From NS To Mysticism

David Myatt

David Myatt

The Uncertitude Of Mr Myatt
(pdf)

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

The contents of this new work are as follows:

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

°°°°°

Related

The Mystic Philosophy of David Myatt
(pdf)


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Re-discovering Western Paganism

O9A. One Image, Ten Thousand Words

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Re-discovering Western Paganism

Whenever the term ‘western paganism’ is written or heard, in our contemporary societies, there is tendency for many readers or listeners to conjure up either images of ancient ‘superstitious barbarians’ offering sacrifices to various gods such as Odin, or images of modern devotees – of what has been termed ‘contemporary paganism’ and ‘neopaganism’ – in robes conducting or attending romanticized rituals and ceremonies such as those now associated with the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge.

In this essay, however, in referring to Western paganism we are referring to a particular and spiritual ethos – to a distinguishing character, or nature, or ‘spirit’ – germane to European lands and thus to ‘the West’, where by ‘spiritual’ is meant concerning what is considered to be, intuitively or otherwise, numinous, and/or concerning those forces or powers which are believed to be, or which may, determine our fate, wyrd, destiny and thus which may bring good fortune or misfortune to us, our family, and to our communities.

Hence, when writing about ‘the West’ we are not writing about the nations of the modern West and the life-styles and politics evident in such modern nations as the United States and Britain. What is meant is the culture and the civilization of and associated with European lands (and with what are now our former colonies or émigré lands) embodied and manifest as that culture and civilization was and is in the paganism of classical Greece and Rome; in the ritual practices and beliefs of North European lands such as Scandinavia and ancient Britain; in Greco-Roman art; in classical – and European folk – music; in the philosophy of the likes of Aristotle; in allegories such as those of Faust and myths such as King Arthur, Wotan, and the Valkyries; in the Greco-Roman mysticism of the Corpus Hermeticum, and in modern science and technology.

That is, we are writing about a particular culture of a particular people; of indigenous Europeans, among whose descendants are people of such lands as are now named Greece, Italy, Britain, Germany, Spain, France, Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, etcetera.

Part of this ancestral Western, this ancestral European, culture is a particular and spiritual ethos, and one which the term Western paganism correctly describes, with this particular paganism having its roots in Ancient Greece and Rome and thus being different, in ethos and in practise, from what is currently known concerning, for example, such religious practices and beliefs as that of ancient Germanic tribes. This ‘Greco-Roman’ paganism is the paganism of Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristotle, Seneca, and Cicero; a paganism that is pragmatically spiritual whose foundation is the rationalization that certain deeds were wise and certain other deeds unwise, with such unwise deeds – such hubris, ὕβρις – upsetting that natural balance of the Cosmos (κόσμος) and thus liable (according to ancestral tradition) to cause misfortune. Thus did Sophocles express a truth of this tradition when he wrote that “hubris is the genesis of tyrants” since tyrants invariably bring misfortune upon the people and, eventually, upon themselves and – quite often – on their descendants. In addition, and importantly, elegance, the beautiful (τὸ καλόν) as well as excellence (arête, ἀρετή) and nobility (τὸ ἀγαθόν) were all associated with those who did what was considered wise and balanced (μέσος, in Aristotle).

This is the ethos, the pragmatic spirituality, and the notion of balance, harmony, elegance, and of beauty, which infuses the culture and the civilization of Ancient Greece and Rome, and which culture so enthused those Europeans – artists, scholars, educators, potentates, and others – who from the 14th century on brought about the Renaissance and which Renaissance, which re-discovery of the culture of ancient Greece and Rome, gave birth to and infused our Western ‘Faustian’ civilization.

A Pagan Renaissance

This Renaissance, however, did not in any significant way include a practical return to classical paganism. Instead of giving rise to a new, an evolved, pagan ethos – and thus dispensing with the notion of anthropomorphic deities interfering in the lives of human beings – it resulted in only minor changes to the governing religious ethos manifest as that was in Christianity with its quite un-classical, rather stark, notions of Hell-Fire, Damnation, Sin, and Prudery. In other words, the governing spirituality continued to be Hebraic, derived from the Old Testament as amended by the ‘new covenant’ of Jesus of Nazareth.

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.

Which problem of translation is why, for example, the Antigone of Sophocles has become to be regarded (by all but a handful of scholars) as some kind of ancient morality tale or as just a drama about a conflict between two strong and different characters, Antigone and Creon; why Oedipus Tyrannus is regarded (by all but a handful of scholars) as a morality tale about “incest”, and why the texts of the Corpus Hermeticism are regarded as imbued with a Christian-like mysticism and as having been influenced by both the Old and New Testaments.

Yet properly understood in the necessary cultural context, the Antigone, as one translator noted in the Introduction to his translation,

“deals with the relation between mortals and gods. The work is an exploration and explanation of the workings of the cosmos, and the answers given express the distinctive ancient Greek ‘outlook’ or ethos. This ethos is pagan, and its essence may be said to be that there are limits to human behaviour; that some conduct is wise, some conduct is unwise. Unwise conduct invites retribution by the gods: it can and often does result in personal misfortune, in bad luck.” {1}

Ditto in respect of the Oedipus Tyrannus, and the Agamemnon of Aeschylus. Regarding the Corpus Hermeticism, as we have previously mentioned, certain new translations restore

“these texts to the Western pagan tradition and make them relevant to our times when Western culture and our classical, Greco-Roman, and pagan heritage is increasingly subsumed in schools and elsewhere by other, non-Western, cultures and religions, with it now being politically incorrect to point out that Western culture with its Greco-Roman pagan heritage has profoundly changed the world for the better and is arguably superior to all other cultures past and present.” {2}

That is, translations of important classical texts are now available which, when studied together, enable us to appreciate and understand the classical, pagan, ethos and thence the ethos of the West itself. {3}

Which understanding might – probably should – lead us, or someone, to develop a new, an evolved, pagan weltanschauung which does not involve anthropomorphic deities but instead is based on a new ontology regarding our relation, as sentient beings, to Being, to the Cosmos, rather than to ‘God’ or to some ‘gods’. Something perhaps prefigured in Greek texts such as these with their reasoned, pragmatic, and often quite warrior-like, spirituality:

The Muse shall tell of the many adventures of that man of the many stratagems
Who, after the pillage of that hallowed citadel at Troy,
Saw the towns of many a people and experienced their ways:
He whose vigour, at sea, was weakened by many afflictions
As he strove to win life for himself and return his comrades to their homes.
But not even he, for all this yearning, could save those comrades
For they were destroyed by their own immature foolishness
Having devoured the cattle of Helios, that son of Hyperion,
Who plucked from them the day of their returning. {4}

°°°°°

You should listen to [the goddess] Fairness and not oblige Hubris
Since Hubris harms unfortunate mortals while even the more fortunate
Are not equal to carrying that heavy a burden, meeting as they do with Mischief.
The best path to take is the opposite one: that of honour
For, in the end, Fairness is above Hubris
Which is something the young come to learn from adversity. {5}

°°°°°

This person, whom I praise, never ceased to believe that the gods delight in respectful deeds just as much as in consecrated temples, and, when blessed with success, he was never prideful but rather gave thanks to the gods. He also made more offerings to them when he was confident than supplications when he felt hesitant, and, in
appearance, it was his habit to be cheerful when doubtful and mild-mannered when successful. {6}

°°°°°

Clytaemnestra:

Because of these grievous things, no one should invoke a fatal curse upon
Nor turn their wroth toward, Helen
As if she was some man-killer who alone destroyed
The lives of those many Danaan men
By having wrought such a festering wound […]

The wife of this corpse presents herself here
As that most ancient fierce Avenger.
It is Atreus, he is of that cruel feast,
Who, in payment for that, has added to his young victims
This adult one […]

But do not suppose that his killing was ignoble
For did he not by his cunning set Misfortune upon this family? {7}

°°°°°

Creon:

So even then you dared to violate these laws?

Antigone:

It was not Zeus who proclaimed them to me,
Nor did she who dwells with the gods below – the goddess, Judgement –
Lay down for us mortals such laws as those.
Neither did I suppose that your edicts
Had so much strength that you, who die,
Could out-run the unwritten and unchanging
Customs of the gods: for the life of these things
Is not only of yesterday or today, but eternal,
No one remembering their birth. {8}

All of which explains why we love to also quote what a certain English poet wrote in 1873 CE: “the separation between the Greeks and us is due principally to the Hebraistic culture we receive in childhood.” All those tall tales from the Bible about various Hebrew folk…

Rachael & Richard Stirling
Shropshire
Autumnal Equinox 2017 ev

°°°°°

{1} Antigone. Translated by David Myatt.

{2} https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/an-insight-into-pagan-mysticism/

{3} These translations – dating from between 1991 and 2017, and all of which are independent of his own mystical – if pagan – ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’ – are by David Myatt, and include the following important classical texts:

° The Agamemnon of Aeschylus. ISBN-13: 978-1484128220

° Sophocles – Oedipus Tyrannus. ISBN-13: 978-1484132104

° Sophocles – Antigone. ISBN-13: 978-1484132067

° Homer – The Odyssey: Books 1, 2 & 3. ISBN-13: 978-1495402227

° Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. A compilation containing translations of and commentaries on tractates I, III, IV, VI, VIII, XI, XII, XII. ISBN-13: 978-1976452369.

The commentaries on the tractates are of especial interest in elucidating the paganism of the texts.

His Greek translations are available here: https://perceiverations.wordpress.com/greek-translations/

{4} The Odyssey. Translated Myatt.

{5} Hesiod. Translated Myatt, and quoted (with the Greek text) in his commentary on Tractate III.

{6} Xenophon. Translated Myatt, and quoted (with the Greek text) in his commentary on Tractate I.

{7} Agamemnon. Translated Myatt.

{8} Antigone. Translated Myatt.


Support Your Local Police

nypd

 

Two events today – one very local and personal, the other of international political interest and personally unrelated to me – reminded me of what we in the West have and one of the important reasons how what we have is currently maintained.

Local

Earlier this morning Police surrounded a nearby house, with one armed Police officer – a quite young man – detailed to guard a possible rear escape route. Raid over, with arrests made, the armed officer politely and calmly re-assured a local resident who had, seeing and hearing the kerfuffle, ventured out into her garden, next door. In return, she thanked him knowing as she did how and why he had that morning willingly put his own life in danger. He genuinely surprised yet pleased that someone, some local resident, understood.

International

Such an orderly, and so very civilized, change of leader of a government in one Western country. Established, time-honored, procedures, a certain formality, and most definitely a long-standing tradition. A last appearance in a debating chamber for the departing leader during which not one of his political opponents used vulgar language or indulged in argumentum ad hominem. Then, for him, a journey – in a convoy with armed Police – to a formal audience with the Royal Sovereign of that land who alone, constitutionally, had the power to accept his resignation as leader, and who asked for his recommendation of who would be his successor as political leader of that land. Followed, shortly thereafter, by that new leader – in another convoy with armed Police – who only the Royal Sovereign of that land could formally, legally, appoint.

Here again were people acting in a civilized, a cultured, way; and here again were Police personnel – without any fuss or bother – putting their own lives in danger.

A Civilization Maintained

Such a contrast to so many places, to so many lands, around the world. Such an order, such a culture, such traditions, such civilized behavior by so many, as we in the West now have and have for over a century managed to maintain, despite the many problems that have afflicted us and despite the uncivilized behavior, the unreason, of many within our own lands.

Managed to maintain: because there are rules, traditions, procedures, for governments and politicians, worked out and refined over a century and more.

Managed to maintain: because there is the rule of law which, despite some individuals some of the time disagreeing with some of those laws, has created and maintained an ordered society for the benefit of the many, which law can be changed by civilized procedures, and which law – for all its faults – does on balance reflect what is fair, civilized.

Managed to maintain: because there is a Police force with long-standing traditions and procedures and with so many individuals within it prepared to put their own lives in danger because they know or because they instinctively feel what is civilized and what it is, in a given situation, the civilized, the fair, thing to do.

Managed to maintain: despite the doubters, the critics, the uncouth, the hateful, ones who seek to overthrow such a civilized, hard-won, order and who – often via the fallacy of arguing from the specific to the general – demean and hate the many (politicians, the Police) for the misdeeds of a minority.

All this, and so many similar things, is why I – aligning myself as I do with Reichsfolk – have a natural aversion to the uncouth behavior and language and the barbaric hatred of the many who now align themselves with National Socialism without understanding, or without feeling, its civilized, cultured, essence: an essence so manifest in the Waffen-SS, and an essence so maligned for so many decades by so much propaganda and so many lies because of the vested interests of so many who, at heart, are uncouth, uncultured, and uncivilized.

S.L.
13 July 2016

odal3


From The Archives: Selected NS Essays

David Myatt

David Myatt: National Socialist Essays
(Volume 1, pdf)

As an academic noted in an article – published in 2013 by the United States Air Force – David Myatt is “arguably England’s principal proponent of contemporary neo-Nazi ideology and theoretician of revolution.” [1]

It seems therefore apposite for us to offer this volume: the first in a projected series of documents containing a few of the hundreds of National Socialist essays of David Myatt dating from the middle to late 1990s, essays which were not included in the recent [April 2016] pdf collection we released titled Selected National Socialist Writings Of David Myatt.

Where that collection concentrated on Myatt’s more philosophical and ideological NS writings – his revisionist vision and evolution of National Socialism – this series will concentrate on his more overtly political writings; the type of writings published for instance in his newsletter The National- Socialist – whose banner was ‘Propaganda Without A Fist To Back It Up Is Useless’ – and which newsletter was initially issued (from 1995 on) in support of Combat 18, and later (from 1997 on) in support of his own political organization The National-Socialist Movement, of which the London nail-bomber David Copeland was a member.

The re-publication of these essays, as with Selected National Socialist Writings Of David Myatt and the Constitution of The National-Socialist Reich, should provide suitable source material for those researching, studying, or interested in, either contemporary neo-nazi ideology and ‘right-wing’ extremism and/or the life and past extremism of Mr Myatt. What is also of interest is how Myatt’s political strategy evolved over time: from supporting covert insurrection and ‘terrorism’ in pursuit of overthrowing the government to – via pathei mathos – the ethical National Socialism of Reichsfolk.

RDM Crew
May 2016

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


A Primer of Neo-Nazi Ideology

hitler1

While ostensibly the pdf document linked to above is a detailed constitution for the Fourth Reich envisioned by some neo-nazis it is also a primer of contemporary neo-nazi ideology, or at least a primer of the ‘revisionist’ National Socialism propagated by David Myatt in the 1990s in his voluminous National Socialist pamphlets such as The Meaning Of National-Socialism (third edition, 115yf) and in essays such as Esoteric Hitlerism: Idealism, the Third Reich and the Essence of National-Socialism, both of which are included in Selected National Socialist Writings (pdf).

However, while many of Myatt’s NS writings are idealistic, often propagandistic, and thus vague on practical specifics, the Constitution of The National-Socialist Reich gives precise details regarding the practical implementation of Myatt’s vision of National Socialism: from the economy, to the type of government, to the judiciary to foreign policy.

Of course, how realistic such theorized practical implementations would be were a National Socialist or neo-fascist movement ever to obtain State power is another question, especially as many of those theorized implementations are exceedingly idealistic in a typical Myattian way. Nevertheless, and insofar as I am aware, no other contemporary neo-nazi document goes into such practical detail thus making it a valuable resource for those studying or interested in neo-nazi ideology and/or in the extremism and life of David Myatt.

As mentioned in the ‘Editorial Note’ which prefixes this version of the document, the Constitution was first circulated in the 1990s among supporters of Myatt’s National-Socialist Movement and first openly published by Reichsfolk in the year 2000, and although no author was given it has been attributed to Myatt given the frequent use of the terms ‘numinous’ and ‘Folk Culture’, its ‘code of honour’, and given its mention of a ‘cosmic being’ which ‘cosmic being’ featured frequently in Myatt’s later, post-1995, National Socialist and ‘folk culture’ writings.


The Mythos Of Vindex

odal3

This is the first publication of the complete edition of David Myatt’s text The Mythos of Vindex, although various and sometimes substantial extracts from it have been published over the years. Written between 1998 and 1999, with some parts revised by Myatt between 2002 and 2005, it expands upon, refines, and develops the themes he wrote about in his 1984 pamphlet Vindex: Destiny of The West.

The Mythos Of Vindex
(pdf)


A Review of Myatt’s ‘Good, Evil, Honour, and God’

David Myatt
A Review of David Myatt’s ‘Good, Evil, Honour, and God’

Introduction

Controversial, iconoclastic, and much maligned as David Myatt is, and metaphysical as his philosophy of pathei-mathos appears to be, it is my contention that Myatt’s 2013 text Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God {1} can provide some valuable insights regarding – and a new moral perspective in relation to – current events, especially given the comments and dehortations made, for well over a decade, regarding religious extremism and terrorism.

Such comments and dehortations – by government officials, the Media, and others – have intensified following recent attacks on Western interests, and citizens, in Tunisia, France, and elsewhere, with several government officials, and journalists, repeatedly using the word ‘evil’ to describe both such attacks and the individuals responsible for them, and with the consensus being that governments, police forces, intelligence agencies, other government institutions and even the armed forces, need to ‘”do more – and have more resources – to tackle and counter terrorism and extremism and prevent radicalization,” which often means in practice the introduction of more legislation, the arrest and imprisonment of those proven to be or suspected of being “supporters of terrorism”, de-radicalization programmes, mass surveillance by intelligence agencies, and supporting or facilitating or directly engaging in military action against “extremists and terrorists” in certain foreign countries.


A Different Perspective

In his Introduction, Myatt asks a rhetorical question:

“Can we as a species change, sans a belief in some reward or the threat of punishment – be such karmic, eschatological, or deriving from something such as a State – or are we fated, under Sun, to squabble and bicker and hate and kill and destroy and exploit this planet and its life until we, a failed species, leave only dead detritic traces of our hubris?”

He then goes on to offer his own answer, or rather provides a perspective which, as described in Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God, is different and possibly unique, for it is – as he admits in his Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination – the result of his

“forty years as a practical extremist [and] forty years of practical experience of extremism and of other extremists; a practical experience that began in 1968 and ranged from fascism, and the racism of National-Socialism, to radical Islam and which practical experience included founding and leading a political organization; producing propaganda, organizing activities and demonstrations, some of which ended in violence; speaking in public and participating in marches, demonstrations, and brawls; formulating extremist ideology; imprisonment for racist and other violence; participating in and recruiting for paramilitary activities; inciting hatred, violence and prejudice; engaging in criminal activities to fund extremist causes; encouraging and supporting terrorism; and so on.

My conclusions regarding extremism resulted from some years of moral, personal, and philosophical questioning and reflexion; a questioning whose genesis was a personal tragedy in 2006, and which questioning led me a few years later to reject all forms of extremism and develope my own weltanschauung – the philosophy of pathei-mathos – based on the virtues of empathy, compassion, and humility.” {2}

Given this experience, and given the erudition evident in his Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God, his views certainly merit serious consideration.

Thus, in respect of Islam, he writes that

“the problem with jurisprudence, Muslim and Christian, is and was our fallible, human, understanding of the revelation, of the original message; a problem classically understood in Islam by the distinction made by Muslim scholars between fiqh – our fallible understanding and attempts at interpretation – and Shariah, the divine and perfect guidance given by Allah, based as fiqh (classical Islamic jurisprudence) is on the principles of acceptance of diversity (of scholarly opinion), on custom [لعادة محكمة], and on reasoned deductions by individuals that are stated to be fallible and thus not immutable. A distinction that allows for reasoned change, accepts the necessity of diverse opinions, the necessity of individual independent scholarly judgement in trials, arbitrations, and determining penalties, and manifests both the non-hierarchical nature of the religion of Islam and the original understanding of the good and the bad.

In modern times, in the Muslim world, this necessary distinction between fiqh and Shariah, this allowance for reasoned change based on diverse scholarly opinion, and the necessity of individual independent scholarly judgement in trials, arbitrations, and determining penalties, often seems to be overlooked when attempts are made by governments in Muslim lands to introduce ‘Shariah law’ with the result that inflexible penal codes and immutable penalties are introduced backed by the claim, contrary to fiqh, that such governments have a mandate to impose and enforce such dogmatical interpretations as are an inevitable part of such government-sponsored codified law.”

Which presents an informed, a reasoned, view – based on personal experience, and learning – on how to possibly counter the extremism currently evident in groups such as ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyyah fī al-Iraq wa ash-Sham, commonly but incorrectly referred to as ‘Islamic State’. Which informed view is of supporting, in Muslim lands and elsewhere, classical Islamic jurisprudence and thus the independence, the authority, the learning, of the Qadi.

After analysing how Christianity, Islam, and the modern State, and their respective jurisprudence, view and have viewed ‘good and evil’ – an analysis complete with quotations in Ancient Greek and Arabic and occasionally in Hebrew, together with his own translations – Myatt presents his alternative: what he terms ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’, which he defines – in several of his writings, such as his Education And The Culture of Pathei-Mathos – as

“the accumulated pathei-mathos of individuals, world-wide, over thousands of years, as (i) described in memoirs, aural stories, and historical accounts; as (ii) have inspired particular works of literature or poetry or drama; as (iii) expressed via non-verbal mediums such as music and Art, and as (iv) manifest in more recent times by ‘art-forms’ such as films and documentaries. The culture of pathei-mathos thus includes not only traditional accounts of, or accounts inspired by, personal pathei-mathos, old and modern – such as the With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and the poetry of people as diverse as Sappho and Sylvia Plath – but also works or art-forms inspired by such pathei-mathos, whether personal or otherwise, and whether factually presented or fictionalized. Hence films such as Monsieur Lazhar and Etz Limon may poignantly express something about our φύσις as human beings and thus form part of the culture of pathei-mathos.” {3}

In a memorable passage from Good, Evil, Honour, and God, he writes that:

“Gandhi, motivated by a desire for communal change and a vision of the future, more recently wrote that civilization, correctly understood, does not mean and does not require cities and centralized government and vast industries – and thus a modern State – but rather means and requires a certain personal moral conduct, a “mastery over our mind and our passions”, non-violence, the simplicity of village life, and communities voluntarily cooperating together in pursuit of collective, and personal, development.”

For he argues that the culture of pathei-mathos – to which Gandhi made a significant contribution – is an alternative to these two influential but similar ontologies of (a) The State, and (b) conventional religions such as Christianity and Islam, both “with their powerful entities, their guidance, their punishments and rewards, and the progression of individuals toward some-thing which the powerful entity asserts or promises it can provide.”

In effect, Myatt suggests that the answer to religious and political extremism and to terrorism lies not with governments and their laws, their police and armed forces, and their institutions, all of which he describes, in the perspective of our human ‘culture of pathei-mathos’, as transient. Rather, that it lies in the wisdom evident in that thousands of years old ‘culture of pathei-mathos’ whose different ontology is:

“the ontology of the illusion of self and of the unity, sans denotatum, of all living beings; of how we – presenced as human beings – can and do affect, and have affected, other life including other humans, often in ways we are not aware of; and of how our perception of I and of ‘them’ (the separation-of-otherness) has often led to us affecting other life in a harmful way, thus causing or contributing to or being the genesis of suffering, for that other life and often for ourselves. The ontology where there is no distinction, in being, between us – the emanations – and what emanates; there is only the appearance of difference due to our use of a causal-only perception and of denotatum.”

This necessitates a moral reformation of ourselves as individuals, for:

“there is in this culture of pathei-mathos a particular ethos: the tone of harmony, ἁρμονίη; of a natural balance, or rather of how certain human actions are hubris – ὕβρις – and not only disrupt this needful harmony but also cause or contribute to suffering. Of the importance, and perhaps the primacy, of human love; of how Eris is the child of Polemos and Hubris, and of how a lovelorn Polemos follows Hubris around, never requited. Of how the truths of religions and spiritual ways are, in their genesis, basically simple, always numinous, and most probably the same: guides to living in such a way that we can rediscover the natural balance, appreciate the numinous, and avoid hubris.

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

For, in effect, the truths concerning honour and dishonour, and of our propensity for both honour and dishonour, are the essence of what we can learn from the supra-national, the living, and the thousands of years old, human culture of pathei-mathos.”

Importantly, he writes that what he is suggesting is just

“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.”

Personal Honour

In practical terms, the reformation that the culture of pathei-mathos suggests is, according to Myatt, simply an acceptance of personal honour, and thus it 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 […] The answer which is to live in hope – even need – of a personal loyal love; to live with empathy, gentleness, humility, compassion, and yet with strength enough to do what should be done when, within the purvue of our personal space, we meet with one or many causing suffering and harm, no thought then for the fragility of our own mortal life or even for personal consequences beyond the ἁρμονίη we, in such honourable moments, are.”

However, Myatt clearly states that he is only offering his “own fallible answer to the question of how to deal with the suffering that blights this world.”

Conclusion

What Myatt has thoughtfully and from experience proposed here is an alternative way of living, a new philosophy, deriving from ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’. That is, from the wisdom of centuries, and – although Myatt himself has said {4} that he is not expressing anything new “only re-express[ing] what so many others, over millennia, have expressed as result of (i) their own pathei-mathos and/or (ii) their experiences/insights and/or (iii) their particular philosophical musings” – my own view is that it is not only new but also radical.

New, and radical, because at its core – as a way of life, and as what he terms ‘the philosophy of pathei-mathos’ with its own ontology and epistemology {5} – is the virtue of personal honour, defined by a specific code of personal, ethical, behaviour. A practical virtue which – so far as I know – has not occupied a pre-eminent place in the thought of, or been the foundation of the philosophy of, those who, over centuries, contributed to the culture of pathei-mathos.

When Myatt’s Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God is considered in the context of his writings about his philosophy of pathei-mathos, and recent essays by him such as Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis and Extremism, Terrorism, Culture, And Physis: A Question Of Being {6}, then it is clear that what he is suggesting is that both the problem and the solution lie in us as individuals, in our nature as human beings; and that it is our responsibility as individuals – not, for example, the responsibility of some State – to “do what should be done when, within the purvue of our personal space, we meet with one or many causing suffering and harm.” That the solutions proposed and implemented by temporal States, and by political and religious ideologies and their followers, only – in the perspective of centuries and millennia – contribute to suffering because they do not and cannot change en masse (and have not changed, en masse) our nature as human beings. That an acceptance – by us as individuals – of, and a living by us according to, the virtue of personal honour is such a means to change our nature, and thus to break the cycle of suffering and hubris.

As Myatt wrote in 2014, he believes not only 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,” {7}

but also that it is

“the personal virtue of honour, and the cultivation of wu-wei, [which] 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.” {8}

R. Parker
Shropshire
2015
v.1.03


Notes

{1} Myatt’s text is available from his site as a pdf file – Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God. It is also included in his book Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN 978-1484097984.

{2} Understanding and Rejecting Extremism, 2013. It is available in pdf format here – Understanding and Rejecting Extremism – and as a printed book, ISBN 978-1484854266.

{3} The text Education And The Culture of Pathei-Mathos is available here – https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/education-and-the-culture-of-pathei-mathos/

{4} The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis (2014).

{5} Myatt’s philosophy is described in the books, texts, and essays mentioned on his site at https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/writings-concerning-the-philosophy-of-pathei-mathos/ with many of the texts and essays freely available there as pdf files.
{6} In Extremism, Terrorism, Culture, And Physis: A Question Of Being, Myatt writes:

“The reality – the truth – of our being is that we humans can always find, and have always found – century after century, millennia after millennia – some cause or some ideology or some ideation or some interpretation of some religion or some dogma or some leader to allow us to express, to live, what is solely masculous […]

[For] a harsh modern interpretation of a particular religion hallowed what is masculous to the detriment of what is muliebral, making such a basal, such an unbalanced, masculous physis an ideal to be imitated and strived for, and which masculous ideal included the notion of a personal immolation, via kampf and a dishonourable disregard for the innocency of others, as a means to some posited goal. An unbalanced masculous physis also evident in – and idealized by – the ideologies of communism, nazism, and fascism, and in and by the ‘puritanical’ and inquisitorial interpretations of Christianity centuries before.”

He then goes on to suggest – as he also does in some other of his recent writings – that a solution to the problem of extremism (whether religious or political) is to balance, in the individual, the masculous with the muliebral by:

“the development by individuals of empathy and the cultivation of the virtue of personal honour; and, in terms of society, Studia Humanitatis: that is, education to form, to shape, the manners and the character, of individuals by not only acquainting them with such topics as are, and were traditionally, included in that subject, but also of them being educated in such knowledge concerning our physis as our thousands of years old human culture of pathei-mathos has bequeathed to us.”

{7} David Myatt: Some Questions For DWM (2014, e-text). The text is included in a collection of his essays published under the title One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings, ISBN 978-1502396105.

{8} The Natural Balance of Honour, 2012.  The text is an extract from Myatt’s The Way of Pathei-Mathos – A Philosophical Compendiary.


A pdf version is available here – review-myatt-good-evil.pdf