Order of Nine Angles

O9A

A Perspicacious Example

We wish to draw the attention of our readers to the peregrinations of someone – apparently inspired by the O9A – who is undertaking his own septenary anados and whose writings concerning his peregrinations and that anados are perceptive and illustrative of just how different the rational “sinister-numinous” O9A approach is compared to that of all other modern self-described occultists. That this seeker after gnosis occasionally references the life and writings of a certain Mr Myatt is interesting and perhaps indicative.

Here are just two representative examples of the perspicacity of this modern Occultist.

1. “The Geist connects the Causal and the Acausal, and here were are talking about its fiery, martial character. It is eternal yet Faustian, and as such its drive should fuel you. As you look at the illustration of the Sphere of Mars imagine yourself standing in that particular extraterrestial landscape. Enjoy its destabilizing power.

The workings of Destruction and Sacrifice are situated on three levels indicating the fact that we are a being-in-the-world, being-with-others, and connected with the Cosmic. You simply cannot understand these qualities without looking at the whole Cosmic picture. As an Alchemist I strive for Unity, the Great All. The Light and the Shadow aspects of Mars make it even more complex, but complete. It is a lifelong study, search and experience that demands Destruction and Sacrifice. Myatt already emphasized this: the need for humility. With Bataille we could say: be prepared to Sacrifice all Reason and delve into this Night of Violence. Only then, we can emerge enlightened and worthy to receive the Wisdom and Wealth offered by Jupiter.”

2. “Mercury – as god, planet or metal – is the changing substance itself, a fluid, and strictly speaking does not belong to the different phases. Mercury is the changing matter itself and Jung called it an archetypical symbol which encompasses many contradictions. As the collective unconscious is very complex Mercury has multiple forms.

Look at the illustration of Mercury and follow those lines, a fluidized surface as it were. An image of ever becoming, a never ending process which is not just a stage but the whole alchemical process of individuation as a whole. Look at your life, the lives of those close to you: all lines traversing the Lebenswelt around you. See how they interact and inter-connect for there lies growth and inner transformation. Benefit from the interconnectedness, a Being-with-Others as Myatt has exemplified in his Numinous Mysticism. Like blood the energy flows through us and by connecting with others we create a Sacred Space.”

Source of the quotations: https://ecstatic-darkness.com/


Order of Nine Angles

O9A

Ces notes introductives sur l’Ordre des Neuf Angles ont été rédigées en guise de préface à la traduction du Black Book of Satan qui sera publiée en plusieurs parties dans le magazine Arsenestre (à paraître).

http://www.chaosophie.net/?p=2967


Editorial Note: We reproduce here a 2010 article by David Myatt (revised by him in January 2011) and which article – about his ‘numinous way’ – was one of the many he, post-2012, rejected when he evolved that ‘numinous way’ into his ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’. In a 2014 note titled ‘Disclaimer’ he wrote: {quote} I reject and disown all my pre-2011 writings and effusions, with the exception of my Greek translations, the poetry included in the published collection ‘One Exquisite Silence’ (ISBN 978-1484179932), some private letters written between 2002 and 2011, and those few items about my since much revised ‘numinous way’ which are included in post-2012 publications such as ‘The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos’ (ISBN 978-1484096642). {/quote}

The reason for his rejection of this Introduction to the Philosophy of The Numen article seems inscrutable to us, given that it raises some interesting points which as far we know he has not subsequently returned to and given that – at least to us – it does not, with one exception, seem to conflict with his post-2012 writings about his ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’. That exception is his paragraphs about democracy and ‘the state’ in footnote 7. Whatever the reason for its rejection, it reveals something about the evolution of his thought; an evolution he wrote about in his 2012 essay The Development of the Numinous Way.


The Philosophy of The Numen
(pdf)

Part 8 of the French translation of the O9A text Naos is now (January 2016) available at

http://www.chaosophie.net/?p=2030

The section deals with the stage of Internal Adept.

The translations of previous sections (1-7) of Naos are available here: http://www.chaosophie.net/?cat=89


David Myatt

David Myatt

A Modern Pagan Philosophy

It is my contention that the philosophy – the weltanschauung – advanced by David Myatt between 2012 and 2015 {1}, and named by him as ‘the philosophy of pathei-mathos’, is not only a modern expression of the Western mystical tradition {2} but also a pagan philosophy.

In respect of mysticism, a mystic is a person (i) who by means such as contemplation desires a selfless awareness of God or of Reality, ‘the cosmic order’, or (ii) who accepts that there is a spiritual apprehension of certain truths which transcend the temporal. This apprehension certainly applies to Myatt’s philosophy, based as it is on what Myatt terms ‘the acausal knowing’ resulting from empathy and pathei-mathos {3}.

In respect of paganism, it is generally defined – from the classical Latin paganus, and ignoring the modern re-interpretation of the word by self-described contemporary pagans – as meaning “of or belonging to a rural community” in contrast to belonging to an urban or a more organized community (such as a religious Church), from whence derived the later (c. 1440 CE, post Morte Arthure) description of a pagan as a non-Christian, a ‘heathen’ (Old English hǽðen), and thus as describing a person who holds a religious belief which is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim.

Myatt however provides his own, rather more philosophical, definition, relating as his definition does to the paganism of the Western, Greco-Roman, tradition. Thus Myatt – paraphrasing a passage from Cicero’s De Natura Deorum and quoting the original Latin – defines paganism as

“an apprehension of the complete unity (a cosmic order, κόσμος, mundus) beyond the apparent parts of that unity, together with the perceiveration that we mortals – albeit a mere and fallible part of the unity – have been gifted with our existence so that we may perceive and understand this unity, and, having so perceived, may ourselves seek to be whole, and thus become as balanced (perfectus), as harmonious, as the unity itself: Neque enim est quicquam aliud praeter mundum quoi nihil absit quodque undique aptum atque perfectum expletumque sit omnibus suis numeris et partibus […] ipse autem homo ortus est ad mundum contemplandum et imitandum – nullo modo perfectus, sed est quaedam particula perfecti.” {4}

Which apprehension of the κόσμος certainly describes Myatt’s philosophy where

“there is a perceiveration of our φύσις; of us as – and not separate from – the Cosmos: a knowledge of ourselves as the Cosmos presenced (embodied, incarnated) in a particular time and place and in a particular way. Of how we affect or can affect other effluvia, other livings beings, in either a harmful or a non-harming manner. An apprehension, that is, of the genesis of suffering and of how we, as human beings possessed of the faculties of reason, of honour, and of empathy, have the ability to cease to harm other living beings. Furthermore, and in respect of the genesis of suffering, this particular perceiveration provides an important insight about ourselves, as conscious beings; which insight is of the division we mistakenly but understandably make, and have made, consciously or unconsciously, between our own being – our ipseity – and that of other living beings, whereas such a distinction is only an illusion – appearance, hubris, a manufactured abstraction – and the genesis of such suffering as we have inflicted for millennia, and continue to inflict, on other life, human and otherwise.” {5}

Furthermore, there is an emphasis in Myatt’s philosophy on balancing within ourselves ‘the masculous’ with ‘the muliebral’ in order that we may not only perceive the unity beyond what Myatt terms ‘the illusion of ipseity’ {6} but also become as harmonious as that unity; a unity achievable – according to Myatt – be developing and using our faculty of empathy and by cultivating the virtue of personal honour, which virtue manifests, ‘presences’, that self-restraint – that moderation – described by the Greek term εὐταξία {5}.

Masculous And Muliebral

One of the unique features of Myatt’s philosophy, and thus of his paganism, is the distinction he makes between the masculous and the muliebral aspects of our human nature. In Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis he writes of the necessity of the muliebral virtues

“which, combined, manifest an enantiodromiacal change in our human physis and which change, which balancing of the masculous with the muliebral, consequently could evolve us beyond the patriarchal ethos, and the masculous societies, which have been such a feature of human life on this planet for the past three thousand years, genesis as that ethos and those societies have been of so much grieving.” {7}

For according to Myatt

“it is the muliebral virtues which evolve us as conscious beings, which presence sustainable millennial change. Virtues such as empathy, compassion, humility, and that loyal shared personal love which humanizes those masculous talking-mammals of the Anthropocene, and which masculous talking-mammals have – thousand year following thousand year – caused so much suffering to, and killed, so many other living beings, human and otherwise.” {8}

In effect Myatt is suggesting that the solution to the problem of suffering – the answer to the question of ‘good and evil’ – lies not in politics, nor in religion, nor in supra-personal social change, and certainly not in revolutions, invasions, and wars, but in ourselves by us as individuals valuing and cultivating the muliebral virtues. What this means in practical terms – although Myatt himself does not directly spell it out but rather implies it – is men appreciating women, treating them honourably and as equals, and cultivating in their own lives muliebral virtues such as εὐταξία, empathy, and compassion.

This emphasis on the muliebral, and thus on internal balance, distinguishes Myatt’s philosophy from other philosophies, ancient and modern, most of which philosophies are imbued with a decidedly masculous ethos; and none of which emphasize personal virtues such as honour and empathy, and the ethics derived therefrom; and none of which have an ontology of causal and acausal being.

Which Myattian ontology is crucial to understanding such an emphasis on the muliebral and the enantiodromiacal change in our physis resulting from us perceiving and understanding (via empathy and pathei-mathos) the unity beyond the unnecessary division between the masculous and the muliebral and the other divisions we make based on abstractions, denotatum, and ipseity.

As Myatt explains,

“empathy and pathei-mathos incline us to suggest that ipseity is an illusion of perspective: that there is, fundamentally, no division between ‘us’ – as some individual sentient, mortal being – and what has hitherto been understood and named as the Unity, The One, God, The Eternal. That ‘we’ are not ‘observers’ but rather Being existing as Being exists and is presenced in the Cosmos. That thus all our striving, individually and collectively when based on some ideal or on some form – some abstraction and what is derived therefrom, such as ideology and dogma – always is or becomes sad/tragic, and which recurrence of sadness/tragedy, generation following generation, is perhaps even inevitable unless and until we live according to the wordless knowing that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal.” {9}


A Modern Paganism

Contrary to contemporary neo-pagan revivalism – with its made-up beliefs, practices, romanticism, rituals, and lack of philosophical rigour – Myatt has not only produced a modern pagan philosophy with a unique epistemology, a unique ontology, and a unique theory of ethics {10} but also continued and creatively added to the classical – that is, Western, pre-Christian – pagan and mystical traditions.

For Myatt has asked

(i) if Being – whether denoted by terms such as acausal, born-less, θεός The One, The Divine, God, The Eternal, Mονάς – can be apprehended (or defined) by some-things which are causal (denoted by terms such as spatial, temporal, renewance), and (ii) whether this ‘acausal Being’ is the origin or the genesis or ‘the artisan’ or the creator of both causal being (including ‘time’, and ‘change’) and of causal living beings such as ourselves.

That is, (i) has causal spatially-existing being ’emerged from’ – or been created by – acausal Being, and (ii) are causal beings – such as ourselves – an aspect or emanation of acausal Being? {9}

His answer:

“formulating such a question in such terms – causal/acausal; whole/parts; eternal/temporal; ipseity/unity; emergent from/genesis of – is a mis-apprehension of what-is because such denoting is ‘us as observer’ (i) positing, as Plato did, such things as a theory regarding ‘the ideal’, and/or (ii) constructing a form or abstraction (ἰδέᾳ) which we then presume to project onto what is assumed to be ‘external’ to us, both of which present us with only an illusion of understanding and meaning because implicit in such theories and in all such constructed forms are (i) an opposite (an ‘other’) and (ii) the potentiality for discord (dialectical or otherwise) between such opposites and/or because of a pursuit of what is regarded as ‘the ideal’ of some-thing.” {9}

Which led Myatt to suggest that Being, and our own physis, can be discovered – known and understood – by empathy and pathei-mathos which both by-pass abstractions, denotatum, and opposites, and enable us to appreciate the numinosity of Being.

What therefore is the wordless knowing that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal? According to Myatt

“it is the knowing manifest in our human culture of pathei-mathos. The knowing communicated to us, for example, by art, music, literature, and manifest in the lives of those who presenced, in their living, compassion, love, and honour. Germane to this knowing is that – unlike a form or an abstraction – it is always personal (limited in its applicability) and can only be embodied in and presenced by some-thing or by some-one which or who lives. That is, it cannot be abstracted out of the living, the personal, moment of its presencing by someone or abstracted out from its living apprehension by others in the immediacy-of-the-moment, and thus cannot become ‘an ideal’ or form the foundation for some dogma or ideology or supra-personal faith.” {9}

Which is a rather succinct description of the essence, the ethos, of the Western pagan and mystic traditions where each individual acquires a personal, non-dogmatic, apprehension of certain truths which transcend the temporal.


R. Parker
2016

{1} David Myatt’s philosophy is outlined in four collections of essays published between 2013 and 2015. The works – available both as printed books and as pdf files from his website via the following link, https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/writings-concerning-the-philosophy-of-pathei-mathos/ – are as follows:

i) The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1484096642.
ii) Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1484097984.
iii) One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings. 2014. ISBN-13: 978-1502396105.
iv) Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays. 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1512137149.

{2} The words ‘mystical’ and ‘mysticism’ are derived from the term mystic, the etymology and English usage of which are:

i) Etymology:

° Classical Latin mysticus, relating to sacred mysteries, mysterious;
° Post-classical Latin, in addition to the above: symbolic, allegorical;
° Ancient Greek μυστικός, relating to sacred mysteries;
° Hellenistic Greek μυστικός, initiate; plural, μυστικόι; also: symbolic,
allegorical, spiritual, esoteric, mysterious, occult;
° Byzantine Greek (5th century CE ) μυστικόν, mystical doctrine.

ii) English usage:

° noun: symbolic, allegorical (c. 1350);
° noun: an exponent or advocate of mystical theology;
° noun: a person who by means such as contemplation desires a selfless awareness of God or ‘the cosmic order’ (mundus), or who accepts that there is a spiritual apprehension of certain truths which transcend the temporal;
° adjective: esoteric, mysterious, [equivalent in usage to ‘mystical’]
° adjective: of or relating to esoteric rites [equivalent in usage to ‘mystical’]

{3} As Myatt writes, the following articles, “a few caveats notwithstanding, provide a reasonable summary of the main points” of his philosophy: JR Wright, A Modern Mystic: David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos, 2015. [https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/dwm-modern-mystic-v7b.pdf] and R. Parker: An Overview of David Myatt’s Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos, 2014. [https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/overview-myatt-philos-pathei-mathos-v2.pdf]

{4} Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos. The essay is included in Myatt’s One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods.

{5} The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis. qv. Myatt’s One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods.

{6} Myatt discusses ‘the illusion of ipseity’ in several of his essays, including Towards Understanding The Acausal (qv. One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods) and Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions (qv. Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays).

{7} qv. Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays.

{8} Some Questions For DWM (2014). Included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods.

{9} Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions. qv. Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays.

{10} His ontology, ethics, and epistemology are described by Myatt in The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis (qv. One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods) and also discussed in the two articles mentioned in footnote {3}.


Order of Nine Angles

The O9A Septenary

Alchemical And Hermetic Antecedents Of The O9A
(pdf, 27 Mb)

The texts included in this pdf compilation provide an overview of the alchemical tradition of the Order of Nine Angles and how that tradition relates to the Seven Fold Way. It should thus enable both those beginning their own Occult quest according to an O9A praxis, and those interested in O9A esoteric philosophy, to better appreciate not only how the O9A differs from other modern Occult groups but also how the O9A has maintained links to, and manifests some of the esoteric knowledge of, more ancient Occult traditions. Ancient Occult traditions, and esoteric knowledge, entirely absent from the literature about and produced by all other modern Occult groups, all of which groups (and the persons associated with them) have bought into, and reproduced, the distorted ‘qabalistic’ tradition of the likes of Alphonse Louis Constant, MacGregor Mathers and Crowley, and/or who (like Howard Stanton Levey and Aquino and Crowley) simply continued and aided the de-evolutionary masculous, patriarchal, ethos. In contrast to that patriarchal ethos – which has dominated the world, East and West, for millennia – the O9A tradition is of ἀρρενόθηλυς: of balancing the masculous with the muliebral through pathei-mathos both Occult and exoteric.

°°°

Contents

° Introduction
° Alchemy And The Sinisterly-Numinous Tradition
° Lapis Philosophicus, Isaac Newton, And The Septenary System
° Azoth: Western Alchemy And The Seven Fold Way Of The O9A
° Hermetic Origins Of The O9A
° Perusing The Seven Fold Way
° The Septenary Anados and Life After Death
° Further Reading


Order of Nine Angles

O9A

O9A Occultism

A Bosnian O9A nexion (ABG Lodge) – in an interesting comment on David Myatt’s 1990s neo-nazi Reichsfolk {1} text Occultism and National-Socialism (pdf) – recently {2} wrote:

{quote}
Though explicitly anti-occult, although not written for and on behalf of ONA [Order of Nine Angles], this text, perhaps most of all, hints at some truths related to ONA and “ONA occultism”. All you need to do is to replace the term “national socialism” with “o9a” or “sinisterly-numinous tradition”, and the term “Nazarene / Judah / Occult” with “Magian” and you have one image that reveals much.

In a sense, ONA / o9a is the evolution of the essence behind National Socialism, the evolution of this pagan spirit and lifestyle of our ancestors, that was and is incomparably far from anything that now passes as occult. Within the system, society, communities where there is no need for suppression and concealment of certain aspects of our nature, the need for the occult as such becomes superfluous. If some aspects of our nature simply are lived and understood as such as they are – as part of an organic whole, there is no need for them to be hidden behind abstraction and symbols, or different kinds of bogey-men. Precisely because of this real-life, physical experience, a way of life and a certain attitude towards life, are found by ONA to be true initiation through to wisdom – in contrast to abstraction, symbols and funny ceremonials, aimed at providing (at least through simulation and psycho-drama) compensation for something that is missing in the lives of individuals and civilization, or is repressed by society and (again) abstract moral and legal constraints. Thus, the Occult, such as it is, represents only a symptom of what is called “the Magian distortion” by ONA. This term refers to everything and all that tries mould human into some, for them, unnatural and restrictive framework. In the last few years, ONA has revealed and emphasized what some people always knew – that ONA is not simply Satanism, but that Satanism in ONA has a particular and specific function. Equally, any form of occultism that came from ONA, any philosophical or political form that came from ONA just had a specific function and had nothing to do with the very essence of what ONA is. In short, the form of ONA Satanism aims at undermining the modern Satanism, each occult and political form emerged within ONA, or under its influence aims to undermine Occult and Politics (distorted civilization) as such.

What is the true “acausal magick” of the Order of Nine Angles is exclusively linked to the life and the way of life of the individual and particular communities (family, clan, nexions, tribes) and it is incomparably far from the conventional occultism and all that same implies – Something especially unfathomable just for those who fell for the “sin” of occultism. These are mainly those occult fetishists, or occultheads, as friends and I call them internally, who had persistently been digging around some ruins of the past, amused by dead things, not  understanding, as CB once said, that we who live today are secrets of that past, and the mystery of the future. All forms serve only one, time-specific purpose, then they become useless. Therefore,  ONA don’t seek to, like neo-Nazis, just chant “Hail Hitler!” and to live on WW2 sentiments, and is unlike neo-pagans who are trying to revive long-dead gods and monuments of the past, but seeks to evolve the substance of our pagan heritage and National Socialism in order to respond to the challenges and needs of the present moment; seeks to emulate the very essence of what is Satan (sinister) and Lucifer (numinous)  without all the childish notions of the same that appeared under the influence Magian distortion, inherited by the occult – and within a single sinisterly-numinous organic whole, which includes the individual, the species, nature and Cosmos.
{/quote}

°°°

{1} For further information on Reichsfolk (published by academics) refer to (a) Kaplan, J: Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. Rowman & Littlefield (2000). pp 251-252; pp 216f; and (b) Taguieff, Pierre-André. Prêcheurs de haine: Traversée de la judéophobie planétaire, Paris, Mille et une Nuits, Essai, (2004) pp. 788-789.

On the connection of Reichsfolk with the ONA, refer to Jeffrey Kaplan & Heléne Lööw: The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalization. Rowman Altamira, 2002. p 254.

{2} https://abglodge.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/occultism-national-socialism-and-ona/

°°°°°

Related:
A Modern Mage: Anton Long and the O9A
(pdf)

Order of Nine Angles

O9A

Explaining The Acausal

 

A Metaphysical Theory

The theory of the acausal that is used by the Order of Nine Angles, and which forms one of the foundations of the O9A’s esoteric philosophy as well as The Star Game, was developed by David Myatt around 1972, and concerns metaphysics. That is, it is not – as some have assumed – a scientific theory proposed by Myatt in order to either explain some observed Phainómenon or extend the theoretical frontiers of physics, but rather belongs to that “branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things or reality, including questions about being, substance, time and space, causation, change, and identity.”

In terms of ontology, Myatt suggests that the difference between living things and ordinary matter can be explained by postulating a bifurcation of being – causal and acausal – with living things, in contrast to ordinary matter, possessing both causal and acausal being. In terms of epistemology, Myatt suggests that this acausal being – that is, the nature (or physis, the “identity”) of living beings, including ourselves – can be discovered (known) via developing our faculty of empathy, and that this “acausal knowing” is different from but complementary to the “causal knowing” discovered (known) by observing, in a scientific manner, Phainómenon and then, using denotatum and theoretical models (including mathematical ones), explaining such Phainómenon.

Crucially, Myatt also posits a fundamental difference between “acausal knowing” and “causal knowing” in that acausal knowing is by its nature personal (“subjective”, intuitive) – and cannot be abstracted out from the immediate moment of the personal knowing – while causal knowing is what we now describe by the term scientific (“objective”, observational, impersonal) and, in contrast to acausal knowing, relies on denotatum, abstractions, and theories. Thus, according to Myatt, to “know” – to understand – the physis of living beings, including our own physis as a human being, both acausal and causal knowing are needed.

However, Myatt has also speculated about what the nature of acausal being might be and about “the nature and extent and cause of the acausal connexions between living beings that acausal-knowing reveals” {1}. One of his speculations – which he admits might be fallacious  – is “conceptualizing the acausal as a n-dimensional acausal continuum (where n is > 3 but ≤ ∞) of acausal Space and acausal Time, in contrast to the causal geometrical Space and linear causal Time of the causal and 4-dimensional continuum of Phainómenon familiar to us through sciences such as physics, chemistry, and astronomy.

Acausality And The O9A

The Order of Nine Angles uses Myatt’s “acausal realm” to not only explain “the supernatural”, and sorcery {2}, but also to provide a raison d’etre for the occult, hermetic, quest for gnosis. Thus, and for instance, O9A suppositions include: (i) that archetypes re-present (are types of) “acausal energy” and that our “consciousness” and unconscious are a nexus between the causal and the acausal, a nexus symbolized by The Star Game {3} and the septenary Tree of Wyrd; and (ii) that it is possible to develop our faculty of empathy via various occult techniques, such as rite of internal adept, the camlad rite of the abyss, and by a conscious – a willed – pathei mathos manifest in such things as “insight roles”; and (iii) that such a development of such a faculty is an essential part of attaining “gnosis”: of acquiring a knowledge of Being and beings, and which knowledge includes understanding our own unique physis as an individual.

Thus, one of the principles of the O9A – founded on the wisdom that thousands of years of human living, and occultism, and paganism, has bequeathed to us – is that no amount of “scientific theories” and of “reason/logic” and of “experimental evidence” and “technology” can offset the pathei-mathos – the personal understanding, learning, and knowing – that suffering, grief, empathy, and an individual occult quest for gnosis, so personally provide especially if such pathei-mathos is of months, years, decades. For those who have so endured pathei-mathos know – sans words, sans denotatum, sans theories – that the answers provided by “science” and by “logic alone” and by “experimental evidence” and by “technology” are inadequate, insufficient to explain the nature of being, the nature of beings, and especially human physis. Without such pathei-mathos we simply cannot know – sans words, sans denotatum, sans theories – our own physis, let alone the physis of others.

M.K.
2014

{1} Towards Understanding The Acausal. e-text, 2014. See also Time And The Separation Of Otherness – Part One. e-text, 2011.

{2} See the O9A compilation Time, Acausality, The Supernatural, And Scientific Theories. pdf, 2014.

{3} The advanced star game was designed by Myatt to encourage “acausal thinking”; that is, to encourage the type of thinking that does not depend on denotatum, abstractions, or theories. It is interesting to note that several of those who worked with Alan Turing at Bletchley Park were good chess players (e.g. Hugh Alexander) who believed that skill in that game enabled them to make connections (and intuitive leaps) that otherwise they might not have done.

 


Article source: The Definitive Guide To The Order of Nine Angles (pdf, 54 Mb)


A pdf file of parts 1 & 2 of this article is available here – overview-myatt-philosophy.pdf
David Myatt

David Myatt

 

An Overview of David Myatt’s Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos

Part Two: Humility, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos

The prevailing character of David Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos is evident in one of his most recent essays, for he writes:

“What I have previously described as the ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’ and the ‘way of pathei-mathos’ is simply my own weltanschauung, a weltanschauung developed over some years as a result of my own pathei-mathos. Thus, and despite whatever veracity it may or may not possess, it is only the personal insight of one very fallible individual, a fallibility proven by my decades of selfishness and by my decades of reprehensible extremism both political and religious. Furthermore, and according to my admittedly limited understanding and limited knowledge, this philosophy does not – in essence – express anything new. For I feel (and I use the word ‘feel’ intentionally) that I have only re-expressed what so many others, over millennia, have expressed as result of (i) their own pathei- mathos and/or (ii) their experiences/insights and/or (iii) their particular philosophical musings.

Indeed, the more I reflect upon my (perhaps pretentiously entitled) ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’ the more I reminded of so many things…” {1}

The character is that of a person who, aware and accepting of their past mistakes, is presenting the conclusions of many years of personal contemplation about such metaphysical and personal matters as interest them, which conclusions they qualify with a proviso of fallibility. The ethos of Myatt’s philosophy is therefore both in tone and in content redolent of the mystic, but of a mystic who – perhaps because of his extremist past – is well aware of the causes and consequences of suffering:

“For me, there is a knowing of how limited and fallible my knowledge and understanding are, combined with an intangible intimation of some-thing possibly existing which is so abstruse that any and all attempts – at least by me – to meld it into words, and thus form and confine it into some idea or ideas, would miss or distort its essence. An intimation of what terms such as ‘acausal’ and ‘numinous’ (and even θεός/θεοί) do little to describe, hinting as such terms do of externalities – of an ‘out there’ – whereas this some-thing is an intrinsic part of us, connecting us to all life, human, terran, and otherwise, and thus reveals our φύσις – our relation to beings and Being – behind the appearance that is our conception of our separate self. An intimation thus of our brief causality of mortal life being only one momentary microcosmic presencing of that-which we it seems have a faculty to apprehend, and a that-which which lives-on both before and after our brief moment of apprehended causal life.

Yet this some-thing that I sense is no mystical divinity of a supra-personal love to be saught individually and which, if found or gifted to us, eremitically removes us from the mortal pains and joys of life. Suffering, and the pain so caused, are real; and if we ourselves are unafflicted, others are not and may never be so unafflicted if we humans do not or cannot fundamentally change.” {2}

It is therefore not surprising, given this mysticism, that humility is one of the personal virtues of Myatt’s philosophy. Of humility, Myatt writes that he is using the term

“in a spiritual context to refer to that gentleness, that modest demeanour, that understanding, which derives from an appreciation of the numinous and also from one’s own admitted uncertainty of knowing and one’s acknowledgement of past mistakes. An uncertainty of knowing, an acknowledgement of mistakes, that often derive from πάθει μάθος.

Humility is thus the natural human balance that offsets the unbalance of hubris (ὕβρις) – the balance that offsets the unbalance of pride and arrogance, and the balance that offsets the unbalance of that certainty of knowing which is one basis for extremism, for extremist beliefs, for fanaticism and intolerance. That is, humility is a manifestation of the natural balance of Life; a restoration of ἁρμονίη, of δίκη, of σωφρονεῖν – of those qualities and virtues – that hubris and extremism, that ἔρις and πόλεμος, undermine, distance us from, and replace.” {3}

This passage is notable for two reasons. First, for the fact that the virtue of humility is – along with the other personal moral qualities of Myatt’s philosophy – the result of that ‘acausal knowing’ that Myatt considers both pathei-mathos and empathy can provide; and second, for his use of ancient Greek terminology, a usage which hints that his mysticism – his philosophy – is influenced by, or is a modern manifestation of, an ancient paganism rather than part of the Christian mystical and contemplative traditions.

Myatt himself acknowledges this pagan influence:

“The philosophy of pathei-mathos is the result of my own pathei-mathos, my own learning from diverse – sometimes outré, sometimes radical and often practical – ways of life and experiences over some four decades; of my subsequent reasoned analysis, over a period of several years, of those ways and those experiences; of certain personal intuitions, spread over several decades, regarding the numinous; of an interior process of personal and moral reflexion, lasting several years and deriving from a personal tragedy; and of my life-long study and appreciation of Hellenic culture, an appreciation that led me to translate works by Sappho, Sophocles, Aeschylus and Homer, and involved me in a detailed consideration of the weltanschauung of individuals such as Heraclitus (insofar as such weltanschauungen are known from recorded sayings and surviving books).

Given this appreciation, and as the name suggests, the philosophy of πάθει μάθος has certain connexions to Hellenic culture and I tend therefore to use certain Greek words in order to try and elucidate my meaning and/or to express certain philosophical principles regarded as important in – and for an understanding of – this philosophy; a usage of words which I have endeavoured to explain as and where necessary, sometimes by quoting passages from Hellenic literature or other works and by providing translations of such passages. For it would be correct to assume that the ethos of this philosophy is somewhat indebted to and yet – and importantly – is also a development of the ethos of Hellenic culture; an indebtedness obvious in notions such as δίκη, πάθει μάθος, avoidance of ὕβρις, and references to Heraclitus, Aeschylus, and others, and a development manifest in notions such as empathy and the importance attached to the virtue of compassion.” {4}

Acausal Knowing and Pathei Mathos

In a recent précis of his philosophy Myatt enumerates the three fundamentals of his epistemology:

” a. The primacy of pathei-mathos: of a personal pathei-mathos being one of the primary means whereby we can come to know the true φύσις (physis) of Being, of beings, and of our own being; a knowing beyond ‘abstractions’, beyond the concealment implicit in manufactured opposites, by ipseity (the separation-of-otherness), and by denotatum.

b. Adding the ‘acausal knowing’ revealed by the (muliebral) faculty of empathy to the conventional, and causal (and somewhat masculous), knowing of science and logical philosophical speculation, with the proviso that what such ‘acausal knowing’ reveals is (i) of φύσις, the relation between beings, and between beings and Being, and thus of ‘the separation-of-otherness’, and (ii) the personal and numinous nature of such knowing in the immediacy-of-the-moment, and which empathic knowing thus cannot be abstracted out from that ‘living moment’ via denotatum: by (words written or spoken), or be named or described or expressed (become fixed or ‘known’) by any dogma or any -ism or any -ology, be such -isms or -ologies conventionally understood as political, religious, ideological, or social.

c. Describing a human, and world-wide and ancestral, ‘culture of pathei-mathos’, and which culture of pathei-mathos could form part of Studia Humanitatis and thus of that education that enables we human beings to better understand our own φύσις.” {1}

Thus, for Myatt, knowledge and understanding of Reality – of beings and Being, and of our own relation to beings and Being – requires us to use or develop our faculty of empathy (of sympatheia with other living beings, human and otherwise) as well as both studying and appreciating our ‘aeonic’ human culture of pathei-mathos and learning via our own experiences, suffering, and grief (our own pathei-mathos). The latter of which – that is, pathei-mathos – naturally not only cultivates a certain personal humility but also means that we cannot hope to know and understand Reality – we cannot discover wisdom – unless and until we ourselves have a certain experience of the vicissitudes of life.

Given (i) that the acausal knowing that empathy reveals,

“is a direct and personal – an individual – revealing of beings and Being which does not depend on denoting or naming or causality or the assumption of a primal cause, and which knowing, being individual in φύσις and concerned with living beings, cannot be abstracted out from the living personal moment of the perceiveration. Thus, such a perceiveration – in respect of other human beings – does not and cannot involve and does not and cannot lead to any of the following: (i) any personal claim regarding possessing ‘the truth’ about some-thing; (ii) no ‘correct way or praxis’ or dogma or ideology which are assumed or believed to be applicable to anyone else; (iii) no understanding of or assumption of knowledge about others on the basis of assigning those others to some category or to some abstract form. Instead, there is only an intuition of the moment concerning one’s own φύσις and thus a wordless individual revealing of – a numinous knowing concerning – one’s own being and of one’s own relation to Being and to other living beings” {5}

and given (ii) the necessity of (a) pathei-mathos and (b) studying and learning from our aeonic human culture of pathei-mathos, and (ii) given the personal virtues – such as compassion, humility, and a personal honour – that are engendered by such acausal knowing {6}, such a study, and such a pathei-mathos, then it is my view that Myatt’s whole philosophy can be summarized as a guide to living in an honourable, and a particular type of pagan, way.

For, of the knowing and understanding that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal, Myatt writes:

“Empathy is, and has been, the natural basis for a tradition which informs us, and reminds us – through Art, literature, myths, legends, the accumulated πάθει μάθος of individuals, and often through a religious-type awareness – of the need for a balance, for ἁρμονίη, achieved by not going beyond the numinous limits.

As a used and a developed faculty, the perception that empathy provides is of undivided ψυχή and of the emanations of ψυχή, of our place in the Cosmic Perspective: of how we are a connexion to other life; of how we are but one mortal fallible emanation of Life; of how we affect or can affect the well-being – the very being, ψυχή – of other mortals and other life; and how other mortals and other living beings interact with us and can affect us, in a good or a harmful way.

Empathy thus involves a translocation of ourselves and thus a knowing-of another living-being as that living-being is, without presumptions and sans all ideations, all projections. In a simple way, empathy involves a numinous sympathy with another living-being; a becoming – for a causal moment or moments – of that other-being, so that we know, can feel, can understand, the suffering or the joy of that living-being. In such moments, there is no distinction made between them and us – there is only the flow of life; only the presencing and the ultimate unity of Life itself.”  {4}

“The numinous sympathy – συμπάθεια (sympatheia, benignity) – with another living being that empathy provides naturally inclines us to treat other living beings as we ourselves would wish to be treated: with fairness, compassion, honour, and dignity. It also inclines us not to judge those whom we do not know; those beyond the purveu – beyond the range of – our faculty of empathy.” {6}

For, regarding personal honour, Myatt writes that it:

“presences the virtues of fairness, tolerance, compassion, humility, and εὐταξία – as (i) a natural intuitive (wordless) expression of the numinous (‘the good’, δίκη, συμπάθεια) and (ii) of both what the culture of pathei-mathos and the acausal-knowing of empathy reveal we should do (or incline us toward doing) in the immediacy of the personal moment when personally confronted by what is unfair, unjust, and extreme […]

Such honour – by its and our φύσις – is and can only ever be personal, and thus cannot be extracted out from the  ‘living moment’ and our participation in the moment; for it only through such things as a personal study of the culture of pathei-mathos and the development of the faculty of empathy that a person who does not naturally possess the instinct for δίκη can develope what is essentially ‘the human faculty of honour’, and which faculty is often appreciated and/or discovered via our own personal pathei-mathos.” {1}

For, regarding paganism, Myatt – quoting Cicero – writes that, correctly understood (that is, in the classical sense), it is:

“An apprehension of the complete unity (a cosmic order, κόσμος, mundus) beyond the apparent parts of that unity, together with the perceiveration that we mortals – albeit a mere and fallible part of the unity – have been gifted with our existence so that we may perceive and understand this unity, and, having so perceived, may ourselves seek to be whole, and thus become as balanced (perfectus), as harmonious, as the unity itself.”  {7}

An Honourable, Paganus, And Cultured, Way of Life

What Myatt has developed in his philosophy of pathei-mathos is, essentially, a contemporary mystical ‘paganus’ philosophy in the classical tradition, and thus one which dispenses with all the unnecessary accretions, and misunderstandings, of the past century that have become attached to ‘modern paganism’. For at the heart of Myatt’s individualistic paganism are the virtues of personal honour, of learning, of education, of culture, of self-restraint [εὐταξία] and of duty, for:

“this paganus natural balance implied an acceptance by the individual of certain communal responsibilities and duties; of such responsibilities and duties, and their cultivation, as a natural and necessary part of our existence as mortals.” {7}

Which is why Myatt’s paganus philosophy emphasises wu-wei {8}, and tolerance; and why it is (i) concerned, not with politics or reforming society through some -ism or -ology or via some revolution violent or otherwise, but rather with the individual – with their interior life, with their personal interaction with others, with the numinosity of love {9}, with honourable living – and (ii) concerned with the individual agreeing to Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ {10}.

Thus:

“There is no desire and no need to use any confrontational means to directly challenge and confront the authority of existing States since numinous reform and change is personal, individual, non-political, and not organized beyond a limited local [communal] level of people personally known. That is, it is of and involves individuals who are personally known to each other working together based on the understanding that it is inner, personal, change – in individuals, of their nature, their character – that is is the ethical, the numinous, way to solve such personal and social problems as exist and arise. That such inner change of necessity comes before any striving for outer change by whatever means, whether such means be termed or classified as political, social, economic, religious. That the only effective, long-lasting, change and reform is understood as the one that evolves human beings and thus changes what, in them, predisposes them, or inclines them toward, doing or what urges them to do, what is dishonourable, undignified, unfair, and uncompassionate.

In practice, this evolution means, in the individual, the cultivation and use of the faculty of empathy, and acquiring the personal virtues of compassion, honour, and love. Which means the inner reformation of individuals, as individuals.

Hence the basis for numinous social change and reform is aiding, helping, assisting individuals in a direct and personal manner, and in practical ways, with such help, assistance, and aid arising because we personally know or are personally concerned about or involved with those individuals or the situations those individuals find themselves in. In brief, being compassionate, empathic, understanding, sensitive, kind, and showing by personal example.” {11}

In effect, therefore, Myatt’s philosophy, with its specific (if not unique) epistemology, and its virtues such as that of a personal honour, leads to:

“An understanding of (i) how good and bad are not ‘out there’ and cannot be manifest or assumed to be manifest in some form, by some ideation, or in ‘them’ (the others), without causing or contributing to or being the genesis of suffering, but instead are within us as individuals, a part of our nature, our character, our φύσις, and often divergently expressed; and (ii) of how, in my view at least, personal honour and not a codified law, not a jurisprudence, is the best, the most excellent, way to define and manifest this ‘good’, with honour understood, as in my philosophy of pathei-mathos, as an instinct for and an adherence to what is fair, dignified, and valourous. An honourable person is thus someone of manners, fairness, reasoned judgement, and valour; with honour being a means to live, to behave, in order to avoid committing the folly, the error, of ὕβρις; in order try and avoid causing suffering, and in order to rediscover, to acquire, ἁρμονίη, that natural balance that presences the numinous (sans denotatum and sans dogma) and thus reveals what is important about life and about being human.” {12}

For it is living in such an honourable way, with such an understanding, that can provide the individual with opportunities to experience, and thence learn from, of the vicissitudes of life because such a way of honourable living means – as I mentioned in Part One – the person being prepared in the immediacy of the moment, and when confronted by someone or some group being dishonourable, to do what is honourable in defence of themselves or others even if that means their own death.

Given that living in such an honourable way with such an understanding was, for thousands of years, the essence of paganism, Myatt is be commended for developing a contemporary mystical paganus philosophy.

R. Parker
2014

Notes

{1} The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis. 2014. The essay is included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings. ISBN 978-1502396105

{2} A Vagabond In Exile From The Gods. 2014. The essay is included in the 2014 compilation whose title is taken from the title of that essay: One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings.

{3} Pathei-Mathos – A Path To Humility. 2012.

{4} The Way of Pathei-Mathos – A Philosophical Compendium. 2012. The essay is included in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2013, ISBN 978-1484096642

It is obvious from Myatt’s writings about his philosophy of pathei-mathos that by the term ‘Hellenic culture’ he means the culture of ancient Greece. He thus – perhaps pedantically, perhaps idiosyncratically – eschews the relatively modern division of ancient Greek culture into a ‘classical’ period and a ‘Hellenistic’ period.

{5} Toward Understand The Acausal, 2014. The essay is included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings.

{6} Conspectus of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos. 2012. The essay is included in Myatt’s The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos.

{7} Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos, 2014. The essay is included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings.

{8} In his Vocabulary of the Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos, published in 2012, and included as an ‘appendix of terms’ in his book The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, Myatt writes:

“Wu-wei is a Taoist term used in The Way of Pathei-Mathos to refer to a personal ‘letting-be’ deriving from a feeling, a knowing, that an essential part of wisdom is cultivation of an interior personal balance and which cultivation requires acceptance that one must work with, or employ, things according to their nature, their φύσις, for to do otherwise is incorrect, and inclines us toward, or is, being excessive – that is, toward the error, the unbalance, that is hubris, an error often manifest in personal arrogance, excessive personal pride, and insolence – that is, a disrespect for the numinous.

In practice, the knowledge, the understanding, the intuition, the insight that is wu-wei is a knowledge, an understanding, that can be acquired from empathy, πάθει μάθος, and by a knowing of and an appreciation of the numinous. This knowledge and understanding is of wholeness, and that life, things/beings, change, flow, exist, in certain natural ways which we human beings cannot change however hard we might try; that such a hardness of human trying, a belief in such hardness, is unwise, un-natural, upsets the natural balance and can cause misfortune/suffering for us and/or for others, now or in the future. Thus success lies in discovering the inner nature (the physis) of things/beings/ourselves and gently, naturally, slowly, working with this inner nature, not striving against it.”

{9} Myatt ends his autobiography, Myngath, by writing that “a shared, a loyal, love between two people is the most beautiful, the most numinous, the most valuable thing of all.”

{10} Myatt approvingly quotes this saying – attributed to Jesus of Nazareth – in his 2013 essay Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God. The essay is included in Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos, ISBN 978-1484097984

{11} Society, Politics, Social Reform, and Pathei-Mathos, in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2013, ISBN 978-1484096642

{12} Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God. 2013. The essay is included in Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos, ISBN 978-1484097984



cc  R. Parker 2014
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A pdf file of parts 1 and 2 of this article is available here – overview-myatt-philosophy.pdf


David Myatt

David Myatt

 

An Overview of David Myatt’s Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos
Part One: Anti-Racism, Extremism, Honour, and Culture

It is now generally acknowledged that David Myatt – once renowned as an ideologue {1} and as a ‘theoretician of terror’ {2} – has rejected the extremism that dominated his life for some forty years, thirty of which years were spent as a neo-nazi activist and ten as a “fierce Jihadist” {3} and apologist for Al-Qaeda {4}.

According to his own account {5} this rejection was a consequence of pathei mathos – primarily, the suicide of his partner in 2006 – and which learning from grief resulted in him developing what he termed a philosophy of pathei-mathos centred around personal virtues such as humility, compassion, empathy and personal honour {6}{7}. In addition he has written several interesting, if rather neglected, essays in which he discourses about culture and – politically relevant today – about topics such as extremism. In these discourses, which apply his philosophy to the topics discussed, he is at pains to point out that he presents only his “personal, fallible, opinion about such matters” and that these opinions derive from his decades of “experience of extremists and my decade of study and personal experience of, and involvement with, Islam.” {8}

Culture, Civilization, and Politics

Given Myatt’s predilection during his extremist decades, and especially as a neo-nazi ideologue, for pontificating about both ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’, his mature view of such things, resulting from his recent seven or so years of interior reflection following his learning from grief {9}, are of especial interest.

For he writes that:

“The very usage of the term civilization, for instance, implies a bias; a qualitative often pejorative, prejudiced, assessment and thence a division between something judged ‘better than’ – or ‘superior to’ or ‘more advanced than’ – something else, so that ‘to civilize’ denotes “the action or process of being made civilized” by something or someone believed or considered to be more distinguished, or better than, or superior to, or more advanced.

In common with some other writers, my view is that a clear distinction should be made between the terms culture, society, and civilization, for the terms culture and society – when, for example, applied to describe and distinguish between the customs and way of life of a group or people, and the codes of behaviour and the administrative organization and governance of those residing in a particular geographical area – are quantitative and descriptive rather than qualitative and judgemental. It is therefore in my view inappropriate to write and talk about a European or a Western ‘civilization’ […]

[T]he essence, the nature, of all cultures is the same: to refine, and develope, the individual; to provide a moral guidance; to cultivate such skills as that of reasoning and learning and civility; to be a repository of the recorded/aural pathei-mathos, experiences, and empathic understanding of others (such as our ancestors) over decades, centuries, millennia, as manifest for example in literature, music, memoirs, poetry, history, Art, and often in the past in myths and legends and religious allegories. A recorded/aural pathei-mathos and empathic understanding – a human learning – which teach the same lessons, whatever the culture, whatever the people, whatever the time and whatever the place. The lesson of the importance of a loyal love between two people; the lesson of the importance of virtues such as εὐταξία and honour; the lesson of the need to avoid committing the error of hubris. The lesson of hope, redemption, and change. And the lesson concerning our own nature […]

Ultimately, the assumed or the perceived, the outer, differences do not matter, since what matters for us as human beings capable of reason and civility is our shared humanity and the wisdom that all cultures guide us toward: which wisdom is that it is what is moral – it is what keeps us as mortals balanced, aware of and respective of the numinous – that should guide us, determine our choices and be the basis of our deeds, for our interaction with other human beings, with society, and with the life with which we share this planet.

As outlined in my philosophy of pathei-mathos, my personal view is that the criteria of assessment and judgement are the individual ones of empathy, reason, and the presumption of innocence; which means that abstractions, ideations, theories, and categories, of whatever kind – and whether deemed to be political, religious, or social – are considered an unimportant. That what matters, what is moral, is a very personal knowing in the immediacy-of-the- moment so that what is beyond the purveu of our empathy, of our personal knowing, knowledge, and experience, is something we rationally accept we do not know and so cannot judge or form a reasonable, a fair, a balanced, opinion about. Hence, and for example, individuals and people we do not know, of whatever faith, of whatever perceived ethnicity, sexual orientation, or perceived or assumed or proclaimed culture – whom we have no personal experience of and have had no interaction with over a period of causal time – are unjudged by us and thus given the benefit of the doubt; that is, regarded as innocent, assumed to be good, unless or until direct personal experience, and individual and empathic knowing of them, as individuals, proves otherwise […]

What matters are our own moral character, our interior life, our appreciation of the numinous, and the individual human beings we interact with on the personal level; so that our horizon is to refine ourselves into cultured beings who are civil, reasoned, empathic, non-judgemental, unbiased, and who will, in the words of one guide to what is moral, Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ.”  {8}

Myatt’s emphasis is thus on the individual; on their interior life, and their personal interaction with others in what he terms, in his philosophy of pathei-mathos, the immediacy of the personal moment:

“Since the range of our faculty of empathy is limited to the immediacy-of-the-moment and to personal interactions, and since the learning wrought by pathei-mathos and pathei-mathos itself is and are direct and personal, then the knowledge, the understanding, that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal and provide is of the empathic scale of things and of our limitations of personal knowing and personal understanding. That is, what is so revealed is not some grand or grandiose theory or praxis or philosophy which is considered applicable to others, or which it is believed can or should be developed to be applicable to others or developed to offer guidance beyond the individual in political and/or social and/or religious and/or ideological terms; but rather a very personal, individual, spiritual and thus interior, way. A way of tolerance and humility, where there is an acceptance of the unwisdom, the hubris, the unbalance, of arrogantly, pejoratively, making assumptions about who and what are beyond the range of our empathy and outside of our personal experience.” {10}

There is, therefore, a rejection of involvement with politics:

“Given that the concern of the philosophy of pathei-mathos is the individual and their interior, their spiritual, life, and given that (due to the nature of empathy and pathei-mathos) there is respect for individual judgement, the philosophy of pathei-mathos is apolitical, and thus not concerned with such matters as the theory and practice of governance, nor with changing or reforming society by political means.” {11}

In line with the virtues of his philosophy, Myatt is scathing regarding extremism in general:

“One of the worst consequences of the extremism of extremists – of modern hubris in general – is, or seems to me to be, the loss of what is personal, and thus what is human; the loss of the empathic, the human, scale of things; with what is personal, human, empathic, being or becoming displaced, scorned, forgotten, obscured, or a target for destruction and (often violent) replacement by something supra-personal such as some abstract political/religious notion or concept, or some ideal, or by some prejudice and some often violent intolerance regarding human beings we do not personally know because beyond the range of our empathy.

That is, the human, the personal, the empathic, the natural, the immediate, scale of things – a tolerant and a fair acceptance of what-is – is lost and replaced by an artificial scale posited by some ideology or manufactured by some τύραννος; a scale in which the suffering of individuals, and strife, are regarded as inevitable, even necessary, in order for ‘victory to be achieved’ or for some ideal or plan or agenda or manifesto to be implemented. Thus the good, the stability, that exists within society is ignored, with the problems of society – real, imagined, or manufactured by propaganda – trumpeted. There is then incitement to disaffection, with harshness and violent change of and within society regarded as desirable or necessary in order to achieve preset, predetermined, and always ‘urgent’ goals and aims, since slow personal reform and change in society – that which appreciates and accepts the good in an existing society and in people over and above the problems and the bad – is anathema to extremists, anathema to their harsh intolerant empathy-lacking nature and to their hubriatic striving.” {12}

All this amounts to viewing matters – events in the external world, and our relation to other humans – in terms of two principles rather than in terms of politics, ideology, dogma, or revolutionary social change. The first principle is personal honour; the second what Myatt terms ‘the cosmic perspective’, of which perspective Myatt writes:

“The Cosmic Perspective reveals a particular truth not only about the Anthropocene (and thus about our φύσις as human beings) but also about how sustainable millennial change has occurred and can occur. Which change is via the progression, the evolution – the development of the faculties and the consciousness – of individuals individually. This is the interior, the a-causal, change of individuals wrought by a scholarly learning of and from our thousands of years old human culture of pathei-mathos, by our own pathei-mathos, and by that personal appreciation of the numinous that both the Cosmic Perspective and the muliebral virtues incline us toward. This aeonic change voids what we now describe by the terms politics and religion and direct social activism of the violent type. There is thus a shift from identifying with the communal, the collective – from identifying with a particular contemporary or a past society or some particular national culture or some particular causal form such as a State or nation or empire or some -ism or some -ology – toward that-which has endured over centuries and millennia: our human culture of pathei-mathos. For the human culture of pathei-mathos records and transmits, in various ways, the pathei-mathos of individuals over thousands of years, manifest as this sustainable millennial culture is in literature, poetry, memoirs, aural stories, in non-verbal mediums such as music and Art, and in the experiences – written, recorded, and aural – of those who over the centuries have appreciated the numinous, and those who endured suffering, conflict, disaster, tragedy, and war, and who were fundamentally, interiorly, changed by their experiences.” {13}

Given this perspective, and given that personal honour “cannot be extracted out from the living moment and our participation in the moment” {7} and is a necessary virtue, then Myatt’s philosophy, while somewhat redolent of Buddhism, Taoism, and the Catholic contemplative tradition, is rather unique in that the personal use of force (including lethal force) in the immediacy of the moment is justified in personal defence of one’s self or of others, since

“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.” {14}

Given the mention of wu-wei in many of Myatt’s recent writings, it is no surprise that Myatt admits (or, rather, overstates) his debt to Taoism:

“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.” {13}

It is therefore possible to speculate that the archetypal follower of Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos – if there were or could be such followers of such a personal philosophy of life – might be akin to one of the following: (i) a reclusive or wandering, or communal living, mystic, concerned only with their interior life and/or with scholarly study, yet prepared – in the immediacy of the moment and when confronted by someone or some group being dishonourable – to do what is honourable in defence of themselves or others even if that meant their own death; (ii) someone outwardly ordinary who was in, or who was seeking, a loving relationship, and who – compassionate and sensitive and cultured – was unconcerned with politics or conventional religion, and yet prepared – in the immediacy of the moment and when confronted by someone or some group being dishonourable – to do what is honourable in defence of themselves or others even if that meant their own death; (iii) someone with an interior sense of what is honourable whose occupation or career or way of life enables them, in a personal manner and within their milieu, to individually do what is honourable, fair, and just; and (iv) someone who – compassionate and empathic by nature – whose occupation or career or way of life enables them, in a personal manner and within their milieu, to individually do what is compassionate and who would – in the immediacy of the moment and when confronted by someone or some group being dishonourable – do what is honourable in defence of themselves or others even if that meant their own death.

In Myatt’s view, such individuals would be acting in a wise way – in accord with the aforementioned cosmic perspective – since:

“The only effective, long-lasting, change and reform that does not cause suffering – that is not redolent of ὕβρις – is the one that changes human beings in an individual way by personal example and/or because of πάθει μάθος, and thus interiorly changes what, in them, predisposes them, or inclines them toward, doing or what urges them to do, what is dishonourable, undignified, unfair, and uncompassionate. That is what, individually, changes or rebalances bad φύσις and thus brings-into-being, or restores, good φύσις.” {15}

For:

“It is inner, personal, change – in individuals, of their nature, their character – that is is the ethical, the numinous, way to solve such personal and social problems as exist and arise. That such inner change of necessity comes before any striving for outer change by whatever means, whether such means be termed or classified as political, social, economic, religious. That the only effective, long-lasting, change and reform is understood as the one that evolves human beings and thus changes what, in them, predisposes them, or inclines them toward, doing or what urges them to do, what is dishonourable, undignified, unfair, and uncompassionate.” {11}

Extremism, Racism, And Prejudice

In Myatt’s philosophy, the personal knowing of others provided by empathy and the self-knowing that pathei-mathos reveals replace the categorizations by which we have assumed we can know and understand others and ourselves:

“Hitherto, the φύσις of beings and Being has most usually been apprehended, and understood, in one of three ways or by varied combinations of those three ways. The first such perceiveration is that deriving from our known physical senses – by Phainómenon – and by what has been posited on the basis of Phainómenon, which has often meant the manufacture, by we human beings, of categories and abstract forms which beings (including living beings) are assigned to on the basis of some feature that has been outwardly observed or which has been assumed to be possessed by some beings or collocation of beings.
The second such perceiveration derives from positing a ‘primal cause’ – often denoted by God, or a god or the gods, but sometimes denoted by some mechanism, or some apparently inscrutable means, such as ‘karma’ or ‘fate’ – and then understanding beings (especially living beings) in terms of that cause: for example as subject to, and/or as determined or influenced by or dependant on, that primal cause.

The third such perceiveration derives from positing a human faculty of reason and certain rules of reasoning whereby it is possible to dispassionately examine collocations of words and symbols which relate, or which are said to relate, to what is correct (valid, true) or incorrect (invalid, false) and which collocations are considered to be – or which are regarded by their proponents as representative of – either knowledge or as a type of, a guide to, knowing.

All three of these perceiverations, in essence, involve denotatum, with our being, for example, understood in relation to some-thing we or others have posited and then named and, importantly, consider or believe applies or can apply (i) to those who, by virtue of the assumption of ipseity, are not-us, and (ii) beyond the finite, the living, personal moment of the perceiveration.

Thus, in the case of Phainómenon we have, in assessing and trying to understand our own φύσις as a human being, assumed ipseity – a separation from others – as well as having assigned ourselves (or been assigned by others) to some supra-personal category on the basis of such things as place of birth, skin colour, occupation (or lack of one), familial origin or status (or wealth or religion), some-thing termed ‘intelligence’, physical ability (or the lack thereof), our natural attraction to those of a different, or the same, gender; and so on.” {16}

In Myatt’s view, extremism – whether political or religious – makes some category an ideal to be strived for or returned to, since:

“All extremists accept – and all extremisms are founded on – the instinctive belief or the axiom that their cherished ideation(s) or abstraction(s) is or are more important, more valuable, than the individual and the feelings, desires, hopes, and happiness, of the individual. The extremist thus views and understands the world in terms of abstractions; in terms of a manufactured generalization, a hypothesis, a posited thing, an assumption or assumptions about, an extrapolation of or from some-thing, or some assumed or extrapolated ideal ‘form’ of some-thing. Sometimes, abstractions are generalization based on some sample(s), or on some median (average) value or sets of values, observed, sampled, or assumed. Abstractions can be of some-thing past, in the present, or described as a goal or an ideal which it is assumed could be attained or achieved in the future.

The abstractions of extremism are manifest in the ideology, which posits or which attempts to explain (however irrationally and intolerantly) some ideated form, some assumed or believed in perfect (ideal) form or category of some-thing, and which ideated form is or can be or should be (according to the ideology) contrasted with what is considered or assumed to be its opposite.” {17}

Thus in racism individuals are assigned to, associated with, some ‘race’ with the various ‘races’ assigned a qualitative value – describing their ‘worth’ – based on what some ideology or some ideologue state or believe is their contribution to ‘civilization’ and on how useful or harmful they might be to those deeming themselves ‘superior’.

This is immoral, according to Myatt, not only because it is dishonourable but because of the primacy of empathic, of personal, knowing:

“Everything others associate with an individual, or ascribe to an individual, or use to describe or to denote an individual, or even how an individual denotes or describes themselves, are not relevant, and have no bearing on our understanding, our knowledge, of that individual and thus – morally – should be ignored, for it is our personal knowing of them which is necessary, important, valid, fair.  For assessment of another – by the nature of assessment and the nature of empathy – can only be personal, direct, individual. Anything else is biased prejudgement or prejudice or unproven assumption.

This means that we approach them – we view them –  without any prejudice, without any expectations, and without having made any assumptions concerning them, and as a unique, still unknown, still undiscovered, individual person: as ‘innocent’ until proven, until revealed by their actions and behaviour to be, otherwise. Furthermore, empathy – the acausal perception/knowing and revealing of physis – knows nothing of temporal things and human manufactured abstractions/categories such as assumed or assigned ethnicity; nothing of gender; nothing of what is now often termed ‘sexual preference/orientation’. Nothing of politics, or religion. Nothing of some disability someone may suffer from; nothing of social status or wealth; nothing regarding occupation (or lack of one). Nothing regarding the views, the opinions, of others concerning someone.  For empathy is just empathy, a perception different from our other senses such as sight and hearing, and a perception which provides us, or which can provide us, with a unique perspective, a unique type of knowing, a unique (acausal) connexion to the external world and especially to other human beings.

Empathy – and the knowing that derives from it – thus transcends ‘race’, politics, religion, gender, sexual orientation, occupation, wealth (or lack of it), ‘status’, and all the other things and concepts often used to describe, to denote, to prejudge, to classify, a person; so that to judge someone – for example – by and because of their political views (real or assumed) or by their religion or by their sexual orientation is an act of hubris.

In practice, therefore, in the revealing of the physis of a person, the political views, the religion, the gender, the perceived ethnicity, of someone are irrelevant. It is a personal knowing of them, the perception of their physis by empathy, and an acceptance of them as – and getting to know them as – a unique individual which are important and considered moral; for they are one emanation of the Life of which we ourselves are but one other finite and fallible part.” {12}

However, Myatt’s analysis of extremism goes much further. Based on his forty years of personal experience he considers that the extremist is a particular type of person “by nature or becomes so through association with or because of the influence of others, or because of ideological indoctrination” and that

“it is in the nature of extremists that they disdain, and often despise, the muliebral virtues of empathy, sensitivity, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, compassion, and the desire to love and be loved over and above the desire for conflict, territorial identity, and for war. Thus we find in extremism a glorification of the masculous at the expense of the muliebral; a definite personal certitude of knowing; a glorification of toughness and aggression
and war; an aggressive territorial pride; a tendency to believe, or the forthright assertion, that ‘might is right’ and kampf is necessary; the desire to organize/control; a prominent desire for adventure and/or for conflict/war and/or violence and competition.” {17}

Thus, in Myatt’s philosophy, the extremist is hubriatic: unbalanced because lacking in – or having rejected or suppressed – the muliebral virtues which are or which should be an essential part of our human nature and the genesis of all culture; with the need for such muliebral virtues, for such a balance, and the necessity of culture, among the important things that ‘our culture of pathei-mathos’ informs us about {18}. Little wonder, then, that

“it is [our] shared human culture of pathei-mathos that extremists of whatever kind, and those who advocate -isms and -ologies, scorn and so often try to suppress when, for however short a time, they have political or social or religious power and control over the lives of others. It is this human culture of pathei-mathos which – at least according to my experience, my musings, and my retrospection – reveals to us the genesis of wisdom: which is that it is the muliebral virtues which evolve us as conscious beings, which presence sustainable millennial change. Virtues such as empathy, compassion, humility, and that loyal shared personal love which humanizes those masculous talking-mammals of the Anthropocene, and which masculous talking-mammals have – thousand year following thousand year – caused so much suffering to, and killed, so many other living beings, human and otherwise.” {13}

Furthermore, according to Myatt:

“Given the masculous nature and the masculous ethos of extremism, it is no surprise that the majority of extremists are men; and given that, in my own opinion, the predominant ethos of the last three millennia – especially within the societies of the West – has been a masculous, patriarchal, one it is no surprise that women were expected to be, and often had no option but to be, subservient, and no surprise therefore that a modern movement has arisen to try and correct the imbalance between the masculous and the muliebral […]

[Yet] it is only by using and developing our faculty of empathy, on an individual basis, that we can apprehend and thence understand the muliebral; [for] the muliebral can only be manifested, presenced, individually in our own lives according to that personal, individual, apprehension. Presenced, for example, in our compassion, in our honour, by a personal loyal love, and in that appreciation of innocence and of the numinous that inclines us, as individuals, to reject all prejudice and to distance ourselves from that pride, that certainty-of-knowing about ourselves and those presumptions we make about others, which are so redolent of, and which so presence and have so presenced, the patriarchal ethos.” {13}

Extremism and racism, therefore, are understood in Myatt’s philosophy in relation to hubris and enantiodromia:

“Enantiodromia is the term used, in the philosophy of pathei-mathos, to describe the revealing, the process, of perceiving, feeling, knowing, beyond causal appearance and the separation-of-otherness and thus when what has become separated – or has been incorrectly perceived as separated – returns to the wholeness, the unity, from whence it came forth. When, that is, beings are understood in their correct relation to Being, beyond the causal abstraction of different/conflicting ideated opposites, and when as a result, a reformation of the individual, occurs. A relation, an appreciation of the numinous, that empathy and pathei-mathos provide, and which relation and which appreciation the accumulated pathei-mathos of individuals over millennia have made us aware of or tried to inform us or teach us about.” {14}

“For what the culture of pathei-mathos reveals is that we human beings, are – personally – both the cause and the cure of suffering; and that our choice is whether or not we live, or try to live, in a manner which does not intentionally contribute to or which is not the genesis of new suffering. The choice, in effect, to choose the way of harmony – the natural balance – in preference to hubris.” {19}

 

Conclusion

In his seminal and scholarly essay Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God {19}, Myatt places the ethics of his philosophy in the context of the theories of ethics postulated by Christianity, by Islam, and by the proponents of the modern State. He concludes, in respect of his philosophy and its ethics, that:

“The alternative ontology, derived from the culture of pathei-mathos, suggests that the answer to the question regarding the meaning of our existence is simply to be that which we are. To be in balance, in harmony, with Life; the balance that is love, compassion, humility, empathy, honour, tolerance, kindness, and wu-wei. This, by its nature, is a personal answer and a personal choice; an alternative way that compliments and is respectful of other answers, other choices, and of other ways of dealing with issues such as the suffering that afflicts others, the harm that humans do so often inflict and have for so long inflicted upon others. The personal non-judgemental way, of presumption of innocence and of wu-wei, balanced by, if required, a personal valourous, an honourable, intervention in a personal situation in the immediacy of the moment.”

However, this answer is contingent on understanding, via empathy and pathei-mathos, not only ‘the illusion of ipseity’ {16} – the ‘separation-of-otherness’ – but also the cosmic perspective and thus the temporary nature of all our human manufactured forms, categories, and abstractions, for according to Myatt:

“There has been, as there still is, at least in my view, a failure to appreciate two things. Firstly, the causal (the mortal) nature of all forms: from institutions, governments, laws, States, nations, movements, societies, organizations, empires, to leaders and those embodying in some manner the authority, the volksgeist, the ideations, the principles, the aspirations, of their time. Secondly, and possibly most important of all, that what is muliebral cannot be embodied in some organization or movement, or in some -ism, or in any causal form – and certainly cannot be expressed via the medium of words, whether spoken or written – without changing it, distorting it, from what it is into some-thing else. For the muliebral by its very φύσις is personal, individual, in nature and only presenced in the immediacy-of-the-moment, and thus cannot be the object of a supra-personal aspiration and thus should not be ‘idealized’ or even be the subject of an endeavour to express it in some principles or principles (political or otherwise), or by some axiom or axioms, or by some dogma. For all such things – forms and words included – are manifestations, a presencing, of what is, in φύσις, masculous and temporal. Or, expressed more simply, the muliebral presences and manifests what is a-causal – what, in the past, has often inclined us to appreciate the numinous – while the masculous presences and manifests what is causal, temporal, and what in the past has often inclined us toward hubris and being egoistic.” {13}

Myatt’s comprehensive philosophy – propounded in various writings between 2012 and 2014 and which he recently described as being just his personal weltanschauung rather than a philosophy {20} – thus provides an interesting, intriguing, and insightful if iconoclastic, analysis of extremism and contemporary society as well as offering an understandable ethics centred on personal honour, a rather mystical ontology, and a somewhat mystical answer to the question of existence; and although his philosophy certainly deserves to be more widely studied and more widely appreciated, it will doubtless – given Myatt’s outré and controversial life – continue to be neglected for many, many, decades to come.

R. Parker
2014

Notes

{1} (a) Barnett, Antony. Right here, right now, The Observer, February 9, 2003.  (b) Michael, George. The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right. University Press of Kansas, 2006, p. 142ff.
{2} Searchlight, July 2000.
{3} Amis, Martin. The Second Plane. Jonathan Cape, 2008, p.157
{4} (a) Simon Wiesenthal Center: Response, Summer 2003, Vol 24, #2. (b) Wistrich, Robert S. A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad, Random House, 2010.
{5} (a) Myatt, David. Myngath – Some Recollections of a Wyrdful and Extremist Life. 2013. ISBN 978-1484110744. (b) Myatt, David. Understanding And Rejecting Extremism. 2013. ISBN 978-1484854266
{6} Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos is described in the following three published collections of his essays: (a) The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN 978-1484096642. (b) One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings. 2014. ISBN 978-1502396105. (c) Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN 978-1484097984
The three collections of essays are also available, as of October 2014 and as pdf files, from his weblog at http://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/
{7} Of the virtue of personal honour, Myatt writes that it

“presences the virtues of fairness, tolerance, compassion, humility, and εὐταξία – as (i) a natural intuitive (wordless) expression of the numinous (‘the good’, δίκη, συμπάθεια) and (ii) of both what the culture of pathei-mathos and the acausal-knowing of empathy reveal we should do (or incline us toward doing) in the immediacy of the personal moment when personally confronted by what is unfair, unjust, and extreme […]

[For] such honour – by its and our φύσις – is and can only ever be personal, and thus cannot be extracted out from the  ‘living moment’ and our participation in the moment; for it only through such things as a personal study of the culture of pathei-mathos and the development of the faculty of empathy that a person who does not naturally possess the instinct for δίκη can develope what is essentially ‘the human faculty of honour’, and which faculty is often appreciated and/or discovered via our own personal pathei-mathos.” The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis, in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings.

{8} Myatt, David. Let Us Then Try What Love Can Do. 2012. e-text.
{9} The Development of the Numinous Way. The essay is included, as an appendix, in the printed version of his autobiography Myngath, ISBN 978-1484110744
{10} Conspectus of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos. 2012. The essay is included in Myatt’s book The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, ISBN 978-1484096642
{11} Society, Politics, Social Reform, and Pathei-Mathos. 2012. The essay is included in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, ISBN 978-1484096642
{12} Some Personal Musings On Empathy In Relation to the Philosophy of πάθει μάθος. 2012. The essay is included in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, ISBN 978-1484096642
{13} Some Questions For DWM. 2014. The essay is included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings, 2014, ISBN 978-1502396105
{14} The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN 978-1484096642
{15}  The Way of Pathei-Mathos – A Philosophical Compendium. 2012. The essay is included in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, ISBN 978-1484096642
{16} See: (a) Toward Understand The Acausal, and (b) The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis. Both essays are included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings, 2014, ISBN 978-1502396105
{17} Myatt, David. Understanding And Rejecting Extremism. 2013. ISBN 978-1484854266
{18} Regarding ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’ – a key part of his philosophy – see Myatt’s 2014 essay Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos, which is included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings, ISBN 978-1502396105
{19} Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God. 2013. The essay is included in Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos, ISBN 978-1484097984


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