A Different Perspective

odal3

The essays which make up the document titled Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism {1} seem to me to point to a truth which is both relevant and controversial.

The document is relevant because of how our Western culture is mis-understood even by many native Europeans, and also because that culture is under attack by those – now often government supported – advocates of a ‘multi-cultural society’ with public advocacy of one’s own native culture being (if, that is, one is of European descent) frowned upon and even in some European lands outlawed because deemed by certain governments to be “hate speech”.

The document is controversial because it describes a culture which most modern political advocates of Western culture – of Western ‘civilization’ – will be unfamiliar with, fixated as so many of such political advocates seem to be with the mistaken belief that Christianity is the embodiment of that culture.

However, as described in that document – and in the texts referenced therein – Western culture is essentially pagan and derived from the culture of ancient Greece and Rome with Christianity thus understood as a Hebraic intrusion.

The document thus provides an entirely new – perhaps even a heretical – perspective on Western culture as well as referencing texts, such as David Myatt’s Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and his Tu Es Diaboli Ianuas which, with their focus on such things as καλὸς κἀγαθός, metaphysically evolve Western paganism beyond “mythoi and anthropomorphic deities (theos and theoi) to an appreciation of the numinous sans denotatum and sans religion.” {2}

There is a cultural revolution in the truths embedded in Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism and in the texts referenced therein. But whether such truths can replace the prevalent and mistaken belief that Christianity is somehow the embodiment of Western culture remains to be seen.

June Boyle
2018 ev

{1} The work is available here: https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/paganism-compilation-2018.pdf

{2} David Myatt (2018). From Mythoi To Empathy. The essay is included in https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/two-essays-v1a.pdf


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Western Paganism And Hermeticism, Second Edition

De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

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A second edition of the compilation Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism is now available. It includes an additional article On Native Egyptian Influence In The Corpus Hermeticum, and an additional appendix, A New Pagan Metaphysics.

The compilation is of recent articles about Western paganism and hermeticism, indebted as those articles are to Myatt’s translations of texts from the ancient Corpus Hermeticism and his post-2013 writings such as his book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos. Myatt’s thesis in that book is that Western paganism is essentially the classical paganism of Ancient Greece and Rome and represents the ethos of the culture of the West, which ethos the Hebraic religion of Christianity supplanted.

Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism
(pdf)

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Contents:

° Preface
° Re-discovering Western Paganism
° An Insight Into Pagan Mysticism
° Regarding Myatt’s Hermetica
° The Divine Pymander
° Myatt’s Monas – A New Translation of Corpus Hermeticum IV
° On Native Egyptian Influence In The Corpus Hermeticum.

Appendix I – Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum
Appendix II – A Review Of Myatt’s ‘Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos’
Appendix III – A New Pagan Metaphysics.


Image credit:

The beginning of the twenty-sixth chapter of the book De Vita Coelitus Comparanda by Marsilii Ficini published in 1489 CE. Quomodo per inferiora superioribus exposita deducantur superiora, et per mundanas materias mundana potissimum dona. [How, when what is lower is touched by what is higher, the higher is cosmically presenced therein and thus gifted because cosmically aligned.]


Myatt’s Tu Es Diaboli Ianua

Order of Nine Angles

O9A

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We have to admit that we were pleasantly surprised by David Myatt’s new book which has the Latin title Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, a title which he himself translates as You Are The Nexion Of The Deofel. Is the title a hint?

Perhaps so. But no matter. For his book contains some very illuminating statements relevant to our times. First, that his

       “own pathei-mathos certainly indicates that the numinous is primarily a manifestation of the muliebral and can be apprehended through a personal, an interior, balance between masculous and muliebral.”

Second, that

        “a muliebral presencing is or would be manifest in a predominance of female deities; or in a dominant female deity; in legends and myths which celebrate muliebral virtues, such as empathy, sensitivity, gentleness, compassion; and in the perception that personal love should triumph over and above adherence to abstractions. Considered exoterically – not interiorly, not esoterically – a muliebral presencing is manifest in a personal, varied, worship and devotion; in a personal weltanschauung and not in a religion; has no hierarchy; no creed, no article or articles of faith; and no texts whether written or aural.”

Third, that

        “the virtues of personal honour and manners, with their responsibilities, presence the fairness, the avoidance of hubris, the natural harmonious balance, the gender equality, the awareness and appreciation of the divine, that is the numinous.”

Fourth, that

        “In the case of Christianity, while some interpretations of it have in the past century slowly evolved to be somewhat more balanced in respect of the muliebral, it is still primarily a patriarchal presencing.”

Myatt therefore is once again publicly aligning himself with critics of the masculous, with critics of the patriarchal, with critics (both female and male) of the misogynist, status quo.

While this will not endear him to the Magian and their acolytes, nor to the so-called “alt-right” who exemplify misogyny and whose adherents often trumpet the still patriarchal religion of Christianity as “the ethos of the West”, Myatt scholarly cuts through their plebeian assumptions and Old World prejudices and Magian abstractions by providing an intellectual basis for a new, an enlightened, paganism firmly rooted in an understanding of our debt to Greco-Roman, pagan, culture.

A highly recommended book, and Kudos therefore to Myatt.

Three Wyrd Sisters
December 2017 ev.

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David Myatt. Tu Es Diaboli Ianua. 46 pages. 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1982010935


Article source: https://wyrdsister.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/myatts-tu-es-diaboli-ianua/


A Review of Tu Es Diaboli Ianua

De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

The 39 page essay which is spectacularly titled Tu Es Diaboli Ianua {1} is David Myatt’s latest philosophical offering. In his Exordium – a preface by any other name – he outlines the questions which he answers in the essay. The questions are

“is Christianity a suitable presencing of the numinous… If it is not, then could that religion be reformed, by developing a Johannine Weltanschauung…Would such a reformation be a suitable presencing of the numinous, and if not, then what non-Christian alternatives – such as a paganus metaphysics – exist, and what is the foundation of such an alternative.”

He writes that the essay compliments his book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos.

While his answers are somewhat convoluted and decidedly scholarly and thus other-worldly – given the copious quotations in ancient and Hellenic Greek and his own translations – he raises many interesting issues relevant to the “real world” which most of us inhabit. For he writes that

“the problem is – or so it seems to me – in impersonal written texts. Or, more precisely, in denotatum, and thus in assigning terms – in using words – to describe an apprehension of the numinous. Which leads us to the fundamental difference between a religious apprehension of the numinous – based on received and venerated texts, on exegesis – and the paganus apprehension of the numinous as manifest in Greco-Roman culture.”

And also that

[Greco-Roman] “paganism will be examined for two reasons. Firstly, because it is manifest in a multiplicity of primary sources – from Homer to Hesiod to Cicero and beyond – and secondly because Greco-Roman culture is inextricably bound to the culture of the West and formed the basis for the European Renaissance that emerged in the 14th century, one aspect of which was a widespread appreciation of classical Art, of classical literature, and of texts such as the Corpus Hermeticum.”

Having criticized Christianity, he also declaims that an important aspect of Greco-Roman paganism is a respect for ancestral custom, writing in the last section of the last chapter that the new ‘numinous metaphysics’ he proposes includes “a spiritual and interior (and thus not political) understanding and appreciation of our own Ancestral Culture.”

Which statement about Western ancestral culture is profoundly “politically incorrect” and will be music to the ears of those few intellectuals who still champion the culture of the West.

That said, the essay is not without its problems. One is that given the copious quotations in ancient and Hellenic Greek it is, as with his book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos, difficult to classify and difficult to discern who the intended audience is. As we wrote in our review of that book, “many of those interested in Western paganism as a new way of life or as a modern, non-Christian, spirituality may find [this essay] 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.”

Personally, we think Myatt is simply making publicly available the result of his metaphysical questioning while also, as with his Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos, intending this new essay for those few Western individuals who, interested in re-discovering their Western pagan heritage, having been looking for the intellectual foundations of that pagan culture.

A second problem is that his conclusion – his description of his new pagan metaphysics – is brief to the point of almost being obscure, occupying as it does a short statement in the final paragraph, with no explanations provided.

But perhaps, given Myatt’s criticism of denotatum (words, and naming, by any other name) and his statement that “the culture of pathei-mathos has moved us, or can move us, beyond anthropomorphic deities, whether male or female; beyond myths and legends; beyond reliance on texts regarded as sacred and/or as divinely inspired; and even beyond the need for denotatum and religion” then this short statement that such “is the numinous” is all that is required.

R.S & K.S
December, 2017

{1} A copy of Myatt’s essay is available here: https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/tua-es-diaboli-ianua-v3c.pdf


Image credit: The beginning of the twenty-sixth chapter of the book De Vita Coelitus Comparanda by Marsilii Ficini published in 1489 CE


Nexion Of The Deofel

David Myatt

David Myatt

As a pre-publication draft, the following file is subject to revision and correction of typos.

Tu Es Diaboli Ianua
(pdf)

Contents

° Exordium
° Part I. The Johannine Weltanschauung And The Numinous
° Part II. A Paganus Apprehension
° Part III. Numinous Metaphysics
° Appendix I. Logos Δ. The Esoteric Song
° Appendix II. A Note On The Term Jews In The Gospel of John
° Appendix III. The Human Culture Of Pathei-Mathos

Exordium

Given that the religion termed Christianity has, for over six centuries, been influential in respect of the ethos and spirituality of the culture of the West – often to the extent of having been described as manifesting that ethos and that spirituality – one of the metaphysical questions I have saught to answer over the past forty years is whether that religion is, given our thousands of years old human culture of pathei-mathos, a suitable presencing of the numinous. If it is not, then could that religion be reformed, by developing a Johannine Weltanschauung given that the Gospel According to John – τὸ κατὰ Ἰωάννην εὐαγγέλιον – arguably presents a somewhat different perspective on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth than the three other synoptic Gospels. Would such a reformation be a suitable presencing of the numinous, and if not, then what non-Christian alternatives – such as a paganus metaphysics – exist, and what are the ontology, epistemology, and ethics of such an alternative?

This essay thus compliments my book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos. As in that book, I have made extensive use of my translations of certain classical authors and of various hermetic texts as well as the Gospel of John, and given that those translations are currently quite accessible I have not except on a few occasions explained my interpretations of certain Greek or Latin terms since those interpretations are explained in the associated commentaries.

As noted elsewhere, I prefer the term paganus – a transliteration of the classical Latin, denoting as it does connection to Nature, to the natural, more rural, world – in preference to ‘pagan’ since paganus is, in my view and in respect of the Greco-Roman ethos, more accurate given what the term ‘pagan’ now often denotes.

The title of the essay, Tu Es Diaboli Ianua – “You Are The Nexion Of The Deofel”, literally, “You are nexion Diabolos ” – is taken from Tertullian’s De Monogamia, written at the beginning of the second century AD.

David Myatt
Winter Solstice 2017


Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/tu-es-diaboli-ianua/


Selected O9A Articles, 2017

Atu XX

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A selection from the articles, relevant to the pagan and hermetic esotericism – and the practical ‘Dark Arts’ – of the Order of Nine Angles, that have been published in the past year.

O9A: Selected Articles, 2017
(pdf)

Contents:

° Preface
° Some Background To The O9A.
° Masculous And Muliebral: The Sinister Feminine And Homo Hubris.
° A Note Regarding The Sinister-Numinous Aesthetic Of The Order Of Nine Angles.
° On Native Egyptian Influence In The Corpus Hermeticum.
° Re-discovering Western Paganism.
° The Avenging Alastoras.
° On Sorcery In Virgil’s Aeneid.
° Some Thoughts Of Some Solitary Seeker.
° The Peculiar Matter Of Mr Myatt And Mr Long.
° It Can Sometimes Be Informative To Chastise.
° A Note Regarding The Term Numinous


Image Credit:

Richard Moult: Atu XX (Aeon) from Non Est Secundus Quia Unus Est,
a book of Tarot archetypes.


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

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