Further Questions For DWM

stars1

Further Questions For David Myatt

 

1. What portion of your peregrinations have you learned the most from, via πάθει μάθος, and what did you learn? Having learned these things, is there a portion of your life you would change given the opportunity and if so what portion and how would you change it?

On reflexion, I feel I have learnt most from four things. First, and perhaps the most significant in terms of pathei-mathos, was the suicide of my fiancée in 2006. This revealed just how selfish and arrogant and harsh I was and had been; how disconnected I was from empathy, compassion, and humility; and just how illusive my understanding of myself was.

Second, I have learned the value, the importance, of personal love. Of how and why a loyal love between two human beings is the most beautiful, the most numinous, thing of all.

Third, I learnt much from my time as a Christian monk, for I always remember those occasions when I felt something quietly joyous and innocent. As when, for example, I recall singing Gregorian chant in choir and which singing often connected me to what JS Bach so often so well expressed by his music; that is, connected me to what – in essence – Christianity (the allegory of the life and crucifixion of Christ) and especially monasticism manifested: an intimation of some-thing sacred causing us to know beyond words what ‘the good’ really means, and which knowing touches us if only for an instant with a very personal humility and compassion.

Fourth, I learnt much from my first few years as a Muslim, before I adhered to a harsh interpretation of Islam. A learning from being invited into the homes of Muslim families; sharing meals with them; praying with them; learning Muslim Adab. Attending Namaz at my local Mosque, and feeling – understanding – what their faith meant to them and what Islam really meant, and manifested, as a practical way of living (it, in my view, manifests something good, numinous). A learning from travelling in Muslim lands as a Muslim, and the kindness and the generosity shown, the many invitations to homes (I was once, albeit briefly, engaged to a Muslim lady in Egypt). These experiences purged me of every last vestige of racial prejudice, of believing – as I had for decades as a National Socialist – that ‘Aryans’ were superior, and Western ‘civilization’ the most advanced. These experiences revealed to me the irrelevancy of ethnicity, the irrelevancy of nationalism and of many other things I had believed in or had taken for granted.

In truth, however, all this learning amounts to one simple thing: my peregrinations taught me what being human means and can mean, and thus perhaps (and I hope) have made me a better human being.

As for doing or not doing something in my past given what I have learned – and assuming it was possible to so go back and so change one’s life – there are so many things I would change that I would not be able to decide ‘when’ – on what date, what occasion – to begin. Back to my school-days in the Far East before I stupidly became a nazi? Back to the monastery, to stay there and so not cause the subsequent suffering I caused because of my selfishness and because of my return to political extremism (my NS writings; Combat 18; the NSM; Copeland) and because of my subsequent adherence to a harsh interpretation of some religion? Back to my first marriage to the time before my selfishness and betrayal caused such suffering to my wife? Back to when I first met Sue so that I might somehow try and prolong her life beyond the four short years we spent together and thus before she so tragically died of cancer? Back to that remorseful day in late May 2006 when I selfishly, so very selfishly, left Frances alone because I wanted to return to the peace of the farm because that farm had for many years nurtured my soul; and thus, instead of that leaving, stay with her there on that day and subsequent days so that she did not, could not, in her lonely despair take her own life?

So many mistakes, errors; so much selfishness, arrogance, harshness, and extremism, and for so many decades, that I cannot choose just one portion to change. But if I really had to choose – and could choose – one very specific moment, it would be to not leave Frances alone on that now so remorseful day.

As I wrote a few months ago in respect of my past:

“In a very personal sense, my philosophy of pathei-mathos is expiative, as are my writings concerning extremism, such as my Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination published last year. Also expiative is my reclusiveness. But such things – as is only just and fitting – do little to offset the deep sadness felt, except in fleeting moments.”

2. In the matter of honour, it seems to me that “having honour” is the natural consequence of a certain type of Φύσις and that empathy and intuition are ready guides to honourable behaviour for a person of such Φύσις. What is the point of describing honour further in codes and rules and aren’t such codes simply abstractions? Can a person change their Φύσις with regard to honour (the dis-honourable becoming honourable) in your opinion, and if so how? If not, why not?

The concept, and the question, of honour is perhaps the most constant thing in my life, from teenage years in the Far East learning a Martial Art with its unwritten code of personal conduct, through my NS decades, to my Muslim years, to my ‘numinous way’ and thence to my philosophy of pathei-mathos. What has changed is my interpretation of honour. Until recently, it was always, for me, an idea and an ideal; that is, an abstraction. Furthermore, an ideal is often codified, or expressed, by means of the written word – I certainly tried to codify honour during my NS decades – and codifications are usually the view of one person, and thus fallible, and often open to interpretation.

A recent interpretation of mine in respect of honour was in my philosophy of pathei-mathos:

“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.”

That is, my understanding now is that, like empathy, honour can only be personal; an expression of our own φύσις; and a person either has this ‘faculty of honour’ or they do not. If they do not, can that faculty be developed, cultivated? Can honour be learnt? I admit I do not know, as I no longer presume to suggest any answers. I do know, however, that my current understanding is only my fallible understanding based on my limited knowledge.

3. What, would you say, differentiates the sort of ideation, the sort of “naming of things”, that conceals Φύσις from that which uncovers Φύσις and would you say that employing that form of ideation is useful to presencing ἀρετή and Δίκα, and if so in what way/how?

My fallible view now is that it is a question of personal empathy and personal humility. That it is those personal qualities, in the-immediacy-of-the-moment, that can and wordlessly, sans all ideations, reveal φύσις: that can reveal the nature of our being, the nature of other beings, and how all beings relate to Being.

By the nature of empathy and humility, this revealing cannot be abstracted out from that personal knowing nor from the-immediacy-of-the-moment of the revealing.

Furthermore, and 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.


4. If you have the time for one more question then I would ask if you consider your Numinous Way a subversive philosophy (as some of your fans do) and if so if that was intentional and why?

What I previously called the ‘numinous way’ has, since 2011, been substantially revised by me with much excised, and was replaced by my philosophy of pathei-mathos (which I am even now in the process of revising). That ‘numinous way’ was slowly developed over a period of many years, beginning around 2002 while I was still a Muslim and during a period of questioning the Muslim Way of Life and all other Ways of Life and manifestations of spirituality. That ‘numinous way’ was basically just a collection of my personal answers – and my revisions of those answers – to certain philosophical questions I pondered on, with those answers based on, or derived from, my own experiences, my own intuitions and my own limited knowledge.

Thus, and for a while, it represented my weltanschauung, and therefore had no subversive intent whatsoever. Furthermore, it was asking certain philosophical questions, trying to answer them, and the trauma of, and the pathei-mathos resulting from, the suicide of my fiancée in 2006 that took me away from Islam and irretrievably changed not only my perception of myself but also my own way of life so that I now live reclusively and concern myself only with such unworldly philosophical speculations as interest me.

David Myatt
May 2014

 

This text contains answers to some questions submitted to me through intermediaries in May 2014 and is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license. It can therefore be freely copied and distributed under the terms of that license

Source:

http://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/questions-for-dwm-2014/questions-for-dwm-part-2/further-questions/


Questions For David Myatt, Part Two

David Myatt

Some Questions For DWM

Part Two

 

Q. How would you now describe your attitude to life? Does this attitude colour how you view what you describe as your extremist decades?

I would describe my attitude to life now as being somewhat – but only somewhat – reminiscent of the Taoism I studied, over four decades ago, while living in the Far East. An attitude which, with its particular supra-personal, millennial, perspective – and intuition regarding δίκη – is very personal and which, while rather mystical, is not religious in the conventional sense. It is an attitude, a personal way, which embraces and appreciates tolerance, kindness, compassion, honour, and humility.

A personal way of living, discovered by pathei-mathos, that brings an awareness of not only the numinous but also of the importance of love, and yet which awareness also imbues me with sadness because of my own past, because of my mistakes, because of the suffering I personally caused, and because of the suffering that we humans now as in the past inflict on both other humans and the other life which share this planet orbiting one star in one galaxy in a Cosmos replete with billions of other planet-bearing, life-bearing, galaxies. A way which has distanced me so far from involvement with politics – and from having any political views or being concerned about ‘world events’ – it is almost as if I exist in another era.

A way which hields me to appreciate the society in which I am fortunate to live. This is, at least according to my limited knowledge, a society which – as with most if not all other Western ones – provides for the majority a better, a more free, way of life than exists for the majority in most other non-Western societies. Naturally, even in Western societies there are problems, injustices, inequalities, poverty, people who despair and people who suffer because of the deeds, the selfishness, of others. But there are also so many good people in our societies – whether in the West or elsewhere – trying to alleviate such suffering, trying to fix such problems, trying to remove such inequalities and alleviate such suffering, that I am gladdened, but also saddened because I remember how during my extremist decades I – preaching hate, intolerance, and espousing violence – despised such liberal-minded, compassionate, people and not only personally caused suffering but also saught to undermine, disrupt, and replace the society in which I lived – and the societies of the West in general – with a repressive one based on bigotry.

°°°

Q. What is your view now of Catholicism in particular and Christianity in general? I ask in relation to your upbringing as a Catholic, your experiences as a Catholic monk, your time as a Muslim, and in particular in relation to what appears to be – judging from some of your recent writings – your support for gay relationships. Is this support recent?

As with other religions, and spiritual ways of life, my attitude is one of tolerance and of appreciating how they all, in their varying ways, preserve and can provide others with that awareness of the numinous which humanizes us. They also can provide – and have provided for many over centuries – such expiation and such catharsis as often interiorly heals, or eases the burden of, those changed by pathei-mathos or suffused with grief.

My own experiences and pathei-mathos – and especially a recognition of my past multitudinous mistakes and hubris – have inclined me not to judge anything or anyone categorically, in an impersonal way, as one does if one has a certitude-of-knowing born of prejudice or from an arrogant belief that one ‘knows’ one is right, and so ‘knows’ either because of belief in some ideology or dogma, or because one is arrogant by nature or arrogant as compensation for an interior imbalance such as often found in those who are interiorly afraid or just too sensitive. Thus, I personally believe that Catholicism, and Christianity, have on balance made a positive difference in the world, and continue to make a positive difference, spiritually and socially, even though my experiences and my feelings mean that I personally disagree with, for example, the teaching of the Catholic Church – and the belief of many Christians, and the majority scholarly opinion in relation to the Muslim Deen – regarding those whose love is for someone of the same gender.

My personal experience of those whose love is for someone of the same gender dates back to my schooldays, and from that time on I have always had such friends, both male and female. During my brief time at University, during my violent, neo-nazi, ‘street fighting days’ in the early 1970′s, during my marriages, even during my time as a monk. While I personally have always desired and shared a human love involving someone of the opposite gender, I never – even from my schooldays – made any kind of distinction between ‘them’ and ‘us’. Rather, I just liked these people as individuals, and – as individuals often tend to do – we gravitated toward each other, and became friends, because we shared similar interests or enthusiasms, especially literature, Art, and classical music, and often because of a certain sensitivity from whence derived those manners that we also shared in common.

One such friendship formed in the Sixth Form of the College where, in the late 1960′s, I was one of the ‘seven day boarders’ and shared a kitchen and other facilities, on the top floor of our hall of residence, with five other schoolboys around my age, one of whom confided in me one Friday night, when we two as usual were playing poker for pennies while listening to a Savoy Brown LP, that he was – as we now say – ‘gay’, although of course he did not use that term, or indeed any other. Rather, he – trusting me – just talked of his feelings, his desires, his hopes, in a very awkward way as if he could not keep them within himself any longer. This was courageous of him, given the prejudice, the intolerance, toward those of his orientation that existed then, not long after the repeal in England of the laws which made homosexual acts a criminal offence. His preference, his nature, made no difference to me – I just liked him for who he was, and I have fond memories of helping him, later on, plan and organize the grandly named The Greek, Fudge, Rock, Blues and Boogie Party by which he desired to celebrate the end of our schooldays when we two, as part of that plan and with some other assistance, brought a Mini into the College hall to form the centrepiece for the dance floor, and which party proved a great success. Over the years I often, wistfully, wondered what became of him, hoping that he had found someone to love who loved him in the gentle, sensitive, way he needed.

Another such personal experience was when I, the monk, became friends with another monk whose love and desires were for someone of the same gender but who, because of his belief in Catholicism, had forsaken that personal love for another. I thus came to know of his prior interior struggles; of how his monastic vows helped him and of the expiation he saught in prayer when such feelings, in however small a way, came back to – in his words – torment him. And I must admit I admired the strength of his faith, the vigour of his determination, and perhaps most of all his humility, placing as he did a pure faith, inexpressible in words, before his own feelings, before his own thoughts, before his needs, before his very life. And, over the years, I wondered whether those feelings, those needs, had finally left him – perhaps so, for I have intermittently followed his career as a priest, knowing of his progression within the institution that is the Catholic Church. Perhaps he is also happy, or at least has found and is living the type of supra-personal happiness, that inner numinous peace, that I personally if only occasionally apprehended and felt during my time as a monk.

In terms, therefore, of how those whose love is for someone of the same gender relate to or believe in such religions as consider such love ‘unnatural’, my fallible view derived from my own experience and from my mutable understanding is that it is a personal matter based on the importance of personal love to us as human beings and the unimportance of gender in matters of love. That, ultimately, it is a question of ontology, of how we personally answer the question regarding the nature of our existence as human beings. Of whether, for example, we believe such obedience is required in order for us to attain a promised after-life (be it in Heaven or Jannah or elsewhere) or required in order to enable us to attain enlightenment, nirvana, or be reborn to progress toward that posited state of being. Or whether we accept – as I am inclined to – a paganus, more metaphysical, answer: of ourselves as simply a temporary and conscious presencing of Life, an affective nexus between Life-before-us and Life-after-us and which temporary and conscious presencing afford us the opportunity of aiding or of negating the evolution and the future presencings of Life; which Life is vast as the Cosmos, and which Life we can aid by a loyal personal love, regardless of the gender of the person we love. For I personally find love to be more numinous – and more spiritual when loyally shared – more life-affirming, than any dogma, than any ideology, than any organized religion which demands we abandon such personal love for obedience to some interpretation of some faith.

°°°

Q. I’ve read the extracts from your The Physics of Acausal Energy that have been published. When do you intend to publish the rest, and what experiments have you conducted or are conducting in connection with the theory?

The experiments, such as they were given various other commitments, were undertaken in the 1990′s when I was fortunate enough to have an electronics workshop with space to conduct such experiments. One of my hobbies during that and the previous decade was repairing scientific instruments and electronic equipment of the kind used in schools and universities, and in the 1990′s I occasionally did sub-contract work of a part-time nature for a firm (HSI) specializing in such repairs. I also repaired some physics and electronic equipment for an independent school, which repairs included their numerous old Radford Labpacks (a superb piece of kit) many of which no longer worked and all of which, when used under certain conditions, had a potentially serious fault – related to their high voltage DC output – which required fixing.

One field of experimental enquiry I pursued in the late 1990′s concerned trying to ascertain whether it was possible to usefully measure some physical property of a living organism (of a macro or micro type). One such physical property I explored was electrical resistance, and thus involved measuring the resistance of an organism on the macro level (as for example in a growing plant) and on the micro level (as in plant tissue) and then trying to ascertain whether that resistance changed under various conditions, such as when in close proximity to another living organism of the same and of a different type, and if so, how does that resistance vary with respect to the size or type of organism and to the distance between them. Of course, to be scientific each experiment had to replicated, as exactly as possible, many times in order to ascertain if there were any consistent, reproducible, results.

That set of experiments was never fully completed, due to a change in priorities following my arrest – and the seven hour search of my home – in early 1998 by Detectives from Scotland Yard. Which arrest formed part of what turned out to be a three year long international investigation into my political (and alleged paramilitary and terrorist) activities.

In respect of the theory, I was working on going beyond my original idea of using tensor analysis to describe an acausal space, a description based on equations involving a tensor with nine non-zero symmetric components. Which original idea was of trying to describe acausal space in terms of something either akin to a Riemannian metric or which posited a new type of metric describable in such conventional terms. In effect, I was therefore albeit in a stumbling way trying to develope a a new mathematical formulation to represent a-causal time and which formulation obviously could not involve (except possibly as a limiting case) equations involving some function (such as a differential) of the causal time of physics. However, I never got very far in developing this new formulation mostly because I lacked the mathematical skill and my feeble attempts to try and develope such new skills as would be required were, as with my experiments, interrupted by my arrest and by subsequent developments, such as my conversion to Islam later in 1998 and the travels in the Muslim world which followed.

The extracts you refer to were made around 1993, with copies sent to a few friends as well as – if my ageing memory is correct – being published some years later on JRW’s then ‘geocities’ DM website. As for the complete first draft of The Physics of Acausal Energy, it completed in late 1997 as *wpd files on several floppy disks, and which disks were seized – along with my computers, other disks, documents, letters, and data CD’s – during that 1998 dawn raid on my home. All these items were kept by the police and not returned to me until the Summer of 2001. In the intervening years a change of life-style and domicile, together with various travels and the breakdown of my marriage, combined to make me leave all such material (together with my favourite bespoke Tweed overcoat, a split cane fly-fishing rod, an exquisite moon-dial wristwatch, five notebooks containing my commentary of The Agamemnon, and other belongings) in storage in a shed in the garden of my former home where still lived my soon-to-be former spouse and her family, with my intention being to collect those belongings on my return from a trip to the Middle East. However, I never saw these belongings – nor my former spouse – again, and was told all those belongings had been disposed of. Thus, those extracts are all that remain of The Physics of Acausal Energy. I corrected, by hand, a print-out of those extracts in the Summer of 2002 following some months dwelling upon the ideas therein while living as I did that Summer in a tent in the Lake District, posting my revisions to a friend who circulated a few copies. Not long after, I moved to live and work on a farm, and for years had neither the time nor the desire to further pursue that theory or those experiments, until around 2009 when I endeavoured to reproduce what I remembered of the rest of the text of The Physics of Acausal Energy. But I soon realized that not only was I writing a new text – and which new text would be incomplete without reproducing and continuing the experiments and developing the new mathematics required – but also that I was no longer interested in the physical, the experimental, and the mathematical, aspects of the theory. For I felt those aspects belonged to a different me, to the decades of my former self, and that it would moreover be better if someone who was interested, with better mathematical skills than I, took up the challenge. Thus, I issued a ‘revised version’ of those (2002 corrected) 1993 extracts, and left it at that.

My interest in the theory now, such as it is, is purely a metaphysical one, as part of my philosophy of pathei-mathos.

°°°

 

Q. You’ve published your translation of the first part of the Corpus Hermeticum and the beginning of the Gospel of John, translations which strike me as iconoclastic. Why did you translate those works in particular and in the way you did, and when are you going to publish your translation of the rest of those works? Do you intend to translate more of authors such as Sophocles and Aeschylus and finish your translation of The Odyssey?

My interest in translating the Gospel of John dates back to my time as a Catholic monk, and discussions there regarding the meaning of terms such as λόγος. It was those discussions that led me to read, for the first time and there in the monastery, the Latin text of the Corpus Hermeticum by Marsilius Ficinus. In respect of the Corpus Hermeticum, I have translated what I personally find is the most interesting part, the Poimander tractate, and presently have no interest in translating the rest. In respect of the Gospel of John, I am albeit somewhat slowly continuing to work on it, and do hope – θεοί and Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες permitting – to complete and publish my translation of the whole Gospel together with notes and commentary, although completion and publication are still several years away.

In respect of the other works you mention, the answer is that I have no current intention of translating any more such literature, not even the Homer. Those translations of mine were germane to a certain period of my life, a period of some four years of domestic happiness, a shared love, of no involvement with politics or with activism of any kind; years full of exuberance and an arrogant belief in my abilities. A period of my life somewhat reflected in how I then approached the work of translation – exuberantly, confidently, and somewhat arrogantly. Thus the English style and the intuition I used then are the style and the intuition I used then. In addition, months before each translation I would immerse myself in the world of the author; reading in Greek all of the works of the author, and scholarly commentaries on them, I could obtain (which thanks to the Classics Bookshop, Thornton’s Bookshop, and Blackwell’s, in Oxford, were usually all of them); and reading as many other ancient Greek works as possible including Hesiod, Herodotus, Thucydides, Euripides, etcetera. Thus that ancient world became, in many ways and during that time, more real than the modern world around me; an apprehension aided by being mostly free of daytime commitments and having a quiet study lined with bookcases replete with ancient texts; so that when I began the translation it just seemed to flow naturally.

Where I to translate those works again, or even attempt to revise them, my approach now would be very pedantic, very measured, very slow, as it was with the Poimandres tractate. In all probability, this would result in much being changed; something which became very apparent when last year I re-read The Odyssey again and then my translation of Books 1-3. Those translations of mine thus belong to that time of my life, over twenty years ago. [1]

 

David Myatt
Spring 2014

[1] Post Scriptum: That happy domestic time during which I undertook those translations ended with the tragic death of Sue in April 1993. In the following months and in her memory I managed to complete my translation of the Agamemnon, begun toward the end of 1992 and interrupted by her illness. It would be another seventeen years before I began translating ancient Greek texts again, with some of the fragments attributed to Heraclitus.


 

 


Article source: http://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/questions-for-dwm-2014/questions-for-dwm-part-2/

cc David Myatt 2014
This text contains answers to some questions submitted to me through intermediaries in March 2014
and is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.
It can therefore be freely copied and distributed under the terms of that license

Questions For David Myatt

 A pdf version of this text is available here – some-questions-for-dwmyatt-2014.pdf

stars1

Some Questions For DWM

 

Q. In the year 2000 you were accused by a reporter from the BBC Panorama television programme of being “the intellectual who shaped the ideas propelling Copeland on his road to terrorism” and of inspiring him to do what he did. When the reporter then asked whether you had any guilt regarding the loss of life and the horrific injuries caused by Copeland’s nail bombs you replied that you had no comment to make and that what you felt was a private matter. So my question is, would you now be prepared to make a public statement and is there, or was there ever, any guilt regarding that or other things from your past?

If by guilt you mean responsibility for some event or act, then yes I accept I was responsible – both directly and indirectly – for causing suffering, during my extremist decades, by what I said, by what I wrote, by what I did, and by what and whom I incited and inspired. There is also regret for having so caused such suffering.

As I wrote a few years ago in the essay Pathei-Mathos – Genesis of My Unknowing,

“There are no excuses for my extremist past, for the suffering I caused to loved ones, to family, to friends, to those many more, those far more, ‘unknown others’ who were or who became the ‘enemies’ posited by some extremist ideology. No excuses because the extremism, the intolerance, the hatred, the violence, the inhumanity, the prejudice were mine; my responsibility, born from and expressive of my character; and because the discovery of, the learning of, the need to live, to regain, my humanity arose because of and from others and not because of me.”

In a very personal sense, my philosophy of pathei-mathos is expiative, as are my writings concerning extremism, such as my Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination published last year. Also expiative is my reclusiveness. But such things – as is only just and fitting – do little to offset the deep sadness felt, except in fleeting moments; fleeting moments such as the one so inadequately expressed in my poem Dark Clouds Of Thunder:

The moment of sublime knowing
As clouds part above the Bay
And the heat of Summer dries the spots of rain
Still falling:
I am, here, now, where dark clouds of thunder
Have given way to blue
Such that the tide, turning,
Begins to break my vow of distance
Down. A women, there, whose dog, disobeying,
Splashes sea with sand until new interest
Takes him where
This bearded man of greying hair
No longer reeks
With sadness.
Instead:
The smile of joy when Sun of Summer
Presents again this Paradise of Earth
For I am only tears, falling

°°°

Q. Will your answers tomorrow be different from your answers today, given how – when you were a neo-nazi – your answers were those of a neo-nazi, and when you were a Muslim your answers were those of a radical Muslim? I’m thinking of some previous, old, Q&A sessions with you in past – like the ‘Cosmic Reich’ one with Renaissance Press in the mid-1990s, the Combat 18 one with Steve Sargent in his White Dragon magazine, and the ‘live dialog’ you did with Muslims from around the world on 13 Safar 1427 (13 March 2006) for the IslamOnline site run by radical Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

An excellent question. Around two years ago I re-read, for the first time in many years, some of the answers I gave to questions asked of me during such ‘question and answer sessions’, and one thing in particular was apparent: just how tediously hubristical I was. Who was that arrant arrogant pontificating ideologue?

In many ways, my answers then chronicle the first parts of my peregrination, some three decades as a fanatical neo-nazi, followed by around a decade as a zelotical Muslim; while my answers now may well chronicle the latter and last part of my peregrination, as someone who, possibly learning from the diverse experiences of those decades and from recent pathei-mathos, may have at last realized his hubris and become aware of his multitudinous mistakes. Someone who finally seems to have chanced upon such a wordless deep-felt apprehension of the numinous that he has been fundamentally and interiorly changed.

As to whether I really have reached my final mortal destination, I do not know; but I hope I have. For there is now such a non-terran, non-causal, perspective, and such a melding of much sadness with occasional joy, such a desire for a numinous non-religious expiation, as have engendered a strange tranquillity within. No desire, thus, to interfere in the lives of others or with the ways of the world, and no desire to pontificate about anything other than personal and scholarly matters, such as – and for example – the errors of judgement, the mistakes, that mark my past; my own personal feelings and  apprehensions of-the-moment; the results of my retrospection; ancient Greek literature; and my own, new-found, weltanschauung. For there is a certain vanity even now, albeit tempered by an appreciation of an ancient paganus wisdom:

οὐκ ἐκ θεῶν τὰ μῶρα καὶ γέλοια χρὴ
χανόντα κλαίειν ὕστερ᾽  [1]


°°°

 

Q. How would you summarize what you have learnt from your forty years as an activist?

One of the conclusions of such retrospection as I have undertaken in the past few years is of understanding the deeds and the intolerant striving of my extremist decades as reprehensible. Another conclusion concerns my own reprehensible character. Yet another concerns my hubris, or perhaps more correctly my stupidity born of arrogance and fanaticism resulting in a failure, a refusal, to learn from our thousands of years old human culture of pathei-mathos. For such a learning would have placed me and my extremism – me as a masculous talking-mammal – in a supra-personal context, providing a knowledge of those deeds and that striving as having the opposite effect of what I intended or arrogantly believed they would achieve, and of only inflicting, causing, more and more unnecessary suffering.

This supra-personal context is the Cosmic Perspective: of the reality of our individual selves as but one fragile mortal short-lived biological life-form on one planet orbiting one star in one galaxy in a Cosmos of billions of galaxies; of our nations, our national cultures – and everything we manufacture or bring-into-being or presence, from ideas to ideologies to religions to cities to industries to products to archetypes – being not only by their φύσις subject to change and transmutation but also having a certain limited life span, be such in terms of years, decades, centuries, or millennia; of how our pride in our achievements or in our presencings, individual or collective – and such achievements/presencings themselves – should be considered in the context of the possibility of sentient life, some probably more advanced than us, on other planets in our own galaxy and in the billions of galaxies in the Cosmos; of how all life on our own planet, just like ourselves, is fragile, changing, and subject to extinction; and of how what we, as individuals, do or do not do affects or can affect other living beings.

For the Cosmic Perspective is an empathic awareness of not only our place in the Cosmos but also of the affective and acausal connexions that bind all life, on this planet and elsewhere in the Cosmos, and be such life sentient or otherwise. And it is this empathic awareness which, according to my mutable understanding, can provide us with a personal appreciation of the numinous sans the abstractions, the theology, the cosmogony, the dogma, and sans the God/gods, of an organized religion.

My hubriatic error in those extremist decades was essentially two-fold: (i) to aspire to bring-into-being some-thing that would not and could not, in centennial terms (let alone in millennial or cosmic terms) endure; and (ii) to use violence and incite hatred, intolerance, and killing, in order to try and presence that causal some-thing. My perspective, for example, during my neo-nazi decades was very limited, sometimes egoistical. Egoistical in that I enjoyed the striving, the conflict, the incitement, the excitement, and even the violence. Limited, in that my foreseeing was of the next meeting, the next fight, the next demonstration, the next piece of propaganda to produce, my next speech, and of the victory I and others dreamed of or believed in; a victory that would be at most a decade or two ahead. Of course, I believed that what we or others after us might bring-into-being would endure, most probably at the cost of further conflict; and endure for decades, possibly a century or more. But the reality always was of me and my kind striving to stop or somehow try to control, to shape, the natural flux of change; to preserve, whatever the cost, what we or others after us might bring-into-being. For we believed we would or could do what no one in human history had been able to do: make our presencings immortal, or at least immune to the natural cycle of birth-life-decay-death. A natural cycle so evident in the rise, the flourishing, the decline, the decay, the death, of empire after empire; national culture after national culture; city after city; language after language; and of a people of a particular size and in a particular area naturally changing, moving, emigrating, immigrating, and thus naturally melding with others. In brief, we (with our simple causal-only perception) hubristically believed or felt that we could, and would, not only master and control Nature and the very forces of the Cosmos but also that our interventions would endure far beyond our own lives. In retrospection, this was fantasy, with the rise and fall and destruction of The Third Reich being just one of the many examples from reality that should have informed us about that fantasy.

In contrast, my understanding now is that 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. And it is this shared human culture of pathei-mathos that extremists of what 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.

°°°

Q. Someone last month republished a 2005 interview, allegedly with you, in which you apparently made the following statement – “In my own life, I have tried to create some things which can disrupt our societies and which can lead to the creation of strong, really dangerous, ruthless individuals – some things which are so subversive that no laws could ever outlaw them, and that attempts to restrain them, to outlaw them, would only make them more attractive to some individuals.” Did you say that, and if so, does it refer to the occult group or groups you admitted – in your 2012 article Ethos of Extremism, Some Reflexions on Politics and A Fanatical Life – to founding in the 1970s?

As I mentioned in an essay dated 20 Rajab 1427 and signed Abdul-Aziz ibn Myatt:

“I have written an enormous amount of articles, essays, dialogues and pamphlets. Even [in 1998], when I was arrested and questioned by Detectives from SO12 Scotland Yard, these writings were voluminous – for they showed me the thick lever-arch files containing some of my published writings which they had collected during the course of their investigation, wanting me to comment on some items which they had singled out, which I refused to do, politely pointing out that my articles were not copyright and that many of the items available, for instance, on the Internet might have been altered in some way, by a person or persons unknown, for a reason or reasons unknown. Since then, I have written an equal amount again, if not twice the amount available then […] Suffice it to say that I cannot remember everything I have ever written, or which has been printed or distributed via mediums such as the Internet.”

Thus, while I do not now – almost ten years later – remember doing the particular e-mail interview you refer to, I might have done, for some (although not all) of the comments therein do seem rather reminiscent of the pontifications of the arrant arrogant ideologue I was for so many decades. Certainly the passage you quote is so reminiscent, and it also rather well expresses the sentiments I remember from my subversive 1970’s Column 88 days; sentiments of a fanatic motivated enough, and of a convicted criminal with underworld contacts enough, to found an underground group as a neo-nazi honeytrap “to attract non-political people who might be or who had the potential to be useful to the cause even if, or especially if, they had to be ‘blackmailed’ or persuaded into doing so at some future time […] A secret Occult group with the ‘offer’, the temptation, of sexual favours from female members in a ritualized Occult setting, with some of these female members being ‘on the game’ and associated with someone who was associated with my small gang of thieves.”

°°°

Q. Given that you have as you wrote last year [2013] disowned all your “pre-2011 writings and effusions, with the exception of my Greek translations, the poetry included in the published collection One Exquisite Silence, some private letters written between 2002 and 2011, and those few items about my since revised ‘numinous way’ which are included in post-2012 publications such as The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos,” does it annoy or bother you that some people keep republishing or referring to or quoting from some of those older writings, particularly your National Socialist ones? If you could, would you want to remove them from the internet?

No, such republishing and use does not annoy me. For such old writings are useful reminders – for me and for others – of my past stupidities, errors, and hubris. However, it would be good to expunge my extremist writings from that medium were it feasible to do so (which to my knowledge it is not) given their extremist nature and thus given what they incite, propagate, and encourage.

°°°

Q. Why should anyone take seriously what you now write when you have changed your views so often and so frequently in the past? Why then do you bother?

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

Personally, I would not describe my peregrination as ‘changing my views often and frequently’, given only three permutations in forty years, two of which – being different varieties of extremism – could be considered, in some ways, as somewhat similar. For thirty of those years (1968-1998) I was a dedicated often fanatical National Socialist activist and ideologue, someone who placed ‘the cause’ before his own personal life and who was twice jailed for his political activism in the service of that cause, but who eventually – after those thirty years – became disillusioned (again) with the people involved; the first disillusionment having occurred in 1976 following my release from yet another prison sentence and which (temporary) disillusionment led to a few years as a Christian monk. In the Autumn of 1998 – as a result of travels and experiences in Egypt, the Middle East and elsewhere, undertaken between 1988 and 1998 – I became and remained for almost a decade a Muslim; someone who strove to honour his Shahadah even after a personal trauma but who finally – and only after some three years of interior conflict – placed the insights painfully wrought from that pathei-mathos before a stubborn adherence to something he no longer believed in because he had begun to develope his own weltanschauung.

Thus my own description of my peregrination would be something such as: ‘a strange journey leading to a rather humiliating personal learning after some forty years of diverse experiences and hubris’.

°°°

Q. In your book Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination you wrote that extremists “have or they develope an inflexible masculous character, often excessively so; and a character which expresses the masculous nature, the masculous ethos, of extremism. A character, a nature, unbalanced by muliebral virtues. For it is in the nature of extremists that they disdain, and often despise, the muliebral virtues of empathy, sensitivity, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, compassion.” Since what you call the muliebral runs through your philosophy of pathei mathos, would it be correct to say that you support feminism and reject the patriarchal ethos that feminists assert dominates the world now as in the past?

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.

The masculous, patriarchal, ethos is manifest – at least according to my limited knowledge and my mutable understanding – in the following.

In the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as in the mythoi of the classical Greek gods [2]. In the institutions, the governance, and in the economic and business structures, of the modern State. In the propensity for leaders, potentates, and States, and men in general, to resort to the use of force and to often use words spoken and written in justification of such force. In the principle of ‘might is right’ which is the raison d’être of the bully and the rapist. In the use of words to persuade, to rouse, to enthuse, to deceive, others and as propaganda in the service of one’s egoism or in the service of some cause, ideology, or some political or religious -ism or dogma. In the acceptance of the necessity of competition in all or most spheres of life. In an arrogant personal pride and a certitude-of-knowing. In the favouring of abstractions and the notion of an idealized duty over empathy and compassion and the muliebral virtues in general. In the propensity that many men have, now as in the past, for manipulating, mistreating, and being violent toward, women; and in the tendency of so many men to instinctively place their own ambitions and physical desires – and/or the perceived obligations of some ideology or some faith or some cause – before the feelings, the needs, the happiness, of the woman they have declared that they loved.

Thus, given the dominance of this patriarchal ethos, our human history is replete with speeches, exhortations, manifestoes, deceptions, and with the rhetoric, the activity, the propaganda (truthful, informative, or otherwise), and the often well-intentioned idealism, that almost invariably accompanies the formation and the existence of some organization, group, faction, or movement whose raison d’être is either to implement some principle or principles or some abstraction or some ideation, or to violently reform or change what-is. Furthermore, there also has been and still is a tendency to ignore what our human culture of pathei-mathos teaches us about the impermanence of whatever reform or change or implementation (of the new) that occurs; for it is in the very nature of whatever form which embodies or which is manufactured to embody some abstraction or some ideation or some principle or principles, that that form – over decades, centuries, or millennia – declines, decays, ceases to exist, or is itself replaced or overthrown.

That is, 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.

Therefore, were I to ‘support’ some-thing – which, given my now reclusive nature and my awareness of my past mistakes, I am uninclined to do – it would be the personal, the individual, and the muliebral virtues in general. For my questional intuition inclines me to suggest that it is only by using and developing our faculty of empathy, on an individual basis, that we can apprehend and thence understand the muliebral; and that 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.

Personally, I feel that while there is much beauty presenced here on Earth, nothing can equal the beauty a woman can and does presence when we through love share a life with her.

David Myatt
Spring 2014

Notes

[1] Sophocles, Ichneutae, 369-370“If what is of the gods amuses you, be assured that lamentation will follow your mirth.”

[2] Even the Homeric hymn to the goddess Demeter is no paean to the muliebral virtues, to the freedom, to the equality, and to the importance of women. Instead, a certain masculine view of women pervades; for the primary role of women is to marry and bear children –

ἀλλ᾽ ὑμῖν μὲν πάντες Ὀλύμπια δώματ᾽ ἔχοντες
δοῖεν κουριδίους ἄνδρας, καὶ τέκνα τεκέσθαι,
ὡς ἐθέλουσι τοκῆες: ἐμὲ δ᾽ αὖτ᾽ οἰκτείρατε, κοῦραι

with Demeter herself – ∆ηµήτηρ’ ΰκοµον σεµν ν θεάν, as described in a fragment of another hymn – expected to be subservient to the male Zeus: ὣς ἔφατ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ἀπίθησε θεὰ Διὸς ἀγγελιάων.

°°°
Appendix
Some Terms Explained

Extremism and Extremist

By extreme I mean to be harsh, so that my understanding of an extremist is a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of some objective, usually of a political or a religious nature. Here, harsh is: rough, severe, a tendency to be unfeeling, unempathic.

Hence extremism is considered to be: (a) the result of such harshness, and (b) the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists. In addition, a fanatic is considered to be someone with a surfeit of zeal or whose enthusiasm for some objective, or for some cause, is intemperate.

In the philosophical terms of the way of pathei-mathos, an extremist is someone who commits the error of hubris; and error which enantiodromia – following from πάθει μάθος – can sometimes correct or forestall.

Innocence

Innocence is regarded as an attribute of those who, being personally unknown to us, are therefore unjudged us by and who thus are given the benefit of the doubt. For this presumption of innocence of others – until direct personal experience, and individual and empathic knowing of them, prove otherwise – is the fair, the reasoned, the numinous, the human, thing to do.

Empathy and πάθει μάθος incline us toward treating other human beings as we ourselves would wish to be treated; that is they incline us toward fairness, toward self-restraint, toward being well-mannered, and toward an appreciation and understanding of innocence.

Masculous and Muliebral

Masculous is from the Latin masculus and is a term used to refer to certain traits, abilities, and qualities that are conventionally and historically associated with men, such as competitiveness, aggression, a certain tendency toward harshness.

The term muliebral derives from the classical Latin word muliebris, and in the context my philosophy of Pathei-Mathos refers to those positive traits, abilities, and qualities – such as empathy, sensitivity, gentleness, compassion – that are conventionally and historically associated with women.

φύσις (physis)

Physis is a revealing, a manifestation, of not only the true nature of beings but also of the relationship between beings, and between beings and Being. Physis is often apprehended (and thus understood) by we humans as the nature, the character, of some-thing; as, for example, in our apprehension of the character of a person.


 

 



cc David Myatt 2014
This text contains answers to some questions submitted to me through intermediaries in March 2014
and is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.
It can therefore be freely copied and distributed under the terms of that license


What You Thought You Came For

 

David Myatt

And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment.

TS Eliot: Little Gidding

There is now for me a quite simple, solitary, almost reclusive life, almost ended; as if the Cosmos – Wyrd – has contrived to place me exactly where I need to be: in, with, such a situation and surroundings as makes me remember the unwise deeds of those my pasts, and which placement offers more opportunities for one fallible human being to learn, especially about how people are not as, for many decades, I with my arrogance and abstractive purpose assumed.

For now I of the aged poor have no purpose, no ideation, to guide; no assumptions founded on, extrapolated from, some causal lifeless abstraction. No politics; no religion; not even any faith. There is instead only the living of moments, one fluxing as it fluxes to, within, the next. No dreams of Destiny; no supra-personal goals; no desires of self to break the calm of day and night. Only walks, and a being, alone to mingle with weather, Life, Nature as one so mingles when happiness is there inside unsupported by some outer cause or expectation of or from another.

Few possessions, belongings, as if I am a Gentleman of The Road again, but briefly staying here in this some un-heated house; or perhaps some almost-monk of one half-remembered paien apprehension, with neither monastery nor home, who feels now the hidden meaning of life: that this is all that there is or should be, this peace brought because there is a freedom from desiring desires. Someone sad, burdened by a deep naked knowledge of himself, but who and now, too sensitive perhaps, smiles too often and tries to hide the burgeoning tears of joy that sometimes seem to so betake him unawares,

as when that warm late Summer’s evening I chanced up that family, there, where a town’s centre gave way to greenful Park and when, Sun descending, young mother helped her daughter light that paper lantern. Such joy, such joy, upon those faces, there, as slight breeze carried high perhaps some wistful wish, away.

As when before that walk in rainy woods alone I chanced to smile as dog with youthful lady, towed, came via pavement to pass this old man by. Such brief contact of courteous words exchanged, a smile returned, and off they went their way, their world, to leave only a glimpse, only a glimpse of futures-present-past – and her perfume, lingering, there. I – melded with tree, sky, soil, increasing rain – feeling such a burden of promise there. And there was nothing left to do but walk-on, hoping that someone might, did, treasure the goodness captured there, presenced within one more so mortal human life…

I, now, someone – who unlike so many millions world-wide – fortunate indeed to have shelter, food adequate to feed his gauntness for a day; clothes sufficient to keep-in warmth; and health – though agely ageing, slowly fading – enough to keep him fending for, and fendful of, himself. There could be more; there was far more, but that seems long ago; unneeded now. For this is all that there is, this happiness in moments when – needs fulfilled – no lust for change, having laid in wait within, bursts forth bringing thus such breaking difference as so often causes two, more, far more, humans to break or drift apart.

Emotions governed, basic needs supplied, with memories – of lives – sufficientized for years of daily dreams, what more remains, becomes required? Little, so very little, except we being human, external still, do still so cause such suffering, so much – for what?

For there has come upon me these past few years, of this so simple living, a certain understanding. Of how I am never, was never, ever, totally alone, being only one briefly born connexion. Of just how easy it is to be content, breeding happiness in oneself and others, and how even easier it is to lapse, to fail, to fall; to let feelings, abstractions, guide, control, as when in the past I would breed discontent within myself, with loved ones and others, never satisfied with this or that. For happiness, I presumed, lay in better things – a better home some better place; better food clothes holidays finer wine; that other woman, there; and, perhaps far worse, lay with better way of life for those unknown, a way wrought by deeds done, by pursuit of lifeless ideation as if I, that temporary self, might have made some difference and that those causal shells had or might be given meaning or even by violence, blood, become somehow gifted with the breath of life.

So little self-control. So much love, hopes, lives destroyed; and how much suffering I by hubris caused. So much – for what? Some selfish passing pleasure; no external change that lasted; that ever could, would, last. Since real change, discovered, is only and ever within ourselves, alone – there, interior, ready to gently touch another, one gift of one person personally known so that only now perhaps I am with, of, the numen living.

Thus I am returned to sometimes where I so briefly was, my purpose altered, far beyond the goals I in arrogance so vainly figured. For I am nothing special, unique; only some half-remembered vague aspirations of this age, whose words, life – as so many – perhaps uncovers divinity as the divine but whose past concerned creating illusion, illusions, in expiation of a humanity then so lost.

Returned, as when I with tent, wandered, roamed. Returned, as those sunny warm days that Summer in Leeds when – before a monastery claimed me – I would walk barefoot inanely smiling so pleased to be free, young, alive. Returned as when, bus-arrived, love caught me and she that April day embraced me with such hope, such gentle hope, such simple sharing dreams that remembrance now brings so many tears of sadness. For I in selfishness broke them.

Returned as that day – so many many years on – when love for me lived within another as we two so slowly walked some Worcester streets…

How foolish, how so very foolish, to have lost such times, such love, by lust for change, by such selfish stupidity as lived within me still and still until years years further on that other dying came in May to almost break betake me.

Now, I am only someone living – a simple living – with a certain fallible inner understanding, born of suffering, deaths, distress, despair. So there is so aptly now only slow quiescent walks alone and such memories, such memories, as I hope I hope have made a better man.

David Myatt
August 2011

 


A Certain Centenary

WWI_British_cemetery_at_Abbeville

A Certain Centenary

As TS Eliot so poignantly expressed it in his poem ‘Little Gidding’:

And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.

A re-reading of which thus led me – remembering the mistakes of my past and the suffering, even the deaths, I had personally caused or otherwise been responsible for in some way – to write, a while ago now:

“Perhaps it is incumbent upon us to now celebrate, remember, transcribe, only the kind, the gentle, the loving, the compassionate, the happy, and the personal, things – and those who have done them – and not the many things that have caused suffering, death, destruction, and inflicted violence on others. For, so often it seems, we human beings have and have had for millennia a somewhat barbaric propensity to celebrate, to remember, to transcribe, our seeming triumphs of personal pride and of victory over others – be such others some declared enemy or some designated foe – always or almost always forgetting the suffering, the deaths, the destruction, that such a seeming, and always transient, victory over others has always involved, and always or almost always forgetting the suffering, the hurt, the unhappiness, that our selfish prideful desire to triumph, to succeed, causes in someone or some many somewhere.” [1]

Now, as the centenary of the beginning of the European conflict known as the First World War approaches, I find myself, in common with many others, musing not only on that war, with its millions of deaths and its destruction, but also on the war that engulfed Europe, and other lands, just over two decades later which also resulted in millions of deaths and even more destruction. Like many others of my post-war generation I have (or had) living relatives who fought in both wars, such as the relatives who served in the trenches in the First World War (and some of whose own living close relatives died in that war) and the close paternal relative who served mainly overseas in places such as Burma and India in the Second World War; and also have (or had) non-combatant living relatives who endured the effects of those wars, such as a close maternal relative who lived and worked in central London during the blitz and who experienced the later ‘doodlebugs’. I have also personally known many people who experienced one of those wars, such as the former naval officer by whom I was employed for many years as a gardener and who had served on the Arctic convoys to Russia, and the decorated former military officer who became a monk and whom I met during my time in a monastery, although they – as so many others – were reluctant at first to speak of their war-time experiences.

But, and lamentable now to recount, such a personal knowing of such people and of the horrors and the suffering and deaths they personally encountered (and sometimes caused in the line of duty) did not prevent me from becoming a suffering-causing extremist [2] or from continuing my four-decade long career as a violent extremist and an ideologue of strife, revolution, hatred, and war itself. For I believed – I felt – I ‘had a cause’ that I was prepared to fight and even die for, and it was only a very personal tragedy, a personal trauma, that brought my suffering-causing career to a premature end; that jolted me out of my pride, my arrogance, my fanatical certitude-of-knowing.

For it was as if I, personally, was somehow in some way unable or unwilling to directly empathize with their experiences of the trauma of those two wars, and was thus unable to learn not only from their experiences, from their personal pathei-mathos, but also unable to learn from the collective pathei-mathos of the millions like them. And not only of those millions with personal experience of both those wars, but of the millions – the hundreds of millions – before them, who thousand year following thousand year experienced the trauma of, or who suffered because of, those wars, those killings, those conflicts, and the violence, which so regularly mark and have so regularly marked our human history. For there is available to us, and has been available to us for centuries, a shared human culture of pathei-mathos; manifest as this shared culture is in the memoirs, the correspondence, the aural accounts, of those with personal experience of such suffering; manifest in the history of our past wars, invasions, empires, conflicts, tyrannies, revolutions; manifest in myths and legends and ancestral folk stories and ballads; and manifest in the music, the learning, the art, the literature, the poetry, the acts of compassion, of those sensitive, empathic, enough to empathize with such suffering or who experienced the personal trauma that suffering, from whatever cause, so often causes.

Am I, in that my failure, the exception or the rule? I would like to believe that I – and my extremist kind – are the exception in this failure, this inability, to learn from the pathei-mathos of others. For I know, in all honesty from decades of experience, that extremists like me are: (i) by nature indifferent to the suffering of others, or (ii) have by means of their chosen ideology or faith hardened themselves to the suffering of others or (iii) been indoctrinated by others, or because of the ideology of others become indoctrinated enough, to be harsh and unfeeling, or (iv) in the case of most extremist leaders because they believe they are ‘special’ or have some sort of ‘special destiny’ or have somehow in some way ‘been chosen’ by fate/god/the gods. For how else could we, our extremist kind, virulently hate and be violent toward – even kill – our perceived enemies and those who opposed us? How else could our leaders, our heroes, our ideologues, virulently incite hatred, strife, war, atrocities, terrorism, and even genocide? How else could we be indifferent to personal love or deign to place our cherished faith, our ideology, our cause, before such love and before the personal happiness that such a love can so often engender?

If I and my extremist kind are not the exception in our personal inability to be able to learn from the pathei-mathos of others, are we then examples of what many human beings still have the potential to be and, indeed, have shown themselves capable of being, given certain circumstances, certain conditions, or given some leader to rouse them or some mob to follow? Or has the pathei-mathos of recent events – such as the remembering of the immense human cost of and of the traumatic suffering caused by the First and the Second World Wars – changed us, or can it change us, sufficiently for us as individuals to be more empathic, more inclined to value love and less inclined to cause suffering; less eager to follow some demagogue and more inclined to object to the violence and the killing and the dehumanization that are the basis for all wars and all armed conflicts and all invasions and all deportations with their ‘us’ and their ‘them’?

I do not have the answers. Yet I do feel that such a remembering is important; that the First and the Second World Wars have greatly contributed to our shared human culture of pathei-mathos; and that, especially in respect of extremism, tyranny, and demagoguery, the Second World War has valuable lessons to teach us. But whether we, as a species, will learn or can learn from this culture of pathei-mathos is of course another question, although if we are to learn then my personal (admittedly fallible) view is that it can only realistically be individually by each one of us appreciating our own lives in context: in the context of the millennial nature of the culture of pathei-mathos and the wisdom it provides. That is, in the context of the millions upon millions whose suffering and whose violent deaths, over thousands of years, have given us the treasures, the gifts, of that culture and so provided us with an opportunity to understand ourselves and so change ourselves, thus enabling us as individuals to avoid making those suffering-causing mistakes that so many have made over and over again for so long. These are the cultural treasures of written history and memoirs; of music, of art, of literature, of poetry; of myths and legends; of ancestral folk stories and ballads; of the aural accounts of our own relatives and ancestors; of acts of compassion and loving-kindness, and especially of a remembering of just how humanizing, how wise, personal love can be. And it is a personal love, loyally shared, that our common human culture of pathei-mathos reveals is the most human thing of all and which love we should, therefore, perhaps cherish most of all.

For are we just talking primates prideful in ourselves, ready (sometimes eager) to engage in persistent conflict given some provocation or none, with ‘might is if not right then at least the only way to win’ our raison d’être? Or are we beings gifted with the faculty of consciousness, of reason, and thus possessed of the ability to consciously change ourselves based on what we can learn for ourselves and from others, from the wisdom enshrined in our shared, thousands of years old, culture of pathei-mathos?

David Myatt
January 2014

This is an extract from a written reply, in January 2014, to a personal correspondent. It has been slightly revised for publication, with some footnotes added post scriptum..

Footnotes

[1] The quotation is from my essay A Slowful Learning, Perhaps, written in 2012.

[2] As described in my Understanding and Rejecting Extremism, by the term ‘extreme’ is meant to be harsh, so that an extremist is a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of some objective, usually of a political or a religious nature. Here, harsh is: rough, severe, a tendency to be unfeeling, unempathic.

Hence extremism is considered to be: (a) the result of such harshness, and (b) the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists. In addition, a fanatic is considered to be someone with a surfeit of zeal or whose enthusiasm for some objective, or for some cause, is intemperate.


Article source: http://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/one-centenary/


A Seasonal Offering From DWM

Botticelli-Madonna-del-Magnificat-3

Bright Berries, One Winter

Winter, three days before that celebration that marks a certain birth.

Et hoc vobis signum: Inveniétis infántem pannis involútum, et pósitum in præsépio.
Et súbito facta est cum Angelo multitúdo milítiæ cæléstis, laudántium Deum, et dicéntium:
Glória in altíssimis Deo, et in terra pax homíinibus bonæ voluntátis.

Outside, snow, and a cold wind below a clouded sky – and, there, that partly snow-covered bush of bright berries which hungry Thrushes eat to perhaps keep themselves alive. So many Thrushes, in one place: nine, eleven, gathering on the bare if snowy branches of a nearby taller tree, to descend down to feed, three, five, four, at a time.

Inside, musick – reproduced by some modern means. Musick over five centuries old, bringing such a strange melding of feeling, dreams, memory, and thought. Musick, by Dunstable – Preco preheminencie, perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces ever written, bringing thus deep personal feelings.

Now, I cannot seem to help the tears that seep slowly forth (again) from closing eyes, as – far beyond such bounds as causal Time keeps us moving – I am replete, overflowed by memories from such lifeful strange lives as have lived me, here:

… there, as she my Sue lay so softly breathing in her bed, my hand to her hand, to watch her sleep to seep hour-long-slowly there past the ending of her life…
There, as another love from another life that lived me ran, freshly seeping forth from train, along that crowded platform to leap to welcoming arms while people stared, some smiling, and the warmth of bodies touching announced the ending of our exile, of that month of her travelling…
There, one monk – with such profusion of faith as so infused me then – who knelt, kneels, after Compline in that lovely Chapel before carved centuries-old statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, feeling such peace as led me back in such respectful reposeful silence to that my cell to sleep dreamless, content…
Before other lives came to so sadly betake that boyish man away, back to his addiction to such suffering-causing abstractions as would, decades, later, almost break him as she – my Frances of eighteen months together – so then suffused with such tragic fullsome sadness-regret-despair that her slim delicate fingers, no longer to tenderly warmly touch her lover’s face, became transformed: a means to betake her, alone lonely, past the ending of her life after I had so selfishly left her that one MayMorn…

So many tears, each some memory seeping sadly joyfully poignantly forth even as so many wait, waiting, ready to heave forth; dormant, seeds needing to bring hence new life as each new Spring becomes some youthful ageing deedful wordful presencing of this one life which is my life until such Time as this emanation also passes beyond that fated Ending who lies in wait to take us all.

Thus am I humbled, once more, by such knowing feeling of the burden made from my so heavy past; so many errors, mistakes. So many to humble me here, now, by such profusion as becomes prehension of centuries past and passing, bringing as such a passing does such gifts of they now long beyond life’s ending who crafted from faith, feeling, experience, living, love, those so rich presents replete with meaning; presenting thus to us if only for a moment – fleeting as Thrush there feeding – that knowing of ourselves as beings who by empathy, life, gifts, and love, can cease to be some cause of suffering.

For no longer is there such a need – never was there such a need – to cause such suffering as we, especially I, have caused. For are not we thinking thoughtful beings – possessed of the numinous will to love?

But my words, my words – so unlike such musick – fail: such finite insubstantial things; such a weak conduit for that flowing of wordless feeling that, as such musick, betakes us far out beyond our causal selves to where we are, can be, should be, must be, the non-interfering beauty of a moment; a sublime life seeking only to so gently express that so gentle love that so much faith has sometimes so vainly so tried to capture, express, and manifest; as when that boyish man as monk past Compline knelt in gentleness to feel to become such peace, such a human happiness, as so many others have felt centuries past and present, one moment flowing so numinously to another.

No need, no Time – before this one weakful emanation ends, in ending – to berate, condemn, such love, need and faith as may betake so many in just three days to celebrate such birth as touched, touches, them, and others still. So much good, gentleness, there, and from; and so much suffering, caused, while the centuries past, leeching, meshed one suffering to another.

Does the numinous, presencing, there, now outweigh such suffering, caused – as I, my past, might must outweigh what wordful presents Fate begifts me, now?

I do not know: only see the emanations, nexing, melding: a bush of berries to keep life alive through Winter. Our choice, our need – here, now; as the Thrushes there have no choice, now, as mid-Winter came to bleaken with snowy cold that world that is their world.

For it is for us, surely, to treasure such gifts, given – to feel then be the gift, given.

David Myatt
22 December 2010
2455553.013

Image Credit: Botticelli – Madonna del Magnificat

Article source: http://www.davidmyatt.info/dwm-bright-berries.html


Personal Opinions and The Dignity Of Silence

David Myatt
Personal Opinions and The Dignity Of Silence

I no longer have personal opinions about political issues. For decades I spewed forth my personal opinion on matters political and otherwise, mostly guided by some dogma or by some ideology that I adhered to and believed in, even though in the majority of instances I had no practical experience, no direct knowledge, of the matters I opined about. This was arrogant, hubriatic, profane, egotistical; although far from uncommon with those involved in politics or who adhered to or believed in some political ideology or religious dogma.

Now, with the benefit of pathei-mathos, I both understand and feel the need for a personal humility; a humility that perhaps should predispose us toward reticence in words private, public, spoken and written; of the need to admit we do not know when we do not know: that is, when we do not have personal and years long and practical knowledge and experience about some-thing. Of the need for the dignity of silence even if we have such a personal experience; for we are fallible mortals; and our views, our opinions, are fallible, and are or should be subject to revision, to the effects of pathei-mathos.

To consider just one of the thousands of examples that I might adduce from my past four-decade long hubris: I would so often ‘sound-off’ about the modern State of Israel, adhering as I did to nazi ideology, or to my own ‘revisionist’ version of that ideology, or – later on – to a harsh, extremist (1) modern interpretation of Islam. Thus I would refer not to Israel but to ‘the Zionist-entity’ (that occupies Filistine), echoing the propaganda of the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Yet such ignorant propagandistic diatribes (for that is what they were) were not based on any personal knowledge of Israel. For I had never been there; never lived there for months or years; never talked to those living there of their experiences, their hopes, their feelings. Never socialized, one human being to another, with Israelis. Thus I had no knowledge of how and why that modern State came into existence; no personal understanding born from a direct, empathic, personal, encounter with those who had experienced the horrors of the Shoah or who could recount ancestral stories of the ignoble persecution suffered decades before in places such as Russia. No knowledge of, no feeling, for that often unspoken desire of such a persecuted people to never again be persecuted, discriminated against, hated, subjugated, and killed, by hate-filled fanatics, extremists, and bigots. Instead, all I had was a prejudice, an intolerance, a fanaticism, and – yes – an impersonal hatred based on some ideology; a prejudice, an ideology, a fanaticism, an extremism, that led me – as Hitler and his German National-Socialists had done – to inhumanly discriminate against, and to shamefully demonize, all Jews.

Thus did I (using the euphemism Zionists/Zionist for Jews/Jewish) write words such as “So it was that after these scheming Zionist manipulators […] created the shameless, ignoble, lie of the holocaust to manipulate the minds of our fellow Aryans and turn them against us. So it was that these manipulators socially-engineered a tyrannical System to domesticate, tame and control Aryans.” (The National-Socialist, issue 7, 107yf)  Here there is vitriol – expressed by terms such as ‘scheming’, ‘hateful manipulators’; and also an echo of Mein Kampf, where the ‘evil Jews/zionists’ are simplistically contrasted with ‘noble, good, Aryans’, a theme which, together with an obsession with ‘our Zionist enemy’, shamefully dominated my neo-nazi writings.

Given the benefit of pathei-mathos – and especially of my knowing of my past hubris – I now decline to offer an opinion, publicly and privately, about anything political, or about ‘current affairs’ in general. Instead, I prefer silence; or, if pressed, refer to our fallibility and shared humanity; to the numinosity of personal love; of the need for tolerance, compassion, empathy, and humility. For I really do not have any definite answers for anyone, not even myself. All I have now is a particular, a very personal and a very fallible, weltanschauung, born from grief and perplexity – and born from those my tears of a remembering of not only my own past but of the pasts of those who suffered, who were hated, who were discriminated against, who were oppressed, who were inhumanly treated, and who were killed – millennia upon millennia – because of people such as the intolerant, unempathic, uncompassionate, person I was for so many decades.

There are no excuses; only perhaps a very personal learning for one person of the kind which, for generation upon generation, has been the essence of that culture of pathei-mathos which not only has given us the gift of hope but which has indeed, and slowly, gently, person-to-person, made our world a better place. (2)

David Myatt
2012

This quotation is from a reply to a correspondent who enquired, in 2012, about my opinion concerning a particular current political matter.

Footnotes (Post Scriptum)

(1) As mentioned in other writings, by extreme is meant to be harsh, so that an extremist is a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of some objective, usually of a political or a religious nature. Here, harsh is: rough, severe, a tendency to be unfeeling, unempathic.

Hence extremism is considered to be: (a) the result of such harshness, and (b) the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists. In addition, a fanatic is considered to be someone with a surfeit of zeal or whose enthusiasm for some objective, or for some cause, is intemperate.

In the terms of the philosophy/way of pathei-mathos, an extremist is someone who commits the error of hubris; and error which enantiodromia – following from πάθει μάθος – can sometimes correct or forestall. The genesis of extremism – be such extremism personal, or described as political or religious – is when the separation-of-otherness is used as a means of personal and collective identity and pride, with some ‘others’ – or ‘the others’ – assigned to a category considered less worthy than the category we assign ourselves and ‘our kind/type’ to.

(2) As someone once said, “The biggest thing you can do is just be kind to another human being. It can come down to eye contact, or a smile. It doesn’t have to be a huge monumental act.” The words are those of Keshia Thomas, an African-American, whose act of kindness in 1966, when she was aged 18, saved someone from the violent actions of an angry mob.

In respect of the culture of pathei-mathos, the following quotation is from Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos (Good and Evil – The Perspective of Pathei-Mathos)

The pathei-mathos of individuals over thousands of years, often described in literature, poetry, memoirs, aural stories, and often expressed via non-verbal mediums such as music and Art, has resulted in an accumulation of insights; what we might with some justification describe as a culture, which, while often redolent of the spiritual, is not religious. That is, not doctrinal, not codified, not organized, and not presenting or manifesting a theology. A culture that is supra-national, containing as it does, among many other treasures, the observations of Lao Tzu, Siddhartha Gautama, Ovid, and Mohandas K. Gandhi; the thoughts of Aeschylus, Sappho, and Sophocles; the writings of Marcus Aurelius and Jane Austen; the allegory, the mysterium, of Jesus of Nazareth; and, importantly, the experiences – written, recorded, and aural – of those who over the centuries have endured suffering, conflict, disaster, tragedy, and war, and who were forever changed by the experience.

As often in respect of a culture, as with a religion or a spiritual Way of Life, individuals may favour some insights over others, and may and probably will differ over how certain insights should be understood or interpreted. As for me, I find in this vast cultural treasure three important things.

First, an understanding of the impermanence of temporal things; of how abstract ideations – given some practical form and maintained via striving human beings – over decades and centuries always by their nature wreck havoc and cause or contribute to suffering often despite the decent intentions of those who brought them into being and maintain or maintained them; and of how all such forms, in the perspective of millennia, ‘hath but a short time to live’.

Second, that even the modern State with its liberal democracy and its jurisprudence and its benefits and positive change, is not only impermanent but also, for some, a cause of suffering, of havoc, and that the benefits and the positive change do not necessarily offset such suffering, such havoc, as are caused, as have been caused, and as may continue to be caused; and that it is for each one of us to decide how to, or whether to, engage with such an impermanent form, by and for example following the moral advice given some two millennia ago –  Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ – and/or by perhaps trying to improve those societies, “in tolerant ways which do not cause conflict or involve the harshness, the violence, the hatred, of extremism.”

Third, that 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.


Source – http://www.davidmyatt.info/on-personal-opinions.html