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


Sed id Quidem in Optima spe Pono

[…] That seeking of – that hope for – a personal love loyally shared. Which seeking and hope for such a love, surely, is one intimation, one sign, of our real human nature; another of which is, surely, to learn about, to appreciate, the numinous treasures that preceding generations have bequeathed to us in and thorough our human cultures – in our Art, literature, music, the ancestral wisdom of the πάθει μάθος of our ancestors, written or aurally transmitted, and in the numinous insights that were the genesis of most if not all those Ways of Life now known by the generic term religion before such insights became enshrined within such dogma and such causal forms as bled away their life-giving Life. Yet another is, surely, to seek to always be honourable and thus to try the live the natural, the balanced, middle way between ascetic self-denial and the excess, the lack of self-control, that leads to ὕβρις, to personal arrogance and to indifference to suffering. This is the middle way of empathy, personal love, personal honour, and appreciation of the numinous, of the natural distinction between the sacred and the profane.

These hopes, desires, these reasons to possibly be optimistic, are the essence of The Numinous Way; of the very individual reformation and evolution of ourselves by means of empathy, honour, compassion and love. And it is this individual reformation, this individual change, by such means, which in my admittedly fallible view is important, which is numinous, which expresses the essence of our human nature as consciously aware human beings possessed of the faculties of empathy, of reason, and of will; and which is the summation of my own learning from over forty years of diverse experiences and the making of so many mistakes, of transgressing so many limits.

Thus, what I now feel is irrelevant is politics – of whatever type or form; what is equally unimportant are religious dogma, creeds, and such impersonal conflict as arises from all causal abstractions. For all of these are causes of, the genesis of, suffering and all involve and all have involved the loss of personal love, the loss of compassion, the loss of empathy, and the loss of reason. All plant the seed of ὕβρις within us.

For we human beings – being capable of using reason, possessed of empathy, able to be compassionate and honourable and needful of the numinosity of a personal love – do not need, and never really have needed, speeches, propaganda, manifestos, a sense of destiny, the machinations and promises of political and religious leaders, or social, political, or even religious, reforms.

All we need is to know, to feel, the beauty of a personal love loyally shared; to use and develope our empathy, and to be honourable. Thus can we know, feel, the numinous – and thus can we avoid the error of ὕβρις. And thus if I have some last words to write, to say, it is these.

What, therefore, remains? Only such hope that such words, that such a numinous way as I have somehow managed to uncover, might inspire some, or perchance provoke a reasoned and thoughtful response in some others. What is there now, and what has there been? One genesis, and one ending, of one nexion whose perception by almost all others is now of one who lived and who wrote ἐξ αἰνιγμάτων.

τό θ᾽ ὑπέργηρων φυλλάδος ἤδηκατακαρφομένης τρίποδας μὲν ὁδοὺς
στείχει, παιδὸς δ᾽ οὐδὲν ἀρείων
ὄναρ ἡμερόφαντον ἀλαίνει.    [1]

 

David Myatt
March 2011

Extract from a letter to a friend

[1]  Thus, he of great Age, his foliage drying up
And no stronger than a child, with three feet to guide him on his travels,
Wanders – appearing a shadow in the light of day.

               Aesch. Ag 79-82

 


Source – http://www.davidmyatt.info/sed-id-quidem.html


David Myatt – Some Selected Favourites

Editorial Note: In our view, this list by Myatt of his favourite music, literature, movies (etcetera), is probably more revealing of Myatt’s true character than all the articles written about, and comments made concerning, him in the last 20 years. Source – http://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/some-selected-favorites/

David Myatt

Mage Myatt

David Myatt – Some Selected Favourites

Music

JS Bach:

Aria: Erbame Dich (St Matthew Passion) [counter-tenor]
Cantata: Aria – Ich habe genug BWV 82
Cantata: Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust BWV 170
Cantata: Gott hat alles wohlgemacht BWV 35
Cantata: Widerstehe doch der Sünde BWV 54
Art of Fugue
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 BWV 846-869 [Rosalyn Tureck]
Sonatas for Flute and Violin (BWV 1030-1035)
Mass in B minor (BWV 232)
Violin Concerto in D minor BWV 1052

Purcell:

When I Am Laid in Earth (sung by Emma Kirkby)
Music For A While (sung by a young Alfred Deller)

Gregorian Chant: Iste Confessor (Sarum Office)

Josquin Desprez: Kyrie from Missa L’homme Arme

Chant Vieux-Roman:  Offertoire: Terra Tremuit

John Dunstable: Preco preheminencie

Palestrina: Magnificat – Primi Toni; Tertii Toni

Thomas Tallis: Miserere Nostri

Allegri: Miserere mei, Deus

Brahms:

Fourth Symphony
Piano: Opus 76, Opus 116-119

Chopin: Etudes, Opus 25

William Byrd:

Ave Verum Corpus
Nunc Dimittis
Tristitia et anxietas – Sed tu Domine

Phillipe de Monte: Super Flumina Babylonis

John Dowland:

Lachrimae Antiqua
Burst Forth My Tears
[Catherine King/Jacob Heringman/Rose Consort of Viols]

Joseph Haydn: Late String Quartets

Albinoni: Concerto for Trumpet after Sonata da chiesa in D minor [Balsom]

Mozart:

Piano Concerto no.20 in D minor, K.466
Piano Concerto no.21 in C, K.467
Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major, K. 364
Symphonies 39, 40, 41
Mass in C minor, K.427
Requiem Mass in D minor

Schubert: Quartettsatz in C minor D703

Clara Schumann: Konzertsatz in F minor

Sibelius: The Swan of Tuonela

Ξαρχάκος: Βαρκαρόλα [Αγνή Μπάλτσα, Μπουζούκι]

Literature

Αισχύλου Ἀγαμέμνων
Σοφοκλέους  Ἀντιγόνη

Σοφοκλέους  Οἰδίπους Τύραννος
Ομήρου Οδύσσεια

M. Tullius Cicero – Epistulae ad Familiares
Μάρκος Αὐρήλιος – Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν


Films

Howards End (with Antony Hopkins)
Out of Africa (with Meryl Streep)
Shadowlands (with Antony Hopkins)
Apollo 13
The Cruel Sea (with Jack Hawkins)
Sense and Sensibility (with Emma Thompson)
Northanger Abbey (with Felicity Jones)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (with Joan Fontaine)
Persuasion (with Sally Hawkins)


TV Series

Inspector Morse
Brideshead Revisited (with Anthony Andrews)
Upstairs, Downstairs (with Gordon Jackson)
Babylon 5
Voyager (Star Trek)
Lewis
Lark Rise to Candleford
The Great War (BBC documentary)
Imam Ali (directed by Davoud Mirbagheri)
Pride and Prejudice (with Jennifer Ehle)
Bleak House (with Charles Dance)
Tenko
Foyle’s War
CSI: NY
CSI: Miami


Radio

Composer of The Week [with Donald Macleod]: BBC Radio Three

Fiction

EM Forster: Howards End
Charles Dickens: Bleak House
Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
Charles Dickens: Nicholas Nickleby
Flora Thompson: Lark Rise to Candleford
Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited
Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice


Modern Poet

TS Eliot


Poems

The Waste Land
Little Gidding (Four Quartets)


Daily Newspapers

The Guardian
New York Times


A Very Personal Conclusion

David Myatt

Mage Myatt

 

A Very Personal Conclusion
by David Myatt

Twenty years ago, someone whom I loved who loved me died, too young and having harmed no one. Died, leaving me bereft, if only for a while. For too soon my return to those hubriatic, selfish, suffering-causing, and extremist, ways of my pasts. As if, despite the grief, the pain of loss, I personally had learned nothing, except in such moments of such remembering that did not, unfortunately, impact too much upon my practicalities of life; at least until another bereavement, thirteen years later, came to shock, shake, betake me far from my arrogant presumptions about myself, about life, to thus lead, to so slowly lead, to me on a clear cold day yet again interiorly dwelling on what, if anything, is our human purpose of being here and why such bereavements, such early deaths, just seem so unjust, unfair.

For they – as so many – having harmed no one, died, while I – as so many – lived on to continue causing mayhem, chaos, suffering, and grief, no God it seemed to stay us or to slay us for our miscreant mischief. That, to me, seems to be no deity of empathy and compassion; only one explanation to maybe betake our grief, our tears, our fears, away.

I admit I could be wrong, but – having perhaps at least in some ways, and partially, understood the errors of both my selfish and my extremist suffering-causing pasts – I still cannot accept that such a compassionate, empathic, deity would, could, sanction such a taking of such innocence and allow such infliction of suffering to continue. For that makes no sense to me, given how I now do not believe there is another life awaiting us where we, judicium divinum, are rewarded or condemned. I find no comfort there; no satisfying explanation for the suffering that afflicts so many now as in the past: as if that, such suffering, as was written once, many times, is some sort of casus belli for our life, to be endured until such time as such a deity deems fit to end it.

“Man, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay. In the midst of life we are in death. Of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord…”

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

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

My own and only fallible answer to the question of how to deal with the suffering that blights this world therefore seems to be the answer of a personal honour. That is, for each of us to gently try to carry that necessary harmony, that balance, of δίκη, wordlessly within; to thus restrain ourselves from causing harm while being able, prepared, in the immediacy of the moment, to personally, physically, restrain – prevent – others when we chance upon such harm being done. This, to me, is Life in its wholesome natural fullness – as lived, presenced, by the brief, mortal, consciously aware, emanations we are; mortal emanations capable of restraint, reason, culture, and reforming change; of learning from our pathei-mathos and that of others. My personal answer to personal questions, perplexion, and to grief and doubt. The answer which is to live in hope – even need – of a personal loyal love; to live with empathy, gentleness, humility, compassion, and yet with strength enough to do what should be done when, within the purvue of our personal space, we meet with one or many causing suffering and harm, no thought then for the fragility of our own mortal life or even for personal consequences beyond the ἁρμονίη we, in such honourable moments, are.

David Myatt
2012

In Loving Remembrance of Sue, died 4th April 1993

 


 

The Joy of Words

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The Joy of Words

It was while living in the Far East, and around the cusp of fourteen, that I discovered the joy of learning and the joy of words. My formal education before then was patchy, at best. A private school, with a rather lovely quadrangle, in colonial Africa; a rather brief sojourn in a Catholic boarding school in England, where I received six strokes of the cane several times, once for leaving the dorm and talking after ‘lights out’. Another brief spell at some other school; and even a spell of ‘private tutoring’ or months when I had, joy of joys, no school or lessons at home to attend. A patchy education not because of my parents, but rather because of my irascible and rebellious nature as a young boy. For I seemed to be trouble; a scallywag. For example, I remember one incident at some school I attended for a while around the age of eleven: a teacher, annoyed with me at the end of a lesson after I had vaulted over a desk in my haste to get outside, shouting “Myatt, you think the sun rises and sets in you!” A haste, because I really did dislike being cooped up inside, forced to sit at some desk and expected to pay attention to what was being said or what was written on some blackboard. Which is probably why, around the age of ten, I deliberately, petulantly, failed a written examination and why at that same school I once turned up for lessons wearing a brown leather jacket and with a sheath knife attached to my belt, which naturally led to me being sent to the headmaster and having to wait around, in some sort of detention, until my father arrived to escort me home. I was just so bored, so uninterested in what was being said or taught. So bored, uninterested, so irascible, I assuredly (and unintentionally and for many years) caused problems for my parents, although it is possible that one cause of my dislike of formal learning – and school – was due to a combination of myopia and astigmatism, which remained undiagnosed until the age of thirteen, and which diagnosis resulted in me having to wear spectacles for the first time.

My discovery of the joy of learning and the joy of words – around the cusp of fourteen – was, as recounted in my apologia Myngath, almost certainly due to the influence of the English teacher at what was then for me another colonial, and new, school. Not that I had some sort of schoolboy crush on the blonde and young Miss D. Rather, it was a combination of her enthusiasm for and indeed love of her subject, her gentle style of teaching, and the trouble she took to explain things if we – or, as often if I – did not understand or appreciate something. For she treated us as adults, not as children, and was just such a contrast, or seemed to me at the time to be such a contrast, to the other teachers there and encountered previously. For example, at that same school, our mathematics teacher would often shout at us if we made some error and had even been known to throw the blackboard rubber in the direction of someone if he was particularly annoyed for some reason.

My English lessons became for me a place of revelation, a pleasure; something anticipated with joy; and I well remember Miss D reading to us a story from The Golden Apples of The Sun by Ray Bradbury, for she – those words – conjured up for me another time and place and a strangeness that I found enticing and enchanting; as if I was there in that place listening to the sound of that foghorn… Once, we were given the task of reciting aloud before the class a poem and I choose and memorized Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, for I had a short time previously and at her suggestion read it and was enthralled; the words, the rhythm, transporting me to another and very different world. In brief, and because of her, I had discovered and begun to use the gift that is our human imagination.

Books thus became for me not things I was told by some teacher to read (and which thus became ignored) but a means of discovering new worlds and a new sense of Time. Previously I had no real awareness of the past and no feeling or concern for the future, having lived in and for the moment and to be outside; swimming, running, climbing trees, walking, travelling to new places and observing new sights and hearing the sounds of life, feeling the warmth of the heat of the Sun and the sensation of tropical rain beating down; learning a Martial Art… Now, there was an awareness of things, people, events, places, beyond that immediate world of mine, so that I became eager to learn to such an extent that many other subjects interested me, including mathematics, geography, history, astronomy, even the Latin and the Ancient Greek that some teacher at some school had previously tried to teach me. So much eagerness to learn that, within a few months, with my whole attitude to school and to books having changed, I came top in several subjects – and second in some others – at end of term exams, much to the delight of my parents and much to the surprise of my well-adjusted and studious sisters.

I loved to read, and to not only find new words and their meanings but also to use those words, not always correctly and often pretentiously, in some English essay or other, as I recall in one essay beginning a sentence with ‘And’ and being gently informed by Miss D that such usage was not correct, leading to an interesting discussion, after class and making me late for my next one, about grammar and about who decides what rules are correct and why. Several similar discussions followed over the next few weeks, several about spelling, after I had discovered, and used, not only the older form connexion instead of the ‘correct’ connection but also some older spellings found in the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare. After a while, when I added my exercise book to the pile she had to mark after class, Miss D ceased to correct my ‘misspellings’ perhaps intuitively understanding my schoolboyish and rather arrogant desire to be different, to still need to rebel and in however small a way.

A few years later, and then living in Blighty, one small goal, conceived during that Far Eastern year, was achieved. For I, by then quite the bookish young man, had acquired the complete, multi-volume, Oxford English Dictionary, and loved, almost every evening, to dip into it for an hour or so, discovering new words, their etymology, and a quotation or two to betake me, in the days following, to some library or some bookshop to find and to read the work or works in question. I enjoyed the richness, the diversity, the flexibility, of the English language; its assimilation of so many words from other languages, and that ambiguity of sound which sometimes led to or could lead to such variations in spelling as sometimes seemed to annoy those who desired to reform that language and which reform would see its versatility, quirkiness, and heritage, lost in order fit some boring manufactured schemata.

Interstition

All too soon, however, and – in hindsight – alas, this love made way for and then was for many decades rejected in favour of another. For I had discovered extremism, and became, most regretfully, an extremist. Someone who, because of his fanaticism and his political involvements, became an altogether different person; a pseudo-revolutionary street-agitator and violent neo-nazi thug; someone who associated with criminals and who indeed himself became a criminal and who thus developed a ‘street-wise’ persona rather at odds with his former ‘prep-school days’ and his somewhat ‘well-educated’ (RP) accent.

Books, and study, were replaced by private and public rhetoric, and by rallies, meetings, and brawls; and, in letters to ‘comrades’ and to friends who were sympathizers or to those who were during those times useful, my misspellings and my grammar became increasingly exaggerated, almost an affectation of someone who, having accepted and indeed enjoyed the rôle that he was expected to play in order to accomplish some shared and extremist goal, could sometimes be mischievous in a schoolboyish, idiosyncratic, kind of way. For instance, one of my favourite misspellings, in such communications with such people, as sometimes in the polemical tracts I wrote and sent to others, was appearence, in imitation of more Chaucerian times; another, existance, in similar imitation of those now long gone days when spelling was often individual or regional and before the move toward standardization.

An interstition of some three decades, marked in ending by the move toward Islam and thus by the cessation of such written communication with those aforementioned types of people. And it was my attempts to learn Arabic which irretrievably returned both my boyish love of words and my interest in questions of interpretation; a love and an interest that had – but only briefly – touched me twice during those extremist decades interspersed as those decades were with many itinerant years.

The first such period was while a Catholic monk, with the reading of LXX and Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη. The second, over a decade later, when a settled domestic life of a shared love of alas only some four years duration renewed my interest in and enthusiasm for the classical literature of ancient Greece, leading me to translate a few such works in the confines of a study lined from ceiling to floor with bookcases replete with books, including of course another copy of the complete OED.

Now, through the past two bookish years and by recent translations and exegesis and philosophical musings, I seem to have found, and at last, a certain equilibrium; even that particular type of studious happiness I knew for a while as a boy in the Far East when I would sit on that sandy beach by the South China Sea – not far from my home – reading the latest book bought from a bookseller in Singapore city or loaned by she, my English teacher, whom I still remember so very well and who, quite without me knowing it then, taught me so much.

For it is if I am that boy again; or at least the type of person content with so little who, inwardly young in a world all their own, has no cause, no ideology, and who harms no one and nothing. The quiet person who, having become still, is as

A falling leaf turned Autumn brown
Following the wind of the moment:
Neither clinging to, nor striving against,
The force of existence ever a dream in the end

and who, if he is to be remembered at all, would hope it to be for his translations of Aeschylus, Sophocles, the Poemandres tractate, and/or his philosophy of pathei-mathos.

 

David Myatt
March 2013

This is a slightly revised version of part of a letter written in November 2012 to a personal correspondent who enquired about my early education

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Source: http://www.davidmyatt.info/joy-of-words.html

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Comment on Myngath

David Myatt

The following comment on David Myatt’s autobiography Myngath recently appeared on Google books –

“Myngath is an interesting and at times a fascinating read of one man’s rather extraordinary journey, over decades, from right-wing, neo-nazi, extremism to self understanding via two personal tragedies. A journey which included not only political extremism, small-time racketeering, and jail time for violence, but also periods as a vagabond, a Catholic monk, a conversion to Islam and time spent as a Muslim, and – finally – the development of a new philosophy which Myatt calls ‘the numinous way of pathei-mathos’.

The book reads well with a fast paced narrative that owes much to the fact that it is “an aural recollection to a friend, recorded and then transcribed,” and – one presumes – subsequently corrected and revised given that this is marked as the ‘May 2013 Edition’.

Given that Myatt is honest about his mistakes, his shortcomings, his violent extremist past, his feelings and motivations while an extremist, and his selfishness, and – finally – about his remorse and regrets, Myngath is a valuable addition to the literature about extremism, and it would not be out of place on a pre-college reading list for those about to study the humanities.

Myngath is available as a free pdf download here – david-myatt-myngath.pdf – and as printed book, ISBN 978-1484110744, from Amazon dot com.

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A Very Strange Peregrination

David Myatt

David Myatt

What will undoubtedly become a controversial work by David Myatt – Understanding and Rejecting Extremism, subtitled A Very Strange Peregrination – is now available from on-line book retailer Amazon.

The book, priced US$4.50, is divided into three sections:

Part One: Towards Understanding Extremism – Notes From Personal Experience.
Part Two: A Learning From Grief.
Part Three: A Rejection of Extremism Perhaps Explained.

It’s part one which will be controversial, because –  dissecting extremism as it does – it won’t please those who still distribute or are fans of Myatt’s old (and now rejected by him) National Socialist writings, and those from ‘the new right’ who still hold him in high regard for some of his older ‘numinous way’ stuff. Controversial also because it appears he takes a rather feminist view, writing that “men are the cause of most of the suffering, death, destruction, hate, violence, brutality, and killing, that has occurred and which is still occurring, thousand year upon thousand year.”

That said, parts two and three, which reproduce some correspondence of his from the past six years, are the most interesting, and very revealing of Myatt’s character.

Here’s the link to the book:

Understanding and Rejecting Extremism
ISBN-13: 978-1484854266

A free pdf version is also available for download here:

Understanding and Rejecting Extremism
(pdf)

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David Myatt – Printed Books Now Available

David Myatt

David Myatt

Three printed books containing a selection of David Myatt’s recent writings are now available from on-line book retailer Amazon.

1) Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos: Essays and Letters Regarding Spirituality, Humility, and A Learning From Grief

List Price: $5.90
56 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1484097984
BISAC: Philosophy / Metaphysics

Letters and essays – some autobiographical in nature – concerning religion, redemption, expiation, and humility, and relating to the numinous way – the philosophy – of pathei-mathos.

Contents: I Fifty Years of Diverse Peregrinations. II Numinous Expiation. III Blue Reflected Starlight. IV Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God.

Amazon.co.uk: Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos

2) The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos

List Price: $4.50
76 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1484096642
BISAC: Philosophy / Metaphysics

Contents: Prefatory Note. 1 Conspectus. 2 The Way of Pathei-Mathos – A Philosophical Compendium. 3 Some Personal Musings On Empathy. 4 Enantiodromia and The Reformation of The Individual. 5 Society, Politics, Social Reform, and Pathei-Mathos. 6 The Change of Enantiodromia. 7 The Abstraction of Change as Opposites and Dialectic. Appendix I – The Principle of Dika. Appendix II – Glossary of Terms and Greek Words.

Amazon.com: Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos

3) Myngath

List Price: $7.50
94 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1484110744
BISAC: Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

Some Recollections of a Wyrdful and Extremist Life [Revised April 2013 edition]

Amazon.com: Myngath


One Error-Prone Self

David Myatt

David Myatt


One Error-Prone Self

Extract from an e-mail sent to a personal correspondent

The reason why I now do not – and have no desire to – “get involved with social change” (or to “go out into the world and try to give something back” as another correspondent recently expressed it) is the reality of me having made, and knowing and feeling I made, so many mistakes, shown such poor judgement, been so arrogant, so selfish, for so many decades – for most of my adult life. Given this reality, I simply do not trust myself anymore not to cause suffering, not to make even more mistakes, not to show poor judgement again. Just as I know my responsibility, my blame, for those my past mistakes and their human consequences.

Thus, why would I want to inflict myself on the world anymore? External engagement might in theory (just might) be possible for me again were I to have the guidance, the oversight, of others; a moral authoritative framework provided by good people I could empathize with and trust to guide, advise, correct me. But even then, even then given my past propensity to be hubriatic and selfish, I might veer away from doing what was right.

For the simple honest truth is that I now feel, in my very being, that I have no right to, can find no justification for me to – beyond that necessitated by personal honour in the immediacy of the moment [1] – interfere in the lives of others, in however small a way even if my initial motives might be (or seemed to me to be) good. For who I am to judge, decide, things beyond the purvue of empathy and a very personal honour? I am just one fallible exceedingly error-prone human being with a long proven history of impersonal interference, of hubriatic, suffering-causing, and selfish, deeds. Someone who does not trust himself anymore and who values and tries to cultivate wu-wei. Which is the major reason why some months ago I ceased to write (to pontificate) – about anything; leaving me with only some few and sporadic (and soon also to cease) personal correspondences such as this [2].

In effect, I feel I am not – by being reclusive – retreating from the world, just seeking not to inflict my error-prone self on the world, on others. An error-prone self, a person, I admit I now do not like very much. Which is why there is also no longer any desire, not even any secret desire, to share my life, in however small or complete a way, with anyone or even with others be they friends old or new. Of course I could be wrong, and am just being silly or stupid. But it is how I have come to feel.

All I now have therefore are the brief human contacts that this type of reclusive non-religious life allows or finds is fitting. The smile, the cheery return of a ‘hello’ or a ‘good morning’ when a person is passed while out walking. Or perchance talk of the weather. No reason for me to be gruff, aloof or rude. Quite the contrary – a need to smile; to be polite; perhaps even a little charming and briefly. As if such small so human things so briefly made might be some minuscule emanation of that wordless quiet quite inexplicable inner joy and peace which somehow in some strange manner seems to flow within when I am out, outdoors, wherever whenever, able thus to feel the freshness of the air, see clouds and sky, feel this living planet as Nature lives and changes, and be again one particular if fragile brief mortal emanation, one microcosmic none-harming connexion, to all Life. For there, alive, it is as if I am who and what I now should be: no thought, no words, to spoil or soil earth, wind, sky, sea, clouds, heavens, or water.

But yes, there is a certain inner emptiness, and often, and bearing grief and sadness, when alone indoors. Inner vacant sometimes colding spaces which perhaps a belief in God – or the gods – might fill, and which certainly a partner or prayer or both would warm and dissipate. Yet this certain inner emptiness, such sadness, I sense is perhaps is as it should be for me, as part expiation for the varied harm my varied pasts – in this one life – have caused.

So many, so very many many, others in so many places world-wide far less fortunate than I, so that I have to – must – accept my pottering hopefully now non-harmful way of life, remembering. Always remembering that θάνατος δὲ τότ᾽ ἔσσεται, ὁππότε κεν δὴ Μοῖραι ἐπικλώσωσ᾽ [3] and the suffering I personally have caused, balanced (perhaps) as such remembering is by a (perhaps naive) hope that someone or some many may learn and change as I seemed to have learnt and changed: learned to see, to feel, to try to gently be, the goodness we humans are capable of and have often shown ourselves to be capable of. A goodness revealed by empathy, and thus presenting to us an understanding of innocence, peace, forgiveness, honour, love and joy, far beyond any words I know.

The grievous reprehensible sadness-causing mistake I as extremist, with my fanatical hubriatic certitude of knowing, made for some forty years – and which all extremists of whatever kind always make – was/is to place some idea, some ideal, some dogma, some abstraction, before the innocence of human beings and before those quite simple things which empathy and pathei-mathos reveal and which express our humanity:

“…the desire for personal love and the need to be loyally loved; the need for a family and the bonds of love within a family that lead to the desire to protect, care for, work for, and if necessary defend one’s loved ones. The desire for a certain security and stability and peace, manifest in a home, in sufficiency of food, in playfulness, in friends, in tolerance, in a lack of danger. The need for the dignity, the self-respect, that work, that giving love and being loved, provide…” [4]

and a knowing of, a feeling for, and acknowledgement of, innocence: where those who are personally unknown to us are unjudged by us and are given the benefit of the doubt, since this presumption of innocence of others – until or unless direct personal experience, and individual and empathic knowing of them, proves otherwise – is the fair, the reasoned, the numinous, the human, thing to do.

That reprehensible mistake I made is why extremists embody and manifest hate and violence and conflict; because extremists dehumanize, as well as so often enjoying and needing the exhilaration, the sense of identity, the ‘enemies’, that hate and violence and conflict and abstractions give birth to and always thereafter nurture. A dehumanization so evident in the truth that extremists place some goal, some idea, some ideal, some dogma, some abstraction, some political/social/religious agenda, before a personal love, before a personal loyalty, before stability, peace, and innocence; blind as extremists mostly are – willfully or neglectfully, or naturally because of their character – to the good and to the good people of human intentions which and who exist and which and who have existed in those societies such extremists almost invariably, because of their hubriatic certitude-of-knowing, seek to undermine, destabilize, decimate, overturn, revolutionize, or destroy.

But I have no chanted, sung, or contemplative Opus Dei to try, in monastic peace and with hope and faith, to balance – Soli Deo Honor et Gloria – the unwise deeds of so many; nor any longer a desire or need to interfere in the lives of others. So there is for me only the living of each moment as it passes: no aim, no goal. Instead:

The smile of joy when Sun of Summer
Presents again this Paradise of Earth
For I am only tears, falling

David Myatt
November 2012

Notes, Post Scriptum

[1] As I mentioned in The Numinous Balance of Honour section of my The Way of Pathei-Mathos – A Philosophical Compendiary,

“[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.

[2] The minor reason why I some months ago ceased to write is that my Recuyle of the Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos contains (in my fallible view) all that is required for an understanding of, and all that is relevant to, my now completed weltanschauung.

[3]   ‘Our ending arrives whenever wherever the Moirai decide’. Attributed to Καλλίνου, as recorded by Ἰωάννης Στοβαῖος in his Ἀνθολόγιον (c. 5th century CE).

In respect of Μοῖραι (τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες) – Trimorphed Moirai with their ever-heedful Furies – qv. Aeschylus [attributed], Prometheus Bound, 515-6, and Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 130:

Μοῖρ᾽ ἀλαπάξει πρὸς τὸ βίαιον
…by the purging Moirai subdued

[4] Some Personal Musings On Empathy [Part II of Recuyle of the Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos]



cc David Myatt 2012
This item is issued under the Creative Commons
(Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0) License
and can be freely copied and distributed, under the liberal terms of that license

Pathei-Mathos – Genesis of My Unknowing

Editorial note: The following essay by David Myatt was written in 2012.

David Myatt

David Myatt

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.

Thus what exposed my hubris – what for me broke down that certitude-of-knowing which extremism breeds and re-presents – was not something I did; not something I achieved; not something related to my character, my nature, at all. Instead, it was a gift offered to me by two others – the legacy left by their tragic early dying. That it took not one but two personal tragedies – some thirteen years apart – for me to accept and appreciate the gift of their love, their living, most surely reveals my failure, the hubris that for so long suffused me, and the strength and depth of my so lamentable extremism.

But the stark and uneasy truth is that I have no real, no definitive, answers for anyone, including myself. All I have now is a definite uncertitude of knowing, and certain feelings, some intuitions, some reflexions, a few certainly fallible suggestions arising mostly from reflexions concerning that, my lamentable, past, and thus – perhaps – just a scent, just a scent, of some understanding concerning some-things, perfumed as this understanding is with ineffable sadness.

For what I painfully, slowly, came to understand, via pathei-mathos, was the importance – the human necessity, the virtue – of love, and how love expresses or can express the numinous in the most sublime, the most human, way. Of how extremism (of whatever political or religious or ideological kind) places some abstraction, some ideation, some notion of duty to some ideation, before a personal love, before a knowing and an appreciation of the numinous. Thus does extremism – usurping such humanizing personal love – replace human love with an extreme, an unbalanced, an intemperate, passion for something abstract: some ideation, some ideal, some dogma, some ‘victory’, some-thing always supra-personal and always destructive of personal happiness, personal dreams, personal hopes; and always manifesting an impersonal harshness: the harshness of hatred, intolerance, certitude-of-knowing, unfairness, violence, prejudice.

Thus, instead of a natural and a human concern with what is local, personal and personally known, extremism breeds a desire to harshly interfere in the lives of others – personally unknown and personally distant – on the basis of such a hubriatic certitude-of-knowing that strife and suffering are inevitable. For there is in all extremists that stark lack of personal humility, that unbalance, that occurs when – as in all extremisms – what is masculous is emphasized and idealized and glorified to the detriment (internal, and external) of what is muliebral, and thus when some ideology or some dogma or some faith or some cause is given precedence over love and when loyalty to some manufactured abstraction is given precedence over loyalty to family, loved ones, friends.

For I have sensed that there are only changeable individual ways and individual fallible answers, born again and again via pathei-mathos and whose subtle scent – the wisdom – words can neither capture nor describe, even though we try and perhaps need to try, and try perhaps (as for me) as one hopeful needful act of a non-religious redemption.

Thus, and for instance, I sense – only sense – that peace (or the beginning thereof) might possibly just be not only the freedom from subsuming personal desires but also the freedom from striving for some supra-personal, abstract, impersonal, goal or goals. That is, a just-being, a flowing and a being-flowed. No subsuming concern with what-might-be or what-was. No lust for ideations; no quest for the violation of difference. Instead – a calmful waiting; just a listening, a seeing, a feeling, of what-is as those, as our, emanations of Life flow and change as they naturally flow and change, in, with, and beyond us: human, animal, of sea, soil, sky, Cosmos, and of Nature… But I am only dreaming, here in pathei-mathos-empathy-land where there is no past-present-future passing each of us with our future-past: only the numen presenced in each one of our so individual timeless human stories.

Yet, in that – this – other world, the scent of having understood remains, which is why I feel I now quite understand why, in the past, certain individuals disliked – even hated – me, given my decades of extremism: my advocacy of racism, fascism, holocaust denial, and National-Socialism, followed (after my conversion to Islam) by my support of bin Laden, the Taliban, and advocacy of ‘suicide attacks’.

I also understand why – given my subversive agenda and my amoral willingness to use any tactic, from Occult honeytraps to terrorism, to undermine the society of the time as prelude to revolution – certain people have saught to discredit me by distributing and publishing certain allegations.

Furthermore, given my somewhat Promethean peregrinations – which included being a Catholic monk, a vagabond, a fanatical violent neo-nazi, a theoretician of terror, running a gang of thieves, studying Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism; being a nurse, a farm worker, and supporter of Jihad – I expect many or most of those interested in or curious about my ‘numinous way’ and my recent mystical writings to be naturally suspicious of or doubtful about my reformation and my rejection of extremism.

Thus I harbour no resentment against individuals, or organizations, or groups, who over the past forty or so years have publicly and/or privately made negative or derogatory comments about me or published items making claims about me. Indeed, I now find myself in the rather curious situation of not only agreeing with some of my former political opponents on many matters, but also (perhaps) of understanding (and empathizing with) their motivation; a situation which led and which leads me to appreciate even more just how lamentable my extremism was and just how arrogant, selfish, wrong, and reprehensible, I as a person was, and how in many ways many of those former opponents were and are (ex concesso) better people than I ever was or am.

Which is one reason why I have written what I have recently written about extremism and my extremist past: so that perchance someone or some many may understand extremism, and its causes, better and thus be able to avoid the mistakes I made, avoid causing the suffering I caused; or be able to in some way more effectively counter or prevent such extremism in the future. And one reason – only one – why I henceforward must live in reclusion and in silencio.

David Myatt
May 2012 ce

In Loving Memory of Frances, died 29th May 2006
In Loving Memory of Sue, died 4th April 1993

Further Reading:

Understanding and Rejecting Extremism
(pdf)