Almost Mid-Summer

Editorial Note: This evocation of the numinous and of the English countryside is a letter written by David Myatt to a friend in 2008. It was included in Myatt’s 2013 book Understanding and Rejecting Extremism.

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Almost Mid-Summer

Another beautifully warm and Sunny day, bright with the light remembered from childhood years in Africa and the Far East: so different from the normally dullish light of temperate England.

Thus, here in the warm Sun and as so often, there is a time of reflexion; a stasis as life becomes reviewed through memories. And it is occurring to me more and more that this is all that there is, beyond the immediacy of the moment: only memories of moments past.

So many memories which slowly fade as bright colour exposed to Sun: as the bright checks of my Tweed cap have slowly faded over the years, unrenewed as the greens of the grass, the bush, the tree, become renewed each year, through Spring. Only memories, as of Fran; to be savoured but perhaps now not too much to be dwelt upon in almost unbearable sadness, for thus is – for thus has – a type of balance returned; that balance, that dwelling in immediacy, which I from learning feel and know is the essence of wu-wei.

This is a change within me, regarding the life and death of Fran, and the life and death of Sue; regarding my own diverse journeys and explorations. A change toward a being-settled that has partly arisen from at last forsaking abstractions and partly from accepting that it is immediacy and remembrance of memories which convey the only correct meaning we human beings have or can find and which is numinous. No projection, thus, of an abstractive life-beyond this mortal life; no need for a religious type of faith; no battle or desire to strive to be in accord with any abstraction; and even no need to believe in, or even un-numinously desire, some-thing. No depth of unfathomable wordless sadness to bring that ultimate life-ending despair such as I assume Fran felt in the last hours of her own mortal living.

For there is only the bright Sun; the slight breeze in bush and tree; the verdant, living, green of grass; the yellow Buttercups that are profusely sprinkled there in the old Orchard of old Apple trees whose lower branches have been windfallen, or become broken with age, or stripped of bark by the two Goats who roam there, where Chickens range, food-seeking. Only the passing billowing fair-weather white Cumulus clouds below the sky-blue of Earth’s earthly mortal life.

Across from where I sit – at the back of the Farmhouse – that Barn whose Summer Swallows swoop in and out to feed their still nesting young who gape and chatter as their food is brought. And I am only this moment, only this moment, as the young Farm dog who comes to lay down in the grass beside me is only the young Farm dog. He looks up at me once – three times – tail wagging, before settling down to sleep.

There is no world beyond, for us here; for the life here. Only the weather; only the changing weather; only some natural need to move us, slowly by our limbs. A need for shelter, water, food. Only the Seasons changing as they change. Only the gentle companionship of a gentle acceptance that lives, grows, changes, slowly, as all natural life lives, grows – changes – slowly, as Sun through cloudless Summer sky.

My decades long mistake of unbalanced stupidity has been to be un-rooted; to be of unnatural uneedful haste. To cease to dwell within each immediacy of each moment. To be swayed by, persuaded by, in thrall to – to even love – un-numinous and thus un-ethical abstractions. To be thus that which we human beings have become: a stage between animal – talking – and compassionate, empathic being aware of and treasuring each small pulse of life that lives near, within, us because there is no separation unless we in hubris and by abstraction create such separation.

Thus are we now struggling, halting, wasting ourselves and all of Life around us; infected now with the virus of abstractions so that, upon this living Earth, we – in our new de-evolution – despoil, disrupt, destroy the Life that is our Life and the genesis of The Numinous, often in the name of that un-ethical abstraction called “progress”. And yet we have a cure for our millennia-long debilitating sickness; have always had a cure, although so many for so long, as I, have failed in our blind stupidity to see it.

So, this is all that there is: only the bright Sun; the slight breeze in bush and tree; the verdant, living, green of grass; the yellow Buttercups that are profusely sprinkled here where, now, The Numinous lives, on another beautifully warm and Sunny day, bright with light remembered…

David Myatt
June 2008

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Article source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/almost-mid-summer/
Image credit: The Day’s Consecration, a painting by Richard Moult


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David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos

Richard Moult: The Corn King

Editorial Note: The following essay is an insightful exposition of Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos and is taken from The Mystic Philosophy of David Myatt, which book was published in 2015 and is available both as a printed paperback – ISBN 978-1523930135 – and as Gratis Open Access pdf file from here.

The contents of the book are: 1) A Modern Mystic: David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2) A Modern Pagan Philosophy. 2) Honour In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos. 4) An Overview of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos. 5) Appendix: A Note On Greek Terms In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos.

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A Modern Mystic
David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos

Philosophy of a Modern Mystic

The ‘way of pathei-mathos’ (πάθει μάθος) is the name given, by David Myatt himself, to his own particular Weltanschauung, his own perspective about life, which he has expounded in numerous essays since 2011, and which perspective or personal philosophy he developed after he “had, upon reflexion, rejected much of and revised what then remained of my earlier (2006-2011) numinous way.” (1)

Myatt has conveniently collected most of the essays expounding his personal philosophy into four books: The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, published in 2013; Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos, published in 2013; One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings, published in 2014; and Sarigthersa, published in May 2015. These works amount to some 240 pages.

In one essay he makes it clear that the way, or the philosophy, of pathei-mathos is

“simply my own weltanschauung, a weltanschauung developed over some years as a result of my own pathei-mathos. Thus, and despite whatever veracity it may or may not possess, it is only the personal insight of one very fallible individual, a fallibility proven by my decades of selfishness and by my decades of reprehensible extremism both political and religious. Furthermore, and according to my admittedly limited understanding and limited knowledge, this philosophy does not – in essence – express anything new. For I feel (and I use the word ‘feel’ intentionally) that I have only re-expressed what so many others, over millennia, have expressed as result of (i) their own pathei-mathos and/or (ii) their experiences/insights and/or (iii) their particular philosophical musings.” (2)

As described in those four collections of essays, Myatt’s particular perspective, or philosophy of life is, in my view, fundamentally a mystical one because based on a personal intuitive insight about, a personal awareness of, the nature of Reality. A mystic accepts that there is, or there can arise by means such as contemplation, a spiritual apprehension of certain truths which transcends the temporal.

Myatt personal mystic insight is essentially two-fold: (a) that “we are a connexion to other life; of how we are but one mortal fallible emanation of Life; of how we affect or can affect the well-being – the very being, ψυχή – of other mortals and other life,” (3); and (b) of “the primacy of pathei-mathos: of a personal pathei-mathos being one of the primary means whereby we can come to know the true φύσις (physis) of Being, of beings, and of our own being; a knowing beyond ‘abstractions’, beyond the concealment implicit in manufactured opposites, by ipseity (the separation-of-otherness), and by denotatum.” (2)

According to Myatt, this awareness of our connexion to other life is that arising from empathy; more, precisely, from the faculty of empathy, which he explains is an awareness of, and a sympathy with, other living beings, and by means of which we can

“understand both φύσις and Πόλεμος, and thus apprehend Being as Being, and the nature of beings – and in particular the nature of our being, as mortals. For empathy reveals to us the acausality of Being and thus how the process of abstraction, involving as it does an imposition of causality and separation upon beings (and the ideation implicit on opposites and dialectic), is a covering-up of Being.” (4)

Less metaphysically, he writes that empathy

“inclines a person toward certain virtues; toward a particular type of personal character; and disinclines them toward doing what is bad, what is unfair; what is harsh and unfeeling; what intentionally causes or contributes to suffering. For empathy enables us to directly perceive, to sense, the φύσις (the physis, the nature or character) of human beings and other living beings, involving as empathy does a translocation of ourselves and thus a knowing-of another living-being as that living-being is, without presumptions and sans all ideations, all projections.” (5)

According to him, empathy is inextricably linked to pathei-mathos:

“Empathy is, as an intuitive understanding, what was, can be, and often is, learned or developed by πάθει μάθος. That is, from and by a direct, personal, learning from experience and suffering. An understanding manifest in our awareness of the numinous and thus in the distinction we have made, we make, or we are capable of making, between the sacred and the profane; the distinction made, for example in the past, between θεοί and δαιμόνων and mortals.” (5)

One feature of Myatt’s mysticism is his somewhat prolific use of ancient Greek terms and expressions; a use which he states is because

“the philosophy of πάθει μάθος has certain connexions to Hellenic culture and I tend therefore to use certain Greek words in order to try and elucidate my meaning and/or to express certain philosophical principles regarded as important in – and for an understanding of – this philosophy; a usage of words which I have endeavoured to explain as and where necessary, sometimes by quoting passages from Hellenic literature or other works and by providing translations of such passages. For it would be correct to assume that the ethos of this philosophy is somewhat indebted to and yet – and importantly – is also a development of the ethos of Hellenic culture; an indebtedness obvious in notions such as δίκη, πάθει μάθος, avoidance of ὕβρις, and references to Heraclitus, Aeschylus, and others, and a development manifest in notions such as empathy and the importance attached to the virtue of compassion.” (5)(6)

Pathei-Mathos And Physis

Since – as the name for his ‘way’ or philosophy implies – the concept of pathei-mathos is fundamental, as is the concept of physis, it is necessary to understand what Myatt means by both these concepts.

1. Pathei-Mathos

In several of his essays Myatt writes about this concept in some detail. For example:

“The Greek term πάθει μάθος derives from The Agamemnon of Aeschylus (written c. 458 BCE), and can be interpreted, or translated, as meaning ‘learning from adversary’, or ‘wisdom arises from (personal) suffering’; or ‘personal experience is the genesis of true learning’.

However, this expression should be understood in context, for what Aeschylus writes is that the Immortal, Zeus, guiding mortals to reason, has provided we mortals with a new law, which law replaces previous ones, and which new law – this new guidance laid down for mortals – is pathei-mathos.

Thus, for we human beings, pathei-mathos possesses a numinous, a living, authority – that is, the wisdom, the understanding, that arises from one’s own personal experience, from formative experiences that involve some hardship, some grief, some personal suffering, is often or could be more valuable to us (more alive, more meaningful) than any doctrine, than any religious faith, than any words one might hear from someone else or read in some book.
In many ways, this Aeschylean view is an enlightened – a very human – one, and is somewhat in contrast to the faith and revelation-centred view of religions such as Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.” (7)

“A personal pathei-mathos [is] one of the primary means whereby we can come to know the true φύσις (physis) of Being, of beings, and of our own being; a knowing beyond ‘abstractions’, beyond the concealment implicit in manufactured opposites, by ipseity (the separation- of-otherness), and by denotatum.” (2)

This reliance on pathei-mathos makes his philosophy non-dogmatic, personal, and interior, especially given the connection Myatt makes between pathei-mathos and empathy; for the type of knowing both provide is a-causal in nature and is only manifest “in the immediacy-of-the-moment” and therefore “cannot be abstracted out from that ‘living moment’ via denotatum: by (words written or spoken), or be named or described or expressed (become fixed or ‘known’) by any dogma or any -ism or any -ology, be such -isms or -ologies conventionally understood as political, religious, ideological, or social.” (2)

As Myatt explains, there is a ‘local horizon’ to both empathy and pathei-mathos:

“The ‘local horizon of empathy’ is a natural consequence of my understanding of empathy as a human faculty, albeit a faculty that is still quite underdeveloped. For what empathy provides – or can provide – is a very personal wordless knowing in the immediacy-of-the-living-moment. Thus empathy inclines us as individuals to appreciate that what is beyond the purveu of our empathy – beyond our personal empathic knowing of others, beyond our knowledge and our experience, beyond the limited (local) range of our empathy and that personal (local) knowledge of ourselves which pathei-mathos reveals – is something we rationally, we humbly, accept we do not know and so cannot judge or form a reasonable, a fair, a balanced, opinion about. For empathy, like pathei-mathos, lives within us; manifesting, as both empathy and pathei-mathos do, the always limited nature, the horizon, of our own knowledge and understanding.” (8)

In further explaining what he means by the ‘acausal (wordless) knowing’ of empathy and pathei-mathos, Myatt introduces another fundamental aspect of his philosophy, the culture of pathei-mathos:

“What, therefore, is the wordless knowing that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal? It is the knowing manifest in our human culture of pathei-mathos. The knowing communicated to us, for example, by art, music, literature, and manifest in the lives of those who presenced, in their living, compassion, love, and honour. Germane to this knowing is that – unlike a form or an abstraction – it is always personal (limited in its applicability) and can only be embodied in and presenced by some-thing or by some-one which or who lives. That is, it cannot be abstracted out of the living, the personal, moment of its presencing by someone or abstracted out from its living apprehension by others in the immediacy-of-the-moment, and thus cannot become ‘an ideal’ or form the foundation for some dogma or ideology or supra-personal faith.” (8)

In addition he points out that such ‘acausal knowing’ is supplementary and complimentary to that ‘causal knowing’ which may be acquired by means of the Aristotelian essentials of conventional philosophy and experimental science. (9)

2. Physis

In his essay Towards Understanding Physis (10) Myatt explains that he uses the term physis, φύσις, contextually to refer to:

(i) the ontology of beings, an ontology – a reality, a ‘true nature ‘- that is often obscured by denotatum and by abstractions, both of which conceal physis;
(ii) the relationship between beings, and between beings and Being, which is of us – we mortals – as a nexion, an affective effluvium (or emanation) of Life (ψυχή) and thus of why ‘the separation-of-otherness’ is a concealment of that relationship;
(iii) the character, or persona, of human beings, and which character – sans denotatum – can be discovered (revealed, known) by the faculty of empathy;
(iv) the unity – the being – beyond the division of our physis, as individual mortals, into masculous and muliebral;
(v) that manifestation denoted by the concept Time, with Time considered to be an expression/manifestation of the physis of beings.

According to Myatt – echoing as he does a concept found in several tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum (11) – the supposed necessity of denoting (or defining) ourselves, as an individual, in terms of either ‘the masculous’ or ‘the muliebral’ (12) is incorrect and distances us from understanding our human physis. That is, he suggests that every individual has (or can develop) a masculous and a muliebral aspect to their physis and that it is natural for us to develop both these aspects of our character, which development – and the balanced physis which results – would take us away from the dominating suffering causing patriarchal ethos of the past three thousand years, incline us toward empathy, compassion, and honour, and thus lessen the suffering which we inflict on other humans and on other life. (13) In respect of which development Myatt asks a rhetorical question:

“Will [it] take us another three thousand years, or more, or less, to live, world-wide, in societies where fairness, peace, and compassion, are the norm because the males of our species – perhaps by heeding Fairness and not obliging Hubris, perhaps by learning from our shared human culture of pathei-mathos – have personally, individually, balanced within themselves the masculous with the muliebral and thus, because of sympatheia, follow the path of honour. Which balancing would naturally seem to require a certain conscious intent.

What, therefore, is our intent, as individual human beings, and can our human culture of pathei-mathos offer us some answers, or perchance some guidance? As an old epigram so well-expressed it:

θνητοῖσιν ἀνωΐστων πολέων περ οὐδὲν ἀφραστότερον πέλεται νόου ἀνθρώποισι

“Of all the things that mortals fail to understand, the most incomprehensible is human intent.”

Personally, I do believe that our human culture of pathei-mathos – rooted as it is in our ancient past, enriched as it has been over thousands of years by each new generation, and informing as it does of what is wise and what is unwise – can offer us both some guidance and some answers.” (14)

A Complete Philosophy

According to academic criteria, in order to qualify as a complete, and distinct, philosophy – in order to be a Weltanschauung – a particular philosophical viewpoint should possess the following: (i) a particular ontology, which describes and explains the concept of Being, and beings, and our relation to them; (ii) a particular theory of ethics, defining and explaining what is good, and what is bad; (iii) a particular theory of knowledge (an epistemology), of how truth and falsehood can be determined; and (iv) it should also be able to give or to suggest particular answers to questions such as “the meaning and purpose of our lives”, and explain how the particular posited purpose may or could be attained.

Given that Myatt’s ‘way of pathei-mathos’ provides the following answers, it does appear to meet the above criteria and thus could aptly be described as a distinct modern philosophy.

i) Ontology

“The ontology is of causal and acausal being, with (i) causal being as revealed by phainómenon, by the five Aristotelian essentials and thus by science with its observations and theories and principle of ‘verifiability’, and (ii) acausal being as revealed by συμπάθεια – by the acausal knowing (of living beings) derived from faculty of empathy – and thus of the distinction between the ‘time’ (the change) of living-beings and the ‘time’ described via the measurement of the observed or the assumed/posited/predicted movement of things.” (2)

ii) Epistemology

“The primacy of pathei-mathos: of a personal pathei-mathos being one of the primary means whereby we can come to know the true φύσις (physis) of Being, of beings, and of our own being; a knowing beyond ‘abstractions’, beyond the concealment implicit in manufactured opposites, by ipseity (the separation-of-otherness), and by denotatum.

Adding the ‘acausal knowing’ revealed by the (muliebral) faculty of empathy to the conventional, and causal (and somewhat masculous), knowing of science and logical philosophical speculation, with the proviso that what such ‘acausal knowing’ reveals is (i) of φύσις, the relation between beings, and between beings and Being, and thus of ‘the separation-of-otherness’, and (ii) the personal and numinous nature of such knowing in the immediacy-of-the-moment.” (2)

iii) Ethics

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

Of how such honour – by its and our φύσις – is and can only ever be personal, and thus cannot be extracted out from the ‘living moment’ and our participation in the moment; for it only through such things as a personal study of the culture of pathei-mathos and the development of the faculty of empathy that a person who does not naturally possess the instinct for δίκη can develope what is essentially ‘the human faculty of honour’, and which faculty is often appreciated and/or discovered via our own personal pathei-mathos.” (2)

iv) Meaning

“It is wise to avoid causing or contributing to suffering not because such avoidance is a path toward nirvana (or some other posited thing), and not because we might be rewarded by God, by the gods, or by some divinity, but rather because it manifests the reality, the truth – the meaning – of our being.” (15)

“Of understanding ourselves in that supra-personal, and cosmic, perspective that empathy, honour, and pathei mathos – and thus an awareness of the numinous and of the acausal – incline us toward, and which understanding is: (i) of ourselves as a finite, fragile, causal, viatorial, microcosmic, affective effluvium of Life (ψυχή) and thus connected to all other living beings, human, terran, and non-terran, and (ii) of there being no supra-personal goal to strive toward because all supra personal goals are and have been just posited – assumed, abstracted – goals derived from the illusion of ipseity, and/or from some illusive abstraction, and/or from that misapprehension of our φύσις that arises from a lack of empathy, honour, and pathei-mathos.

For a living in the moment, in a balanced – an empathic, honourable – way, presences our φύσις as conscious beings capable of discovering and understanding and living in accord with our connexion to other life.” (2)

A Spiritual Way

Myatt’s answers to the questions of “the meaning and purpose of our lives” and of “how the posited purpose might be attained” reveal – as he himself admits in many of his essays – that his philosophy of pathei-mathos embodies a cultured pagan ethos similar to the paganism manifest in many of the writings of Cicero. In his essay on Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos, Myatt approvingly quotes Cicero (in Latin) and paraphrases the explanation of meaning which Cicero gives in the second book of De Natura Deorum:

“The classical weltanschauung was a paganus one: an apprehension of the complete unity (a cosmic order, κόσμος, mundus) beyond the apparent parts of that unity, together with the perceiveration that we mortals – albeit a mere and fallible part of the unity – have been gifted with our existence so that we may perceive and understand this unity, and, having so perceived, may ourselves seek to be whole, and thus become as balanced (perfectus), as harmonious, as the unity itself.

Furthermore, this paganus natural balance implied an acceptance by the individual of certain communal responsibilities and duties; of such responsibilities and duties, and their cultivation, as a natural and necessary part of our existence as mortals.” (16)

But Myatt’s philosophy is certainly not a modern restatement of a type of paganism that existed in ancient Greece and Rome. For his philosophy is concerned with the individual and especially with their interior life; with their ‘acausal’ connection – through what Myatt terms the cultivation of the virtues of empathy, compassion, humility, and personal honour – to Being and thence to other life, sentient and otherwise. This marks it as a spiritual way, but one devoid of ‘abstractions’ and dogma. As Myatt writes:

“To formulate some standard or rule or some test to try to evaluate alternatives and make choices in such matters is to make presumptions about what constitutes progress; about what constitutes a ‘higher’ level – or a more advanced stage – and what constitutes a ‘lower’ level or stage. That is, to not only make a moral judgement connected to what is considered to be ‘good’ and ‘evil’ – right and wrong, correct and incorrect – but also to apply that judgement to others and to ‘things’. To judge them, and/or the actions of others, by whether they are on a par with, or are moving toward or away from, that ‘right’ and that ‘wrong’.

This is, in my view, a veering toward hubris, away from the natural balance, and thus away from that acknowledgement of our fallibility, of our uncertitude of knowing, that is the personal virtue of humility. For the essence of the culture of pathei-mathos, and the genesis, the ethos, of all religious revelations and spiritual ways before or until they become dogmatical, seems to be that we can only, without hubris, without prejudice, judge and reform ourselves.

For what the culture of pathei-mathos reveals is that we human beings, are – personally – both the cause and the cure of suffering; and that our choice is whether or not we live, or try to live, in a manner which does not intentionally contribute to or which is not the genesis of new suffering. The choice, in effect, to choose the way of harmony – the natural balance – in preference to hubris.” (17)

According to Myatt, empathy and pathei-mathos incline us – or can incline us – toward humility (18), for

“personal humility is the natural balance living within us; that is, we being or becoming or returning to the balance that does not give rise to ἔρις. Or, expressed simply, humility disposes us toward gentleness, toward kindness, toward love, toward peace; toward the virtues that are balance, that express our humanity.” (19)

In other words, humility expresses the raison d’être of Myatt’s philosophy, born as this philosophy is from his own pathei-mathos.

A Modern Gnostic

A Gnostic is someone who seeks gnosis: wisdom and knowledge; someone involved in a life-long search, a quest, for understanding, and who more often than not views the world, or more especially ordinary routine life, as often mundane and often as a hindrance. In my view, this is a rather apt description of Myatt during his idealist and ‘extremist’ decades; decades (1968-2009) which are reasonably now well-known and documented in various academic sources.

It is thus no surprise that Myatt has been described as an “extremely violent, intelligent, dark, and complex individual,” (20) as “a British iconoclast who has lived a somewhat itinerant life and has undertaken an equally desultory intellectual quest,” (21); as “arguably England’s principal proponent of contemporary neo-Nazi ideology and theoretician of revolution,” (22); as having undertaken various “Faustian quests”, (23); as “a fierce Jihadist,” (24) and as having undertaken a “Siddhartha-like search for truth” and “a global odyssey which took him on extended stays in the Middle East and East Asia, accompanied by studies of religions ranging from Christianity to Islam in the Western tradition and Taoism and Buddhism in the Eastern path.” (25)

Thus, his

“philosophy of πάθει μάθος […] is not a conventional, an academic, one where a person intellectually posits or constructs a coherent theory – involving ontology, epistemology, ethics, and so on – often as a result of an extensive dispassionate study, review, or a criticism of the philosophies or views, past and present, advanced by other individuals involved in the pursuit of philosophy as an academic discipline or otherwise. Instead, the philosophy of pathei-mathos is the result of my own pathei-mathos, my own learning from diverse – sometimes outré, sometimes radical and often practical – ways of life and experiences over some four decades; of my subsequent reasoned analysis, over a period of several years, of those ways and those experiences; of certain personal intuitions, spread over several decades, regarding the numinous; of an interior process of personal and moral reflexion, lasting several years and deriving from a personal tragedy; and of my life-long study and appreciation of Hellenic culture.” (26)

As Myatt has explained in various writings – such as in parts two and three of his Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination, published in 2013, (27) – it was his own painful ‘learning from practical experience’ which compelled him to develop his philosophy of pathei-mathos:

“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.”

My considered opinion is that it is this redemptive ‘Faustian’ learning from practical (mostly extreme, and both ‘dark’ and ‘light’) experiences which distinguishes Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos from the many academic and/or armchair philosophies proposed by others in the last two hundred years. For Myatt has “been there, done that” and – so it seems – learned valuable lessons as a result, making his philosophy much more than either intellectual speculation by some academic or something devised by some pseudo-intellectual dilettante.

JR Wright
NYC
2015

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Abbreviations:

NWPM: The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos (2013). ISBN 978-1484096642

REPM: Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos (2013). ISBN 978-1484097984

EFG: One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings (2014). ISBN 978-1502396105

SARIG: Sarigthersa (2015). ISBN 978-1512137149

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Notes

1) Myatt, David (2012). Concerning The Development Of The Numinous Way. The essay is included as an appendix in Myatt’s autobiography, Myngath, published in 2013. (ISBN 978-1484110744)

2) The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis. EFG.

It should be noted that all four printed books detailing Myatt’s philosophy are idiosyncratic in terms of size, being 8.5 x 11 inches which is larger than the standard paperback size of 6 x 9 inches.

3) The Nature and Knowledge of Empathy. NWPM.

4) The Abstraction of Change as Opposites and Dialectic. NWPM.

5) The Way of Pathei-Mathos: A Philosophical Compendiary. NWPM.

6) Myatt’s frequent and somewhat idiosyncratic use of the term Hellenic requires some explanation. As the context often suggests, he generally means the culture of ancient Greece in general, from the time of Homer to the time of Euclid, Aristotle, and beyond. He is not therefore referring to what has academically come to be termed the later Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) period distinguished as that period is, somewhat artificially, from the earlier culture of classical Greece.

That said, he does rather confusingly and on occasion make such a distinction – as in his essay Towards Understanding Physis [SARIG], and in his translation of and commentary on the Pymander tractate – between classical Greece and Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) Greece.

7) Pathei-Mathos as Authority and Way. NWPM.

8) Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions. SARIG.

Myatt technically defines ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’ as

“the accumulated pathei-mathos of individuals, world-wide, over thousands of years, as (i) described in memoirs, aural stories, and historical accounts; as (ii) have inspired particular works of literature or poetry or drama; as (iii) expressed via non-verbal mediums such as music and Art, and as (iv) manifest in more recent times by ‘art-forms’ such as films and documentaries.” Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos. EFG.

9) Conspectus of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos. NWPM.

10) Included in Sarigthersa.

11) Myatt’s translation of, and extensive commentary on, the Pymander tractate of the Corpus Hermeticum was published in 2013 under the title Mercvrii Trismegisti Pymander, ISBN 978-1491249543. His translation of the third tractate was published in 2015 under the title An Esoteric Mythos: A Translation Of And A Commentary On The Third Tractate Of The Corpus Hermeticum, ISBN 978-1507660126.

12) In his Glossary of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos (included in NWPM) Myatt defines masculous and muliebral as follows:

Masculous is a term, a descriptor, used to refer to certain traits, abilities, and qualities that are conventionally and historically associated with men, such as competitiveness, aggression, a certain harshness, the desire to organize/control, and a desire for adventure and/or for conflict/war/violence/competition over and above personal love and culture. Extremist ideologies manifest an unbalanced, an excessive, masculous nature.

The term muliebral derives from the classical Latin word muliebris, and in the context the philosophy of Pathei-Mathos refers to those positive traits, abilities, and qualities that are conventionally and historically associated with women, such as empathy, sensitivity, gentleness, compassion, and a desire to love and be loved over and above a desire for conflict/adventure/war.

13) Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis. SARIG. See also his answer to the question in his Some Questions For DWM, included in EFG, which question begins: “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…”

14) Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis. SARIG.

15) The Consolation Of A Viator. EFG.

16) EFG.

17) Good, Evil, and The Criteria of Progress. REPM.

18) Morality, Virtues, and Way of Life. NWPM.

19) Numinous Expiation. REPM.

20) Raine, Susan. The Devil’s Party (Book review). Religion, Volume 44, Issue 3, July 2014, pp. 529-533.

21) Jon B. Perdue: The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism. Potomac Books, 2012. p.70-71. ISBN 9781597977043

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

23) Michael, George. (2006) The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right. University Press of Kansas, p. 142.

24) Author Martin Amis several times described Myatt as “a fierce Jihadist”. For instance, in his book The Second Plane. Jonathan Cape, 2008, p.157.

According to Professor Wistrich, when a Muslim Myatt was a staunch advocate of “Jihad, suicide missions and killing Jews…” and also “an ardent defender of bin Laden.” Wistrich, Robert S, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad, Random House, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4000-6097-9.

See also the report of a UNESCO conference in 2003 [Simon Wiesenthal Center: Response, Summer 2003, Vol 24, #2] where it was stated that “David Myatt, the leading hardline Nazi intellectual in Britain since the 1960s […] has converted to Islam, praises bin Laden and al Qaeda, calls the 9/11 attacks ‘acts of heroism,’ and urges the killing of Jews. Myatt, under the name Abdul Aziz Ibn Myatt supports suicide missions and urges young Muslims to take up Jihad.”

25) Kaplan, Jeffrey (2000). Encyclopedia of white power: a sourcebook on the radical racist right. Rowman & Littlefield, p. 216ff; p.512f

26) A Philosophical Compendiary. NWPM.

27) ISBN 978-1484854266.

°°°°°°°

cc JR Wright 2015
(Fourth edition)
This text is issued under the Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) license
and can be freely copied and distributed under the terms of that license

°°°°°°°

Image credit:
The Corn King’s Bitter Cup, a painting by Richard Moult


A Perspicacious Example

Order of Nine Angles

O9A

A Perspicacious Example

We wish to draw the attention of our readers to the peregrinations of someone – apparently inspired by the O9A – who is undertaking his own septenary anados and whose writings concerning his peregrinations and that anados are perceptive and illustrative of just how different the rational “sinister-numinous” O9A approach is compared to that of all other modern self-described occultists. That this seeker after gnosis occasionally references the life and writings of a certain Mr Myatt is interesting and perhaps indicative.

Here are just two representative examples of the perspicacity of this modern Occultist.

1. “The Geist connects the Causal and the Acausal, and here were are talking about its fiery, martial character. It is eternal yet Faustian, and as such its drive should fuel you. As you look at the illustration of the Sphere of Mars imagine yourself standing in that particular extraterrestial landscape. Enjoy its destabilizing power.

The workings of Destruction and Sacrifice are situated on three levels indicating the fact that we are a being-in-the-world, being-with-others, and connected with the Cosmic. You simply cannot understand these qualities without looking at the whole Cosmic picture. As an Alchemist I strive for Unity, the Great All. The Light and the Shadow aspects of Mars make it even more complex, but complete. It is a lifelong study, search and experience that demands Destruction and Sacrifice. Myatt already emphasized this: the need for humility. With Bataille we could say: be prepared to Sacrifice all Reason and delve into this Night of Violence. Only then, we can emerge enlightened and worthy to receive the Wisdom and Wealth offered by Jupiter.”

2. “Mercury – as god, planet or metal – is the changing substance itself, a fluid, and strictly speaking does not belong to the different phases. Mercury is the changing matter itself and Jung called it an archetypical symbol which encompasses many contradictions. As the collective unconscious is very complex Mercury has multiple forms.

Look at the illustration of Mercury and follow those lines, a fluidized surface as it were. An image of ever becoming, a never ending process which is not just a stage but the whole alchemical process of individuation as a whole. Look at your life, the lives of those close to you: all lines traversing the Lebenswelt around you. See how they interact and inter-connect for there lies growth and inner transformation. Benefit from the interconnectedness, a Being-with-Others as Myatt has exemplified in his Numinous Mysticism. Like blood the energy flows through us and by connecting with others we create a Sacred Space.”

Source of the quotations: https://ecstatic-darkness.com/


A Review of Myatt’s The Divine Pymander

David Myatt

David Myatt

A Review of Myatt’s The Divine Pymander

In July of this year (2013) David Myatt issued the first pre-publication draft of his complete translation of and commentary on the Pymander section of the Corpus Hermeticum – ‘The Divine Pymander’ {1}. The work, translated from the ancient Greek, is also available as a book – ISBN 978-1495470684.

The Divine Pymander is one of the standard Hermetic and Gnostic texts, outlining as it does Hermetic philosophy, and, in Mead’s 1906 translation, has been used by the Theosophical Society and occult groups such as The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn, who weaved part of it into an occult ritual. The text was also used, again in translation, by the British occultist Aleister Crowley, as part of a conjuration involving ‘the holy guardian angel’.

Myatt’s translation differs in almost every respect from the other translations available, the most scholarly of which is probably that of Copenhaver published in 1992 {2}. One of the obvious differences is Myatt’s use, in his translation, of particular transliterations, especially his use of ‘theos’ instead of ‘god’, logos instead of ‘Word’, and ‘physis’ instead of ‘nature’, the later of which is an important principle in Myatt’s own and somewhat gnostic philosophy of pathei-mathos. Another difference is his translation of certain Greek terms, translations which he himself in his Introduction describes as idiosyncratic, although I would go so far as to say they are iconoclastic. For instance, he translates ‘agios’ not as the conventional ‘holy’ but as ‘numinous’, explaining his reasons in a long note in his commentary, writing that,

“Correctly understood, numinous is the unity beyond our perception of its two apparent aspects; aspects expressed by the Greek usage of ἅγιος which could be understood in a good (light) way as ‘sacred’, revered, of astonishing beauty; and in a bad (dark) way as redolent of the gods/wyrd/the fates/morai in these sense of the retributive or (more often) their balancing power/powers and thus giving rise to mortal ‘awe’ since such a restoration of the natural balance often involved or required the death (and sometimes the ‘sacrifice’) of mortals. It is the numinous – in its apparent duality, and as a manifestation of a restoration of the natural, divine, balance – which is evident in much of Greek tragedy, from the Agamemnon of Aeschylus (and the Orestia in general) to the Antigone and the Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles.” David Myatt – Mercvrii Trismegisti Pymander de potestate et sapientia dei: A Translation and Commentary (2013)

Other differences include Myatt’s use of obscure English words, such as artisements – all of which he explains in his commentary – and his coining of unusual and striking terms to translate an important Greek expression, such as ‘quidditas of semblance’ for what is usually translated (both by Mead and Copenhaver) as ‘archetype of form’, with Myatt writing in his commentary that,

“The transliteration ‘archetype’ here is, unfortunately, unsuitable, given what the term archetype now suggests and implies (vide Jungian psychology, for example) beyond what the Greek of the text means. Appropriate words or terms such as ‘primal-pattern’ or ‘protoform’ are awkward, clumsy. Hence quidditas (11th/12th century Latin), from whence came ‘quiddity’, a term originally from medieval scholasticism which was then used to mean the natural (primal) nature or form of some-thing, and thus hints at the original sense of ἀρχέτυπον.”

A Greek Not Christian Text

All these differences give a decidedly different tone to the work. So much so that Myatt’s translation comes across as a decidedly Greek, almost pagan, work about metaphysics in contrast to the other available translations which make it appear to be if not some sort of early Christian text then a text heavily influenced by and expressing Christian ideas. Part of this is down to what many will undoubtedly see as Myatt’s controversial choice of English words, a choice which he often explains in his commentary as avoiding imposing “after nearly two thousand years of scriptural exegesis and preaching, various religious preconceptions on the text”.

Two sets of quotations from four different translations should illustrate this. The first set is from the very end of the text.

The 17th century Everard translation:

Holy is God the Father of All Things.
Holy is God Whose Will is Performed and Accomplished by His Own Powers.
Holy is God, that Determineth to be Known, and is Known of His Own, or Those that are His.
Holy art Thou, that by Thy Word hast established all Things.

The 1906 Mead translation:

Holy are you, O God, the universals’ Father.
Holy are you, O God, whose Will perfects itself by means of its own Powers.
Holy are you, O God, who willeth to be known and art known by your  own.
Holy are you,who did you by Word make to consist the things that are.

The 1992 Copenhaver translation:

Holy is god, the father of all.
Holy is god, whose counsel is done by his own powers.
Holy is god, whom wishes to be known and is known by his own people.
Holy are you, who by the word have constituted all things that are.

The 2013 Myatt translation:

Agios o Theos, father of all beings.
Agios o Theos, whose purpose is accomplished by his own arts.
Agios o Theos, whose disposition is to be recognized and who is recognized by his own.
Agios es, you who by logos form all being.

It should be explained that Myatt in his commentary writes,

“I have given, as an intimation, a transliteration of the first part, as these are doxologies, similar to the Kyrie eleison [Κύριε ἐλέησον], and much (if not all) of their numinous/sacred/mystical/esoteric quality and meaning are lost when they are translated into plain – or into archaic, KJV type – English. Although they are best read/recited in the original Greek, the Latin preserves much of the numinosity of these and other such doxologies [….] ἅγιος ὁ approximates to ‘Numinous is’ [theos].”

Myatt then proceeds to give the Latin translation of the Greek.

The second set of quotations are from the middle of the text.

The 17th century Everard translation:

“Hear now the rest of that speech, thou so much desirest to hear. When that Period was fulfilled, the bond of all things was loosed and untied by the Will of God; for all living Creatures being Hermaphroditical, or Male and Female, were loosed and untied together with Man; and so the Males were apart by themselves and the Females likewise. And straightway God said to the Holy Word,. Increase in Increasing, and Multiply in Multitude all you my Creatures and Workmanships. And let Him that is endued with Mind, know Himself to be Immortal; and that the cause of Death is the Love of the Body”

The 1906 Mead translation:

“Now listen to the rest of the discourse which you dost long to hear. The period being ended, the bond that bound them all was loosened by God’s Will. For all the animals being male-female, at the same time with Man were loosed apart; some became partly male, some in like fashion [partly] female. And straightway God spake by His Holy Word: Increase ye in increasing, and multiply in multitude, ye creatures and creations all; and man that hath Mind in him, let him learn to know that he himself is deathless, and that the cause of death is love.”

The 1992 Copenhaver translation:

“Hear the rest, the word you yearn to hear. When the cycle was completed, the bond among all things was sundered by the counsel of god. All livings things, which had been androgyne, were sundered into two parts – humans along with them – and part of them became male, part likewise female. But god immediately spoke a holy speech: ‘Increase in increasing and multiply in multitude, all you creatures and craftworks, and let him (who) is mindful recognize that he is immortal, that desire is the cause of death.”

The 2013 Myatt translation:

“Now listen to the rest of the explanation you asked to hear. When the cycle was fulfilled, the connexions between all things were, by the deliberations of theos, unfastened. Living beings – all male-and-female then – were, including humans, rent asunder thus bringing into being portions that were masculous with the others muliebral. Directly, then, theos spoke a numinous logos: propagate by propagation and spawn by spawning, all you creations and artisements, and let the perceiver have the knowledge of being deathless and of Eros as responsible for death.”

The Septenary System

While Myatt’s commentary is often dense and sometimes obscure, it is notable for two reasons.

First, its scholarly nature, for his quotations, in the commentary and in Greek or Latin and with his own translations, range from the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, to Sophocles, to Xenophon, to Cicero and the New Testament, and include what to most people will be obscure works from the ‘fathers of the Christian church’, including Maximus the Confessor, Irenaeus, and Cyril of Alexandria. Occasional gems are to be found, such as Myatt’s translation from the Greek of a passage from the Discourses of Epictetus:

“Neither a tyrannos nor some Lord shall negate my intent; nor some crowd although I be just one; nor someone stronger although I be weaker, since such unhindrance is a gift, to everyone, from theos.”

Second, and of interest to many, the commentary explains much about not only ‘the septenary system’ – the hebdomad – which forms an important part of the hermetic Pymander text, but also about the ‘anados’, the journey through the spheres to the final goal of immortality. There are esoteric gems aplenty here, and it is worth ploughing through the commentary just to find these. For example, in a comment on part 26 of the Pymander text, Myatt writes,

” [It is] easy to understand why some considered there were, or represented their understanding/insight by, ‘nine’ (seven plus two) fundamental cosmic emanations, or by nine realms or spheres [qv. the quote from Cicero in section 17] – the seven of the hebdomad, plus the one of the ‘ogdoadic physis’ mentioned here, plus the one (also mentioned here) of what is beyond even this ‘ogdoadic physis’. However, as this text describes, there are seven realms or spheres – a seven-fold path to immortality, accessible to living mortals – and then two types of existence (not spheres) beyond these, accessible only after the mortals has journeyed along that path and then, having ‘offered up’ certain things along the way (their mortal ethos), ‘handed over their body to its death’. Ontologically, therefore, the seven might somewhat simplistically be described as partaking of what is ‘causal’ (of what is mortal) and the two types of existence beyond the seven as partaking of – as being – ‘acausal’ (of what is immortal). Thus, Pœmandres goes on to say, the former mortal – now immortal – moves on (from this first type of ‘acausal existence’) to become these forces (beyond the ogdoadic physis) to thus finally ‘unite with theos’: αὐτοὶ εἰς δυνάμεις ἑαυ τοὺς παραδιδόασι καὶ δυνάμεις γενόμενοι ἐν θεῷ γίνονται.”

An Iconoclastic Work

Although already known as “a British iconoclast” {3} for his strange and past involvements and peregrinations, as well as known for his idiosyncratic translations of Sappho and Heraclitus, David Myatt’s translation of and commentary on ‘The Divine Pymander’ will undoubtedly confirm that iconoclasm and that idiosyncrasy.

His translation is most decidedly iconoclastic, bringing as it does a new insight into the text, and breathing as it does new life into its hermeticism, thus making it far more accessible to, and understandable, by students of gnosticism, hermeticism, and the occult; and although – given Myatt’s (not always deserved) reputation, and his past involvements and peregrinations – it will undoubtedly be ignored by the academic establishment, its appeal will be to such students and to others interested in the arcane. It also serves to compliment Myatt’s own philosophy of pathei-mathos, elucidating as it does some of the more obscure points of Myatt’s ontological speculations.

R. Parker
July 2013

{1} Myatt’s translation and commentary, in pdf format, is available here – dwmyatt-pymander-hermetica.pdf

{2} Copenhaver, B. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press, 1992. There is a major issue with Copenhaver’s book in that in his notes he gives not the actual Greek text (using the Greek character set) but transliterations (using the Latin character set) which is annoying for those who can read Greek. Myatt in his notes and commentary, and to his credit, eschews this ‘populist’, dumbing-down, approach, and – in accord with hundreds of years of scholarship – provides the Greek text.

{3} Jon B. Perdue: The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism. Potomac Books, 2012. p.70