumbling way trying to develope a a new mathematical formulation to represent a-causal time and which formulation obviously could not involve (except possibly as a limiting case) equations involving some function (such as a differential) of the causal time of physics. However, I never got very far in developing this new formulation mostly because I lacked the mathematical skill and my feeble attempts to try and develope such new skills as would be required were, as with my experiments, interrupted by my arrest and by subsequent developments, such as my conversion to Islam later in 1998 and the travels in the Muslim world which followed.
The extracts you refer to were made around 1993, with copies sent to a few friends as well as – if my ageing memory is correct – being published some years later on JRW’s then ‘geocities’ DM website. As for the complete first draft of The Physics of Acausal Energy, it completed in late 1997 as *wpd files on several floppy disks, and which disks were seized – along with my computers, other disks, documents, letters, and data CD’s – during that 1998 dawn raid on my home. All these items were kept by the police and not returned to me until the Summer of 2001. In the intervening years a change of life-style and domicile, together with various travels and the breakdown of my marriage, combined to make me leave all such material (together with my favourite bespoke Tweed overcoat, a split cane fly-fishing rod, an exquisite moon-dial wristwatch, five notebooks containing my commentary of The Agamemnon, and other belongings) in storage in a shed in the garden of my former home where still lived my soon-to-be former spouse and her family, with my intention being to collect those belongings on my return from a trip to the Middle East. However, I never saw these belongings – nor my former spouse – again, and was told all those belongings had been disposed of. Thus, those extracts are all that remain of The Physics of Acausal Energy. I corrected, by hand, a print-out of those extracts in the Summer of 2002 following some months dwelling upon the ideas therein while living as I did that Summer in a tent in the Lake District, posting my revisions to a friend who circulated a few copies. Not long after, I moved to live and work on a farm, and for years had neither the time nor the desire to further pursue that theory or those experiments, until around 2009 when I endeavoured to reproduce what I remembered of the rest of the text of The Physics of Acausal Energy. But I soon realized that not only was I writing a new text – and which new text would be incomplete without reproducing and continuing the experiments and developing the new mathematics required – but also that I was no longer interested in the physical, the experimental, and the mathematical, aspects of the theory. For I felt those aspects belonged to a different me, to the decades of my former self, and that it would moreover be better if someone who was interested, with better mathematical skills than I, took up the challenge. Thus, I issued a ‘revised version’ of those (2002 corrected) 1993 extracts, and left it at that.
My interest in the theory now, such as it is, is purely a metaphysical one, as part of my philosophy of pathei-mathos.
Q. You’ve published your translation of the first part of the Corpus Hermeticum and the beginning of the Gospel of John, translations which strike me as iconoclastic. Why did you translate those works in particular and in the way you did, and when are you going to publish your translation of the rest of those works? Do you intend to translate more of authors such as Sophocles and Aeschylus and finish your translation of The Odyssey?
My interest in translating the Gospel of John dates back to my time as a Catholic monk, and discussions there regarding the meaning of terms such as λόγος. It was those discussions that led me to read, for the first time and there in the monastery, the Latin text of the Corpus Hermeticum by Marsilius Ficinus. In respect of the Corpus Hermeticum, I have translated what I personally find is the most interesting part, the Poimander tractate, and presently have no interest in translating the rest. In respect of the Gospel of John, I am albeit somewhat slowly continuing to work on it, and do hope – θεοί and Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες permitting – to complete and publish my translation of the whole Gospel together with notes and commentary, although completion and publication are still several years away.
In respect of the other works you mention, the answer is that I have no current intention of translating any more such literature, not even the Homer. Those translations of mine were germane to a certain period of my life, a period of some four years of domestic happiness, a shared love, of no involvement with politics or with activism of any kind; years full of exuberance and an arrogant belief in my abilities. A period of my life somewhat reflected in how I then approached the work of translation – exuberantly, confidently, and somewhat arrogantly. Thus the English style and the intuition I used then are the style and the intuition I used then. In addition, months before each translation I would immerse myself in the world of the author; reading in Greek all of the works of the author, and scholarly commentaries on them, I could obtain (which thanks to the Classics Bookshop, Thornton’s Bookshop, and Blackwell’s, in Oxford, were usually all of them); and reading as many other ancient Greek works as possible including Hesiod, Herodotus, Thucydides, Euripides, etcetera. Thus that ancient world became, in many ways and during that time, more real than the modern world around me; an apprehension aided by being mostly free of daytime commitments and having a quiet study lined with bookcases replete with ancient texts; so that when I began the translation it just seemed to flow naturally.
Where I to translate those works again, or even attempt to revise them, my approach now would be very pedantic, very measured, very slow, as it was with the Poimandres tractate. In all probability, this would result in much being changed; something which became very apparent when last year I re-read The Odyssey again and then my translation of Books 1-3. Those translations of mine thus belong to that time of my life, over twenty years ago. 
 Post Scriptum: That happy domestic time during which I undertook those translations ended with the tragic death of Sue in April 1993. In the following months and in her memory I managed to complete my translation of the Agamemnon, begun toward the end of 1992 and interrupted by her illness. It would be another seventeen years before I began translating ancient Greek texts again, with some of the fragments attributed to Heraclitus.
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