Letter To My Undiscovered Self
For nearly four decades I placed some ideation, some ideal, some abstraction, before personal love, foolishly – inhumanly – believing that some cause, some goal, some ideology, was the most important thing and therefore that, in the interests of achieving that cause, that goal, implementing that ideology, one’s own personal life, one’s feelings, and those of others, should and must come at least second if not further down in some lifeless manufactured schemata.
My pursuit of such things – often by violent means and by incitement to violence and to disaffection – led, of course, not only to me being the cause of suffering to other human beings I did not personally know but also to being the cause of suffering to people I did know; to family, to friends, and especially to those – wives, partners, lovers – who for some reason loved me.
In effect I was selfish, obsessed, a fanatic, an extremist . Naturally, as extremists always do, I made excuses – to others, to myself – for my unfeeling, suffering-causing, intolerant, violent, behaviour and actions; always believing that ‘I could make a difference’ and always blaming some-thing else, or someone else, for the problems I alleged existed ‘in the world’ and which problems I claimed, I felt, I believed, needed to be sorted out.
Thus I as a neo-nazi, as a racist , would for some thirty years and by diatribes spoken, written, rant on and on about these alleged problems: about ‘the Jewish/Zionist problem, about ‘the dangers of race-mixing’, about the need for ‘a strong nation’, about ‘why we need a revolution’, about ‘the struggle for victory’, about ‘the survival of the Aryan race’, and so on and so on. Later on, following my conversion to Islam, I would – for some seven or so years – write and talk about ‘the arrogance of the kuffar’, about ‘the need for a Khilafah’, about ‘the dangers of kufr’, about ‘the need for Jihad against the kuffar’, and so on and so on.
Yet the honest, the obvious, truth was that I – and people like me or those who supported, followed, or were incited, inspired, by people like me – were and are the problem. That my, that our, alleged ‘problems’ (political/religious), were phantasmagoriacal; unreal; imagined; only projections based on, caused by, invented ideas that had no basis in reality, no basis in the simple reality of human beings. For the simple reality of most human beings is the need for simple, human, things: for personal love, for friendship, for a family, for a personal freedom, a security, a stability – a home, food, playfulness, a lack of danger – and for the dignity, the self-respect, that work provides.
But instead of love we, our selfish, our obsessed, our extremist kind, engendered hate. Instead of peace, we engendered struggle, conflict, killing. Instead of tolerance we engendered intolerance. Instead of fairness and equality we engendered dishonour and discrimination. Instead of security we produced, we encouraged, revolution, violence, change.
The problem, the problems, lay inside us, in our kind, not in ‘the world’, not in others. We, our kind – we the pursuers of, the inventors of, abstractions, of ideals, of ideologies; we the selfish, the arrogant, the hubriatic, the fanatics, the obsessed – were and are the main causes of hate, of conflict, of suffering, of inhumanity, of violence. Century after century, millennia after millennia.
In retrospect it was easy to be, to become, obsessed, a fanatic, an extremist – someone pursuing some goal, someone identifying with some cause, some ideology; someone who saw ‘problems’ and felt such ‘problems’ had to be sorted out. For such extremism, such goals, fulfilled a need; they gave a sense of identity; a sense of belonging; a sense of purpose. So that instead of being an individual human being primarily concerned with love, with and responsible for personal matters – the feeling and issues and problems of family, friends, loved ones – there was a feeling of being concerned with and part of ‘higher more important things’, with the inevitable result one becomes hard, hardened, and thence dehumanized.
Easy to be thus, to be an outward extremist; just as it is easy for some other humans (especially, it seems, for men) to be and remain extremists in an inner, interior, way: selfish, hubristic, arrogant, unfeeling, and thus obsessed with themselves, their physical prowess, and/or subsumed by their personal desires, their feelings, their needs, to the exclusion of others. For – despite our alleged, our believed in, ‘idealism’ – we the outward extremists were, we had become like, those selfish, hubristic, arrogant, unfeeling humans; only that instead of being slaves to our personal desires, feelings, needs, we were enslaved to our ideals, our goals, our ideologies, our abstractions, and to the phantasmagoriacal problems we manufactured, we imagined, or we believed in.
In essence, it was a failure of humanity on our, on my, part. A failure to see, to know, to feel, the human – the individual – reality of love, of peace. A failure to personally, as individuals, be empathic, compassionate, loving, kind, fair.
For love is not some ideal to be striven for, to be achieved by some supra-personal means. It is just being human: among, with, other humans, in the immediacy-of-the-moment. From such a human, individual, love – mutual and freely given, freely returned – there is peace: tranquillity, security.
That it took me four decades, and the tragic death of two loved ones, to discover these simple truths surely reveals something about the person I was and about the extremisms I championed and fought for.
Now, I – with Sappho – not only say that,
I love delicate softness:
For me, love has brought the brightness
And the beauty of the Sun …. 
but also that a personal, mutual, love between two human beings is the most beautiful, the most sacred, the most important, the most human, thing in the world; and that the peace that most of us hope for, desire in our hearts, only requires us to be, to become, loving, kind, fair, empathic, compassionate, human beings.
For that we just have to renounce our extremism, both inner and outer.
February 2012 ce
 As mentioned elsewhere – in the missive So Much Remorse – by the term extreme I mean to be harsh, so that an extremist is a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of some objective, usually of a political or a religious nature. Here, harsh is: rough, severe, a tendency to be unfeeling, unempathic. Thus extremism is considered to be: (i) the result of such harshness, and (ii) the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists. Thus in simple terms an extremist is someone who lacks empathy, compassion, reason, and honour.
In addition, by fanatic is meant someone with a surfeit of zeal or whose enthusiasm for some objective, or for some cause, is intemperate.
 In respect of racism, I accept the standard definition, which is that racism is a prejudice and antagonism toward people regarded as belonging to another ‘race’, as well as the belief some ‘races’ are better than or superior to others, and that what is termed ‘race’ defines and explains, or can define and explain, the behaviour and the character of the people considered to belong to some postulated ‘race’.
ἔγω δὲ φίλημμ᾽ ἀβροσύναν […] τοῦτο καί μοι
τὸ λάμπρον ἔρως ἀελίω καὶ τὸ κάλον λέλογχε.
Sappho, poetic fragment: P. Oxyrhynchus. XV (1922) nr. 1787 fr. 1 et 2
Image credit: NASA, Blue Marble Earth Mosaic