In this lengthy and interesting essay, published in 2011, Myatt outlines the basis for his ‘numinous way’ – a way he later refined into the philosophy of pathei-mathos – with Myatt remarking that:
“What I written in the past few years derives from my own diverse personal experiences, from my reflexion upon such experiences; from my pathei-mathos, from my experience of diverse ways of life, diverse religions, and by my interaction with individuals of good intentions and with individuals of bad intentions. Given such experiences I feel I understand in some small way something of the nature of suffering – having also personally caused and contributed to suffering – and why I assign myself to the fourth option above, for I find that to overtly condemn the honourable actions (and I stress, the honourable actions) of others requires one to have a belief in some particular abstraction or adhere to some dogmas or to have some faith in some conventional religious perspective. Having no such religious belief, no adherence to some political dogma, no desire now for such abstractions, who am I to condemn, to blame, to judge such honourable actions? I have made enough mistakes in my own life to know my fallibility, as my views have evolved, matured, as a result of my experiences, my pathei-mathos.
So all I have is my own perspective, my own uncertitude of knowing. Which perspective of mine is of feeling suffering, understanding how empathy and compassion and a personal honour in the immediacy of the moment are my answers to the problem of suffering – and yet which perspective also includes a knowing, a feeling, an understanding, of how suffering will continue, for centuries, if not millennia, and why some individuals are motivated, have been motivated, and will be motivated to try in their own way according to their own understanding to do something to alleviate such suffering, here, now. And why I have no right to condemn the actions of such individuals because I have no dogma, no adherence to some conventional faith, to base such a condemnation on. That is, I give them the benefit of the doubt, and only apply the criteria of honour, and which criteria express my own limited understanding of this complex and ethical issue.”
The essay thus provides the necessary context for the Myatt quotations (on law and the police) presented here in a recent post.
Image credit: Clytemnestra kills Cassandra (Red figure vase, c 430 BCE)