Further Questions For David Myatt
1. What portion of your peregrinations have you learned the most from, via πάθει μάθος, and what did you learn? Having learned these things, is there a portion of your life you would change given the opportunity and if so what portion and how would you change it?
On reflexion, I feel I have learnt most from four things. First, and perhaps the most significant in terms of pathei-mathos, was the suicide of my fiancée in 2006. This revealed just how selfish and arrogant and harsh I was and had been; how disconnected I was from empathy, compassion, and humility; and just how illusive my understanding of myself was.
Second, I have learned the value, the importance, of personal love. Of how and why a loyal love between two human beings is the most beautiful, the most numinous, thing of all.
Third, I learnt much from my time as a Christian monk, for I always remember those occasions when I felt something quietly joyous and innocent. As when, for example, I recall singing Gregorian chant in choir and which singing often connected me to what JS Bach so often so well expressed by his music; that is, connected me to what – in essence – Christianity (the allegory of the life and crucifixion of Christ) and especially monasticism manifested: an intimation of some-thing sacred causing us to know beyond words what ‘the good’ really means, and which knowing touches us if only for an instant with a very personal humility and compassion.
Fourth, I learnt much from my first few years as a Muslim, before I adhered to a harsh interpretation of Islam. A learning from being invited into the homes of Muslim families; sharing meals with them; praying with them; learning Muslim Adab. Attending Namaz at my local Mosque, and feeling – understanding – what their faith meant to them and what Islam really meant, and manifested, as a practical way of living (it, in my view, manifests something good, numinous). A learning from travelling in Muslim lands as a Muslim, and the kindness and the generosity shown, the many invitations to homes (I was once, albeit briefly, engaged to a Muslim lady in Egypt). These experiences purged me of every last vestige of racial prejudice, of believing – as I had for decades as a National Socialist – that ‘Aryans’ were superior, and Western ‘civilization’ the most advanced. These experiences revealed to me the irrelevancy of ethnicity, the irrelevancy of nationalism and of many other things I had believed in or had taken for granted.
In truth, however, all this learning amounts to one simple thing: my peregrinations taught me what being human means and can mean, and thus perhaps (and I hope) have made me a better human being.
As for doing or not doing something in my past given what I have learned – and assuming it was possible to so go back and so change one’s life – there are so many things I would change that I would not be able to decide ‘when’ – on what date, what occasion – to begin. Back to my school-days in the Far East before I stupidly became a nazi? Back to the monastery, to stay there and so not cause the subsequent suffering I caused because of my selfishness and because of my return to political extremism (my NS writings; Combat 18; the NSM; Copeland) and because of my subsequent adherence to a harsh interpretation of some religion? Back to my first marriage to the time before my selfishness and betrayal caused such suffering to my wife? Back to when I first met Sue so that I might somehow try and prolong her life beyond the four short years we spent together and thus before she so tragically died of cancer? Back to that remorseful day in late May 2006 when I selfishly, so very selfishly, left Frances alone because I wanted to return to the peace of the farm because that farm had for many years nurtured my soul; and thus, instead of that leaving, stay with her there on that day and subsequent days so that she did not, could not, in her lonely despair take her own life?
So many mistakes, errors; so much selfishness, arrogance, harshness, and extremism, and for so many decades, that I cannot choose just one portion to change. But if I really had to choose – and could choose – one very specific moment, it would be to not leave Frances alone on that now so remorseful day.
As I wrote a few months ago in respect of my past:
“In a very personal sense, my philosophy of pathei-mathos is expiative, as are my writings concerning extremism, such as my Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination published last year. Also expiative is my reclusiveness. But such things – as is only just and fitting – do little to offset the deep sadness felt, except in fleeting moments.”
2. In the matter of honour, it seems to me that “having honour” is the natural consequence of a certain type of Φύσις and that empathy and intuition are ready guides to honourable behaviour for a person of such Φύσις. What is the point of describing honour further in codes and rules and aren’t such codes simply abstractions? Can a person change their Φύσις with regard to honour (the dis-honourable becoming honourable) in your opinion, and if so how? If not, why not?
The concept, and the question, of honour is perhaps the most constant thing in my life, from teenage years in the Far East learning a Martial Art with its unwritten code of personal conduct, through my NS decades, to my Muslim years, to my ‘numinous way’ and thence to my philosophy of pathei-mathos. What has changed is my interpretation of honour. Until recently, it was always, for me, an idea and an ideal; that is, an abstraction. Furthermore, an ideal is often codified, or expressed, by means of the written word – I certainly tried to codify honour during my NS decades – and codifications are usually the view of one person, and thus fallible, and often open to interpretation.
A recent interpretation of mine in respect of honour was in my philosophy of pathei-mathos:
“The personal virtue of honour, and the cultivation of wu-wei, are – together – a practical, a living, manifestation of our understanding and appreciation of the numinous; of how to live, to behave, as empathy intimates we can or should in order to avoid committing the folly, the error, of ὕβρις, in order not to cause suffering, and in order to re-present, to acquire, ἁρμονίη.
For personal honour is essentially a presencing, a grounding, of ψυχή – of Life, of our φύσις – occurring when the insight (the knowing) of a developed empathy inclines us toward a compassion that is, of necessity, balanced by σωφρονεῖν and in accord with δίκη.”
That is, my understanding now is that, like empathy, honour can only be personal; an expression of our own φύσις; and a person either has this ‘faculty of honour’ or they do not. If they do not, can that faculty be developed, cultivated? Can honour be learnt? I admit I do not know, as I no longer presume to suggest any answers. I do know, however, that my current understanding is only my fallible understanding based on my limited knowledge.
3. What, would you say, differentiates the sort of ideation, the sort of “naming of things”, that conceals Φύσις from that which uncovers Φύσις and would you say that employing that form of ideation is useful to presencing ἀρετή and Δίκα, and if so in what way/how?
My fallible view now is that it is a question of personal empathy and personal humility. That it is those personal qualities, in the-immediacy-of-the-moment, that can and wordlessly, sans all ideations, reveal φύσις: that can reveal the nature of our being, the nature of other beings, and how all beings relate to Being.
By the nature of empathy and humility, this revealing cannot be abstracted out from that personal knowing nor from the-immediacy-of-the-moment of the revealing.
Furthermore, and according to my limited understanding and knowledge, I am not expressing anything new here. Indeed, I feel (and I use the word ‘feel’ intentionally) that I am only re-expressing what I intuitively (and possibly incorrectly) understood nearly half a century ago about Taoism when I lived in the Far East and was taught that ancient philosophy by someone who was also trying to instruct me in a particular Martial Art.
4. If you have the time for one more question then I would ask if you consider your Numinous Way a subversive philosophy (as some of your fans do) and if so if that was intentional and why?
What I previously called the ‘numinous way’ has, since 2011, been substantially revised by me with much excised, and was replaced by my philosophy of pathei-mathos (which I am even now in the process of revising). That ‘numinous way’ was slowly developed over a period of many years, beginning around 2002 while I was still a Muslim and during a period of questioning the Muslim Way of Life and all other Ways of Life and manifestations of spirituality. That ‘numinous way’ was basically just a collection of my personal answers – and my revisions of those answers – to certain philosophical questions I pondered on, with those answers based on, or derived from, my own experiences, my own intuitions and my own limited knowledge.
Thus, and for a while, it represented my weltanschauung, and therefore had no subversive intent whatsoever. Furthermore, it was asking certain philosophical questions, trying to answer them, and the trauma of, and the pathei-mathos resulting from, the suicide of my fiancée in 2006 that took me away from Islam and irretrievably changed not only my perception of myself but also my own way of life so that I now live reclusively and concern myself only with such unworldly philosophical speculations as interest me.