Concerning Extremism

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NASA - Earth and Moon from Voyager
Concerning Extremism
Some Quotations From Recent Writings

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

Thus, instead of a natural and a human concern with what is local, personal and personally known, extremism breeds a desire to harshly interfere in the lives of others – personally unknown and personally distant – on the basis of such a hubriatic certitude-of-knowing that strife and suffering are inevitable. For there is in all extremists that stark lack of personal humility, that unbalance, that occurs when – as in all extremisms – what is masculous is emphasized and idealized and glorified to the detriment (internal, and external) of what is muliebral.” Pathei-Mathos – Genesis of My Unknowing


” It might be useful to explain how I, in the light of practical experience, understand important terms such as extremism. By 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: (1) the result of such harshness, and (2) the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists. In addition, a fanatic is considered to be someone with a surfeit of zeal or whose enthusiasm for some objective, or for some cause, is intemperate.” Ethos of Extremism, Part 1 (1968-1973)


” 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 […]

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 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.” Letter To My Undiscovered Self


” In simple terms, 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.

What is good, and natural – what should thus be appreciated, and respected, and not profaned by the arrogance (the hubris) of the extremist, and what empathy and pathei-mathos reveal – are the desire for personal love and the need to be loyally loved; the need for a family and the bonds of love within a family that lead to the desire to protect, care for, work for, and if necessary defend one’s loved ones. The desire for a certain security and stability and peace, manifest in a home, in sufficiency of food, in playfulness, in friends, in tolerance, in a lack of danger. The need for the dignity, the self-respect, that work, that giving love and being loved, provide.

Our societies have evolved, painfully slowly, to try and provide such simple, such human, such natural, such ineluctably personal, things; to allow opportunities for such things; and have so evolved often because of individuals naturally gifted with empathy or who were inspired by their own pathei-mathos or that of others, and often and thus also so evolved because of the culture that such societies encouraged and sometimes developed, being as such culture was – via, for example, literature, music, memoirs, poetry, Art – the recorded/aural pathei-mathos and empathic understanding of others often combined with the recorded/aural pathei-mathos and the empathic understanding of others in other societies. A pathei-mathos and an understanding that may form or in some manner express the ethos of a society, and thence become an inspiration for certain laws intended to express, in a society, what is considered to be moral and thus provide and maintain or at least aid valued human and personal qualities such as the desire for stability, peace, a loving home, sufficiency of food, and the need for the dignity of work.” Some Personal Musings On Empathy


” 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.”

In Reply To Some Questions (2012)


” Perhaps one of the worst consequences of the extremism of extremists – of modern hubris in general – is, or seems to me to be, the loss of what is personal, and thus what is human; the loss of the empathic, the human, scale of things; with what is personal, human, empathic, being or becoming displaced, scorned, forgotten, obscured, or a target for destruction and (often violent) replacement by something supra-personal such as some abstract political/religious notion or concept, or some ideal, or by some prejudice and some often violent intolerance regarding human beings we do not personally know because beyond the range of our empathy.

That is, the human, the personal, the empathic, the natural, the immediate, scale of things – a tolerant and a fair acceptance of what-is – is lost and replaced by an artificial scale posited by some ideology or manufactured by some τύραννος (tyrannos); a scale in which the suffering of individuals, and strife, are regarded as inevitable, even necessary, in order for ‘victory to be achieved’ or for some ideal or plan or agenda or manifesto to be implemented. Thus the good, the stability, that exists within society is ignored, with the problems of society – real, imagined, or manufactured by propaganda – trumpeted. There is then incitement to disaffection, with harshness and violent change of and within society regarded as desirable or necessary in order to achieve preset, predetermined, and always ‘urgent’ goals and aims, since slow personal reform and change in society – that which appreciates and accepts the good in an existing society and in people over and above the problems and the bad – is anathema to extremists, anathema to their harsh intolerant empathy-lacking nature and to their hubriatic striving.” Some Personal Musings On Empathy


” For an ideology to cause, provoke, or incite hatred – or which inclines people toward hatred or which of itself embodies hate – it is logical to assume that there has to be two components at work given that hatred is an intense personal emotion which can predispose a person or persons toward or cause anger and thence violence, and given that an ideology by its nature is supra-personal, that is, a coherent, organized, and distinctive set of beliefs and/or ideas or ideals.

My experience leads me to suggest that the first component is prideful identity, and that the second component is the ideal, the goal, of the ideology. For this given and accepted identity is always supra-personal and always imparts a needed sense of belonging, a meaning to life, just as the goal, the ideal, involves individuals committing themselves in a manner which vivifies, removes doubt, and imparts a sense of purpose, with the result that individuality becomes subsumed with duty and loyalty to the goal, the ideal, given a high priority in the life of the individual […]

The identity so assumed or presumed produces or can produce resentment, anger – caused by a perceived or a felt disparity between the now and the assumed ideal, past or future.

For an essential part of such ideologies is that it is believed that in the past some posited ideal community or society or people or way of life existed and that the present is a deviation from or a loss of the ‘perfection’ that then existed; a deviation or a loss that the ideology explains by the assumption of a simple cause and effect, or several simple causes and effects, a simple linearity between the now and the goal (future) and/or the idealized past. Thus the problems or the conditions of the present are assumed to have certain identifiable supra-personal causes, just as the path to the goal is regarded as requiring that those causes be dealt with. In addition, these causes are often or mostly the work of ‘others’; not our fault, but instead the result of ‘our enemies’, and/or of some opposing ideology. That is, someone, or some many, or some ‘thing’, is or are to blame.

Hence in order to return to this past perfection – or in order to create a new form of this past perfection, this past ideal, or in order to create a new perfection inspired by some past ideal – our enemies, and/or opposing ideologies and those adhering to them, must be dealt with. There must therefore be struggle; the notion of future victory; and at the very least political activity and propaganda directed toward political goals – a moving toward regaining the authority, the power, the influence which supporters of an ideology believe or assume they and their kind have lost and which they almost invariably believe are now ‘in the hands of their enemies’ and/or of traitors and ‘heretics’.

In effect, perceived enemies, those having authority/power, and those perceived as adhering to opposing or detrimental ideologies/beliefs or living in a manner seen as detrimental, become dehumanized, are judged en masse in a prejudiced manner, and become disliked, with this dislike naturally – because of the struggle for ‘victory’ – becoming intolerance, harshness, and thence, almost invariably at some time, turning to anger thence to hatred with such hatred often resulting in violence against individual ‘enemies’.

Such hatred and intolerance are the natural, the inevitable, consequence of all ideologies founded on notions of identity which glorify past glories or past perfections, which posit some abstract goal or some future ideal and which involve a struggle against enemies to achieve such a goal or such an ideal.” Notes on The Politics and Ideology of Hate (Part One – According to the Philosophy of The Numinous Way)


” An important and a necessary part of enantiodromia involves a discovery, a knowing, an acceptance, and – as prelude – an interior balancing within themselves, of what has hitherto been perceived and designated as the apparent opposites described by terms such as ‘muliebral’ and ‘masculous’. A perception of opposites manifested in ideations such as those concerning assumed traits of character, and assumed or ‘ideal’ rôles, behaviour, and occupations, assigned to each person, and especially historically in the prejudice of how the rôle – the duty – of men is or should be to lead, to control, to govern, to possess authority, to dominate, to be master.

The discovery of enantiodromia is of how such a designated and perceived dichotomy is but illusive, unnecessary, unhealthy, appearance, and does not therefore express either the natural, the real, nature (φύσις) of our personal character, our being, or the real nature, the Φύσις, of Being itself. In essence, this is the discovery, mentioned by Heraclitus, concerning Πόλεμος and γινόμενα πάντα κατ΄ ἔριν καὶ χρεώμενα; that all beings are naturally born – become perceived as separate beings – because of ἔρις, and their genesis (their ‘father’) is Πόλεμος.

Thus the strife, the discord, often engendered by an external and by the internal (within the individual) clash between such apparent opposites as the ‘muliebral’ and ‘masculous’ is one that has naturally arisen due to misperception, due to the separation-of-otherness, as a result of a purely causal, egoist, apprehension of ourselves and of others; an error of perception that, as previously mentioned, empathy and πάθει μάθος can correct, and which correction reveals the truth of ψυχή and a knowing of the cosmic perspective.

One practical consequence of this misapprehension, this error of ὕβρις, concerning ‘muliebral’ and ‘masculous’ has been the distaste – even the hatred – of certain ideologies and religions and individuals for those whose personal love is for someone of the same gender. Another practical consequence is and has been the error of extremism, where what is masculous is emphasized to the detriment (internal, and external) of what is muliebral, and where, for example, as in many harsh ideologies, men and women are expected, encouraged – often forced, as for example in fascism – to assume some rôle based on or deriving from some manufactured abstraction, some ideation, concerning what is assumed to be or has been posited as ‘the ideal man’ or the ‘ideal woman’ in some idealized society or in some idealized ‘nation’. ” Enantiodromia and The Reformation of The Individual


” 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. ” In Reply To Some Questions (2012)


“Extremism – as defined and understood by the philosophy of pathei-mathos – is a modern example of the error of hubris. An outward expression – codified in an ideology – of a bad individual physis (of a bad or faulty or misguided or underdeveloped/unmatured individual nature); of a lack of inner balance in individuals; of a lack of empathy and of pathei-mathos. There is thus, in extremists, an ignorance of the true nature of Being and beings, and a lack of appreciation of or a wilful rejection of the numinous, as well as a distinct lack of or an aversion to personal humility, for it is the nature of the extremist that they are convinced and believe that ‘they know’ that the ideology/party/movement/group/faith that they accept or adhere to – or the leader that they follow – have/has the right answers, the correct solutions, to certain problems which they faithfully assert exist in society and often in human beings.” Some Personal Musings On Empathy


” I quite understand why, in the past, certain individuals disliked – even hated – me, given my decades of extremism: my advocacy of racism, fascism, holocaust denial, and National-Socialism, followed (after my conversion to Islam) by my support of bin Laden, the Taliban, and advocacy of ‘suicide attacks’.

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

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

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

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

Pathei-Mathos – Genesis of My Unknowing


” So much remorse, grief, and sorrow, within me for the unwise suffering-causing deeds of my past. Yet all I have in recompense for decades of strife, violence, selfishness, hate, are tears, the cries, alone – and words, lifeless words, such as this; words, to – perhaps, hopefully – forewarn forswear so that others, some few, hearing, reading, may possibly avoid, learn from, the errors that marked, made, and were, my hubris.” So Much Remorse


David Myatt
June 2012

Image credit: NASA – Earth and Moon as seen from the departing Voyager interplanetary spacecraft