Archive for the ‘DW Myatt’ Category

David Myatt – Autobiographical Writings

 

David Myatt 1995 CE (full size image)

David Myatt 1995 CE

David Myatt – Selected Autobiographical Writings


Below are two links to pdf files which contain a small selection of the autobiographical writings and letters of David Myatt. Most of these writings are from the period 2002-2010 CE.

The first file (c. 3.9 megabytes) contains a selection of items from Myatt’s personal website (as of December 2010 CE) including a copy of the fifth revised edition (December 2010 CE) of his autobiography Myngath.

The second file (c. 430 kilobytes) contains a selection of the private letters of Myatt from the years 2002-2008 CE.

These personal writings give some autobiographical background to the development of both Myatt’s Numinous Way philosophy and also his rejection of Islam as a way of life.

David Myatt – Selected Autobiographical Writings (pdf)

David Myatt – Selected Private Letters (2002-2008) (pdf)

 


Heraclitus – Fragment 112

Athena
The Balance of Physis – Notes on λόγος and ἀληθέα in Heraclitus

Part One – Fragment 112


σωφρονεῖν ἀρετὴ μεγίστη, καὶ σοφίη ἀληθέα λέγειν καὶ ποιεῖν κατὰ φύσιν ἐπαίοντας. [1]

This fragment is interesting because it contains what some regard as the philosophically important words σωφρονεῖν, ἀληθέα, φύσις and λόγος.

The fragment suggests that what is most excellent [ ἀρετὴ ] is thoughtful reasoning [σωφρονεῖν] – and such reasoning is both (1) to express (reveal) meaning and (2) that which is in accord with, or in sympathy with, φύσις – with our nature and the nature of Being itself.

Or, we might, perhaps more aptly, write – such reasoning is both an expressing of inner meaning (essence), and expresses our own, true, nature (as thinking beings) and the balance, the nature, of Being itself.

λέγειν [λόγος] here does not suggest what we now commonly understand by the term “word”. Rather, it suggests both a naming (denoting), and a telling – not a telling as in some abstract explanation or theory, but as in a simple describing, or recounting, of what has been so denoted or so named. Which is why, in fragment 39, Heraclitus writes:

ἐν Πριήνηι Βίας ἐγένετο ὁ Τευτάμεω, οὗ πλείων λόγος ἢ τῶν ἄλλων [2]

and why, in respect of λέγειν, Hesiod [see below under ἀληθέα] wrote:

ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα,
ἴδμεν δ᾽, εὖτ᾽ ἐθέλωμεν, ἀληθέα γηρύσασθαι [3]

φύσις here suggests the Homeric [4] usage of nature, or character, as in Herodotus (2.5.2):

Αἰγύπτου γὰρ φύσις ἐστὶ τῆς χώρης τοιήδε


but also suggests Φύσις (Physis) – as in fragment 123; the natural nature of all beings, beyond their outer appearance.

ἀληθέα – commonly translated as truth – here suggests (as often elsewhere) an exposure of essence, of the reality, the meaning, which lies behind the outer (false) appearance that covers or may conceal that reality or meaning, as in Hesiod (Theog, 27-28):

ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα,
ἴδμεν δ᾽, εὖτ᾽ ἐθέλωμεν, ἀληθέα γηρύσασθαι [3]


σωφρονεῖν here suggests balanced (or thoughtful, measured) reasoning – but not according to some abstract theory, but instead a reasoning, a natural way or manner of reasoning, in natural balance with ourselves, with our nature as thinking beings.

Most importantly, perhaps, it is this σωφρονεῖν which can incline us toward not committing ὕβρις (hubris; insolence), which ὕβρις is a going beyond the natural limits, and which thus upsets the natural balance, as, for instance, mentioned by Sophocles:

ὕβρις φυτεύει τύραννον:
ὕβρις, εἰ πολλῶν ὑπερπλησθῇ μάταν,
ἃ μὴ ‘πίκαιρα μηδὲ συμφέροντα,
ἀκρότατον εἰσαναβᾶσ᾽
αἶπος ἀπότομον ὤρουσεν εἰς ἀνάγκαν,
ἔνθ᾽ οὐ ποδὶ χρησίμῳ
χρῆται
[5]

It therefore not surprising that Heraclitus considers, as expressed in fragment 112, the best person – the person with the most excellent character (that is, ἀρετὴ) – is the person who, understanding and appreciating their own true nature as a thinking being (someone who can give names to – who can denote – beings, and express or recount that denoting to others), also understands the balance of Being, the true nature of beings [cf. fragment 1 – κατὰ φύσιν διαιρέων ἕκαστον], and who thus seeks to avoid committing the error of hubris, but who can not only also forget this understanding, and cease to remember such reasoning:

τοῦ δὲ λόγου τοῦδ᾽ ἐόντος ἀεὶ ἀξύνετοι γίνονται ἄνθρωποι καὶ πρόσθεν ἢ ἀκοῦσαι καὶ ἀκούσαντες τὸ πρῶτον [6]

but who can also deliberately, or otherwise, conceal what lies behind the names (the outer appearance) we give to beings, to “things”.

DW Myatt
2455369.713

Notes:

[1] Fragmentum B 112 Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, ed. H. Diels, Berlin 1903

[2] ” In Priene was born someone named and recalled as most worthy – Bias, that son of Teuta.”

[3]

We have many ways to conceal – to name – certain things
And the skill when we wish to expose their meaning

[4] Odyssey, Book 10, vv. 302-3

[5] “ Insolence plants the tyrant. There is insolence if by a great foolishness there is a useless over-filling which goes beyond the proper limits. It is an ascending to the steepest and utmost heights and then that hurtling toward that Destiny where the useful foot has no use…” (Oedipus Tyrannus, vv.872ff)

[6] ” Although this naming and expression, which I explain, exists – human beings tend to ignore it, both before and after they have become aware of it.”  (Fragment 1)


^^^

Above text in pdf format:

heraclitus-112.pdf


Article Source: http://thenuminousway.wordpress.com/heraclitus-fragment-112/

 


 

Heraclitus – Fragment 123

Athena
Φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ
Physis, Nature, Concealment, and Natural Change

The phrase Φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ – attributed to Heraclitus [See Note 1] – is often translated along the following lines: Nature loves to conceal Herself (or, Nature loves to hide).

Such a translation is somewhat inaccurate, for several reasons.

First, as used here, by Heraclitus, the meaning of Φύσις is rather different from his other usage of the term, as such usage is known to us in other fragments of his writings. For the sense here is of Φύσις rather than φύσις – a subtle distinction that is often overlooked; that is, what is implied is that which is the origin behind the other senses, or usages, of the term φύσις.

Thus, Φύσις (Physis) is not simply what we understand as Nature; rather, Nature is one way in which Φύσις is manifest, presenced, to us: to we human beings who possess the faculty of consciousness and of reflexion (Thought). That is, what we term Nature [See Note 2] has the being, the attribute, of Physis.

As generally used – for example, by Homer – φύσις suggests the character, or nature, of a thing, especially a human being; a sense well-kept in English, where Nature and nature can mean two different things (hence one reason to capitalize Nature). Thus, we might write that Nature has the nature of Physis.

Second, κρύπτεσθαι does not suggest a simple concealment, some intent to conceal – as if Nature was some conscious (or anthropomorphic) thing with the ability to conceal Herself. Instead, κρύπτεσθαι implies a natural tendency to, the innate quality of, being – and of becoming – concealed or un-revealed.

Thus – and in reference to fragments 1 and 112 – we can understand that κρύπτεσθαι suggests that φύσις has a natural tendency (the nature, the character) of being and of becoming un-revealed to us, even when it has already been revealed, or dis-covered.

How is or can Φύσις (Physis) be uncovered? Through λόγος (cf. fragments 1, and 112).

Here, however, logos is more than some idealized (or moralistic) truth [ ἀληθέα ] and more than is implied by our term word. Rather, logos is the activity, the seeking, of the essence – the nature, the character – of things [ ἀληθέα akin to Heidegger’s revealing] which essence also has a tendency to become covered by words, and an abstract (false) truth [ an abstraction; εἶδος and ἰδέα ] which is projected by us onto things, onto beings and Being.

Thus, and importantly, λόγος – understood and applied correctly – can uncover (reveal) Φύσις and yet also  – misunderstood and used incorrectly – serve to, or be the genesis of the, concealment of Φύσις. The correct logos – or a correct logos – is the ontology of Being, and the λόγος that is logical reasoning is an essential part of, a necessary foundation of, this ontology of Being, this seeking by φίλος, a friend, of σοφόν. Hence, and correctly, a philosopher is a friend of σοφόν who seeks, through λόγος, to uncover – to understand – Being and beings, and who thus suggests or proposes an ontology of Being.

Essentially, the nature of Physis is to be concealed, or hidden (something of a mystery) even though Physis becomes revealed, or can become revealed, by means such as λόγος. There is, thus, a natural change, a natural unfolding – of which Nature is one manifestation – so that one might suggest that Physis itself is this process [ the type of being] of a natural unfolding which can be revealed and which can also be, or sometimes remain, concealed.

Third, φιλεῖ [ φίλος ] here does not suggest “loves” – nor even a desire to – but rather suggests friend, companion, as in Homeric usage.

In conclusion, therefore, it is possible to suggest more accurate translations of the phrase Φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ. All of which correctly leave Φύσις untranslated (as Physis with a capital P), since Φύσις is the source of certain beings [or, to be precise, Physis is the source of, the being behind, our apprehension of certain beings] of which being Nature is one, and of which our own, individual, character, as a particular human being, is another.

One translation is: Concealment accompanies Physis. Or: Concealment remains with Physis, like a friend. Another is: The natural companion of Physis is concealment.

Or, more poetically perhaps, but much less literally, one might suggest: Physis naturally seeks to remain something of a mystery.

DW Myatt
2455357.951

Notes:

[1]  Fragmentum B 123  – Fragmente der Vorsokratiker ed. H. Diels, Berlin 1903. An older reference for the text, still sometimes used, is Fragment 10 [Epigrammaticus] (cf. GTW Patrick, after Bywater; et al). If the first letter of φύσις is not capitalized, then the phrase is φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ

Heraclitus flourished c. 545 – 475 BCE.

[2] Nature can be said to be both a type of being, and that innate, creative, force (that is, ψυχή) which animates physical matter and makes it living.

^^^

Article source: http://thenuminousway.wordpress.com/heraclitus-fragment-123/

 


 

David Myatt – Phainomenon and Causality

Editorial note – In my view, the following philosophical article by Myatt is one of his most important works.

Written in May of this year, 2010 CE, it succinctly and clearly outlines the philosophical basis for Myatt’s own philosophy, called The Numinous Way, also now known as The Philosophy of The Numen.

In this essay, Myatt explains the philosophical nature of empathy – the basis of his ethics –  and of his concept of acausality.  Further details of the philosophical nature of acausality are given, by Myatt, in his essay The Ontology of Being.

David Myatt, from a painting by Richard Moult

David Myatt, from a painting by Richard Moult

Acausality, Phainómenon, and The Appearance of Causality

Phainómenon and Causality

What is apparent to us by means of our physical senses – Phainómenon – is that which is grounded in causality. That is, the phenomena which we perceive, is, or rather hitherto has been, perceived almost exclusively in terms of causal Space and causal Time. To understand why this is so, let us consider how we have regarded Phainómenon.

We assign causal motion or movement to the phenomena which we perceive, as we assign other properties and qualities we have posited, such as colour, smell, texture, physical appearance, and, most importantly, being. Hence, we come to distinguish one being from another, and to associate certain beings with certain qualities or attributes which we have assigned to them based on observation of such beings or on deductions and analogies concerning what are assumed to be similar beings.

This process – and its extension by observational science – has led us to distinguish or perceive individual human beings (ourselves, and the others); distinguish a human being from a tree and from, for example, a cloud, a rock, and a cat. It has led us to assign a specific tree to a certain type of tree, so that “that tree, there” is said to be an Oak tree, to belong to a class of similar things which are said to have the same or similar qualities and properties, and which properties or qualities can include such things as texture or colour or shape. It has also led us to make a distinction between a living being (an organism) and inert matter, with a living being said to exhibit five particular properties or qualities: a living being respires; it moves (without any external force acting upon it); it grows (changes its outward form without any outside force being applied); it excretes waste; it is sensitive to, or aware of, its environment; it can reproduce itself, and it can nourish itself.

Thus, we have assigned a type of being (the property of having existence) to what we have named rock; a type of being to what we have named clouds; a type of being to ourselves; and types of being to trees and cats. This assignment derives from our perception of causality – or rather, from our projection of the abstraction of causality upon Phainómenon. For we have perceived being in terms of physical separation, distance between separate objects (that is, in terms of a causal metric); in terms of the movement of such perceived separate objects (and which movement between or separation of objects existing in causal Space, can and has served as one criteria for distinguishing types of being); and in terms of qualities or properties which we have abstracted from our physical perception of these beings, be these qualities or properties direct ones (deriving for example, from sight, smell, texture, taste) or indirect, deduced, theorized, or extrapolated ones, such as, for example, the property of gases, the property of liquids, of solids, and such things as atoms and molecules.

In general, therefore, all such things (all matter and beings) are said to exhibit the property of existing, of having being, in both (causal) Space and at a certain moment or moments of (causal) Time. That is, being and beings have hitherto been understood in terms of, defined in terms of, causality, so that being itself has been assigned a causal nature. Or, expressed another way, it is said that causal Time and a causal, physical, metrical, separation (causal Space) are the ground, or the horizon, of Being.

Knowledge and Acausal Being

While this particular causal understanding of being and of beings has proved very useful and interesting – giving rise, for example, to experimental science and certain philosophical speculations about existence – it is nevertheless quite limited.

It is limited in three ways. First, because both causal Space and causal Time are human manufactured abstractions imposed upon or projected by us upon Phainómenon; second, because such causality cannot explain the true nature of living beings; and third, because the imposition of such causal abstractions upon living beings – and especially upon ourselves – has had unfortunate consequences.

The nature of all life leads us to conceive of non-causal being. That is, that life – that living beings – possess acausality; that their being is not limited to, nor can be described or defined by, a causal Space and a causal Time. Or expressed another way, the being of all living beings exists, has being in, acausal Space and acausal Time, as well as in our phenomenal causal Space and causal Time.

How, then, can we know or come to know, this acausal being, given how causal being has been and is known to us in observable phenomena? And just how and why does the nature of all life leads us to conceive of non-causal being?

We are led to the assumption or the axiom of acausality because we possess the (currently underused and undeveloped) faculty of empathy [ συν-πάθοs ] – that is, the ability of sympathy, συμπάθεια, with other living beings. It is empathy which enables us to perceive beyond (to know beyond) the causal – and particularly and most importantly beyond the causal abstraction of the separation of beings: beyond the causal separateness, the self-contained individual being that causal apprehension presents to us, or rather has hitherto presented to us. That is, empathy reveals the knowing of ourselves as nexions – as a connexion to other life by virtue of the nature, the being, of life itself, and which life we, of course, as living beings, possess.

This empathy is in addition to our other faculties, and thus compliments and extends the Aristotelian essentials relating to Phainómenon [1]. Furthermore, it is by means of empathy – by the development of empathy – that we can begin to acquire a limited understanding and knowledge of acausality. Thus, this knowledge of acausality extends the type of knowing based upon or deriving from a causal understanding of Phainómenon.

Hence, for living beings, causality (and its separateness) is appearance, rather than an expression of the nature of the being that living beings possess.

The Being of Life

Acausal being is what animates inert physical matter, in the realm of causal phenomena, and makes it alive – that is, possessed of life, possessed of an acausal nature. Or, expressed another way, living beings exist – have their being – in both acausal Space and acausal Time, and also in causal Space and in causal Time. That is, they are nexions between the acausal continuum (the realm of acausal Space and acausal Time) and the causal continuum (the realm of causal Space and causal Time; the realm of causal phenomena).

Thus, living beings, in the causal, possess a particular quality that other beings do not possess – and this quality cannot be manufactured, by us (in the causal, and by means of causal science and technology), and then added to inert matter to make that matter alive. That is, we human beings cannot abstract this quality – this acausality – out from anything causal, and then impose it upon, or add it to, or project it upon, some causal thing to make that thing a living being.

Furthermore, the very nature of acausal being means that all life is connected, beyond the causal, and this due to the simultaneity that is implicit in acausal Time and acausal Space. For we may conceive of the acausal as this very matrix of living connexions which exists, which has being, in all life, everywhere (in the Cosmos), simultaneously, and in the causal past, the present, and the future, of our world and of the Cosmos itself. For the acausal has no finite, causal, separation of individual, distinct, beings, and no linear casual-only progression of those beings from a past, to a present, and thence to some future. Rather, there is only an undivided life – acausal being – manifest, or presenced, in certain causal beings (living beings) and which presencing of acausality in the causal lasts for a specific duration of linear causal Time (as observed from the causal) and is then returned to the acausal to become presenced again in the causal in some other causal being in what, in terms of causality, is or could be the past, the present, or the future.

Therefore, for human beings, the true nature of being lies not in what we have come to understand as our finite, separate, self-contained, individual identity (our self) but rather in our relation to other living beings, human and otherwise, and thence to the acausal itself. In addition, one important expression of – a revealing of – the true acausal nature of being is the numinous: that which places us, as individuals, into a correct, respectful, perspective with other life (past, present and future) and which manifests to us aspects of the acausal; that is, what in former terms we might have apprehended, and felt, as the divine: as the timeless Unity, the source, behind and beyond our limited causal phenomenal world, beyond our own fragile microcosmic mortal existence, and which timeless Being we cannot control, manufacture, or imitate, but which is nevertheless manifest, presenced, in us because we have the gift of life.

David Myatt
2455347.197

Notes:

[1] These Aristotelian essentials are: (i) Reality (existence) exists independently of us and our consciousness, and thus independent of our senses; (ii) our limited understanding of this independent ‘external world’ depends for the most part upon our senses – that is, on what we can see, hear or touch; that is, on what we can observe or come to know via our senses; (iii) logical argument, or reason, is perhaps the most important means to knowledge and understanding of and about this ‘external world’; (iv) the cosmos (existence) is, of itself, a reasoned order subject to rational laws.


Religion and The Nature of The Numinous Way

Concerning The Nature of Religion
and The Nature of The Numinous Way

A distinction should be made between a religion, and a Way (a specific Way of Life) – for the term religion often now denotes what may be termed the religious attitude, which is [1] reliance upon and/or veneration of texts, and the emergence of schisms due to such texts; and because, in its origin, a Way mostly does not possess such reliance on or veneration of such texts, or involve such schisms.

For the essence of a particular Way is that it is a numinous, and it is this numinosity which not only serves to distinguish a Way from a particular philosophy (academic or otherwise), but which also provides the adherent of or believer in a particular Way with a personal awareness or manifestation of The Numen, and which presents them with an understanding or intuition of – or which can led them toward knowing – the distinction that exists between the sacred and the profane.

That is, the individual regards some things as sacred; for example, as worthy of veneration, and/or as special (beyond the mundane) and – if a place or area – as requiring a certain mode or manner of dress (and a reverent attitude) and/or as requiring a certain ritual purification before entering. In addition, and importantly, there is an awareness, often unspoken – that is, not defined through strict dogma – of the necessary limits of personal behaviour, based on a feeling for natural balance, for Φύσις: on the desire not to commit ὕβρις, to not overstep the mark and thus to avoid transgressing, or trampling on, the sacred; to show respect for the sacred [2].

In the philosophical terminology of The Numinous Way [3], this sacredness is a presencing of the acausal, and thus what is perceived or felt as numinous, as sacred, is that-which in some manner embodies or manifests acausality – that is, some-thing which does not the possess the quality of mundane causality, of a simple and linear cause-and-effect; some-thing, instead, redolent of the eternal, the timeless, the supra-personal, nature of the acausal, and which is beyond the power or the ability of all mortals to control.

Furthermore, it is this presencing of the acausal which the religious attitude tends to conceal, and which concealment often leads, over time, to reform or renaissance movements when some or many adherents or believers feel has been lost or obscured.

Why this tendency to conceal? Because the religious attitude is basically a manifestation of causal reductionism, where there is an attempt to explain or understand the numinous either by reference to some text, or by means of some causal abstraction, as being the effect of some posited cause.
Thus, the religious attitude removes the individual from – or has a tendency to remove the individual from – the immediacy of the numinous moment; from a personal, direct, and most importantly wordless, experience of The Numen, imposing as this attitude does some causal structure on such numinous moments, and which structure depends on collocations of words, with such words denoting only that-which is causal. This imposition is most evident in attempts to explain and to reform or to replace those ritual observances which have evolved naturally from such immediate numinous moments as become shared by small communities of adherents of a particular Way.

A good illustration of this process is the Latin Tridentine Mass of the Catholic Church. This Mass evolved over a certain period of causal time, and became, for many Catholics, the main ritual, or rite, which imbued their ordinary lives with a certain numinosity – a certain awareness of the sacred, with attendance at this rite involving certain customs, such as modest and clean dress, and women covering their heads with a veil. This rite was, in essence, a Mysterium – that is, it embodied not only something holy and somewhat mysterious (such as the Consecration and Communion) but also was wordlessly un-mundane and so re-presented to most of those attending the rite, almost another world, with this re-presentation aided by such things as the use of incense, the ringing of the Sanctus bell, and the genuflexions. In addition, and importantly, the language of this rite was not that of everyday speech, and was not even, any longer, a living changing language, but rather had in many ways become the sacred language of that particular Way.

The Catholic rite endured for centuries and, indeed, to attend this particular rite marked, affirmed and re-affirmed one as a Catholic, as a particular follower of a particular Way, and a Way quite distinct from the schism that became Protestantism [4], a fact which explained, for instance, the decision, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First of England, to punish by fine or imprisonment those who attended this rite, and to persecute, accuse of treason, and often execute, those who performed this rite.

However, the reforms imposed by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican replaced this numinous rite, this Mysterium, with rites and practices redolent of un-numinous Protestantism. Why? Most probably because those involved in such planning and producing and implementing such reforms were swayed by the causal abstractions of “progress” and “relevancy” – desiring as they did and do to be in accord with the causal, material, Zeitgeist of the modern West where numbers of adherents, and conformity to trendy ideas and theories, are regarded as more important than presencing The Numen in a numinous manner. When, that is, some profane causal abstractions come to be regarded as more relevant than experiencing and manifesting the sacred as the sacred.

Yet this does not mean that Catholicism, before the reforms imposed by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, was or remained a Way, per se. Only that, of all the variants of what are now termed Christianity, it retained a certain numinosity expressed by the original Way; that, through its Mysteriums such as the Tridentine Mass, it still presenced something of The Numen; and that it managed to avoid the worst excesses of the religious attitude, maintaining as it did a monasticism which by its own particular way of life encouraged the cultivation of a genuine, non-dogmatic, humility.

For the truth is that all conventional Ways, through becoming organized, and through their expansion, devolve to being religious attitudes – that is, they lose the immediacy of the numinous moment in their reliance on and reverence for texts, and allow causal abstractions to blur the distinction between sacred and profane, especially in relation to the personal behaviour – the standards – of individuals.

This is so because a causal organization (such as a central or centralized authority and the hierarchy that goes with it) by its very nature depends on abstractions, such as dogma, the codification of standards, the promulgation of edicts dealing with such matters as personal behaviour and personal goals, and the setting forth of penalties for failure to obey such authority. For instance, justification has to be found for such authority, and for the creation and maintenance of such hierarchy as are necessary for the commands of such authority to be promulgated and executed. And it is in such matters that texts, and their interpretation, their exegesis, become of great importance.

Expansion requires that such authority be maintained, and encompass those expanded to, as such expansion naturally leads to schism, given the past and the current nature of human beings. For it is and has been in the nature of human beings to place pursuit of causal things before a desire to not commit ὕβρις. And it is this desire not to commit ὕβρις that is perhaps the foremost manifestation, in human beings, of the immediacy of the numinous moment, and which Mysteriums presence, thus enabling individuals to re-connect with, to feel, the numinous when they partake in and of such Mysteriums.

Furthermore, it this understanding of the necessity of avoiding ὕβρις – the need to cultivate a natural, a human, balance – that is and has been the essence of all Ways, of all presencings of The Numen.

Hubris, Humility, and The Avoidance of Abstractions

As outlined elsewhere [5] the avoidance of ὕβρις is manifest in humility, and which humility is a dignified and balanced way of living which has its genesis in that supra-personal perspective which awareness of the numinous provides, and which awareness of The Numen πάθει μάθος often produces.

However, as succinctly expressed in an ancient Greek saying attributed to Heraclitus – Φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ [6]. That is, there is a natural tendency for the balance that is Φύσις to become concealed, again, and again.

How, then, to avoid such a concealment, to avoid a return to abstractions, a return to that causal, mundane, perspective of profane and linear cause-and-effect? Or, expressed somewhat differently, is it possible for a Way to remain a Way and thus to continue to presence The Numen without devolving to become a religious attitude?

I believe it is, were such a Way to be founded upon the personal, the numinous, the individual, authority of πάθει μάθος and not upon the thinking or the revelation or the authority (real or assumed) of some individual, and were such a Way as well to make a personal knowing and awareness of the numinous the essence of apprehending The Numen.
It is my contention that such a Way as this is may be incipiently manifest in what I have termed The Numinous Way; that is, in what is otherwise called the Esoteric Philosophy of The Numen. For, in The Numinous Way, the essence of apprehending The Numen is the individual, the personal, faculty of empathy, as well as an acknowledgement of the numinous authority of πάθει μάθος [7].

Furthermore, such a Way as this cannot devolve into a religious attitude – into a conventional religion – for two quite simple reasons.

First, because the essence of πάθει μάθος is that

“… knowledge – and thus learning, based on such knowledge – is personal, direct, acquired in the immediacy of a living, a lived-through, moment of one’s own mortal life. For the religious way, knowledge – and thus learning, based on such knowledge – can be and has been contained in something other-than-ourselves which we have to or which we can learn from: something impersonal, some abstraction, such as a book, a dogma, a creed, some Institution, some teacher or master…” [8]

Second, because empathy by its very nature cannot ever be abstracted out from the immediacy-of-the-moment, from the realness of a personal a direct, interaction between individuals. This is because empathy is living, and thus already possessed of the acausal, and, being a natural faculty, empathy arises only in and through – is present in –  such a direct, personal contact with another living being. Thus, it cannot be expressed in any causal abstraction; it cannot, being living, be contained in any book or books; it cannot be described or contained within any dogma or creed. It can only be experienced, and known, and cultivated, by each and every individual, directly, and always remains a part of them, a part of their life, of their living.

For there are, in this simple Numinous Way, no texts; no appeals to authority; no dogma; not even any need or requirement for supra-personal authority or supra-personal organization. Instead, there is the immediacy-of-the-numinous-moment, brought by the faculty of empathy and its development, and thence the avoidance of ὕβρις by the cultivation of compassion and personal honour, virtues which arise naturally, unaffectedly, from such empathy. Or rather, virtues which are the practical and natural manifestations of such empathy.

David Myatt
2455395.017

Notes:

[1] See, for example, my essay Exegesis, and The Discovery of Wisdom.

[2]

ὡς ἔπραξεν ὡς ἔκρανεν. οὐκ ἔφα τις
θεοὺς βροτῶν ἀξιοῦσθαι μέλειν
ὅσοις ἀθίκτων χάρις
πατοῖθ᾽: ὁ δ᾽ οὐκ εὐσεβής
Aesch. Ag 369-373

“Someone denied that the gods deem it worthy to concern themselves with mortals who trample upon what, being untouchable, brings delight. But such persons show no proper respect.”

[3] Also known as The Philosophy of The Numen, and as The Esoteric Philosophy of The Numen. The Numen is the source of all being, and which being is both causal and acausal. Thus, there are causal beings, acausal beings, and beings possessed of, or manifesting, both causal and acausal being. See, for example, Acausality, Phainomenon, and The Appearance of Causality, and also Life and The Nature of the Acausal.

[4] Catholicism (before the reforms imposed by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican) represented, in my view, the original Way known as Christianity, and was – at least before those reforms – quite distinct from those schisms which are now known as Protestantism and Orthodox Christianity.  Indeed, distinct enough – until those reforms – to be considered a different Way of Life, a Way evident, for example, in Catholic rites (such as the Tridentine Mass), in monasticism, in Papal authority, in the use of Latin, and in the reverence accorded The Blessed Virgin Mary.

Furthermore, it is my view that the schism now termed Protestantism was a classic example of the religious attitude predominating over numinosity – and thus that it is and was redolent of attempts to reduce The Numen to linear causal abstractions. Thus, Mysteriums such as the Tridentine Mass became replaced with recitation of Scripture in the vernacular and with attempts to rationally explain – according to some abstract causal theory – the mystery of the consecration.

[5] In Humility, Abstractions, and Belief.

[6] I have tried to elucidate the correct meaning of this often mis-understood fragment, attributed to Heraclitus, in my essay Physis, Nature, Concealment, and Natural Change.

[7]  For example, see my From Aeschylus To The Numinous Way – The Numinous Authority of πάθει μάθος

[8] op.cit

Article source: http://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/religion-and-the-nature-of-the-numinous-way/


David Myatt – Philosopher of The Numen

David Myatt, from a painting by Richard Moult

David Myatt, from a painting by Richard Moult

David Myatt – Philosopher of The Numen

During the past three decades, many terms – some of them pejorative – have been used to describe David Myatt. This variety, and the pejorative nature of some of the descriptions of him, is not unsurprising given Myatt’s peregrinations among the religions of the world, given his somewhat Promethean quest to find answers to philosophical and metaphysical questions, and given his former often violent political activism and his involvement with what has been called radical Islam.

However, I consider that the term Philosopher of The Numen is both the most apt, and the correct, term to describe him now, following the completion of his own, unique, weltanschauung, to which he has given the name The Numinous Way, with this weltanschauung deriving from, in Myatt’s own words, his many and varied experiences over the past forty years.

The term Philosopher of The Numen, applied to Myatt, is correct, in my view, because Myatt is now, he has become, only a philosopher, having left behind, discarded, all the many and various other rôles that he had previously assumed and which he is still better known for. A philosopher, only – being no longer involved with or adhering to any religion, and having no political views or association with any political group or organization, nor adhering to, or believing in, any political ideology.

That is, Myatt is now just a philosopher; someone who seeks to understand, and to explain, Being, and beings – Existence, Reality – in a rational manner.

The term Philosopher of The Numen, applied to Myatt, is apt, in my view, because The Numen, in Myatt’s philosophy of The Numinous Way, is the source of the numinous; that which is presenced in our causal phenomenal world, via what Myatt calls a nexion. What is so presenced, is the numinous, the central concept of Myatt’s philosophy.

It is my considered opinion that Myatt’s philosophy of The Numen (otherwise known as the philosophy of the Numinous Way) is his most important work – indeed, his only valuable work – and that all his other previous writings (his poetry excepted), are now irrelevant, be those writings political, or religious, or esoteric; superseded, made irrelevant, by the philosophy he has developed in the past decade, firmly based as his philosophy is on the Western tradition, and giving precedence as it does to the human virtues of compassion and empathy.

The Philosophy of The Numen

In several recent articles – such as Introduction to the Ontology of BeingAcausality, Phainomenon and the Appearance of Causality; and Life and the Nature of The Acausal – Myatt has rationally set forth, as a philosopher should, his own understanding of the nature of Existence.

Indeed, in Introduction to the Ontology of Being, Myatt states, following Heidegger, that philosophy is the ontology of Being, and proceeds to define three types of being: causal being, acausal being and beings having both causal and acausal being.

He then defines what is meant by these three types of being, going on to argue – in that essay and in Acausality, Phainomenon and the Appearance of Causality – that philosophy hitherto has been limited by apprehending being only in terms of causality. This, according to Myatt, is the error of abstraction, and had led to an apprehension of beings in terms of causal separation.

Furthermore, Myatt argues that life – including our own being – cannot be understood in terms of causality, as separate beings, because all living beings have an acausal nature, and which nature is one of being connected to all other living beings via the simultaneity of acausal Time. That is, we, as living beings, are a nexion – a connexion – between causal and acausal. [1]

Myatt then defines a different, new, type of knowing, distinct from the causal knowing of conventional philosophy and empirical science. This other type of knowing, Myatt states, is derived from our faculty of empathy, and it is empathy which, according to Myatt, enables us to apprehend or reveal other life, including other human beings, as that life is; an apprehension which, he maintains, causal abstractions cover-up or hide. It is this empathy – this συμπάθεια – which Myatt makes the basis for this theory of ethics [2], and which empathy, he insists, reveals our true, compassionate, human nature [3], in contrast to the un-numinous, artificial, nature which abstractions have manufactured for or imposed upon us, and which nature gives rise to hubris [4] and which hubris undermines, obscures, or destroys, the numinous.

Myatt concludes his Acausality, Phainomenon and the Appearance of Causality with what amounts to a good summary of his philosophy:

” For human beings, the true nature of being lies not in what we have come to understand as our finite, separate, self-contained, individual identity (our self) but rather in our relation to other living beings, human and otherwise, and thence to the acausal itself. In addition, one important expression of – a revealing of – the true acausal nature of being is the numinous: that which places us, as individuals, into a correct, respectful, perspective with other life (past, present and future) and which manifests to us aspects of the acausal; that is, what in former terms we might have apprehended, and felt, as the divine: as the timeless Unity, the source, behind and beyond our limited causal phenomenal world, beyond our own fragile microcosmic mortal existence, and which timeless Being we cannot control, manufacture, or imitate, but which is nevertheless manifest, presenced, in us because we have the gift of life. “

In respect of politics and conventional religion, Myatt – in his essay From Aeschylus To The Numinous Way – The Numinous Authority of πάθει μάθος – revealing writes that both are founded on abstractions, and thus are un-numinous and can predispose us to commit hubris, and that it is personal πάθει μάθος that is a better guide to knowing and understanding than both politics and conventional religion. Thus, Myatt describes his weltanschauung as the philosophy of πάθει μάθος.

The Philosophy of The Numen in the Western Tradition

In several of his most recent articles [5], Myatt has provided a framework which places his philosophy firmly in the tradition of Western philosophy. Thus, he relates several of his own philosophical concepts to pre-Socratic philosophy, stating that the error of abstraction, of a causal-only apprehension of being, began with Plato’s idea.

In Pre-Socratic Philosophy, The Numinous Way, Aesthetics, and Other Questions, Myatt writes that:

” …the numinous is what predisposes us not to commit ὕβρις – that is, what continues or maintains or manifests ἁρμονίη and thus καλλός; the natural balance – sans abstractions – that enables us to know and appreciate, and which uncovers, Φύσις and λόγος, and τὸ καλόν, the virtuous beauty known to us mortals as personal honour. “

Thus, for Myatt, both empathy and personal honor express, or manifest – that is, presence – the numinous, and hence are a revealing of The Numen.

Myatt, however, cautions us, at the end of his essay Pre-Socratic Philosophy, The Numinous Way, Aesthetics, and Other Questions – regarding this framework:

” All these references to Greek terms are just general, common, philosophical reference points – a somewhat academic philosophical framework for aspects of The Numinous Way – provided for those who might be interested and who might find such a conventional framework useful in understanding The Numinous Way, and possibly relating it to other philosophies.”

JR Wright
Oxford
June 2010

Notes:

[1] Myatt sets out the axioms of the acausal and the causal in Life and the Nature of The Acausal.

[2] Myatt’s theory of ethics is outlined in Ontology, Ethics and The Numinous Way.

[3] Empathy, according to Myatt, is a practical manifestation of the numinous. See, for example, the section The Cultivation of Empathy in his Three Essays Regarding The Numinous Way.

[4] Myatt’s ideas regarding hubris are contained in several articles of his, including (1) Pre-Socratic Philosophy, The Numinous Way, Aesthetics, and Other Questions; (2) Homo Hubris and the Disruption of The Numinous; and (3) The Theology of The Numinous Way.

[5] The articles are (1) From Aeschylus To The Numinous Way – The Numinous Authority of πάθει μάθος; (2) Numinous Culture, The Acausal, and Living Traditions; and (3) Pre-Socratic Philosophy, The Numinous Way, Aesthetics, and Other Questions.


A Portrait of David Myatt

The Green Damask Room

A Portrait of David Myatt by Richard Moult
(2010 CE / 121 Year of Fayen)

Φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ