Summer Days Walking Roads

David Myatt

David Myatt

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Herewith another autobiographical poem by David Myatt from his collection One Exquisite Silence.

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Summer Days Walking Roads

Day hides the stars that might shine tonight
As my life when the loneliness comes
Among the hills:
I have touched the joy that goes
Seeping down into darkness
Rooting my soul that thus a storm
Cannot wash it away.
Here – a smile to capture worlds
With hidden words
When I believe a night has no terrors
Like my own
And I sleep at peace
Beneath the dome of stars.

I – passing the world
The way each day passes to a week –
Shook dust from my clothes
And walked barefoot toward a village green.

It was no use –
I had only to forget to remember
The silence where I in gladness sang
Stopping those spirits who had waited by their trees
For one like me to visit them,
Again.

So I sit on the damp grass
Waiting
For a world of love.
Then, smiling, I shake away the dew
To walk barefoot across the village green.

David Myatt
1974


Related:

Only Time Has Stopped


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The Myattian Saga Continues

David Myatt

David Myatt

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The Myattian Saga Continues

In the decades long and on-going saga of whether or not David Myatt is or was Anton Long of Order of Nine Angles (ONA, O9A) fame {1} some of Mr Myatt’s latest writings are intriguing and seem to provide more proof that, as he has maintained all along, he is not and was not Anton Long, founder of the O9A, author of most of its vast Occult corpus, and “paramount to the whole creation and existence of the ONA.” {2}

These latest writings of his include the two part In Defence Of The Catholic Church {3} and his Persecution And War {4}. His In Defence Of The Catholic Church as the title indicates is a defence of the Catholic Church, and in particular in respect of allegations of sexual abuse by priests and monks. The article is based on his personal experience of the Catholic religion from boy to Catholic monk. His Persecution And War is a fascinating, if somewhat annoyingly brief, autobiographical account of some of his experiences as a visiting Catholic in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and of how those experiences helped him when he came to develop his philosophy of pathei mathos.

In part one of In Defence Of The Catholic Church he has many positive things to say about the Catholic Church. Mentioning some medieval liturgical music he writes that he is

“so reminded how the Roman Catholic Church inspired such numinosity, such beauty, century following century. For it is as if such music presenced the Divine to thus remind us, we fallible error-prone mortals, of another realm beyond the material and beyond our own mortal desires.”

He goes on to write that he

“from personal experience appreciate[s] that for all its many faults – recent and otherwise – and despite my disagreement regarding some of its teachings it still on balance does, at least in my fallible opinion, presence – as it has for centuries presenced – aspects of the numinous and which presencing has over centuries, again in my fallible opinion, had a beneficial affect on many human beings.”

He then recounts a journey of his in Africa, commenting about the Christian folk he met that he

“admired them and respected their belief and understood what that faith seemed to have given them. Who was – who am – I to try and preach to them, to judge them and that faith? I was – I am – just one fallible human being who believes he may have some personal and fallible answers to certain questions; just one person among billions aware of his past arrogance and his suffering-causing mistakes.”

As for the allegations of sexual abuse made against priests and monks he is adamant, based on his personal experiences as a Catholic and especially as a Catholic monk, that “they, and the few others like them over the years, were the exception” and that those who believe otherwise commit the logical fallacy of a dicto secumdum quid ad dictum simpliciter, which basically is to use particular individual cases to form a general rule to then use that rule to describe, and thence to blame, or to castigate, or to defame a whole group.

Such statements by Myatt regarding Catholicism, and such personal feelings as he describes, are not those of a Satanist and not those of someone who associating with the O9A is expected to despise both Christianity in all its forms and Christians themselves. {5}

Part two of his In Defence Of The Catholic Church presents a theological defence of the actions, the response, of the Catholic hierarchy when cases of sexual abuse by priests and monks were made known to them. This is the more interesting part of his article since this theological defence is not only clearly explained by Myatt but also has seldom featured in all the media and other criticism of the response of the Catholic hierarchy.

Myatt’s argument is that in regard to the individuals involved, the Catholic church has a higher spiritual responsibility. Which is to consider and take care of their eternal souls and thus apply the Catholic “sacrament of penance and reconciliation” to them.

Naturally in the modern world of the capitalist West with its secular governments and secular laws this theological view is not popular. Nor a view which many would even consider or understand. Which explains why some States in America, and governments in other lands, have tried to introduce secular laws to break such things as the Catholic “seal of the confessional”. {6}

That Myatt presents and defends a Christian theological argument is not something a Satanist nor someone associating with the O9A would do.

In his Persecution And War Myatt uses his “Catholic remembering” – of Catholic civilians killed by the British army in Northern Ireland – to make a point about prejudice, intolerance, and propaganda, concluding that

“the real tragedy is that events similar to those of my very personal remembering have occurred on a vaster scale millennia after millennia and are still occurring, again on a vaster scale and world-wide, despite us having access to the wisdom of the past.”

These again are not the kind of things a Satanist nor someone associating with the O9A would write.

One final point deserves mentioning. The erudite nature of the articles. There are, as to be expected with Myatt, quotations from the ancient Greek together with his own translations, quotations in Old English and Latin as well as detailed explanations of terms such as “sin” in relation to the New Testament with relevant quotations from the Greek New Testament again with his own translations.

Conclusion

It is conceivable that believers in the Myatt=Long theory, who exist both outside and within the O9A and who seem intent on demonizing Myatt if for different reasons, will in support of that theory claim that someone who was O9A might be devious enough – à la O9A year long Insight Roles – to pretend to write or act as someone who has a diametrically opposite personal character or life to his or her own. Hence someone O9A dialectically praising Christianity.

The fundamental flaw to such a claim in respect of Myatt is that he has been writing similar and consistent things about Christianity, Catholicism, and about prejudice and intolerance since at least 2011, and since then has also penned voluminous other writings about his philosophy of pathei mathos, about compassion, humility, and extremism which echo the sentiments found in the recent writings we have been discussing.

As someone wrote in this regard in 2016,

“All these sentiments, these feelings, are so consistent over so many years, chime so well with his poetry, with the feelings that run through his pre-2009 letters, with his autobiography Myngath, and with post-2011 writings about his philosophy of pathei-mathos, that it seems inconceivable to me that they are artful constructions – fakes – by someone else (or some others) or the product of some ‘sinister trickster’ who has consciously adopted a certain persona in order to try and fool people. Also, what they express is a mysticism, a reverence for and an appreciation of the numinous, so at odds with the ethos and the practice of Satanism – of whatever variety – that it is also inconceivable that they were written by a Satanist or even by a practising Occultist.” {7}

One has for instance only to read essays by Myatt such as his Numinous Expiation {8} and Catholic Still In Spirit? {9} and his book Understanding and Rejecting Extremism {10} to appreciate this.

These latest writings therefore on balance provide more proof that Myatt is not and was not Anton Long. As I wrote in my article Demonizing Mr Myatt

“The demonizers of Myatt have ignored such things because those things reveal a very different Myatt. One at odds with the ‘sinister’ image of him they have all in their own way strived to manufacture and have propagated in pursuit of their aims. For the image of Myatt that emerges from his poetry and his post 2011 writings is of a reclusive man who regrets his extremist past, who values virtues such as empathy and compassion.” {11}

Rachael Stirling
October 2018

{1} The book published earlier this year titled A Modern Mysterium: The Enigma of Myatt And The O9A is a detailed and neutral study of the controversy, including both articles which support the Myatt=Long idea and articles which provide evidence to the contrary, allowing readers to arrive at their own conclusion. The book is available as a gratis open access (pdf) file from https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/myattian-mystery/

{2} Jacob C. Senholt. The Sinister Tradition. A paper presented at the international conference Satanism in the Modern World, Trondheim, 19-20th of November 2009.

{3} The two-part article is available at https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/in-defence-rc.pdf

{4} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/persecution-and-war/

{5} Anti-Christian sentiments abound in fundamental O9A texts such as The Black Book of Satan and in the three volumes of Hostia: Secret Teachings Of The ONA.

{6} See for example The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2018. New Laws Require Priests to Break the Seal of Confession.

{7} JR Wright. The Strange Life Of David Myatt. The essay is included in A Modern Mysterium: The Enigma of Myatt And The O9A.

{8} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/numinous-expiation/

{9} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/numinous-expiation/a-catholic-still-in-spirit/

{10} Available from https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/rejecting-extremism/

{11} The article is included in A Modern Mysterium: The Enigma of Myatt And The O9A.


Myatt: Expiation And Penance

David Myatt

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In Defence Of The Catholic Church
Part Two: Expiation And Penance

Two of the guiding practical principles of living as a Roman Catholic seem to me, on the basis of personal experience and fallible understanding, to be expiation and penance, related as they are to what was termed the Sacrament of Confession – now re-named the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation – and thence related to one of the founding principles of the Roman Catholic Church: that an ordained Priest has the religious authority [1] to give absolution for the “sins” [2] a person has committed, and the authority to specify what penance is required for expiation, but which absolution is dependant on the person making a full and truthful confession and being repentant.

Such personal confession, penance, and expiation, are evidential of how a practising Catholic interacts with the Divine and is thus personally reminded of what is spiritual, eternal, numinous, and beyond the causal everyday world. As I wrote in my essay Numinous Expiation,

“One of the many problems regarding both The Numinous Way and my own past which troubles me – and has troubled me for a while – is how can a person make reparation for suffering caused, inflicted, and/or dishonourable deeds done […]

One of the many benefits of an organized theistic religion, such as Christianity or Islam or Judaism, is that mechanisms of personal expiation exist whereby such feelings can be placed in context and expiated by appeals to the supreme deity. In Judaism, there is Teshuvah culminating in Yom Kippur, the day of expiation/reconciliation. In Catholicism, there is the sacrament of confession and penance. In Islam, there is personal dua to, and reliance on, Allah Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, As-Salaam.

Even pagan religions and ways had mechanisms of personal expiation for wrong deeds done, often in the form of propitiation; the offering of a sacrifice, perhaps, or compensation by the giving or the leaving of a valuable gift or votive offering at some numinous – some sacred and venerated – place or site.” [3]

This personal – and via the Confessional, this priestly – connexion to the Divine, with the attendant penitence, penance, personal expiation, seems to me to have been somewhat neglected when non-Catholics, and even some Catholics criticize the Roman Catholic Church for their past response to those accused of placing their personal (often sexual) desires before compassion, empathy, and humility.

That is, such criticism is secular; based on what is temporal, causal, such as some secular law or some personal emotive reaction, with the spiritual – the eternal – dimension to mortal life unconsidered. Which spiritual dimension is for Catholics based on allowing for personal expiation by spiritual means such as confession, penitence, and penance.

This allowance for such personal expiation by such spiritual means is what, according to my fallible understanding, informed the treatment by the Catholic hierarchy of many of those accused of placing their personal desires before obedience to their God.

For judgement according to such a spiritual dimension was, rightly or wrongly, often considered more important than secular recompense and secular punishment. Understood thus, there were no – to use a vernacular term – “cover-ups”, just the application of certain spiritual considerations, considerations which are the foundations of the Catholic faith based as such considerations are on the belief in the Eternal Life – in Heaven or in Hell – which awaits all mortals, one portal to such an Eternal Life in Heaven being, according to Catholic faith, the sacrament of confession.

Another aspect of this Catholic priority of the spiritual over the secular is the sanctity (the seal) of the confessional and which sanctity is adjudged to be more important than secular laws relating, for example, to disclosure of or information regarding actions deemed to be criminal.

            As for my personal opinions on the matter, I have none, for who am I – with my decades of hubris, my knowledge of my plenitude of mistakes – to judge others, to judge anyone? I have tried to rationally understand both the secular and the spiritual dimensions involved, having personal experience of both, and as so often these days remain somewhat perplexed by our human nature and by the need so many humans, myself included, still have for a belief in a spiritual dimension whereby we can connect ourselves to the numinous, to the Divine – however the Divine is presenced to and in us – enabling us to perhaps find some peace, some happiness, some solace, some answers, among the turmoil, the suffering, the changement, of the secular world.

My portal to the spiritual remains ‘the way of pathei-mathos’, the way of striving to cultivate, striving to live by, the virtues of humility, empathy, compassion, honour, non-interference, and self-restraint. A very individual way devoid of mythoi and anthropomorphic deities.

Perhaps it would be easier to believe in God, to accept again the Catholic expiation of the sacraments of Confession and the Mass. It would perhaps be even easier to accept some tangible votive wordless means in the form of offering some paganus propitiation, some libation, some talismata left, at some numinous paganus site.

But as Aeschylus so well-expressed it,

ἔστι δ᾽ ὅπη νῦν
ἔστι: τελεῖται δ᾽ ἐς τὸ πεπρωμένον:
οὔθ᾽ ὑποκαίων οὔθ᾽ ὑπολείβων
οὔτε δακρύων ἀπύρων ἱερῶν
ὀργὰς ἀτενεῖς παραθέλξει [4]

What is now, came to be
As it came to be. And its ending has been ordained.
No concealed laments, no concealed libations,
No unburnt offering
Can charm away that firm resolve.

Which type of sentiment I feel philosophers such as Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius also saught to express.

David Myatt
4.x.18

In Defence Of The Roman Catholic Church, Part One

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[1] Qv. John 20:22-23,

λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἄν τινων ἀφῆτε τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἀφέωνται αὐτοῖς ἄν τινων κρατῆτε κεκράτηνται

Receive Halig Spiritus: if you release anyone from their errors, they are released; if you hold onto them, they are held onto.

In regard to the term Spiritus in my commentary on John 1:31 I wrote:

τὸ πνεῦμα. Almost without exception, since Wycliffe’s Bible the Greek here has been translated as “the spirit”, although the ASV has gast (gast of heofenum), whence the later English word ‘ghost’. However, given what the terms ‘spirit’ and ‘ghost’ – both in common usage, and as a result of over a thousand years of Christian exegesis – now impute, it is apposite to offer an alternative and one which is germane to the milieu of the Gospels or which at least suggests something of the numinosity presenced, in this instance, via the Gospel of John. Given that the transliteration pnuema – with its modern association with terms such as pneumatic – does not unequivocally suggest the numinous, I have chosen spiritus, as referenced in respect of gast in Wright’s Anglo-Saxon And Old English Vocabularies.

In regard to the translation Halig Spiritus in my commentary on John 5:33 I wrote:

I have here used the Old English word Halig – as for example found in the version of John 17.11 in the Lindisfarne Gospel, ‘Du halig fæder’ – to translate ἅγιος rather than the later word ‘holy’ derived as that is from halig and used as it was by Wycliffe in his 1389 translation of this phrase, “in the Hooly Gost”, which itself echoes the ASV, “on Halgum Gaste.”

The unique phrase in Halig Spiritus – in place of the conventional ‘with the Holy Spirit’ – may thus express something of the numinosity, and the newness, of the original Gospel, especially as the word ‘holy’ has been much overused, imputes particular meanings from over a thousand years of exegesis, and, latterly in common parlance, has become somewhat trivialized.

[2] As I have noted in several essays, and in my translation of the Gospel of John, I prefer to translate the Greek term ἁμαρτία not by the conventional ‘sin’ but rather by ‘error’ or ‘mistake’. As I wrote in the essay Exegesis and Translation,

One of the prevalent English words used in translations of the New Testament, and one of the words now commonly associated with revealed religions such as Christianity and Islam, is sin. A word which now imputes and for centuries has imputed a particular and at times somewhat strident if not harsh moral attitude, with sinners starkly contrasted with the righteous, the saved, and with sin, what is evil, what is perverse, to be shunned and shudderingly avoided.

One of the oldest usages of the word sin – so far discovered – is in the c. 880 CE translation of the c. 525 CE text Consolatio Philosophiae, a translation attributed to King Ælfred. Here, the Old English spelling of syn is used:

Þæt is swiðe dyslic & swiðe micel syn þæt mon þæs wenan scyle be Gode

The context of the original Latin of Boethius is cogitare, in relation to a dialogue about goodness and God, so that the sense of the Latin is that it is incorrect – an error, wrong – to postulate/claim/believe certain things about God. There is thus here, in Boethius, as in early English texts such as Beowulf, the sense of doing what was wrong, of committing an error, of making a mistake, of being at fault; at most of overstepping the bounds, of transgressing limits imposed by others, and thus being ‘guilty’ of such an infraction, a sense which the suggested etymology of the word syn implies: from the Latin sons, sontis.

Thus, this early usage of the English word syn seems to impart a sense somewhat different from what we now associate with the word sin, which is why in my translation of John, 8.7 I eschewed that much overused and pejorative word in order to try and convey something of the numinous original:

So, as they continued to ask [for an answer] he straightened himself, saying to them: “Let he who has never made a mistake [ Αναμαρτητος ] throw the first stone at her.”

ὡς δὲ ἐπέμενον ἐρωτῶντες αὐτόν, ἀνέκυψεν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ὁ ἀναμάρτητος ὑμῶν πρῶτος ἐπ’ αὐτὴν βαλέτω λίθον.

Jesus here is not, in my view, sermonizing about sin, as a puritan preacher might, and as if he is morally superior to and has judged the sinners. Instead, he is rather gently and as a human pointing out an obvious truth about our human nature; explaining, in v.11, that he has not judged her conduct:

ἡ δὲ εἶπεν· οὐδείς, κύριε. εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· οὐδὲ ἐγώ σε κατακρίνω· πορεύου, ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν μηκέτι ἁμάρτανε

[And] she answered, No one, my Lord. Whereupon Jesus replied “Neither do I judge [κατακρίνω] you, therefore go, and avoid errors such as those.”

The essay is available at https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/exegesis-and-translation/ and was included as an Appendix to my Mercvrii Trismegisti Pymander (ISBN 978-1495470684)

[3] The essay is available at https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/numinous-expiation/

[4] Agamemnon, 67-71

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All translations by DWM


Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/expiation-and-penance/


In Defence Of The Catholic Church

numinous-religion

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In Defence Of The Roman Catholic Church
Part One

Listening to Messe De La Nativité: Gaudeamus Hodie; Puer Natus Est Nobis performed by Ensemble Gilles Binchois – I am so reminded how the Roman Catholic Church inspired such numinosity, such beauty, century following century. For it is as if such music presenced the Divine to thus remind us, we fallible error-prone mortals, of another realm beyond the material and beyond our own mortal desires.

Such presencing of the Divine – such a numinous reminder of our fallibility, century following century, as for example in Kyrie Orbis Factor as performed by Ensemble Organum – seems to have become somewhat lost in all the recent Media propaganda about how some Catholic priests and monks have allowed their personal desires to overwhelm such a presencing of the numinous and which presencing of the divine is and was manifest in compassion, empathy, and a personal humility.

Lost, in all the Media propaganda, because I from personal experience know that such incidents are perpetrated by a minority of individuals and that the vast majority of Catholic priests and monks are good individuals who strive, who often struggle, each in their own way and according to their physis, to manifest the virtues of compassion, empathy, and humility. That so many writers and readers of such Media propaganda in this our modern world seem to commit the fallacy of a dicto secumdum quid ad dictum simpliciter no longer, unfortunately, surprises me.

In respect of personal experience I have to admit that I was somewhat dismayed by a recent report issued by a government sponsored Inquiry Panel. For I personally had known two of the individuals mentioned in that report, knowing from personal experience in a certain monastery that they, and the few others like them over the years, were the exception out of dozens and dozens of the other monks and priests there. I was also somewhat dismayed by what I felt was the personal opinion of the authors of that report – stated in their “Conclusions” – that those involved in placing their personal desires before compassion, empathy, and humility, are “likely to be considerably greater than numbers cited in the convictions” since no evidence was presented to substantiate such an opinion. Another example of individuals committing the fallacy of a dicto secumdum quid ad dictum simpliciter? Probably.

            But why does someone who has developed a somewhat paganus weltanschauung – the mystical individualistic numinous way of pathei-mathos – now defend a supra-personal organization such as the Roman Catholic Church? Because I from personal experience appreciate that for all its many faults – recent and otherwise – and despite my disagreement regarding some of its teachings it still on balance does, at least in my fallible opinion, presence – as it has for centuries presenced – aspects of the numinous and which presencing has over centuries, again in my fallible opinion, had a beneficial affect on many human beings.

As I wrote some years ago in respect of visiting my father’s grave in Africa:

“Once I happened to be travelling to an area which colonial and imperialist Europeans formerly described as part of ‘darkest Africa’. Part of this travel involved a really long journey on unpaved roads by bus from an urban area. You know the type of thing – an unreliable weekly or sporadic service in some old vehicle used by villagers to take themselves (and often their produce and sometimes their livestock) to and from an urban market and urban-dwelling relatives. On this service, to a remote area, it [seemed to be] the custom – before the journey could begin – for someone to stand at the front and say a Christian prayer with every passenger willingly joining in.

It was quite touching. As was the fact that, at the village where I stayed (with a local family) near that grave, everyone went to Church on a Sunday, wearing the best clothes they could, and there was a real sense (at least to me) of how their faith helped them and gave them some guidance for the better, for it was as if they, poor as they were, were in some way living, or were perhaps partly an embodiment of, the ethos expressed by the Sermon of the Mount, and although I no longer shared their Christian faith, I admired them and respected their belief and understood what that faith seemed to have given them.

Who was – who am – I to try and preach to them, to judge them and that faith? I was – I am – just one fallible human being who believes he may have some personal and fallible answers to certain questions; just one person among billions aware of his past arrogance and his suffering-causing mistakes.” [1]

Is to not judge others without a personal knowing of them, to not commit fallacies such as a dicto secumdum quid ad dictum simpliciter, to allow for personal expiation, perhaps to presence the numinous in at least one small and quite individual way? Personally, I am inclined to believe it is.

Pietatis fons immense, ἐλέησον
Noxas omnes nostras pelle, ἐλέησον [2]

David Myatt
2.x.18

In Defence Of The Roman Catholic Church, Part Two

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[1] https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/just-my-fallible-views-again/

[2] “Immeasurable origin of piety, have mercy. Banish all our faults, have mercy.” Kyrie Orbis Factor.

Although the Greek phrase Κύριε ἐλέησον is considered to be a Christian doxology, deriving from the Old Testament, it is possible that it was a common phrase in Greco-Roman culture, with origins dating back to the classical period, for it occurs in the Discourses of Epictetus – Book II, vii, 13 – in relation to a discussion about divination,

καὶ τὸν θεὸν ἐπικαλούμενοι δεόμεθα αὐτοῦ κύριε ἐλέησον

and in our invocations to the theos our bidding is: Master, have mercy.

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Article source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/in-defence-of-the-catholic-church/


The Numinous Foundations of Human Culture

David Myatt

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Editorial Note: Although we’re not certain if this 2010 item by David Myatt is one of the many items about his ‘numinous way’ that he subsequently, post-2011, rejected, we reproduce it here since in our view it expresses not only certain mystical truths but also much about Mr Myatt himself.

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The Numinous Foundations of Human Culture

In your recently published autobiography, Myngath, you wrote that, and I quote – “a shared, a loyal, love between two people is the most beautiful, the most numinous, the most valuable thing of all.” Is that how you now feel about life?

Certainly. I have now reached the age when there seems to be a natural tendency to reflect on the past – to recall to one’s consciousness happy, treasured, moments from decades past, bringing as such recollections seem to do some understanding of what is important, precious, about life, about our mortal human existence.

One remembers – for instance – those tender moments of one’s child growing in the first years of their life – the moment of first walking, the first words, the time they feel asleep in your arms on that day when warm Sun and their joyful discovery of sand and sea finally wore them out… Or the tender moments of a love, shared, with another human being; perhaps evoked again by some scent (of a flower, perhaps) or by those not quite dreaming-moments before one falls asleep at night, or, as sometimes occurs with people of my age, in the afternoon after lunch or following that extra glass of wine to which we treat ourselves.

It is as if – and if we allow ourselves – we become almost as children again, but with the memories, the ability, to appreciate the time, the effort, the love, the tenderness, and often the sacrifice, that our own parents showed and gave to us but which we never really appreciated then in those moments of their giving. As if we wish we could be back there, then, with this our ageful understanding – back there, full of youth and unhampered by the ageing body which now seems to so constrain us. Thus, are we as if that, this, is all we are or have to give: this, our understanding, our now poignant understanding; this – perhaps a smile, a gesture, a look, a word, or those tears we might cry, silently, softy, when we are alone, remembering. Tears of both sadness and of joy; of memories and of hopes. Hopes that someone, somewhere, at some time, might by our remembering be infused, if only a little, with that purity of life which such ageing recollections seem to so exquisitely capture.

That purity which becomes so expressed, so manifest, if one watches – for example – a young loving mother cradling her baby. Look at her eyes, her face, the way she holds her hands. There is such a gentle love there; such a gentle love that artists should really try and capture again and again in music, in painting, in moving images, in words, in sculpture. And capture again and again so that their Art reminds us of that so very human quality, that so very fragile quality, which enables us – each, another separate human being – to be so gently aware of another person, and thus able for ourselves, if only for an instant, to feel that gentleness, that tenderness, in another. This tenderness, this love, should be captured and expressed again and again because such love is one of the foundations of human culture, and something we so often, especially we men, are so prone to forget when we allow ourselves to become subsumed with some abstraction, some idealistic notion of duty, or some personal often selfish emotion.

Thus are we reminded of the value, the importance, of human love, and the need for us to be empathic beings – to have and to develope our empathy so that we can shed our selfish self and the illusion of our separateness.

That sounds very much like some old hippy talking – preaching love and gentleness. But don’t you still uphold honour and surely that itself might sometimes require the use of force, of violence? Surely there is a contradiction, here – between such tenderness, such love, and such force?

Personally, I think there is no contradiction, only a natural human balance. One prefers love, gentleness, empathy, but one is prepared, if necessary, to defend one’s self and one’s loved ones from those who might act in a selfish, dishonourable, harmful, violent, way toward us in some personal situation.

This nature balance – an innate nobility – is possessed by many human beings, and has been, for millennia; which is why some people just naturally have a sense of fair-play and would instinctively “do the right thing” in some situations, for example if they saw two men (or even one man) battering a women in a public place or if they came across a group of yobs taunting an elderly disabled man. And it is this natural balance, this notion of fairness, which is another of the numinous foundations of human culture.

Thus, it is that, according to my understanding, it is personal love – with all its tenderness – combined with fairness, a sense of personal honour, and with the ability to empathize with other human beings, that are not only numinous, but which also express our culture, our social nature, and are the things we should value, treasure, and seek to develope within ourselves.

It is unfortunate, therefore, that our predilection for manufacturing and believing in abstractions has, over millennia, and especially in the past hundred or more years, detracted from these three noble virtues of personal love, personal honour, and empathy, and instead led to the manufacture of new types of living where some abstraction or other is the goal, rather than such virtues.

My own life – until quite recently – is an example of how a person can foolishly and unethically place abstractions before such virtues and thus cause suffering in others, and for themselves.

One reviewer of your autobiography wrote of it as a modern allegory; a story of personal redemption, but without God. Would you agree?

With my four-decade long love of abstractions I certainly seem to have been a good example of human stupidity and arrogance; of someone obsessed with ideas, and ideals, for whom love and personal happiness came second, at best. Someone who arrogantly, sometimes even fanatically, believed they were “doing the right thing” and who found or who made excuses for the suffering, both personal and impersonal, that he caused.

Even worse, perhaps, was that there were many times in my life when I understood this, instinctively, emotionally, and consciously, but I always ended up ignoring such understanding – at least until recently. So, in effect, that makes me a worse offender than many others.

So, yes – perhaps my life is one such allegory; one story of how a human being can return to the foundations of human culture, and thus embrace the numinous virtue of compassion, of ceasing to intentionally cause suffering, of considering that a shared and loyal love between two human beings is the most beautiful, the most precious, the most numinous, thing of all.

But without a religious dimension? That, surely, is the key here, and what makes your story so very interesting?

Certainly, a kind of redemption without a belief in conventional religion. But that is only my own personal conclusion, my own personal Way, which therefore does not necessarily mean it is correct. It is only my own Numinous Way, deriving from my own pathei-mathos, founded on empathy, compassion, honour, and where there is no need for some supreme deity, or some theology, or even for some belief in something supra-personal. Instead, I feel there is a human dimension here – a natural return to valuing human beings, born of empathy. That is, that what is important is a close, a personal and empathic, interaction between human beings, and a living in a compassionate and honourable way – rather than a religious approach, with prayer, with rituals, with notions of sin, of redemption by some some supra-personal deity, or some belief in some after-life and which after-life is ours if we behave in the particular ways that some religion or some Sage or teacher or prophet prescribes or describes.

Without, in particular, any texts or impersonal guidance or revelation – since we have all the guidance we need, or can have all the guidance we need, because of and with and through empathy; by means of developing empathy, and so feeling as others feel. Thus, we lose that egocentric – that selfish, self-contained – view of ourselves, and instead view, and importantly feel, ourselves as connected to, part of, other human life, other beings; we know, we feel, we understand, that they are us and that we are them, and that it is only the illusion of the self, the abstraction of the self, that keeps us from this knowing, this feeling, this understanding of ourselves as a nexion to all other Life.

Thus, there is – or seems to me to be – a natural simplicity here in this Way of Empathy, Compassion, and Honour: a child learning and maturing, to perchance develope into another type of human being who might perchance with others develope new, more loving, more empathic, more balanced, ways of social living, and thus a new type or species of human culture where abstractions no longer hold people in thrall.

Is this – in enabling this new culture – where you think artists have an important rôle to play?

Yes, artists and artisans as pioneers of a new type of human culture – artists and artisans of the Numinous who can presence, and thus express, in their works those things which can inspire us to be human, to be more human, and to value the numinous virtues of empathy, compassion, personal love, and personal honour.

David Myatt
JD 2455419.173


Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20111010085733/http://davidmyatt.wordpress.com:80/numinous-foundations-of-human-culture/


Myatt’s Philosophy: Honour, Empathy, A Rejection Of Extremism

David Myatt

David Myatt

°°°°°°°°°

Editorial Note:

The following essay is an extract from the book The Mystic Philosophy Of David Myatt by JR Wright and R. Parker, second edition 2018 {1}.

The book provides a detailed analysis of Myatt’s philosophy of pathei mathos; a philosophy, or weltanschauung, which Myatt developed between 2011 and 2015 following his rejection of extremism which, as the author of the following writes,

“was a consequence of pathei mathos – primarily, the suicide of his partner in 2006 – and which learning from grief resulted in him developing what he termed a philosophy of pathei-mathos centred around personal virtues such as humility, compassion, empathy and personal honour.”

It is those virtues which form the core of Myatt’s philosophy, and in our view this extract gets to the heart of that philosophy providing as it does relevant quotations from Myatt’s post-2011 writings.

We have corrected a few typos in the essay.

RDM Crew,
2018

°°°

{1} 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

The contents of the book are:

I. A Modern Mystic: David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos.
II. A Modern Pagan Philosophy.
III. Honour In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos.
IV. An Overview of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos.
           Part One: Anti-Racism, Extremism, Honour, and Culture.
           Part Two: Humility, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos.
V. Classical Paganism And A New Metaphysics.
Appendix I. A Note On Greek Terms In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos.
Appendix II. Towards Understanding Ancestral Culture.
Appendix III. From Mythoi To Empathy: Toward A New Appreciation Of The
Numinous.

°°°°°°°°°

An Overview of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos, Part One

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

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

Culture, Civilization, and Politics

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

For he writes that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“the personal virtue of honour, and the cultivation of wu-wei, are – together – a practical, a living, manifestation of our understanding and appreciation of the numinous; of how to live, to behave, as empathy intimates we can or should in order to avoid committing the folly, the error, of ὕβρις, in order not to cause suffering, and in order to re-present, to acquire, ἁρμονίη. For personal honour is essentially a presencing, a grounding, of ψυχή – of Life, of our φύσις – occurring when the insight (the knowing) of a developed empathy inclines us toward a compassion that is, of necessity, balanced by σωφρονεῖν and in accord with δίκη.” {14}

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

“According to my limited understanding and knowledge, I am not expressing anything new here. Indeed, I feel (and I use the word ‘feel’ intentionally) that I am only re-expressing what I intuitively (and possibly incorrectly) understood nearly half a century ago about Taoism when I lived in the Far East and was taught that ancient philosophy by someone who was also trying to instruct me in a particular Martial Art.” {13}

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

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

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

For:

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

Extremism, Racism, And Prejudice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Furthermore, according to Myatt:

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

R. Parker
2014

Notes

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

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

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

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


War And Persecution

David Myatt

°°°°°°°°°

Persecution And War

A Remembering

Reared as a Roman Catholic, educated for a while at a Catholic preparatory school and then – again for a while – at a Catholic boarding school, I remember the history taught by our teachers and Priests of the centuries-long persecution of English and Irish Catholics that began in the 16th century. There were stories of martyrs; of recusants; of secret Masses; of anti-Catholic polemics and propaganda; and of the monks who – after the suppression of the monasteries, the theft of monastic lands and wealth, begun by a tyrannos named Henry – escaped to France and founded monasteries such as the one at Dieulouard in Lorraine.

There thus was engendered in we Catholic children a feeling of difference, aided by the fact that our Mass was in Latin, by our sacrament of confession, by the practice of Gregorian chant, and by the singing of hymns such as Faith Of Our Fathers with its memorable verses

Faith of our Fathers living still
In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword […]
We will be true to thee till death […]

Our Fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free […]
Faith of our Fathers, Mary’s prayers
Shall win our country back to thee

This feeling of difference was forcefully remembered when I in the early 1970’s – during The Troubles – ventured to visit Northern Ireland; when I in the mid-1970’s and as a Catholic monk spent several weeks staying at a Presbytery in Dublin; and when I in the mid-1990’s – before the Good Friday Agreement – visited Derry.

Forcefully remembered because I listened to accounts of the burning of Catholic homes by Protestant mobs in 1969 and the subsequent flight of hundreds of Catholic families to the Irish Republic where they were housed in refugee camps; listened to witness accounts of the killing of eleven Catholics, including a Priest, by the British Army in Ballymurphy in 1971; listened to witness accounts of the killing of fourteen Catholics, again by the British Army, in Derry in 1972; and listened to stories of the persecution of Irish Catholics under British rule.

Such a remembering, such a childhood feeling of difference, formed part of the years-long personal and philosophical reflexion that occupied me for several years as I, between 2006 and 2009, developed my ‘numinous way’ and then between 2011 and 2012 gradually refined it into the ‘way of pathei-mathos’, with the core of that reflexion concerning matters such as extremism, my own extremist past, war, prejudice, intolerance, and persecution.

War And Combat

Familiar as I was with ancient works by Thucydides, Herodotus, Livy, and others; with many works concerning more recent European history by modern historians, as well as with personal accounts of those who had fought for both the Allies and the Axis during World War Two, I recalled some words of Cicero:

“Aliis ego te virtutibus, continentiae, gravitatis, iustitiae, fidei, ceteris omnibus.”

“because of your other virtues of self-restraint, of dignity, of fairness, of honesty, and all other such qualities…” [1]

Which led me to consider making a distinction between war and a more personal combat, between a modern krieg and the Old Germanic werra, given that war, from my reading of and admittedly fallible understanding of history, seemed to me to involve – by its very nature of necessitating killing and causing injury – intolerance, hatred, a divisive sense of difference often involving “us” believing we were “better” (or more civilized) than them, our enemies, thus leading to a dehumanization of “the enemy”. A divisive sense of difference and a dehumanization often aided (particularly in modern times) by polemics, rumour, and propaganda; and a divisive sense of difference, a dehumanization, together with polemics, rumour, and propaganda, which I knew from my own decades of political and religious activism formed a core part of all types of extremism.

The distinction I considered was that personal combat unlike war did not involve large armies fighting against each other because of some diktat or personal agenda by some tyrannos or because of some ideology or religion or policy of some State or government. Instead, combat involved small groups – such as clans or tribes or neighbours – fighting because of some personal quarrel or some wrong or some perceived grievance.

But the more I considered this supposed distinction between combat and war the more I realized that in practice there was no such distinction since both involved principles similar to those of the Ancient Roman Leges Regiae – qv. the Jus Papirianum attributed to Sextus Papirius – where someone or some many possess or have acquired (through for example force of arms) or have assumed authority over others, and who by the use of violence and/or by the threat of punishment and/or by oratory or propaganda, are able to force or persuade others to accept such authority and obey the commands of such authority.

This acceptance by individuals of a supra-personal authority – or, more often, the demand by some supra-personal authority that individuals accept such a supra-personal authority – was manifest in the Christian writings of Augustine (b.354 CE, d.430 CE), such as his De Civitate Dei contra Paganos where in Book XIX, chapter xiii, he wrote of the necessity of a hierarchy in which God is the supreme authority, with peace between human beings and God requiring obedience to that authority; with peace between human beings, and civil peace, also of necessity requiring obedience to an order in which each person has their allotted place, “Ordo est parium dispariumque rerum sua cuique loca tribuens dispositio.”

Which hierarchy and acceptance of authority led Augustine to describe – in book XXII of Contra Faustum Manichaeum – the concept that war requires the authority of a person (such as a monarch) who has such “necessary” authority over others. This concept regarding war has remained a guiding principle of modern Western nations where the authority to inaugurate and prosecute a war against perceived enemies resides in the State, and thus in modern potentates who have seized power or in elected governments and their representatives such as Presidents and Prime Ministers.

Authority And Society

In the nations of the West, such a hierarchy of authority applies not only to war and its prosecution but also to changes, to reform, in society [2] for there is, as I mentioned in The Numinous Way Of Pathei-Mathos,

“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.” [3]

In the way of pathei-mathos authority is personal, based on individual empathy and a personal pathei-mathos; both of which have a local horizon so that what is

“beyond our personal empathic knowing of others, beyond our knowledge and our experience [our pathei-mathos], 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.” [4]

In practical terms this means trying to cultivate within ourselves the virtues mentioned by Cicero – self-restraint, dignity, fairness, honesty – and implies we have no concern for or we seek to cultivate no concern for supra-personal hierarchies and supra-personal authority – whether political, religious, or otherwise – and thus move away from, try to distance ourselves from, the consequences of such supra-personal hierarchies and supra-personal authority manifest as the consequences are and have been, throughout our history, in war, prejudice, intolerance, unfairness, extremism, persecution in the name of some ideology, some religion, or because someone has commanded us to persecute those that they and others have declared are “our” enemies, and which wars and persecutions are often, especially in modern times, accompanied by propaganda and lies.

Thus in the case of my Catholic remembering, those soldiers in Ballymurphy and in Derry shot and killed civilians, women included, because those soldiers believed them to be “enemies”, because propaganda had dehumanized those enemies; because those soldiers were part of and obeyed a hierarchical, supra-personal, chain-of-command by being there armed and prepared to use deadly force and violence against individuals they did not personally know; and because in the aftermath of those killings, and for years afterwards, they were not honest and hence did not contradict the propaganda stories, the lies, about those events which some of their superiors and others circulated in an attempt to justify such acts of inhumanity.

Yet for me the real tragedy is that events similar to those of my very personal remembering have occurred on a vaster scale millennia after millennia and are still occurring, again on a vaster scale and world-wide, despite us having access to the wisdom of the past, manifest as such wisdom is, for those reared in the West, in the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, in the Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles, in the mythos of Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες [5], in many of the writings of Cicero, in Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν by Marcus Aurelius, in the numinous beauty of Gregorian chant, in the music of JS Bach, and in so many, many, other writers and artists ancient and modern.

Ða sceolde se hearpere weorðan swa sarig
þæt he ne meahte ongemong oðrum mannum bion
(XXXV, 6)

David Myatt
9.ix.18

°°°

[1] M. Tullius Cicero, Pro Murena Oratio, 23. My translation.

[2] By ‘society’ is the context of this essay and the way of pathei-mathos is meant 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 some State, and States are predicated on individuals actively or passively accepting some supra-personal authority, be it governmental (national) or regional (county), or more usually both.

[3] “Society, Politics, Social Reform, and Pathei-Mathos”. The Numinous Way Of Pathei-Mathos. 2013. Fifth edition. Link: https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/numinous-way-v5c-print.pdf

I have corrected a typo in the quotation.

[4] “Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions.” 2015. Link: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/personal-reflexions-on-some-metaphysical-questions/

[5] “Trimorphed Moirai with their ever-heedful Furies.” Aeschylus (attributed), Prometheus Bound, 516


Article Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/persecution-and-war/