Society, Politics, Social Reform, and Pathei-Mathos

David Myatt

David Myatt

Editorial Note: We republish here an essay by David Myatt written in 2012 and included in his book The Numinous Way Of Pathei Mathos. {1} The essay provides an insight into how his ‘numinous way’ deals with important issues such as politics, society, and social change. Derived as these insights were from his own pathei mathos, from the personal learning acquired from some fifty years of practical political experience, the essay provides a remarkable contrast to the ‘revolutionary polemics’ of his extremist decades (1968-2009) and which decades led to him being described as “England’s principal proponent of contemporary neo-Nazi ideology and theoretician of revolution.” {2}

RDM Crew
April 2018

{1} The book, published in 2013, is available both as a gratis open access document – https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/numinous-way-v5c-print.pdf – and in printed format: Myatt, David, The Numinous Way Of Pathei Mathos, CreateSpace, 2013. 96 pages. ISBN 978-1484096642

{2} Michael, George. The New Media and the Rise of Exhortatory Terrorism. Strategic Studies Quarterly (United States Air Force), Volume 7 Issue 1, Spring 2013.

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Society, Politics, Social Reform, and Pathei-Mathos

Modern Society and The Individual

Society, in the context of this essay, refers to ‘modern societies’ (especially those of the modern ‘democratic’ West) and means a collection of individuals who dwell, who live, in a particular area and who are subject to the same laws and the same institutions of authority. Modern society is thus a manifestation of The State, and which State is predicated on individuals actively or passively accepting some supra-personal authority [1].

In modern societies, change and reform are often therefore introduced or attempted by The State most usually: (1) on the basis of the manufacture of some law or laws which the individuals, and the established institutions, of the area governed by The State are expected to obey on pain of some type of individual punishment, financial and/or physically punitive (as in prison); or (2) by means of State-sponsored or State-introduced schemes such as, for example, the British National Health Service and which schemes are invariably enshrined in law.

The essence of such change and reform of a society – large-scale, effective, rapid change and reform in society – is therefore, for the majority of people, external, and most often derives from some posited or assumed or promised agenda of the government of the day; that is, derived from some political or social or economic theory, axiom, idea, or principle, posited by others, be these others, for example, politicians, or social/political/economic theorists/reformers (and so on).

There is thus a hierarchy of judgement involved, whatever political ‘flavour’ the government is assigned to, is assumed to represent, or claims it represents; with this hierarchy of necessity requiring the individual in society to either (i) relinquish their own judgement, being accepting of or acquiescing in (from whatever reason or motive such as desire to avoid punishment) the judgement of these others, or (ii) to oppose this ‘judgement of others’ either actively through some group, association, or movement (political, social, religious) or individually, with there being the possibility that some so opposing this ‘judgement of others’ may resort to using violent means against the established order.

Objectively, this process of change and reform by means of a hierarchy of judgement manifest in laws, and of State authority and power sufficient to enforce such laws, has resulted in fairly stable societies which are, for perhaps the majority of people, relatively peaceful, not overtly repressive, and – judged by the criteria of past societies and many non-Western societies – relatively prosperous.

Thus, while many problems – social and economic – remain and exist in such societies, with some such problems getting worse, such societies work reasonably well, contain an abundance of well-intentioned, moral, individuals, and appear to be better than the alternatives both tried in the past and theorized about. Hence it is not surprising that perhaps the majority of people within such societies favour solving such problems as do exist by existing social, political, and economic means; that is, by internal social, political, and economic, reform rather than by violent means and the advocacy of extremist ideologies.

Furthermore, many or most of the flaws, and the problems, within society are recognized and openly discussed, with a multitude of people of good will, of humanity, of fairness, committed to or interested in helping those affected by such flaws and problems, and thus not only trying to improve society but also to finding and implementing solutions in tolerant ways which do not cause conflict or involve the harshness, the violence, the hatred, the intolerance, of extremism.

For, while most large-scale, effective, rapid change and reform in society tends to be by enforceable State laws and State-sponsored schemes, change and reform also and significantly occurs and has occurred within society, albeit often more slowly, through the efforts of individuals and groups and organizations devoted to charitable, religious, or social causes and which individuals and groups and organizations by their very nature are invariably non-violent and often non-political. Furthermore, such non-violent, non-political, individuals and groups and organizations often become the inspiration for reform and change introduced by The State.

Some Problems of Modern Society

Before outlining a possible numinous approach to reform and change, based on the philosophy of pathei-mathos, it would perhaps be useful to outline some of the social problems that still beset modern societies. What therefore constitutes a social problem within a society? How is such a problem defined?

In essence, it is an undesirable circumstance or way of living that affects a number of people and which undesirable circumstance or way of living others in society are or become aware of; with what is undesirable being – according to the ethics of the philosophy of pathei-mathos [2] – that which is, or those who are, unfair; that which deprives or those whom deprive a human being of dignity and honour; and that which is and those who are uncompassionate.

Thus, among the many problems of modern societies are misogyny; ethnic and religious discrimination, hatred, and prejudice; and social/economic inequality.

For example, misogyny – from the Greek μισογύνης – is unfairness toward, and/or prejudice and discrimination against, women. Often, as in the past, this is a consequence of an existing prejudice in a man: for example, that men are somehow better than women, or that women are ‘useful’ only for or suited to certain things; or that the subservience of women, and thus their domination/control by men, is ‘a natural and necessary’ state of human existence.

Misogyny in individual practice often results in men being violent/domineering toward, or selfishly manipulative and controlling of, women; and thus in them treating women in a dishonourable, undignified, unfair, and uncompassionate way.

Similarly, a hatred or dislike of or discrimination against an individual or a group of individuals on the basis of their perceived or assumed ethnicity is treating that individual or group in a dishonourable, undignified, unfair, and uncompassionate way.

Thus such social problems are often the result, the consequence of, a lack of empathy in a person, with this lack of συμπάθεια with other human beings having often in the past been evident in the treatment of people and individuals by governments, States, and institutions, and often revealed in and through discriminatory, unfair, uncompassionate laws.

A Numinous and Non-Political Approach

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

For, as mentioned in Some Personal Musings On Empathy,

“[the] acceptance of the empathic – of the human, the personal – scale of things and of our limitations as human beings is part of wu-wei. [3] Of not-striving, and of not-interfering, beyond the purveu of our empathy and our pathei-mathos. Of personally and for ourselves discovering the nature, the physis, of beings; of personally working with and not against that physis, and of personally accepting that certain matters or many matters, because of our lack of personal knowledge and lack of personal experience of them, are unknown to us and therefore it is unwise, unbalanced, for us to have and express views or opinions concerning them, and hubris for us to adhere to and strive to implement some ideology which harshly deals with and manifests harsh views and harsh opinions concerning such personally unknown matters.

Thus what and who are beyond the purveu of empathy and beyond pathei-mathos is or should be of no urgent concern, of no passionate relevance, to the individual seeking balance, harmony, and wisdom, and in truth can be detrimental to finding wisdom and living in accord with the knowledge and understanding so discovered.”

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

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

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

An Experience of The Numinous

The change that the philosophy – the way – of pathei-mathos seeks to foster, to encourage, is the natural, slow, interior and personal change within individuals; that is, the change of personal character by the individual developing and using their faculty of empathy and inclining toward being compassionate and honourable by nature. In essence, this is a numinous – a spiritual – change in people, a change of perspective, quite different from the supra-personal social change based on laws desired by modern States and by those who champion or who employ political, economic, and social theories regarding society, government, and the individual.

This interior personal change, by its numinous and ethical nature, is one that does not seek to reform society through politics or by any type of agitation, or through the use of force, or by means of any type of organization, social, political, economic, religious. Instead, such numinous change is the reform of individuals on a personal, individual, and cultural basis; by personal example and by individuals cultivating, in accordance with wu-wei, conditions and circumstances whereby they themselves and others can move toward συμπάθεια with other human beings through a personal knowing and experience of the numinous. Such a knowing and experience of the numinous can be cultivated by a variety of means, for example by harmonious surroundings; through an appreciation of, and a living in balance with, Nature; by love and respect and manners and a desire for peace; by periods of interior and exterior silence; through culture and thus through music, Art, literature, an understanding of history, and through respect for and tolerance of the many religions and spiritual Ways which have arisen over millennia and which may manifest the numinous or something of the numinous.

David Myatt
2012 ce

Notes

[1] The State is defined as:

The concept of both (1) organizing and controlling – over a particular and large geographical area – land (and resources); and (2) organizing and controlling individuals over that same geographical particular and large geographical area by: (a) the use of physical force or the threat of force and/or by influencing or persuading or manipulating a sufficient number of people to accept some leader/clique/minority/representatives as the legitimate authority; (b) by means of the central administration and centralization of resources (especially fiscal and military); and (c) by the mandatory taxation of personal income.

My personal (fallible) view is that by their nature States often tend to be masculous (hence the desire for wars, invasions, conquest, competition, and the posturing often associated with ‘patriotism’), although in my view they can become balanced, within, by acceptance of certain muliebral qualities, qualities most obviously manifest in certain aspects of culture, in caring professions, in pursuing personal love and the virtue of wu-wei, and in and by the empowerment and equality of, and respect for, women and those whose personal love is for someone of the same gender.

As mentioned elsewhere, I am somewhat idiosyncratic regarding capitalization (and spelling), and capitalize certain words, such as State, and often use terms such as The State to emphasize the philosophical truth of State as entity.

[2] The ethics of the way of pathei-mathos are the ethics of empathy – of συμπάθεια. In practical personal terms, this means dignity, fairness, balance (δίκη), reason, a lack of prejudgement, and the requirement of a personal knowing and of personal experience, of πάθει μάθος.

An ethical person thus reveals, possesses, εὐταξία – the quality, the personal virtue, of self-restraint; of personal orderly (balanced, honourable, well-mannered) conduct, a virtue especially evident under adversity or duress.

Thus, and as mentioned in Enantiodromia and The Reformation of The Individual, the good is considered to be what is fair; what alleviates or does not cause suffering; what is compassionate; what empathy by its revealing inclines us to do, what inclines us to appreciate the numinous and why ὕβρις is an error of unbalance.

Hence the bad – what is wrong, immoral – is what is unfair; what is harsh and unfeeling; what intentionally causes or contributes to suffering, with what is bad often considered to be due to a lack of empathy and of πάθει μάθος in a person, and a consequence of a bad φύσις, of a bad, a rotten, or an undeveloped, unformed, not-mature, individual character/nature. In effect, such a bad person lacks εὐταξία, has little or no appreciation of the numinous, and is often in thrall to their hubriatic and/or their masculous desires.

[3] Wu-wei – a Taoist term – is used here, and elsewhere in the philosophy of The Numinous Way, to refer to a personal ‘letting-be’ deriving from a feeling, a knowing, that an essential part of wisdom is cultivation of an interior personal balance and which cultivation requires acceptance that one must work with, or employ, things according to their nature, for to do otherwise is incorrect, and inclines us toward, or is, being excessive – that is, is ὕβρις. In practice, this is the cultivation of a certain (an acausal, numinous) perspective – that life, things/beings, change, flow, exist, in certain natural ways which we human beings cannot change however hard we might try; that such a hardness of human trying, a belief in such hardness, is unwise, un-natural, upsets the natural balance and can cause misfortune/suffering for us and/or for others, now or in the future. Thus success lies in discovering the inner nature of things/beings/ourselves and gently, naturally, slowly, working with this inner nature, not striving against it.


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Myatt: A Non-Terrestrial View

David Myatt

David Myatt

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Editorial Note: The following essay by David Myatt was written in 2015 and in our view well expresses a core part of his weltanschauung – the philosophy of pathei-mathos – regarding our human nature, the importance of empathy, and the potential he believes we humans possess to consciously change and thence evolve as a sentient species.

The essay in included in the work edited by Rachael Stirling titled Such Respectful Wordful Offerings As This: Selected Essays Of David Myatt. The book is available as a gratis open access pdf file {1} and as a printed book {2}.

RDM Crew
April 2018

{1} https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/wordful-offerings-dwm-print-v3a.pdf

{2} Such Respectful Wordful Offerings As This. 72 pages. CreateSpace. 2017. ISBN 978-1978374355

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A Non-Terrestrial View

Several times, in the last decade or so, I have – when considering certain current events, and social change, and the activities, policies, and speeches, of certain politicians – often asked myself a particular question: What impression or what conclusions would a non-terran (a hypothetical visiting alien from another star-system) have of or draw from those events, such social change, and those politicians? And what, therefore, would be the conclusions that such a non-terran would make regarding our nature, our human character, as a species?

Which answers seemed to me to depend on what criteria – ethical, experiential, ontological, and otherwise – such a non-terran might employ. Would, for instance, the home-world of such a non-terran be a place of relative peace and prosperity which, having endured millennia of conflict and war, had evolved beyond conflict and war and had also ended poverty? Would, for instance, such a non-terran view matters dispassionately, having evolved such that they are always able to control – or have developed beyond – such strong personal emotions as now, as for all of our human history, so often still seem to overwhelm we humans leading us and having led us to be selfish, to lie, to cheat, to manipulate, to use violence – and sometimes kill – in order to fulfil a personal desire?

The criteria I now (post-2011) apply to this hypothetical scenario are those derived from my own experience, and from reflecting over several years upon that experience, which criteria are of course subjective, personal, and it is thus no coincidence that they now are reflected in my philosophy of pathei-mathos. Thus the ethics I assume such an interstellar space-faring sentient non-terran might adhere to are based on honour and the apprehension of suffering and hubris that empathy provides; just as the ontology derives from a numinous awareness of how causal and fallible and transient every sentient life is in respect of the vastness of the cosmos (spatially and in terms of aeons of causal time), with such ethics and ontology a natural consequence of such a culture whose genesis is that pathei-mathos – ancestral, individual, societal – that derives from millennia of suffering, conflict, war, poverty, and oppression.

Furthermore, my reflexion on the past fifty years of human space exploration leads me to further conclude that we as a species – and perhaps every sentient species – can only venture forth, en masse, to explore and colonize new worlds when certain social and political conditions exist: when we, when perhaps every sentient species, have matured sufficiently to be able to, as individuals, control ourselves (without any internal or external coercion deriving from laws or from some belief be such belief ideological, political, or religious) and thus when we use reason and empathy as our raison d’etre and not our emotions, our desires, our egoism or some -ism or some -ology or some faith that we accept or believe in or need. For despite the technology making such space exploration and colonization now feasible for us (if only currently within our solar system) we lack the political will, the social desire, the trans-national cooperation, the vision, to realize it even given that our own habitable planet is slowly undergoing a transformation for the worse wrought by ourselves. All we have – decades after the landings on the Moon – are a few individuals inhabiting and only for a while just one Earth-orbiting space station and a few small-scale, theorized, human landings on Mars a decade or more in the future. For instead of such a vision of a new frontier which frontier a multitude of families can settle and which can be the genesis of new cultures and new human societies, all we have had in the past fifty years is more of the same: regional wars and armed conflicts; invasions, violent coups and revolutions; violent protests, the killing and imprisonment and torture of protestors and dissenters; political propaganda for this political cause or that; exploitation of resources and of other humans; terrorism, murder, rape, theft, and greed.

              How then would my hypothetical space-faring alien judge us as a species, and how would such a non-terran view such squabbles – political, social, ideological, religious, and be they violent or non-violent – and such poverty, inequality, corruption, and oppression, as still seem to so bedevil almost all societies currently existing on planet Earth?

In addition, how would we as individuals – and how would our governments – interact with, and treat, such an alien were such an alien, visiting Earth incognito, to be discovered? Would we treat such an alien with respect, with honour: as a non-threatening ambassador from another world? Would any current government on Earth willingly and openly and world-wide acknowledge the existence of such extra-terrestrial life and allow Earth ambassadors from any country, and scientists, and the media, full and open access to such an alien sentient being? I have my own personal intuition regarding answers to such questions.

But, remaining undiscovered, what would our visiting alien observer report regarding Earth and ourselves on their return to their own planet? Again, I have my own personal intuition regarding answers to such questions. Which answers could well be that we are an aggressive, still rather primitive and very violent, species best avoided until such time as we might outwardly demonstrate – through perhaps having numerous peaceful, cooperating, colonies on other worlds – that we have culturally and personally, in moral terms, advanced.

Which rather – to me at least – places certain current events, social change by -isms, by -ologies through disruption and violence and via revolution, and the activities, policies, and speeches, of certain politicians, and armed conflicts, into what I intuit is a necessary cosmic, non-terran, perspective. Which perspective is of us as a species still evolving; as having the potential and now the means to further and to consciously, and as individuals, to so evolve.

Will we do this? And how? Again, my answer – fallible as it is, repeated by me as it hereby is, and born as it is from my own pathei-mathos – is that it could well begin with us as individuals consciously deciding to change through cultivating empathy and viewing ourselves and our world in the perspective of the cosmos. Which perspective is of our smallness, our fallibility, our mortality, and of our appreciation of the numinous and thus of the need to avoid the error of hubris; an error which we mortals, millennia following millennia, have always made and which even now – even with our ancestral world-wide culture of pathei-mathos – we still commit day after day, year after year, and century after century, enshrined as such hubris seems to be in so many politicians; in -isms and -ologies; in disruptive and violent social change and revolutions; in armed conflicts, and in our very physis as human individuals: an apparently unchanged physis which so motivates so many of us to still be egoistic, to lie, to cheat, to steal, to murder, to manipulate, to be violent, and to often be motived by avarice, pride, jealousy, and a selfish sexual desire.

As someone, over one and half-thousand years ago, wrote regarding human beings:

τοῖς δὲ ἀνοήτοις καὶ κακοῖς καὶ πονηροῖς καὶ φθονεροῖς καὶ πλεονέκταις καὶ φονεῦσι καὶ ἀσεβέσι πόρρωθέν εἰμι͵ τῷ τιμωρῷ ἐκχωρήσας δαίμονι͵ ὅστις τὴν ὀξύτητα τοῦ πυρὸς προσβάλλων θρώσκει αὐτὸν αἰσθητικῶς καὶ μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τὰς ἀνομίας αὐτὸν ὁπλίζει͵ ἵνα τύχῃ πλείονος τιμωρίας͵ καὶ οὐ παύεται ἐπ΄ ὀρέξεις ἀπλέ τους τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων͵ ἀκορέστως σκοτομαχῶν͵ καὶ τοῦ τον βασανίζει͵ καὶ ἐπ΄ αὐτὸν πῦρ ἐπὶ τὸ πλεῖον αὐξάνει

“I keep myself distant from the unreasonable, the rotten, the malicious, the jealous, the greedy, the bloodthirsty, the hubriatic, instead, giving them up to the avenging daemon, who assigns to them the sharpness of fire, who visibly assails them, and who equips them for more lawlessness so that they happen upon even more vengeance. For they cannot control their excessive yearnings, are always in the darkness – which tests them – and thus increase that fire even more.” [1]

Which is basically the same understanding that Aeschylus revealed in his Oresteia trilogy many centuries before: the wisdom of pathei-mathos and the numinous pagan allegory of Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες [2], and which wisdom was also described by Milton over a millennia later by means of another allegory:

The infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile,
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind.

David Myatt
2015

[1] Poemandres, 23. Corpus Hermeticum. Translated by David Myatt in Poemandres, A Translation and Commentary. 2014.

Editorial Note: Myatt’s translation and commentary of the Pymander part of the Corpus Hermeticum is, as of 2018, included in his book Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. 190 pages. CreateSpace. 2017. ISBN 978-1976452369

[2] Aeschylus (attributed), Prometheus Bound, 515-6

τίς οὖν ἀνάγκης ἐστὶν οἰακοστρόφος.
Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες

Who then compels to steer us?
Trimorphed Moirai with their ever-heedful Furies


Book Review: Western Paganism And Hermeticism

odal3

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Western Paganism And Hermeticism:
Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture

Rachael Stirling (Editor)
44 pages. CreateSpace, 2017. ISBN 978-1986027809
BISAC: Philosophy / Metaphysics

The book is comprised of nine essays by various authors which deal with or which review David Myatt’s translations of Hermetic texts and his two recent books Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and Tu Es Diaboli Ianua; plus – as an appendix – a reprint of Myatt’s relevant article Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum.

In her Preface, the editor – authoress of one of the essays in the book – succinctly expresses the raison d’etre of those Myatt books and translations of Hermetic texts, and also of the included essays, writing that

“Myatt’s thesis […] 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. It is our view that those translations, the associated commentaries, and such books enable an insight into, and thus the evolution of, Western culture.”

She also quotes from one of those essays – Re-discovering Western Paganism – whose authors wrote that Myatt’s translations of classical and hermetic texts “when studied together enable us to appreciate and understand the classical, pagan, ethos and thence the ethos of the West itself.”

Collectively the essays present a decidedly new view of Western paganism which is contrary to that of Western neopagan revivals (sometimes described as contemporary Western paganism) and which neopagan revivals mostly devolve around ancient named gods and goddesses, such as those of Viking or Germanic mythology or those associated with Celtic legends of ancient Britain and Ireland. In addition, such modern revivals often involve romanticized rituals and ceremonies such as those now associated with the self-described Druids at Stonehenge during Summer Solstice sunrise at Stonehenge.

As the authoress of the eighth essay – A New Pagan Metaphysics – explains, referencing Myatt’s books Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and Tu Es Diaboli Ianua as well as his essay From Mythoi To Empathy, this new view of Western paganism is an evolution, a move away from perceiving paganism in terms of mythology and legends to a modern philosophical, ethical, and rational understanding of it. This understanding is of καλὸς κἀγαθός – of nobility of personal character – and which Ancient Greek expression, according to Myatt, represents the ethos of not only Greco-Roman culture but also the non-Christian West. As Myatt notes in his Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, it involves

“an awareness and acceptance of one’s civic duties and responsibilities undertaken not because of any personal benefit (omni utilitate) that may result or be expected, and not because an omnipotent deity has, via some written texts, commanded it and will punish a refusal, but because it is the noble, the honourable – the gentlemanly, the lady-like, the human – thing to do.”

The book therefore takes us on a journey to a different – and for many of us to a new – world, far away from the religious attitudes of the old world as evoked, not only by Christianity, but also by neopaganism with its rituals, mythologies, polytheism and – in some manifestations – ‘magical’ spells, charms, and beliefs.

This new world is, as the authoress of the seventh essay – Suffering, Honour, And The Culture Of The West – makes clear, one where personal honour reigns manifesting as it does what is ethical and noble and ineluctably Western.

The book is highly recommended, despite its mere 44 pages, although given its large size of 8.5″ x 11″ (21.59 x 27.94 cm) – perhaps in homage to Myatt whose printed books are all a similar size – the page count in terms of a regular paperback is around 65 pages.

Kerri Scott
March 2018


Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture

odal3

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Western Paganism And Hermeticism:
Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture

A printed version of the Third Edition of this 2018 work, edited by Rachael Stirling, is now available: ISBN-13: 978-1986027809.

A gratis Open Access pdf file of the Third Edition is also available:

Western Paganism And Hermeticism
(pdf)

The following “politically incorrect” quotation, from the chapter titled Re-discovering Western Paganism by R. Parker, sets the context for the contents of the book.

“While laudable, the attempt in recent times by some Europeans to rediscover the pagan ethos of their ancestors – exemplified in certain (but not all) neopagan groups and weltanschauungen – and thus distance themselves from Hebraic spirituality, is not and never can be, in our view, effective in reconnecting us to the ethos of the West for two reasons. First, because such attempts (at least so far) do not exemplify, do not manifest, the spiritual ethos of the West, founded as that is on the culture and spirituality of ancient Greece and Rome. Second, because they generally do not take into account how the ethos of the West has itself been distorted by a Hebraicism that is not only spiritual but is now, and has been for over a century, cultural.

This cultural Hebraicism is a mode of thinking and action in which Hebrews – ancient and modern – and their beliefs, and those of their followers and disciples, are taken as the type, the moral ideal, to be aspired to and lauded. In the case of ancient Hebrews and their beliefs, the type, the ideal is evident in the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), and in latter-day interpretations of the Bible. In the case of modern Hebrews and their disciples, the type, the ideal, derives from (a) the dogma of ‘equality of races’ – ultimately derived from Marxism, sociology, and what has been termed ‘social anthropology’, with the belief being that all ethnicities have the same abilities, intelligence, potential, and human character – and from (b) the religious-like remembrance of and compulsory teaching regarding the Shoah, together with a hypocritical championing of ethnic awareness and ancestral traditions for all ethnicities except native European (‘White’) peoples, which ethnic awareness of, and its promotion among, native European peoples is considered ‘hatred’, ‘racist’, ‘extremist’ and is increasing censored and outlawed in the lands of the West with the Hebraic reasoning being that such ethnic awareness of, and its promotion among, native European peoples gave rise to colonialism, to fascism and National Socialism and thus to the Shoah – which must “never be forgotten” – with no Western country ever allowed to again make ancestral European beliefs, and the Western ethos, the raison d’être of a nation-State.

In respect of rediscovering the pagan spirituality of the West a fundamental problem has been a lack of knowledge among those interested in what, exactly, that spirituality is. A problem exacerbated by pre-existing translations of some of the ancient works knowledge of which is necessary in order to understand that spirituality. Works such as the Oedipus Tyrannus and the Antigone by Sophocles, the Agamemnon by Aeschylus, and the mystical texts of the Corpus Hermeticism.”

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


Anachronistic Copyright

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In an interesting but perhaps not unexpected development {1} David Myatt has made several of his works – the most popular ones, according to our research – available under a ‘creative commons’ license which allows for royalty-free commercial publication by others.

The works so licensed are:

° Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos
° Tu Es Diaboli Ianua
° Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates
° The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos
° The Gospel According To John: A Translation And Commentary
° The Agamemnon of Aeschylus
° Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos

A not so unexpected development because, according to Myatt himself, he considers “the abstractions denoted by the terms ‘intellectual property’ and ‘copyright’ to be anachronistic.” {2}

Rumour has it that he plans to make other works of his available under the same commercial license. Coincidently – perhaps? – this would bring his works into almost the same category as O9A works all of which are distributed and classified as being “in the public domain”.

RDM Crew
March 2018 ev

{1} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/david-myatt-opera-omnia/

{2} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/the-numinous-way-of-pathei-mathos/


Reading Myngath

David Myatt

David Myatt

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Reading Myngath
The Apologia of David Myatt

If the reader of Myngath expects a conventional autobiography then they will be either disappointed or consider the work somewhat bizarre.

Many – perhaps most – autobiographies appear to be consciously crafted in order to project, through the medium of words, a particular image of the author and an image which appears to be consistent because past events in the life of the author are often made to appear as if they were the genesis of, or support, what the authors want the reader to believe about who they are and why they have done what they have and/or now have the beliefs or the opinions that they do.

The lives, however, of most notable individuals are not so simple as many of them would like us – via such self-penned deliberate, cause-and-effect, narratives – to believe.

In the case of Myatt what we get is – as the sub-title of Myngath and the introductory brief Apologia inform us – “some recollections of a wyrdful and extremist life” which were a “concise aural recollection to a friend, recorded and then transcribed” and which conciseness was because, according to Myatt “it is the essence of this particular life, recalled, that in my fallible view is or rather may be instructive, and I have tried to present this essence in a truthful way and thus be honest about my failings, my mistakes, my past activities, and my feelings at the time.”

The important phrases here are “aural recollection”, “some recollections”, and “honest about my feelings at the time.” For Myngath is a brief explanation, hastily given to someone (and probably edited by Myatt before publication), of how Myatt himself felt at certain times of his life, how he believes he finally came to reject the extremism that dominated his adult life and develop his philosophy of pathei-mathos.

Which explanation is also an apology for both his extremist deeds and the selfishness so evident in his recollections of his private life. Which may explain why he chose a brief Apologia in preference to a lengthy Introduction; why he inserts some of his poems into the text, and why he added three appendices; with the poems for example expressing his feelings in a way that a wordy explanation might not.

What all this amounts to is that Myngath is not an ordinary autobiography but rather a series of impressions of Myatt at various times in his life. The enthusiastic unconventional schoolboy; a rather naive teenager getting involved in right-wing politics; the violent fanatic setting up a criminal gang to fund a political cause; the rather amoral convict running rackets from his prison cell; the selfish lover; the romantic dreamer and poet; the rather boyish somewhat mischievous Catholic monk; and the extremist turned humanist philosopher for whom “a shared, a loyal, love between two people is the most beautiful, the most numinous, the most valuable thing of all.”

The impression that emerges was succinctly expressed a few years ago by an academic: an impression of an “extremely violent, intelligent, dark, and complex individual.” {1}

Understood as a series of impressions of the life of an individual with rather interesting and diverse experiences – from childhood on – Myngath is a worthwhile read, if only because it places the opinions of so many others about Myatt, from anti-fascists to journalists to various academics, into perspective as being very simplistic. For such a complex man with such a diversity of experiences cannot be so easily pigeon-holed and as two-dimensional as they have made him and make him out to be.

Myngath was, for me, also somewhat annoying, in that beneficial way that annoyance can sometimes be, since it intrigued me sufficiently to read more of David Myatt’s later (post-2011) writings and left me wanting to find a well-researched, objective, and detailed biography of him. The writings were easy to find, but such a biography has yet to be written.

J.B.
July 2016
(Revised 2017)

Myngath is available
(i) as a pdf document from Myatt’s weblog: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/myngath-2/
and (ii) as a printed book published in 2013, ISBN 978-1484110744

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{1} Raine, Susan. The Devil’s Party (Book review). Religion, Volume 44, Issue 3, July 2014.


Suffering, Honour, And The Culture Of The West

David Myatt

David Myatt

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Suffering, Honour, And The Culture Of The West

A theme of David Myatt’s post-2011 writings – and of his philosophy of pathei-mathos {1} – is the question of human-caused suffering leading him to ask whether we humans have changed significantly, en masse, such that such suffering is less now than in the past three to four thousand years. Which question led him to write

“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?” {2}

A century after the mechanized slaughter of the First World War which killed millions of people and injured millions more, and seventy-three years after the slaughter and suffering of millions more people in the Second World War, human-caused suffering continues around the world. War and armed conflict and destruction in the Middle East and Africa and elsewhere. Terrorist attacks in Europe, America, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Meanwhile humans, individually and in small groups, continue to kill, rape, and be brutal and violent and oppressive toward and injure and cause suffering to other human beings in hundreds of thousands of attacks every year all around the world.

As Myatt wrote in respect of the suffering caused by war and armed conflict,

“it is as if we, as a sentient species, have learnt nothing from the past four thousand years. Nothing from the accumulated pathei-mathos of those who did such deeds or who experienced such deeds or who suffered because of such deeds. Learnt nothing from four thousand years of the human culture that such pathei-mathos created and which to us is manifest – remembered, celebrated, transcribed – in Art, literature, memoirs, music, poetry, myths, legends, and often in the ethos of a numinous ancestral awareness or in those sometimes mystical allegories that formed the basis for a spiritual way of life.

All we have done is to either (i) change the names of that which or those whom we are loyal to and for which or for whom we fight, kill, and are prepared to die for, or (ii) given names to such new causes as we have invented in order to give us some identity or some excuse to fight, endure, triumph, preen, or die for. Pharaoh, Caesar, Pope, Defender of the Faith, President, General, Prime Minister; Rome, Motherland, Fatherland, The British Empire, Our Great Nation, North, South, our democratic way of life. It makes little difference; the same loyalty; the same swaggering; the same hubris; the same desire, or the same obligation or coercion, to participate and fight.” {3}

While in regard to humans killing, injuring, being violent toward and preying on other humans he asked,

“Must we therefore be resigned to suffering, to misery, to injustices, to the iniquity, to the continuing iniquity, of selfish, hubriatic, individuals who bully, rape, scheme, subjugate, manipulate, injure, maim, and kill? Reassured by judicium divinum or – perhaps – hoping, trusting, in the pending justice of some judge, some government, or some State?” {4}

Myatt writes that his

“fallible answer to the question of how to deal with the suffering that blights this world [is] the answer of a personal honour. That is, for each of us to gently try to carry that necessary harmony, that balance, of δίκη, wordlessly within; to thus restrain ourselves from causing harm while being able, prepared, in the immediacy of the moment, to personally, physically, restrain – prevent – others when we chance upon such harm being done. This, to me, is Life in its wholesome natural fullness – as lived, presenced, by the brief, mortal, consciously aware, emanations we are; mortal emanations capable of restraint, reason, culture, and reforming change; of learning from our pathei-mathos and that of others.” {4}

His “fallible answer” may seem to many to be somewhat idealistic given the reality that those (to use a Myattian term) with a bad or rotten physis are not going to suddenly change their personality or are congenitally incapable of learning from ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’. But understood in the context of his philosophy the answer is logical given Myatt’s analysis of what the actual problem is or might be. An analysis which reveals that his philosophy is far from idealistic and in truth is rather radical, for in respect of the causes of suffering he writes in one memorable essay that

“It is almost as if we – somehow flawed – need something beyond our personal lives to vivify us; to excite us; to test ourselves; to identify with. As if we cannot escape the barbarian who lies in wait, within; ready to subsume us once again so that we sally forth on behalf of some cause, some leader, or some ideal, or some abstraction, or as part of some crusade. As if we human beings, as Sophocles intimated over two thousand years ago, are indeed, by nature, and have remained sometimes honourable and sometimes dishonourable beings, able to sometimes be rational, thinking, beings, but also unable to escape our desire, our need, our propensity, to not only be barbaric but to try to justify to ourselves and to others our need for, and even our enjoyment of, such barbarity.

Or perhaps the stark truth is that it is we men who are flawed or incomplete and who thus need to change. As if we, we men, have not yet evolved enough to be able to temper, to balance, our harsh masculous nature with the muliebral; a balance which would see us become almost a new species; one which has, having finally sloughed off the suffering-causing hubriatic patriarchal attitudes of the past, learnt from the pathei-mathos of our ancestors, from the pathei-mathos of our human culture, born and grown and nurtured as our human culture was, has been, and is by over four thousand years of human-caused suffering. A learning from and of the muliebral, for the wyrdful thread which runs through, which binds, our human pathei-mathos is a muliebral one: the thread of kindness, of gentleness, of love, of compassion; of empathy; of the personal over and above the supra-personal.” {5}

In a later essay he is even more forthright, stating that

“it is men – unbalanced in physis – who have caused and are responsible for wars, invasions, and the deaths and destruction and suffering that results, just as most violent crime and murders are caused by men. And it is they, of course, who have – also for millennia – dominated and manipulated women (or tried to), who have raped women, who have physically abused them, and killed so many of them, and all because some men cannot control themselves lacking as they do the virtue of honour.” {6}

In regard to how he arrived at this conclusion he derived it as he derived most of his philosophy from his own pathei-mathos, from his own practical experiences extending over some four decades.

“As I know from my outré experience of life – especially my forty years of extremism, hubris, and selfishness; my terms of imprisonment, my experience with gangs, with people of bad intentions and with those of good intentions – it really is as if we terran men have, en masse, learnt nothing from the past four or five thousand years.” {7}

He is therefore not being idealistic or academic in an ‘ivory tower’ sort of way or basing his argument on statistics or on theories or ideologies propounded by others. He is instead writing from life having analysed his outré, his exeatic, his diverse experiences using ‘the human culture of pathei-mathos’ as a guide and it is therefore on that basis that his conclusions should be understood, judged and appreciated.

It is on that basis that in 2012 he wrote that

“the uncomfortable truth is that we, we men, are and have been the ones causing, needing, participating in, those wars and conflicts. We – not women – are the cause of most of the suffering, death, destruction, hate, violence, brutality, and killing, that has occurred and which is still occurring, thousand year upon thousand year; just as we are the ones who seek to be – or who often need to be – prideful and ‘in control’; and the ones who through greed or alleged need or because of some ideation have saught to exploit not only other human beings but the Earth itself. We are also masters of deception; of the lie. Cunning with our excuses, cunning in persuasion, and skilled at inciting hatred and violence. And yet we men have also shown ourselves to be, over thousands of years, valourous; capable of noble, selfless, deeds. Capable of doing what is fair and restraining ourselves from doing what is unethical. Capable of a great and a gentle love.

This paradoxy continues to perplex me. And I have no answers as to how we might change, reform, this paradoxical φύσις of ours, and so – perhaps – balance the suffering-causing masculous with the empathic muliebral and yet somehow in some way retain that which is the genesis of the valourous.” {7}

It is clear from his later writings that from 2012 on he pondered upon that paradoxy and arrived at a tentative and, in his words, a fallible answer. Which pondering he describes in some detail in his lengthy five part essay, published in 2013, titled Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God, and in which essay he gave voice to his doubts about the current solutions to the problem of personally-caused suffering – such as believing in judicium divinum (divine justice) or “trusting in the pending justice of some judge, some government, or some State.” In a poignant passage he asked in respect of those personally causing suffering whether it was wrong for him

“to still feel the need for someone, some many, somewhere, to somehow in some way forestall, prevent, such deeds by such persons as may unjustly harm some others so that there is no waiting for the divine justice of a deity; no waiting for some Court somewhere to – possibly, and sometimes – requite a grievous wrong. No waiting for that promised idealistic idyllic future society when we humans – having somehow (perhaps miraculously) been changed in nature en masse – have ceased to so grievously, harmfully, selfishly, inflict ourselves on others.” {4}

He then presented his fallible answer, which was that

“of a personal honour. That is, for each of us to gently try to carry that necessary harmony, that balance, of δίκη, wordlessly within; to thus restrain ourselves from causing harm while being able, prepared, in the immediacy of the moment, to personally, physically, restrain – prevent – others when we chance upon such harm being done.” {4}

Myatt thus championed not only personal self-defence and “valorous defence of another in a personal situation” but also “if our personal judgement of the circumstances deem it necessary, lethal force.” {8}

In respect of the question of suffering he therefore advocated something both quite practical, and quite radical at least the lands of the developed nations of the West.

The Practicalities of Personal Honour

As befits his decades of personal experience of the practicalities of life – thirty years as a violent political activist and propagandist, ten years as a Muslim activist, several years leading a criminal gang, among other experiences – Myatt was aware of how the governments of the nations of the West disapproved of individuals using their own judgement in regard to employing lethal force with many outlawing the carrying weapons enabling effective self-defence and the “valorous defence of another in a personal situation.”

In reply to a question asked of him in 2015 he wrote

“how – or even can – societies in the West and around the world promote the virtue of empathy and personal honour, and if they could, would they want to given how most such societies (especially those in the West) are based on law and justice being the prerogative of the State? In respect of empathy at least, there is – as I suggested – the solution of Studia Humanitatis; that is, the solution of educating citizens in what I have termed the culture of pathei- mathos.

But since personal honour means that individuals should have the right to bear and carry weapons, and be lawfully able – in the immediacy of the personal moment – to use such weapons in self-defence and in valorous defence of others dishonourably attacked, it is most unlikely the governments or politicians of modern Western societies would even consider such an honourable solution to the problem of suffering. Indeed, they seem to be moving toward even more restrictions on individuals bearing and carrying weapons; moving toward severely punishing those who use weapons in self-defence or even in valorous defence of others dishonourably attacked.

That is, that there is in many Western societies a desire, by governments and politicians, for more control over their citizens, for more interventions, at home and abroad, in the name of ‘security’, and for the use of force to be lawfully restricted to those – such as the Police or the armed forces – who are appointed and who serve on the basis of a chain of command which stops with some government representative or some politician or some military leader responsible to one of the foregoing.

Thus, while I personally strive to uphold what honour demands in the immediacy of the moment, most people – even if they agreed with the principle – would be wary of doing so, given current laws in a country such as Britain. Or, more probably, they would consider it an unnecessary and possibly a retrograde thing to do.” {9}

Although in the same reply he admits that his “own preoccupation in respect of personal honour may be somewhat misplaced” it is clear that regardless of such and other diplomatic language he personally supports the right of individuals to carry weapons for use in self-defence and in defence of others dishonourably attacked even though many Western governments have, fairly recently (in the last one hundred years), deemed the carrying of such weapons to be illegal despite the fact that the carrying of such weapons for such purposes was for thousands of years an acceptable cultural and ancestral custom among the peoples of the West.

Which perhaps – and yet again – places Myatt on the side of our ancestral Western culture. An ancestral culture whose metaphysics and ethos he has not only described in recent (2017) works of his such as Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and Tu Es Diaboli Ianua but also and importantly evolved, beyond mythoi and thus beyond named gods and goddesses.

A Western culture exemplified, according to Myatt, by καλὸς κἀγαθός. That is, by those who “conduct themselves in a gentlemanly or lady-like manner and who thus manifest – because of their innate physis or through pathei-mathos or through a certain type of education or learning – nobility of character,” {10} and which nobility of character is manifest in “the virtues of personal honour and manners” {10} and which Western culture was also – according to Myatt and contra modern ‘political correctness’ – manifest in a natural and necessary aristocracy composed of those who possess nobility of character and who thus exemplify καλὸς κἀγαθός.

Rachael Stirling
February 2018

{1} The book The Mystical Philosophy of David Myatt by Wright & Parker is an informative guide to Myatt’s philosophy. The book is available as a gratis open access pdf document here: https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/myatt-mystic-philosophy-second-edition.pdf
{2} Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos. 2014.
{3} A Slowful Learning, Perhaps. 2012.
{4} Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God, Part Five. 2013.
{5} A Slowful Learning, Perhaps. 2012.
{6} Questions For DWM. 2015.
{7} Blue Reflected Starlight. 2012.
{8} qv. The Numinous Balance of Honour section of the chapter The Way of Pathei-Mathos – A Philosophical Compendium in Myatt’s 2013 book The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos.
{9} Questions For DWM, 2015.
{10} Tu Es Diaboli Ianua. 2017

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Further Reading:
Tu Es Diaboli Ianua
(pdf)
Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos
(pdf)


cc Rachael Stirling 2018

This work is issued under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) license
and can be freely copied and distributed, under the terms of that license.