In Reply To Some Questions (2012)
Is there a difference between the numinous way and the philosophy of pathei-mathos?
As I have mentioned in many recent essays, and to several correspondents, I now prefer to use the expression ‘the philosophy of pathei-mathos’ in preference to ‘the numinous way’ considering how much of that ‘numinous way’ I have come to reject and/or to revise over the past year or so.
Thus the philosophy of pathei-mathos is just my own developed, refined, weltanschauung; the essence of that ‘numinous way’ shorn of those abstractions that bloated and blighted it. My own quite fallible solutions to particular moral, philosophical, problems and my answers to certain personal questions; and which problems often took me some years to solve, having had their genesis in my own pathei-mathos. I make no claim as to the veracity of this weltanschauung other than it is my pathei-mathos, and so leave others to judge it, aware as I am that such solutions as I have derived and attempted to communicate by the medium of words may not have been expressed very well or may well (and probably will) contain some or many errors, errors which others may find and point out, should anyone even be interested enough in this weltanschauung to study it.
Furthermore, since this weltanschauung is expressed in my Synopsis of The Numinous Way and my Recuyle Of The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos and since those two texts – together with the latest version of FAQ About The Numinous Way [25/May/2012] on which that Synopsis is based – contain all that, in my error-prone view at least, is required for an understanding of, and all that is relevant to, that weltanschauung, I do not intend to write anything more about it.
I’m curious as to who the intended audience of your writings now is since surely you’ve now offended or upset nearly everyone who previously praised your writings or followed your work? I’m thinking here of people like National Socialists, Aryanists, nationalists, third-positionists, esoteric traditionalists, and Muslims, and your denunciations of race, nationalism, extremism, and turning your back on Islam. So just what do you hope to achieve by your writings now?
Since 2006 my writings about the numinous way, and latterly about the philosophy of pathei-mathos – as well as my numerous often rather mystical musings – have been written as expressions of my own feelings, experiences, and philosophical reflexions, with no particular audience in mind, save in many instance for a few personal friends. In effect, they document my interior struggles, my attempts to find solutions to certain philosophical problems, and my desire to understand the how and the why of my hubris, of my extremist decades, and thus to understand and acknowledge the mistakes of my past – to understand and acknowledge the suffering I caused – and understand the error of extremism itself.
Given my practical experience of extremism, and the aforementioned desire regarding understanding both my own extremism and extremism in general, I might possibly now have, after some years of reflexion, acquired some insight into the matter. For instance, I believe that the genesis of extremism – of whatever outward kind – is what I have termed the-separation-of-otherness. Our tendency, as human beings, to manufacture and to believe in and to value abstractions, all of which reveal,
” a lack of empathy, and which lack results in some distinction being made between ‘them’ and ‘us’, and thus with some living being (human or otherwise) being assigned to some abstract category, or group, and/or regarded as the genesis of or some representation of some posited existing or future ideal. Often, some abstraction – some category or some group or some ideal – is imputed to have some value, higher/lower, in relation to some other abstraction, with the result that some abstractions are considered to be ‘worth fighting/killing/dying for’, and/or regarded as ‘morally superior’ to or better than other different, or vaguely different, abstractions, even if such difference is illusory and thus only ‘in the eye of the believer’. Thus, among the profusion of abstractions are divisive concepts such as ‘race’ and nationalism; political ideologies such as communism, fascism, and National-Socialism; perceived religious differences often manifest in a division between ‘heretics’ and ‘true believers’; and concepts such as ‘a righteous caliphate’.
What is common to most if not all abstractions is how, in varying degrees, they tend to or can dehumanize us. How they seem to possess, or come to possess, an archetypal power and thus tend to move us to believe in them rather than in human, the individual, virtues such as personal love, compassion, humility, and fairness. For in the pursuit of abstractions, or in pursuit of some assumed idealized ‘duty’ or loyalty to some abstraction, we often tend to unethically value the abstraction – or some idealized, future, imagined, hope-for realization of some abstraction – more than individuals, more than personal love, personal happiness, compassion, more than our humanity, and thus more than human life itself.” Rejecting Abstractions – A Personal Lesson From Extremism
This error of extremism I consider to be a modern form of ὕβρις, and one which has and has had consequences far greater, far more dire, than the suffering wrought, caused, by some individual, ancient, τύραννος such as Oedipus or Creon or even Genghis Khan. Indeed, I would go so far as to express the view that extremism breeds a new type of τύραννος, manifest for example and in extremis by men such as Hitler and Stalin who used the abstraction of particular types of States as extensions of their own ὕβρις and so caused immense, inhuman, suffering.
Yet I also consider that the error of extremism is simple, easy to understand although possibly not that easy to prevent for all its simplicity, given that it is or seems to be an expression of not only our past but also of our present human nature. Of, as I mentioned in Enantiodromia and The Reformation of The Individual, our tendency – or more accurately of the tendency of many men – to emphasize, to feel, to-live, the masculous over and above the muliebral, and thus who lack that interior balance that is the prehension of wisdom.
This lack in practical terms is, or so it seems to me, simply a lack of appreciation of the value of love; a lack of understanding that personal love is the pre-eminent, the most important, virtue. For,
” extremists fail to understand, to appreciate, to know, to apprehend, what is important about human beings and human living; what the simple reality, the simple nature, the real physis, of the majority of human beings and of society is and are, and thus what innocence means and implies. That is, there is a failure to know, to appreciate, what is good, and natural and numinous and innocent, in respect of human beings and of society. A failure to know, a failure to appreciate, a failure to feel what it is that empathy and pathei-mathos provide: the wisdom of our personal nature and personal needs; of our physis as rational – as balanced – human beings possessed of certain qualities, certain virtues, or capable of developing balance, capable of developing certain qualities, certain virtues, and thus having or of developing the ability to live in a certain manner: with fairness, with love, and without hatred and prejudice.” Some Personal Musings On Empathy (in relation to the philosophy of πάθει μάθος)
Thus what I hope to achieve by such writings is to communicate – or to attempt to communicate – some of my insights, some of my experiences, some of my solutions, and some of my conclusions, such as they are, and as personal and as fallible as they are, and dealing as they do with extremism, with an extremist life, and with the personal life of the hubriatic man I was. As to how insightful, or interesting, or useful, or relevant, or valid, they really are or may be, I do not know, for that is for others to assess. But I feel I have to try, in expiation, given the suffering I caused both during my extremist decades and because of my hubriatic life.
I found your writing that racism and nationalism divides human individuals who are unique interesting, but at present would still regard myself as a moderate European Nationalist but not racist, who respects non-white Nationalists
My concern – and therefore that of the philosophy of πάθει μάθος – is with spiritual (numinous) and personal matters. With our own individual interior change and reformation; with the perspective and insight that empathy and pathei-mathos provide: which is of personal virtues such as compassion, love, humility, empathy, πάθει μάθος, honour, and wu-wei, and thus with treating human beings as individuals, and accepting that those who, and those matters which are, beyond the range of our faculty of empathy and thus who and which we have no personal knowledge and experience of, are people and matters we should honestly and thus humbly admit we really know little or nothing about. Also, that our own identity – our own understanding of ourselves, of our φύσις – is a uniquely personal matter that perhaps can only be ascertained when we feel, appreciate, and understand, the numinous. That is, when we are aware of or become aware of the cosmic perspective; of ourselves as but one fragile, fallible, microcosmic, connexion to all Life; as but one emanation of ψυχή.
Hence concepts such as ‘nationalist’ and even European have, to me at least and now, no relevance, [no meaning].
Your latest writings on NS and race, and your rejection of your earlier ideas about clans, appear to have put paid to anyone wanting to propagate your ethical National Socialism or your idea of folk clans in preference to the state or your ideas about overthrowing the state. Is that what you wanted?
My writings over the past few years have been personal, ‘mystical’, and philosophical, with the latter documenting the development and refinement of my ‘numinous way’ culminating in my moral philosophy of pathei-mathos which is concerned with individuals and how individuals might discover and learn to appreciate ἁρμονίη and δίκη and so move toward wisdom. So, what I wanted – rather, what I felt compelled to do following a personal tragedy – was to try and understand myself, my suffering-causing past; to try and discover what undermined ἁρμονίη and δίκη, and what ὕβρις was and what it caused and why.
One result was that I came to appreciate – philosophically, morally – the importance of empathy and hence gained a better understanding of extremism, that modern error of ὕβρις, leading me to define an extremist as,
“a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of some objective, usually of a political or a religious nature. Here, harsh is: rough, severe, a tendency to be unfeeling, unempathic. Hence extremism is considered to be: (a) the result of such harshness, and (b) the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists.”
An important part of harshness, it seemed to me, was the arrogance of assumptions about or concerning others. Of prejudging people based on some abstract criteria or because you had assigned them – consciously or instinctively – to some category which had been manufactured or developed by others; which category associated with those assigned to it certain qualities, or attributes, or abilities, or a lack of such things; and which category was almost invariably based on or derived from some notion of conflicting ideated opposites and which thus separated beings from Being.
One example here is categorizing a woman as being a ‘prostitute’:
“Almost always there are certain assumptions made about such a person, since the abstract category ‘prostitute’ carries various connotations, or is assumed to denote a certain type of person. Thus, instead of being regarded, and treated as, an individual human being, the woman is regarded and treated as “a prostitute” and in the process often dehumanized. All such judgement according to such an assigned abstract category is unethical because it is not based on a personal knowing of the person; it is not based on the immediacy of empathy with that person.”
It is the same in respect of the concept of race, or ‘folk’. For race is,
“a manifestation of the causal separation-of-otherness, and thus contradicts empathy and the intuitive knowing of and sympathy [συμπάθεια] with the living other that individual empathy provides or can make us aware of.
The notion of race separates, divides, human beings into manufactured lifeless categories which nullify the empathic knowing of individual human beings. Such assignment of individuals to a posited abstract category – some assumed ‘race’ or sub-race – is irrelevant, since individual human beings are or have the potential to be unique individual human beings, so that such an assignment, whatever the alleged reason, is a dehumanizing of those individuals. For our humanity is expressed by an individual and personal knowing of individuals, by a personal interaction with others on the basis of respect, tolerance, reason, and honour, and which personal knowledge of them renders their alleged or assumed ethnicity or ancestry irrelevant.” FAQ About The Numinous Way dated 9/March/2012
Thus, to view, to classify, to consider, someone in ethnic terms is a harsh, an unnecessary, thing to do. For consciously or unconsciously such separate categories denote or have come to denote certain things (often negative and prejudiced things) about those so assigned to them. The moral thing – the unharsh, the human, thing – to do is to view a person, to consider them, treat them, as they really are, which is an individual human being. Their assumed or assigned ‘race’/ethnicity serves only to perpetuate that separation-of-otherness that is or can be a cause of prejudice, discrimination, injustice, intolerance, hatred, and thus of suffering.
Similarly with the notion, the ideation, of ‘a folkish clan’ with its inclusion/exclusion, its division into ‘us’ and ‘them’ and its predetermined, non-individual, dogmatic, non-empathic, criteria of belonging and of judgement of ourselves and of others.
To abstract things out from an individual context – to generalize, to make assumptions about others which go beyond the individual, beyond a personal knowing of them, beyond our own individual living and the immediacy-of-the-moment; to assign them to some abstract category – is wrong, and appears to be or to have become a lazy, an immoral, human habit, and one which empathy can cure or prevent.
For me – and thence for the numinous way/the moral philosophy of pathei-mathos – what is important, what expresses our humanity, what is moral, is an individual knowing and an individual appreciation of the numinous and thus a knowing and appreciation of what I term ‘the natural balance’ of life. A natural balance manifest in avoidance of hubris – avoidance of the error, the harshness, the generalizations, the ideations, of extremism – and in the acceptance of the empathic (of the human, the personal) scale of things and an acceptance of our limitations (our fallible nature) as human beings. That is, in an appreciation of individuals; an appreciation of the virtue of personal love, the cultivation of empathy, humility, tolerance, and of wu-wei, and hence the inclination to live without arrogantly interfering with, or arrogantly concerning ourselves with, matters and people beyond the range of our empathy and of which and whom we have no personal knowledge of or no practical experience of.
In practical terms, this means there is no concern with and no interest in politics and political things, as well as an understanding that such ideations as race, folk, and nationalism, are unnecessary, and detrimental, harmful, to us, because beyond, and usurpacious of, that individual knowing and that individual appreciation of the numinous which manifests or which can manifest the natural, the human, balance – the harmony, the beauty, the arête – of life, and which individual knowing and individual appreciation empathy and pathei-mathos and a personal love can aid us to discover.
As for The State:
“The change that the philosophy – the way – of pathei-mathos seeks to foster, to encourage, is the natural, slow, interior and personal change within individuals […] This interior personal change, by its numinous and ethical nature, is one that does not seek to reform society through politics or by any type of agitation, or through the use of force, or by means of any type of organization, social, political, economic, religious. Instead, such numinous change is the reform of individuals on a personal, individual, and cultural basis; by personal example and by individuals cultivating, in accordance with wu-wei, conditions and circumstances whereby they themselves and others can move toward συμπάθεια with other human beings through a personal knowing and experience of the numinous. Such a knowing and experience of the numinous can be cultivated by a variety of means, for example by harmonious surroundings; through an appreciation of, and a living in balance with, Nature; by love and respect and manners and a desire for peace; by periods of interior and exterior silence; through culture and thus through music, Art, literature, an understanding of history, and through respect for and tolerance of the many religions and spiritual Ways which have arisen over millennia and which may manifest the numinous or something of the numinous. ” Society, Politics, Social Reform, and Pathei-Mathos
25th May 2012 ce
Acknowledgements: This text consists of, or summarizes, my replies to some of the questions submitted to or asked of me or forwarded to me by various correspondents during April and May of 2012. I have had occasion, in one or two places and for general publication, to amend the text slightly, in order to correct typos and/or clarify the sense.