Almost Mid-Summer

Editorial Note: This evocation of the numinous and of the English countryside is a letter written by David Myatt to a friend in 2008. It was included in Myatt’s 2013 book Understanding and Rejecting Extremism.

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Almost Mid-Summer

Another beautifully warm and Sunny day, bright with the light remembered from childhood years in Africa and the Far East: so different from the normally dullish light of temperate England.

Thus, here in the warm Sun and as so often, there is a time of reflexion; a stasis as life becomes reviewed through memories. And it is occurring to me more and more that this is all that there is, beyond the immediacy of the moment: only memories of moments past.

So many memories which slowly fade as bright colour exposed to Sun: as the bright checks of my Tweed cap have slowly faded over the years, unrenewed as the greens of the grass, the bush, the tree, become renewed each year, through Spring. Only memories, as of Fran; to be savoured but perhaps now not too much to be dwelt upon in almost unbearable sadness, for thus is – for thus has – a type of balance returned; that balance, that dwelling in immediacy, which I from learning feel and know is the essence of wu-wei.

This is a change within me, regarding the life and death of Fran, and the life and death of Sue; regarding my own diverse journeys and explorations. A change toward a being-settled that has partly arisen from at last forsaking abstractions and partly from accepting that it is immediacy and remembrance of memories which convey the only correct meaning we human beings have or can find and which is numinous. No projection, thus, of an abstractive life-beyond this mortal life; no need for a religious type of faith; no battle or desire to strive to be in accord with any abstraction; and even no need to believe in, or even un-numinously desire, some-thing. No depth of unfathomable wordless sadness to bring that ultimate life-ending despair such as I assume Fran felt in the last hours of her own mortal living.

For there is only the bright Sun; the slight breeze in bush and tree; the verdant, living, green of grass; the yellow Buttercups that are profusely sprinkled there in the old Orchard of old Apple trees whose lower branches have been windfallen, or become broken with age, or stripped of bark by the two Goats who roam there, where Chickens range, food-seeking. Only the passing billowing fair-weather white Cumulus clouds below the sky-blue of Earth’s earthly mortal life.

Across from where I sit – at the back of the Farmhouse – that Barn whose Summer Swallows swoop in and out to feed their still nesting young who gape and chatter as their food is brought. And I am only this moment, only this moment, as the young Farm dog who comes to lay down in the grass beside me is only the young Farm dog. He looks up at me once – three times – tail wagging, before settling down to sleep.

There is no world beyond, for us here; for the life here. Only the weather; only the changing weather; only some natural need to move us, slowly by our limbs. A need for shelter, water, food. Only the Seasons changing as they change. Only the gentle companionship of a gentle acceptance that lives, grows, changes, slowly, as all natural life lives, grows – changes – slowly, as Sun through cloudless Summer sky.

My decades long mistake of unbalanced stupidity has been to be un-rooted; to be of unnatural uneedful haste. To cease to dwell within each immediacy of each moment. To be swayed by, persuaded by, in thrall to – to even love – un-numinous and thus un-ethical abstractions. To be thus that which we human beings have become: a stage between animal – talking – and compassionate, empathic being aware of and treasuring each small pulse of life that lives near, within, us because there is no separation unless we in hubris and by abstraction create such separation.

Thus are we now struggling, halting, wasting ourselves and all of Life around us; infected now with the virus of abstractions so that, upon this living Earth, we – in our new de-evolution – despoil, disrupt, destroy the Life that is our Life and the genesis of The Numinous, often in the name of that un-ethical abstraction called “progress”. And yet we have a cure for our millennia-long debilitating sickness; have always had a cure, although so many for so long, as I, have failed in our blind stupidity to see it.

So, this is all that there is: only the bright Sun; the slight breeze in bush and tree; the verdant, living, green of grass; the yellow Buttercups that are profusely sprinkled here where, now, The Numinous lives, on another beautifully warm and Sunny day, bright with light remembered…

David Myatt
June 2008

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Article source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/almost-mid-summer/
Image credit: The Day’s Consecration, a painting by Richard Moult


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David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos

Richard Moult: The Corn King

Editorial Note: The following essay is an insightful exposition of Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos and is taken from The Mystic Philosophy of David Myatt, which book was published in 2015 and is available both as a printed paperback – ISBN 978-1523930135 – and as Gratis Open Access pdf file from here.

The contents of the book are: 1) A Modern Mystic: David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2) A Modern Pagan Philosophy. 2) Honour In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos. 4) An Overview of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos. 5) Appendix: A Note On Greek Terms In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos.

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A Modern Mystic
David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos

Philosophy of a Modern Mystic

The ‘way of pathei-mathos’ (πάθει μάθος) is the name given, by David Myatt himself, to his own particular Weltanschauung, his own perspective about life, which he has expounded in numerous essays since 2011, and which perspective or personal philosophy he developed after he “had, upon reflexion, rejected much of and revised what then remained of my earlier (2006-2011) numinous way.” (1)

Myatt has conveniently collected most of the essays expounding his personal philosophy into four books: The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, published in 2013; Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos, published in 2013; One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings, published in 2014; and Sarigthersa, published in May 2015. These works amount to some 240 pages.

In one essay he makes it clear that the way, or the philosophy, 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.” (2)

As described in those four collections of essays, Myatt’s particular perspective, or philosophy of life is, in my view, fundamentally a mystical one because based on a personal intuitive insight about, a personal awareness of, the nature of Reality. A mystic accepts that there is, or there can arise by means such as contemplation, a spiritual apprehension of certain truths which transcends the temporal.

Myatt personal mystic insight is essentially two-fold: (a) that “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,” (3); and (b) of “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.” (2)

According to Myatt, this awareness of our connexion to other life is that arising from empathy; more, precisely, from the faculty of empathy, which he explains is an awareness of, and a sympathy with, other living beings, and by means of which we can

“understand both φύσις and Πόλεμος, and thus apprehend Being as Being, and the nature of beings – and in particular the nature of our being, as mortals. For empathy reveals to us the acausality of Being and thus how the process of abstraction, involving as it does an imposition of causality and separation upon beings (and the ideation implicit on opposites and dialectic), is a covering-up of Being.” (4)

Less metaphysically, he writes that empathy

“inclines a person toward certain virtues; toward a particular type of personal character; and disinclines them toward doing what is bad, what is unfair; what is harsh and unfeeling; what intentionally causes or contributes to suffering. For empathy enables us to directly perceive, to sense, the φύσις (the physis, the nature or character) of human beings and other living beings, involving as empathy does 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.” (5)

According to him, empathy is inextricably linked to pathei-mathos:

“Empathy is, as an intuitive understanding, what was, can be, and often is, learned or developed by πάθει μάθος. That is, from and by a direct, personal, learning from experience and suffering. An understanding manifest in our awareness of the numinous and thus in the distinction we have made, we make, or we are capable of making, between the sacred and the profane; the distinction made, for example in the past, between θεοί and δαιμόνων and mortals.” (5)

One feature of Myatt’s mysticism is his somewhat prolific use of ancient Greek terms and expressions; a use which he states is because

“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.” (5)(6)

Pathei-Mathos And Physis

Since – as the name for his ‘way’ or philosophy implies – the concept of pathei-mathos is fundamental, as is the concept of physis, it is necessary to understand what Myatt means by both these concepts.

1. Pathei-Mathos

In several of his essays Myatt writes about this concept in some detail. For example:

“The Greek term πάθει μάθος derives from The Agamemnon of Aeschylus (written c. 458 BCE), and can be interpreted, or translated, as meaning ‘learning from adversary’, or ‘wisdom arises from (personal) suffering’; or ‘personal experience is the genesis of true learning’.

However, this expression should be understood in context, for what Aeschylus writes is that the Immortal, Zeus, guiding mortals to reason, has provided we mortals with a new law, which law replaces previous ones, and which new law – this new guidance laid down for mortals – is pathei-mathos.

Thus, for we human beings, pathei-mathos possesses a numinous, a living, authority – that is, the wisdom, the understanding, that arises from one’s own personal experience, from formative experiences that involve some hardship, some grief, some personal suffering, is often or could be more valuable to us (more alive, more meaningful) than any doctrine, than any religious faith, than any words one might hear from someone else or read in some book.
In many ways, this Aeschylean view is an enlightened – a very human – one, and is somewhat in contrast to the faith and revelation-centred view of religions such as Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.” (7)

“A personal pathei-mathos [is] 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.” (2)

This reliance on pathei-mathos makes his philosophy non-dogmatic, personal, and interior, especially given the connection Myatt makes between pathei-mathos and empathy; for the type of knowing both provide is a-causal in nature and is only manifest “in the immediacy-of-the-moment” and therefore “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.” (2)

As Myatt explains, there is a ‘local horizon’ to both empathy and pathei-mathos:

“The ‘local horizon of empathy’ is a natural consequence of my understanding of empathy as a human faculty, albeit a faculty that is still quite underdeveloped. For what empathy provides – or can provide – is a very personal wordless knowing in the immediacy-of-the-living-moment. Thus empathy inclines us as individuals to appreciate that what is beyond the purveu of our empathy – beyond our personal empathic knowing of others, beyond our knowledge and our experience, beyond the limited (local) range of our empathy and that personal (local) knowledge of ourselves which pathei-mathos reveals – is something we rationally, we humbly, accept we do not know and so cannot judge or form a reasonable, a fair, a balanced, opinion about. For empathy, like pathei-mathos, lives within us; manifesting, as both empathy and pathei-mathos do, the always limited nature, the horizon, of our own knowledge and understanding.” (8)

In further explaining what he means by the ‘acausal (wordless) knowing’ of empathy and pathei-mathos, Myatt introduces another fundamental aspect of his philosophy, the culture of pathei-mathos:

“What, therefore, is the wordless knowing that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal? 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.” (8)

In addition he points out that such ‘acausal knowing’ is supplementary and complimentary to that ‘causal knowing’ which may be acquired by means of the Aristotelian essentials of conventional philosophy and experimental science. (9)

2. Physis

In his essay Towards Understanding Physis (10) Myatt explains that he uses the term physis, φύσις, contextually to refer to:

(i) the ontology of beings, an ontology – a reality, a ‘true nature ‘- that is often obscured by denotatum and by abstractions, both of which conceal physis;
(ii) the relationship between beings, and between beings and Being, which is of us – we mortals – as a nexion, an affective effluvium (or emanation) of Life (ψυχή) and thus of why ‘the separation-of-otherness’ is a concealment of that relationship;
(iii) the character, or persona, of human beings, and which character – sans denotatum – can be discovered (revealed, known) by the faculty of empathy;
(iv) the unity – the being – beyond the division of our physis, as individual mortals, into masculous and muliebral;
(v) that manifestation denoted by the concept Time, with Time considered to be an expression/manifestation of the physis of beings.

According to Myatt – echoing as he does a concept found in several tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum (11) – the supposed necessity of denoting (or defining) ourselves, as an individual, in terms of either ‘the masculous’ or ‘the muliebral’ (12) is incorrect and distances us from understanding our human physis. That is, he suggests that every individual has (or can develop) a masculous and a muliebral aspect to their physis and that it is natural for us to develop both these aspects of our character, which development – and the balanced physis which results – would take us away from the dominating suffering causing patriarchal ethos of the past three thousand years, incline us toward empathy, compassion, and honour, and thus lessen the suffering which we inflict on other humans and on other life. (13) In respect of which development Myatt asks a rhetorical question:

“Will [it] take us another three thousand years, or more, or less, to live, world-wide, in societies where fairness, peace, and compassion, are the norm because the males of our species – perhaps by heeding Fairness and not obliging Hubris, perhaps by learning from our shared human culture of pathei-mathos – have personally, individually, balanced within themselves the masculous with the muliebral and thus, because of sympatheia, follow the path of honour. Which balancing would naturally seem to require a certain conscious intent.

What, therefore, is our intent, as individual human beings, and can our human culture of pathei-mathos offer us some answers, or perchance some guidance? As an old epigram so well-expressed it:

θνητοῖσιν ἀνωΐστων πολέων περ οὐδὲν ἀφραστότερον πέλεται νόου ἀνθρώποισι

“Of all the things that mortals fail to understand, the most incomprehensible is human intent.”

Personally, I do believe that our human culture of pathei-mathos – rooted as it is in our ancient past, enriched as it has been over thousands of years by each new generation, and informing as it does of what is wise and what is unwise – can offer us both some guidance and some answers.” (14)

A Complete Philosophy

According to academic criteria, in order to qualify as a complete, and distinct, philosophy – in order to be a Weltanschauung – a particular philosophical viewpoint should possess the following: (i) a particular ontology, which describes and explains the concept of Being, and beings, and our relation to them; (ii) a particular theory of ethics, defining and explaining what is good, and what is bad; (iii) a particular theory of knowledge (an epistemology), of how truth and falsehood can be determined; and (iv) it should also be able to give or to suggest particular answers to questions such as “the meaning and purpose of our lives”, and explain how the particular posited purpose may or could be attained.

Given that Myatt’s ‘way of pathei-mathos’ provides the following answers, it does appear to meet the above criteria and thus could aptly be described as a distinct modern philosophy.

i) Ontology

“The ontology is of causal and acausal being, with (i) causal being as revealed by phainómenon, by the five Aristotelian essentials and thus by science with its observations and theories and principle of ‘verifiability’, and (ii) acausal being as revealed by συμπάθεια – by the acausal knowing (of living beings) derived from faculty of empathy – and thus of the distinction between the ‘time’ (the change) of living-beings and the ‘time’ described via the measurement of the observed or the assumed/posited/predicted movement of things.” (2)

ii) Epistemology

“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.

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.” (2)

iii) Ethics

“Of personal honour – which 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.

Of how 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.” (2)

iv) Meaning

“It is wise to avoid causing or contributing to suffering not because such avoidance is a path toward nirvana (or some other posited thing), and not because we might be rewarded by God, by the gods, or by some divinity, but rather because it manifests the reality, the truth – the meaning – of our being.” (15)

“Of understanding ourselves in that supra-personal, and cosmic, perspective that empathy, honour, and pathei mathos – and thus an awareness of the numinous and of the acausal – incline us toward, and which understanding is: (i) of ourselves as a finite, fragile, causal, viatorial, microcosmic, affective effluvium of Life (ψυχή) and thus connected to all other living beings, human, terran, and non-terran, and (ii) of there being no supra-personal goal to strive toward because all supra personal goals are and have been just posited – assumed, abstracted – goals derived from the illusion of ipseity, and/or from some illusive abstraction, and/or from that misapprehension of our φύσις that arises from a lack of empathy, honour, and pathei-mathos.

For a living in the moment, in a balanced – an empathic, honourable – way, presences our φύσις as conscious beings capable of discovering and understanding and living in accord with our connexion to other life.” (2)

A Spiritual Way

Myatt’s answers to the questions of “the meaning and purpose of our lives” and of “how the posited purpose might be attained” reveal – as he himself admits in many of his essays – that his philosophy of pathei-mathos embodies a cultured pagan ethos similar to the paganism manifest in many of the writings of Cicero. In his essay on Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos, Myatt approvingly quotes Cicero (in Latin) and paraphrases the explanation of meaning which Cicero gives in the second book of De Natura Deorum:

“The classical weltanschauung was a paganus one: 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.

Furthermore, 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.” (16)

But Myatt’s philosophy is certainly not a modern restatement of a type of paganism that existed in ancient Greece and Rome. For his philosophy is concerned with the individual and especially with their interior life; with their ‘acausal’ connection – through what Myatt terms the cultivation of the virtues of empathy, compassion, humility, and personal honour – to Being and thence to other life, sentient and otherwise. This marks it as a spiritual way, but one devoid of ‘abstractions’ and dogma. As Myatt writes:

“To formulate some standard or rule or some test to try to evaluate alternatives and make choices in such matters is to make presumptions about what constitutes progress; about what constitutes a ‘higher’ level – or a more advanced stage – and what constitutes a ‘lower’ level or stage. That is, to not only make a moral judgement connected to what is considered to be ‘good’ and ‘evil’ – right and wrong, correct and incorrect – but also to apply that judgement to others and to ‘things’. To judge them, and/or the actions of others, by whether they are on a par with, or are moving toward or away from, that ‘right’ and that ‘wrong’.

This is, in my view, a veering toward hubris, away from the natural balance, and thus away from that acknowledgement of our fallibility, of our uncertitude of knowing, that is the personal virtue of humility. For the essence of the culture of pathei-mathos, and the genesis, the ethos, of all religious revelations and spiritual ways before or until they become dogmatical, seems to be that we can only, without hubris, without prejudice, judge and reform ourselves.

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.” (17)

According to Myatt, empathy and pathei-mathos incline us – or can incline us – toward humility (18), for

“personal humility is the natural balance living within us; that is, we being or becoming or returning to the balance that does not give rise to ἔρις. Or, expressed simply, humility disposes us toward gentleness, toward kindness, toward love, toward peace; toward the virtues that are balance, that express our humanity.” (19)

In other words, humility expresses the raison d’être of Myatt’s philosophy, born as this philosophy is from his own pathei-mathos.

A Modern Gnostic

A Gnostic is someone who seeks gnosis: wisdom and knowledge; someone involved in a life-long search, a quest, for understanding, and who more often than not views the world, or more especially ordinary routine life, as often mundane and often as a hindrance. In my view, this is a rather apt description of Myatt during his idealist and ‘extremist’ decades; decades (1968-2009) which are reasonably now well-known and documented in various academic sources.

It is thus no surprise that Myatt has been described as an “extremely violent, intelligent, dark, and complex individual,” (20) as “a British iconoclast who has lived a somewhat itinerant life and has undertaken an equally desultory intellectual quest,” (21); as “arguably England’s principal proponent of contemporary neo-Nazi ideology and theoretician of revolution,” (22); as having undertaken various “Faustian quests”, (23); as “a fierce Jihadist,” (24) and as having undertaken a “Siddhartha-like search for truth” and “a global odyssey which took him on extended stays in the Middle East and East Asia, accompanied by studies of religions ranging from Christianity to Islam in the Western tradition and Taoism and Buddhism in the Eastern path.” (25)

Thus, his

“philosophy of πάθει μάθος […] is not a conventional, an academic, one where a person intellectually posits or constructs a coherent theory – involving ontology, epistemology, ethics, and so on – often as a result of an extensive dispassionate study, review, or a criticism of the philosophies or views, past and present, advanced by other individuals involved in the pursuit of philosophy as an academic discipline or otherwise. Instead, 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.” (26)

As Myatt has explained in various writings – such as in parts two and three of his Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination, published in 2013, (27) – it was his own painful ‘learning from practical experience’ which compelled him to develop his philosophy of pathei-mathos:

“What I painfully, slowly, came to understand, via pathei-mathos, was the importance – the human necessity, the virtue – of love, and how love expresses or can express the numinous in the most sublime, the most human, way. Of how extremism (of whatever political or religious or ideological kind) places some abstraction, some ideation, some notion of duty to some ideation, before a personal love, before a knowing and an appreciation of the numinous. Thus does extremism – usurping such humanizing personal love – replace human love with an extreme, an unbalanced, an intemperate, passion for something abstract: some ideation, some ideal, some dogma, some ‘victory’, some-thing always supra-personal and always destructive of personal happiness, personal dreams, personal hopes; and always manifesting an impersonal harshness: the harshness of hatred, intolerance, certitude-of-knowing, unfairness, violence, prejudice.”

My considered opinion is that it is this redemptive ‘Faustian’ learning from practical (mostly extreme, and both ‘dark’ and ‘light’) experiences which distinguishes Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos from the many academic and/or armchair philosophies proposed by others in the last two hundred years. For Myatt has “been there, done that” and – so it seems – learned valuable lessons as a result, making his philosophy much more than either intellectual speculation by some academic or something devised by some pseudo-intellectual dilettante.

JR Wright
NYC
2015

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Abbreviations:

NWPM: The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos (2013). ISBN 978-1484096642

REPM: Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos (2013). ISBN 978-1484097984

EFG: One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings (2014). ISBN 978-1502396105

SARIG: Sarigthersa (2015). ISBN 978-1512137149

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Notes

1) Myatt, David (2012). Concerning The Development Of The Numinous Way. The essay is included as an appendix in Myatt’s autobiography, Myngath, published in 2013. (ISBN 978-1484110744)

2) The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis. EFG.

It should be noted that all four printed books detailing Myatt’s philosophy are idiosyncratic in terms of size, being 8.5 x 11 inches which is larger than the standard paperback size of 6 x 9 inches.

3) The Nature and Knowledge of Empathy. NWPM.

4) The Abstraction of Change as Opposites and Dialectic. NWPM.

5) The Way of Pathei-Mathos: A Philosophical Compendiary. NWPM.

6) Myatt’s frequent and somewhat idiosyncratic use of the term Hellenic requires some explanation. As the context often suggests, he generally means the culture of ancient Greece in general, from the time of Homer to the time of Euclid, Aristotle, and beyond. He is not therefore referring to what has academically come to be termed the later Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) period distinguished as that period is, somewhat artificially, from the earlier culture of classical Greece.

That said, he does rather confusingly and on occasion make such a distinction – as in his essay Towards Understanding Physis [SARIG], and in his translation of and commentary on the Pymander tractate – between classical Greece and Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) Greece.

7) Pathei-Mathos as Authority and Way. NWPM.

8) Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions. SARIG.

Myatt technically defines ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’ as

“the accumulated pathei-mathos of individuals, world-wide, over thousands of years, as (i) described in memoirs, aural stories, and historical accounts; as (ii) have inspired particular works of literature or poetry or drama; as (iii) expressed via non-verbal mediums such as music and Art, and as (iv) manifest in more recent times by ‘art-forms’ such as films and documentaries.” Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos. EFG.

9) Conspectus of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos. NWPM.

10) Included in Sarigthersa.

11) Myatt’s translation of, and extensive commentary on, the Pymander tractate of the Corpus Hermeticum was published in 2013 under the title Mercvrii Trismegisti Pymander, ISBN 978-1491249543. His translation of the third tractate was published in 2015 under the title An Esoteric Mythos: A Translation Of And A Commentary On The Third Tractate Of The Corpus Hermeticum, ISBN 978-1507660126.

12) In his Glossary of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos (included in NWPM) Myatt defines masculous and muliebral as follows:

Masculous is a term, a descriptor, used to refer to certain traits, abilities, and qualities that are conventionally and historically associated with men, such as competitiveness, aggression, a certain harshness, the desire to organize/control, and a desire for adventure and/or for conflict/war/violence/competition over and above personal love and culture. Extremist ideologies manifest an unbalanced, an excessive, masculous nature.

The term muliebral derives from the classical Latin word muliebris, and in the context the philosophy of Pathei-Mathos refers to those positive traits, abilities, and qualities that are conventionally and historically associated with women, such as empathy, sensitivity, gentleness, compassion, and a desire to love and be loved over and above a desire for conflict/adventure/war.

13) Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis. SARIG. See also his answer to the question in his Some Questions For DWM, included in EFG, which question begins: “In your book ‘Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination’ you wrote that extremists have or they develope an inflexible masculous character, often excessively so; and a character which expresses the masculous nature, the masculous ethos, of extremism…”

14) Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis. SARIG.

15) The Consolation Of A Viator. EFG.

16) EFG.

17) Good, Evil, and The Criteria of Progress. REPM.

18) Morality, Virtues, and Way of Life. NWPM.

19) Numinous Expiation. REPM.

20) Raine, Susan. The Devil’s Party (Book review). Religion, Volume 44, Issue 3, July 2014, pp. 529-533.

21) Jon B. Perdue: The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism. Potomac Books, 2012. p.70-71. ISBN 9781597977043

22) Michael, George. The New Media and the Rise of Exhortatory Terrorism. Strategic Studies Quarterly (USAF), Volume 7 Issue 1, Spring 2013.

23) Michael, George. (2006) The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right. University Press of Kansas, p. 142.

24) Author Martin Amis several times described Myatt as “a fierce Jihadist”. For instance, in his book The Second Plane. Jonathan Cape, 2008, p.157.

According to Professor Wistrich, when a Muslim Myatt was a staunch advocate of “Jihad, suicide missions and killing Jews…” and also “an ardent defender of bin Laden.” Wistrich, Robert S, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad, Random House, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4000-6097-9.

See also the report of a UNESCO conference in 2003 [Simon Wiesenthal Center: Response, Summer 2003, Vol 24, #2] where it was stated that “David Myatt, the leading hardline Nazi intellectual in Britain since the 1960s […] has converted to Islam, praises bin Laden and al Qaeda, calls the 9/11 attacks ‘acts of heroism,’ and urges the killing of Jews. Myatt, under the name Abdul Aziz Ibn Myatt supports suicide missions and urges young Muslims to take up Jihad.”

25) Kaplan, Jeffrey (2000). Encyclopedia of white power: a sourcebook on the radical racist right. Rowman & Littlefield, p. 216ff; p.512f

26) A Philosophical Compendiary. NWPM.

27) ISBN 978-1484854266.

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cc JR Wright 2015
(Fourth edition)
This text is issued under the Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) license
and can be freely copied and distributed under the terms of that license

°°°°°°°

Image credit:
The Corn King’s Bitter Cup, a painting by Richard Moult


From NS To Mysticism

David Myatt

David Myatt

The Uncertitude Of Mr Myatt
(pdf)

Editorial Note: The above 54-page work incorporates and thus supersedes the previously issued work by Wright & Parker titled From National-Socialism To The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos which was published in October of this year and which was the subject of this post and which post contained a link to that October text.

The contents of this new work are as follows:

° Preface
° Part One: David Myatt And The Uncertitude Of Knowing
° Part Two: A Modern Pagan Spirituality
° Appendix One: Three O’clock One English Morning
° Appendix Two: David Myatt, Reichsfolk, Esoteric Hitlerism, and Savitri Devi
° Appendix Three: Concerning The Development Of The Numinous Way
° Appendix Four: Hitler, National-Socialism, and Politics – A Personal Reappraisal
° Appendix Five: Some Philosophical and Moral Problems of National-Socialism

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Related

The Mystic Philosophy of David Myatt
(pdf)


Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos

David Myatt

David Myatt

Editorial Note: We republish here David Myatt’s 2014 essay Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos given its relevance to his recent (November 2017) book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos. The essay was included in his 2014 book One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods.

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Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos

One of the many subjects that I have pondered upon in the last few years is the role of education and whether a learning of our thousands of years old human culture of pathei-mathos – understood and appreciated as a distinct culture [1], and thence as an academic subject – could possibly aid us, as a species, to change; aid us to become more honourable, more compassionate, less egoistical, less violent, as individuals, and thus aid us to possibly avoid in our own lives those hubriatic errors, and causing the suffering, that the culture of pathei-mathos reveals are not only unethical but also which we humans make and cause and have made and caused again and again and again. That is, can a knowledge and appreciation of this culture, perhaps learnt individually and/or in institutions such as schools and colleges, provide with us with that empathic, supra-personal, perspective which I personally – as a result of my own learning and experiences – am inclined to feel could change, evolve, us not only as individuals but as a species?

Studia Humanitatis

For thousands of years – from the classical world to the Renaissance to fairly recent times – Studia Humanitatis (an appreciation and understanding of our φύσις as human beings) was considered to be the basis of a good, a sound, education.

Thus, for Cicero, Studia Humanitatis implied forming and shaping the manners, the character, and the knowledge, of young people through them acquiring an understanding of subjects such as philosophy, geometry, rhetoric, music, and litterarum cognitio (literary culture). This was because the classical weltanschauung was a paganus one: 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) [2], 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. [3]

Furthermore, 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.

In the Christian societies of Renaissance Europe, Studia Humanitatis became more limited, to subjects such as history, moral philosophy, poetry, certain classical authors, and Christian writers such as Augustine and Jerome, with the general intent being a self improvement with the important proviso that this concentration on the advancement of the individual to ‘noble living’ by means of ‘noble examples’ (classical and Christian) should not conflict with the Christian weltanschauung [4] and its perceiveration of obedience to whatever interpretation of Christian faith and eschatology the individual favoured or believed in. In more recent times, Studia Humanitatis has become the academic study of ‘the liberal arts’, the ‘humanities’, often as a means to equip an individual with certain personal skills – such as the ability to communicate effectively and to rationally analyse problems – which might be professionally useful in later life.

However, the culture of pathei-mathos provides an addition to the aforementioned Studia Humanitatis, and an addition where the focus is not on a particular weltanschauung (paganus, Christian, liberal, or humanist) but rather on our shared pathei-mathos: on what we and others have learnt, and can learn, about our human φύσις from experience of grief, suffering, trauma, injustice. For it is such personal learning from experience, or the records of or the influence of the experiences of others, which is not only the essence of much of what we, and others for thousands of years, have appreciated and learned from some of the individual subjects or fields of learning that formed the basis for the aforementioned Studia Humanitatis – history, litterarum cognitio, and music, for example – but also what, at least in my view, provides us with perhaps the deepest, but most certainly with the most poignant, insight into our φύσις as human beings.

Thus considered as an individual subject or field of learning, academic or otherwise, the culture of pathei-mathos would most certainly help to form and shape the manners, the character, the knowledge, of young people, for it has the potential to provide us with a perception and an understanding of the supra-personal unity – the mundus – of which we are a mortal part, and thus perhaps can aid us to become as inwardly balanced, as harmonious, as the unity beyond and encompassing us, bringing as such a perception, understanding, and balance, does that appreciation and empathic intuition of others which is compassion and aiding as such compassion does the cessation of the suffering that an unbalanced – a hubriatic, egoistical – human φύσις causes and has caused for so many millennia.

Can we therefore, as described in the Pœmandres tractate,

hasten through the harmonious structure, offering up, in the first realm, that vigour which grows and which fades, and – in the second one – those dishonourable machinations, no longer functioning. In the third, that eagerness which deceives, no longer functioning; in the fourth, the arrogance of command, no longer insatiable; in the fifth, profane insolence and reckless haste; in the sixth, the bad inclinations occasioned by riches, no longer functioning; and in the seventh realm, the lies that lie in wait. [5]

For is not to so journey toward the unity “the noble goal of those who seek to acquire knowledge?”

But if we cannot make that or a similar personal journey; if we do not or cannot learn from our human culture of pathei-mathos, from the many thousands of years of such suffering as that culture documents and presents and remembers; if we no longer concern ourselves with de studiis humanitatis ac litterarum, then do we as a sentient species deserve to survive? For if we cannot so learn, cannot so change, cannot so educate ourselves, or are not so educated in such subjects, then it seems to me we may never be able to escape to the freedom and the natural evolution, the diversity, that await among the star-systems of our Galaxy. For what awaits us if we, the unlearned, stay unchanged, are only repetitions of the periodicity of human-caused suffering until such time as we exhaust, lay waste, make extinct, our cultures, our planet, and finally ourselves. And no other sentient life, elsewhere in the Cosmos, would mourn our demise.

David Myatt
May 2014

From a letter sent to a personal correspondent. Some footnotes have been added, post scriptum, in an effort to elucidate some parts of the text and provide appropriate references.

Notes

[1] I define the culture of pathei-mathos as the accumulated pathei-mathos of individuals, world-wide, over thousands of years, as (i) described in memoirs, aural stories, and historical accounts; as (ii) have inspired particular works of literature or poetry or drama; as (iii) expressed via non-verbal mediums such as music and Art, and as (iv) manifest in more recent times by ‘art-forms’ such as films and documentaries.

The culture of pathei-mathos thus includes not only traditional accounts of, or accounts inspired by, personal pathei-mathos, old and modern – such as the With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and the poetry of people as diverse as Sappho and Sylvia Plath – but also works or art-forms inspired by such pathei-mathos, whether personal or otherwise, and whether factually presented or fictionalized. Hence films such as Monsieur Lazhar and Etz Limon may poignantly express something about our φύσις as human beings and thus form part of the culture of pathei-mathos.

[2] A pedantic aside: it is my considered opinion that the English term ‘balanced’ (a natural completeness, a natural equilibrium) is often a better translation of the classical Latin perfectus than the commonly accepted translation of ‘perfect’, given what the English word ‘perfect’ now imputes (as in, for example, ‘cannot be improved upon’), and given the association of the word ‘perfect’ with Christian theology and exegesis (as, for example, in suggesting a moral perfection).

[3] M. Tullius Cicero, De Natura Deorum, Liber Secundus, xiii, xiv, 37

[4] q.v. Bruni d’Arezzo, De Studiis et Litteris. Leipzig, 1496.

[5] My translation of the Greek text. From Mercvrii Trismegisti Pymander de potestate et sapientia dei – A Translation and Commentary. 2013.


Review Of Myatt’s Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos

David Myatt

David Myatt

Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos. 2017.
ISBN 978-1979599023. 41 pages. US$ 6.00

In the Fall of 2017 David Myatt released extracts from his forthcoming book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and which extracts led dozens of individuals interested in Myatt’s works to eagerly await the publication of the book itself given that such extracts seemed to imply that he intended to create a modern, Western, paganism founded on the warrior ethos of ancient Greece and Rome, with Myatt in his extract writing that

“such a modern paganus weltanschauung may also be a means to reconnect those in the lands of the West, and those in Western émigré lands and former colonies of the West, with their ancestral ethos, for them to thus become, or return to being, a living, dwelling, part – a connexion between the past and the future – of what is still a living, and evolving, culture. Perhaps the future of that culture depends on whether sufficient individuals can live by the high personal standards of such a modern paganus weltanschauung.”

However, when Myatt issued the first draft of the complete book in early November 2017 some individuals were disappointed since the promised ‘modern paganus weltanschauung’ seemed to be just a watered-down version of his mystical philosophy of pathei mathos. Myatt, as is his wont, then over several weeks revised this draft many times {1} culminating on November 9th 2017 in a printed version – a so-called ‘second edition’ – together with an updated ‘gratis open access’ pdf version containing the same text and which he made available on his internet blog. {2}

As Myatt notes in the Introduction to the printed edition: “For this Second Edition, I have clarified and extended the text in several places, added a revised version of my essay From Aeschylus To The Numinous Way as an Appendix, and taken the opportunity to correct some typos.”

As the blurb for the book states, it is

“a study in the difference between Christianity and the paganism of Ancient Greece and Rome, evident as that paganism is in the writings of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Cicero and many other classical authors. A study which includes developing that paganism in a metaphysical way, beyond the deities of classical mythos, thus making such paganism relevant to the modern Western world. A modern development which involves an analysis of the texts of the Corpus Hermeticum.”

The final published work does indeed develop Greco-Roman paganism in a metaphysical way, with Myatt writing in chapter 3 that

“the quintessence of such a weltanschauung, of the paganus ethos, is that ethics are presenced in and by particular living individuals, not in some written text whether philosophical or otherwise, not by some proposed schemata, and not in some revelation from some deity. Which paganus ethics, when evolved – combined with the paganus mysticism evident in the Corpus Hermeticum and the cultural pathei-mathos of the past two millennia presenced through the insight of empathy – leads us to a modern paganus weltanschauung.”

He concludes his study by writing that

“the paganus weltanschauung, ancestral to the lands of the West, that has emerged is one which, shorn of technical, Greek, and metaphysical terms, many may find familiar or already be intuitively aware of […]

[This] awareness of all these connexions is awareness of, and a respect for, the numinous, for these connexions, being acausal, are affective: that is, we are inclined by our physis (whether we apprehend it or not) to have an influence on that which, or those whom, the connexion is to or from. For what we do or do not do, consciously or otherwise, affects or can affect the cosmos and thus the other livings beings which exist in the cosmos, and it is a conscious awareness of connexions and acausal affects, with their causal consequences, which reason, perceiverance, and empathy make us – or can make us – aware of. Which awareness may incline us toward acting, and living, in a noble way, with what is noble known or experienced, discovered, through and because of (i) the personal virtue of honour, evident as honour is in fairness, manners and a balanced demeanour, and (ii) the wordless knowing of empathy, manifest as empathy is in compassion and tolerance.”

For the crux of his argument is that Western paganism differs fundamentally from – and is better than – a revealed religion such as Christianity because in that paganism ethics are “presenced in and by particular living individuals, not in some written text whether philosophical or otherwise, not by some proposed schemata, and not in some revelation from some deity,” in contrast to Christianity whose ethics can be discovered by having to interpret “the word of God” as found in the texts of the Old and New Testaments. He adds that “a reliance on written texts, as in Christianity, may well be a mistake.”

His modern pagan metaphysics therefore balances the Greco-Roman human ideal – which Myatt writes can be expressed in one Greek phrase: καλὸς κἀγαθός – with the insights resulting from millennia of pathei mathos, expressed in Studia Humanitatis, in what he calls ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’. {3}

As a result, the book – replete with copious quotations in Ancient and Hellenistic Greek – is curiously interesting explaining much about Greco-Roman paganism and hermeticism, as well as about Christianity. Yet it is difficult to know who the intended readers are since many of those interested in Western paganism as a new way of life or as a modern, non-Christian, spirituality may find it too academic or too boring; while those academically interested in such matters will doubtless turn to other authors given Myatt’s experiential Faustian quests, his iconoclasm, his often underserved reputation, and thus his exclusion from academia.

Perhaps Myatt intended the book for those few individuals who can or who aspire “to live by the high personal standards of such a modern paganus weltanschauung” because such a paganism may reconnect some of “those in the lands of the West, and those in Western émigré lands and former colonies of the West, with their ancestral ethos”.

R.S & K.S
November, 2017

N.B. As with almost all of Myatt’s printed books, the size is idiosyncratic, being 11 inches x 8.5 inches in format, which is larger than the conventional ‘trade paperback’ (6 inches by 9 inches). In terms of number of pages, 20+ pages should be added to such ‘large format’ books in order to approximate the number of pages in a standard 6 inches by 9 inches paperback.

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{1} In our view Myatt is to be commended for making public his revisions of his texts. As someone recently wrote: “The extracts and subsequent revised extracts from his texts and translations that Myatt has published on his blog over the years provide an interesting insight into the creative process. A process which many authors and academics for some reason seem to want to keep secret. Perhaps some of them want to try and hide their mistakes or how their thoughts and opinions change or evolve as a result of further research, or more inspiration, or more thought.”

{2} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/reason-and-belief/

A copy of the pdf file is here: https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/belief-and-reason-v7a.pdf

{3} This ‘culture of pathei mathos’ is one of the central themes of Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos. See his essay Education and the Culture of Pathei-Mathos, included in his 2014 book One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods. The essay is also available here: https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/education-and-the-culture-of-pathei-mathos-2/


Myatt: Reason And Belief

numinous-religion

The pdf document below contains David Myatt’s now completed book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and supersedes previously issued extracts. The text was last revised on 9.xi.17.

Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos
Second Edition

(pdf)

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Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/reason-and-belief/


Self-Dramatization And Sentimentalist?

David Myatt

Self-Dramatization, Sentimentalist, Or Chronicler Of Pathei Mathos?

Overview: Personal Effusions

Many of David Myatt’s post-2006 writings are intensely personal. In particular, the letters – or extracts from private letters – which he has published are full of personal feelings, such as in the following examples; the first from his The Joy-bringing Sky-blue, written in 2006, and the second from his One Error-Prone Self written in 2012, with both included in his 2013 book Understanding and Rejecting Extremism.

« So I am haunted, here and again, where again the Swallows gather as they gather at this time of year: chirping to each other and preparing in some weeks to leave. Thus do they skim the fields, catching, eating, their food as the cycle of natural life upwardly repeats and a cooling breeze dims a little of the humid heat of the day, here in a greening part of a still-living England. Haunted, here and again – amid such joyful growing warmth – with, by, because of, her death; with by, because of, the multiplicity of my multitudes of suffering-causing and so stupid mistakes. »

« There is a certain inner emptiness, and often, and bearing grief and sadness, when alone indoors. Inner vacant sometimes colding spaces which perhaps a belief in God – or the gods – might fill, and which certainly a partner or prayer or both would warm and dissipate. Yet this certain inner emptiness, such sadness, I sense is perhaps is as it should be for me, as part expiation for the varied harm my varied pasts – in this one life – have caused […..] But I have no chanted, sung, or contemplative Opus Dei to try, in monastic peace and with hope and faith, to balance – Soli Deo Honor et Gloria – the unwise deeds of so many; nor any longer a desire or need to interfere in the lives of others. So there is for me only the living of each moment as it passes: no aim, no goal. »

The overall impression is of reading someone’s private diary, with there being so many published emotive and personal effusions over so many years naturally leading us to ask pertinent questions about Myatt himself. Why publish what many people will undoubtedly dismiss – or already have dismissed – as either mawkish or as self-dramatization or as both, and do such published personal effusions detract from both his translations and his philosophy of pathei mathos? There is also, of course, given his extremist past and given particular allegations about him and the Occult, the obvious question of whether the feelings expressed in these outpourings are genuine particularly as Myatt appears to have ready-made answers to such questions. Such as this, from his Some Questions For DWM 2017,

« My only – quite feeble – excuse for the plenitude of such post-2011 writings is that they, through the act of writing and corresponding with others, were partly expiative but mostly aided (or seemed to me to aid) my understanding of myself particularly in relation to my extremist past and the religions I had personal and practical experience of. »

Or this, from his earlier Some Questions For DWM 2014,

« My writings, post-2011, were and are really dialogues: interiorly with myself and externally with a few friends or the occasional person who has contacted me and expressed an interest. They are just my attempts to answer particular philosophical and metaphysical questions which interest or perplex me; attempts to understand myself and my extremist past (and thus understand extremism itself), and attempts to express what I believe I have, via pathei-mathos, come to understand and appreciate. Thus, I make no claims regarding the worth or the importance of these personal and philosophical musings, with such dialogues, musings, and correspondence published mostly because expiatory but also because (being honest) of vanity in the hope that some of them may possibly, just possibly, be of some interest to a few individuals interested in such philosophical and metaphysical questions or interested in understanding extremism and its causes. But if no one takes them seriously, it does not matter, for they have assisted me in understanding myself, in recognizing and acknowledging my past mistakes and the suffering I have caused, and aided my move from extremism toward developing a mystical and personal weltanschauung imbued with a muliebral ethos. »

An Assessment

The sheer quantity of material – amounting to hundreds of published letters and essays dating from 2006 to 2017 – is a good starting point. Arranging them into date order, beginning with his The Scent of Meadow Grass {1} written in 2006 “four days on from Fran’s death” and ending with his Some Questions For DWM 2017, they tell a particular personal story. A story which includes works such as Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos: Essays and Letters Regarding Spirituality, Humility, and A Learning From Grief {2} and, of course, his ‘autobiography’ – his apologia – titled Myngath {3}.

The personal story that is told by this material is that of an arrogant, violent, fanatic who spent thirty years as a neo-nazi activist, ideologue, and propagandist, followed by ten years as a radical Muslim preaching Jihad and who publicly supported al-Qaida, Hamas, and ‘suicide attacks’. Which – with his various terms of imprisonment for violence, his leadership of a gang of thieves, his terrorist manual which inspired the London nail- bomber, followed by his conversion to Islam – is itself an interesting if strange story had it ended with him, for example, in prison as a Muslim for such offences as ‘inviting support for a proscribed organisation’, or ‘possessing a document containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’ or ‘inciting terrorism overseas’.

But the story did not end with his Muslim years. He suffered a personal tragedy, the unexpected suicide in 2006 of his fiancée and which tragedy maybe for the first time in his life grounded him in the realities of human suffering and grief. According to his post-2006 personal writings {4} it was this singular event which caused him to reflect upon his extremist past and upon him own character.

In a long letter dated March 2010 and to which letter he gave the title One More Foolish Failure Myatt wrote

« I am such a fool; such a failure, in evolutionary terms, in the perspective of the Cosmos. Here I am, entering the sixth decade of my life, having spent the last forty years seeking experience and wisdom and having, in that time, made so many errors, mistakes, and been the cause of much suffering, personal and otherwise. How then can I be deemed wise? How – when I have leant, from sorrowful experience, from my own pathei-mathos, from the personal tragedy of the dying and the death of two loved ones, and yet have always always, until now, returned to pursuing suffering-causing abstractions and unethical goals?

There is no excuse for this failure of mine, year following year – although of course I have always made excuses for myself, as failures often do. Wordy, moral-sounding, inexcusable excuses almost always of the unethical “the end justifies the means” kind.

No excuses – because from sorrow, from personal tragedy, I felt, dis-covered, the unethical nature of all abstractions, be they deemed political, religious, or social. And yet I always seemed, until a month ago, to gravitate back toward them, as if there was some basic flaw in my personal nature, my character, that allowed or even caused such a return, such a stupid forgetting of lessons learnt […..]

Thus is there the same old haunting question – of how long will it be before I in my addiction forget The Numen, yet again, and so return to the suffering-causing habits of so many previous years? For now, I can only hope against hope that I have strength enough, memories enough, humility enough, to keep me where I know I should belong: infused, suffused, with the world of the numinous, enabling thus such an empathic living as can make us and keep us as ethical, compassionate, human beings; one sign toward the higher human type we surely have the potential to become. » {5}

It seems from subsequent writings that it was such feelings, such personal reflections, which spurred him to refine his then still incomplete ‘numinous way’ into what became his ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’ {6} and in which philosophy personal humility plays a central role {7}. Which is probably why he wrote that

« any Way or religion which manifests, which expresses, which guides individuals toward, the numinous humility we human beings need is good, and should not be stridently condemned. For such personal humility – that which prevents us from committing hubris, whatever the raison d’être, the theology, the philosophy – is a presencing of the numinous. Indeed, one might write and say that it is a personal humility – whatever the source – that expresses our true developed (that is, rational and empathic) human nature. » {8}

Myatt’s story thus ends with this philosophy; with him – post-2012 – emphasizing again and again the virtues of humility, personal love, compassion, tolerance, and personal honour, and being emphatic that his philosophy involves a personal, a mystical, approach to life and therefore is neither political nor involves any religious dogmatism and presents only his answers to particular questions, writing in 2012 that

« All I have are some personal and fallible answers to certain philosophical, personal, ethical, and theological, questions. No certainty about anything except about my own uncertainty of knowing and about the mistakes, the errors, of my past. » {9}

Two years later he wrote that

« In a very personal sense, my philosophy of pathei-mathos is expiative. » {10}

Which theme of a personal expiation runs through all his post-2010 writings.

A Personal Conclusion

My assessment, based on the personal material Myatt has published since 2006, is that there is a definite narrative and that this narrative is emotionally, personally, and philosophically consistent. That these writings are not mawkish and certainly not the self-dramatization of someone seeking to draw attention to themselves. That they are in fact documenting the interior, the personal, struggles of someone trying to reform – to radically change – themselves following a personal tragedy; someone using such writings, and in particular their publication, as acts of both self-learning and expiation, with it being plausible that he used such publication as a reminder to both others and himself so that he could never again return to the selfishness and extremism of his past.

For documenting such a struggle – from neo-nazi to modern mystic – Myatt should be commended with his post-2006 personal writings and his philosophy of pathei mathos a contribution to what Myatt has termed our ‘human culture of pathei-mathos’ which he defined in his 2014 essay Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos {11} as

« the accumulated pathei-mathos of individuals, world-wide, over thousands of years, as (i) described in memoirs, aural stories, and historical accounts; as (ii) have inspired particular works of literature or poetry or drama; as (iii) expressed via non-verbal mediums such as music and Art, and as (iv) manifest in more recent times by art-forms such as films and documentaries. »

Yet, and to paraphrase Myatt, it is not important if his post-2010 personal writings are not taken seriously by others since they enabled him to understand himself, acknowledge his mistakes, and reform himself.

J.B.
2017

{1} Included in the book Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination. 2013. ISBN 978-1484854266
{2} Published in 2013. ISBN 978-1484097984. When publishing his letters or extracts therefrom Myatt often provides a title for individual letters.
{3} Published in 2013. ISBN 978-1484110744
{4} For example see the section titled A Personal Tragedy in Myngath, and also his collection of essays titled Meditations on Extremism, Remorse, and The Numinosity of Love published in 2016.
{5} The letter, too long to quote in full here, is worth reading in its entirely. It is included in Meditations on Extremism, Remorse, and The Numinosity of Love, and can be read on-line at https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/one-more-foolish-failure/ [Accessed October 2017]
{6} See his 2012 essay The Development of the Numinous Way, included as an appendix in both Myngath and Meditations on Extremism, Remorse, and The Numinosity of Love.
{7} The role of humility in Myatt’s philosophy is mentioned in Part Two of An Overview of David Myatt’s Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos by R. Parker included in the book The Mystic Philosophy Of David Myatt published in 2015, ISBN 978-1523930135.
{8} Soli Deo Gloria, written in 2011. Can be read on-line at https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/soli-deo-gloria/ [Accessed October 2017]
{9} From the 2012 letter – titled Politics, Pathei-Mathos, and My Extremist Past – included in Part Three of Understanding and Rejecting Extremism.
{10} Some Questions For DWM 2014.
{11} The essay is included in his book One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings, published in 2014. ISBN 978-1502396105