Concerning Some Abstractions
Extremism and Race



In essence, I consider an abstraction to be:
"a manifestation, possibly the primary manifestation, of the-separation-of-otherness: of 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'."   Rejecting Abstractions - A Personal Lesson From Extremism
There is thus a difference between an abstraction and a descriptor. A descriptor is just a word used to describe something which already exists and which is personally observed or is discovered, whereas an abstraction by its nature is: a generalization; a hypothesis; a posited thing; an assumption or assumptions about, an extrapolation of or from some-thing; or some assumed or extrapolated ideal 'form' of some-thing. Sometimes, abstractions are generalizations based on some sample(s), or on some median (average) value or sets of values, observed, sampled, or assumed.

Or expressed simply, a descriptor describes what-is as 'it' already is, according to its φύσις (physis: its nature, its being) and in accordance with wu-wei; whereas an abstraction denotes what is presumed/assumed/idealized, past or present or future. A descriptor relies on, is derived from, describes, individual knowing and individual judgement; an abstraction relies on something abstract, impersonal, such as some opinion/knowing/judgement of others or some assumptions, theory, or hypothesis made by others.

In relation to human beings, abstraction involves an assigning of individuals to some abstract category or group, and then interpreting or judging or describing those individuals according to the criteria posited for that category or group. This results in an impersonal, fallacious, presumptuous, 'knowledge' concerning those individuals, and amounts to a dehumanizing of those individuals, for a genuine knowing of them requires a personal interaction with them over a period of time and of necessity the use of the very individual faculty of empathy in the immediacy-of-the-living-moment.

Thus, as a result of such a personal knowing, an individual might be described as kind, with 'kind' being a descriptor, and neutral. As a result of using abstractions, an individual might be described as Caucasian, or as Muslim, with the abstraction, the category, Caucasian or Muslim by its nature as an abstraction imputing or conveying to others certain attributes and characteristics (of appearance, life, personality, and so on) which may or may not apply to the individual so described.

Also, and most importantly, all human manufactured abstractions ignore The Cosmic Perspective - our place in the Cosmos - and thus are a manifestation of hubris, of our arrogance, our insolence. For we human beings are simply one fragile mortal biological life-form on one planet orbiting one star in one galaxy in a Cosmos of billions of galaxies; our abstractions merely the opinionated product of our limited fallible earth-bound so-called 'intelligence', an 'intelligence', an understanding, we foolishly, arrogantly, pridefully have a tendency to believe in, have faith in, and exalt.


Extremist and Extremism

Are 'extremism' and 'extremist' abstractions? Personally I do not believe that they are, since I regard those terms as but useful descriptions of the character, the nature, of certain individuals and of their deeds; with such character and such deeds already having been revealed by the actions, by the life, of such individuals.

In effect, 'extremist' and 'extremism' are not ideals, but descriptors of what is known or revealed through observation and a personal knowing. A function of the empathic-knowing of an individual as that individual is.

As a result of some forty years of practical experience as an activist, I consider that an 'extremist' is a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of an objective that is usually considered to be of a political or of a religious nature. Hence, for me, extremism is the result of such harshness as well as the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists.

Thus, and I believe quite correctly, I have described myself - categorized myself - as an extremist, as a promoter of extremism, both during my neo-nazi years and during my years propagating a harsh interpretation of Islam, an interpretation which included supporting bin Laden and the Taliban, supporting and promoting 'martyrdom operations' ('suicide attacks' by Muslims) and thus supporting and promoting attacks on, and the killing of, non-combatants.

Relevant questions here include the following: (1) Are racism and the promotion of impersonal hatred immoral, bad, harsh? (2) Is the targeting and killing of non-combatants (including women and children) immoral, harsh? According to my criteria - the criteria of my weltanschauung, The Numinous Way - the answer is that they are immoral, bad; they are divisive, impersonal (unempathic), a harsh (an extreme) manifestation of the error, the hubris, that is the-separation-of-otherness. For what is moral is compassion, the peace - the gentleness - of a personal shared love; what is fair, honourable, kind; what manifests the gentility of wu-wei, what manifests the empathic knowing of individuals in the immediacy-of-the-moment.

In the simple sense, all individuals we do not personally know - whom we have not interacted with personally and who thus are unknown to us via, who are inaccessible to, our faculty of empathy - are or should be presumed to be 'innocent', unjudged. Given the benefit of the doubt. For that is the fair, the honourable, the empathic, the humane, thing to do. Thus to promote impersonal goals and objectives - abstractions such as 'suicide attacks' or the hatred and prejudice of racism - which badly affect, harshly impinge upon, which hurt, injure, or kill people we do not know, is assuredly wrong.

My character during my extremist years - or at least the dominant part of my character at the time - was certainly harsh or tended toward being harsh, since my motivation was to harshly pursue, if necessary by violent means, some harsh impersonal goal, some harsh impersonal objective, to engage in activities, with the aim of trying to bring that goal, that objective into-being; with the attainment of that goal, that objective, having immoral priority over virtues such as personal love, personal happiness, compassion, empathy, peace, kindness, and honour. In effect, my life - my deeds, my behaviour, my words (spoken and written) - revealed, proved, that I was indeed an extremist promoting extremism; that I was immoral; that I acted unethically and that I promoted and championed and violently strived for what was wrong.

There is thus in my case - and in the case of others like me - only an acknowledgement of the facts and a recognition of what is moral and what is immoral. For the criteria used are proven deeds, a character directly revealed - individual to individual - by such deeds, and a knowing, an acceptance, by us of what is immoral, bad, wrong.


Race


As mentioned in FAQ About The Numinous Way dated 9/March/2012 -

" Race is a manifestation of the causal separation-of-otherness, and thus contradicts empathy and the intuitive knowing of and sympathy 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."

A human being is an individual person who is unique or who has the capacity to be unique, the capacity to develope their uniqueness. Those human beings, those unique individuals, who are not personally known to us, are because they are unknown to us - being thus unseen, unfelt, by our sense, our faculty, of empathy - cannot, should not, be judged by us, or be the subject of or assessed using the assumptions made by us or presented to us by others whether in spoken or in written form. Such is the foundation of The Numinous Way, of the personal weltanschauung I have developed by means of pathei-mathos, where empathy via a direct and extended personal knowing is regarded as the only moral way to really know, to assess, an individual, to discover their physis, their character.

Thus the alleged or assumed 'race' of a person is irrelevant; unimportant. To assume things about someone on the basis of their alleged or assumed 'race' is wrong, contrary to the ethic of empathy and to the honour, the fairness, the compassion, that manifest the knowing that empathy teaches and reveals to us. For 'race' is a supra-personal categorization, an impersonal large-scale grouping, in which the human faculty of empathy, and thus a direct personal knowing of individuals, play no part.

Furthermore, 'race' - however defined - is an abstraction. An ideal and/or a generalization, and a generalization which even taxonomically has no relevance. Thus, even the observed physical, physiological, genetic - the biological - characteristics which have been said to or are alleged to differentiate one human race from another and thus to possibly define separate human races are irrelevant because such differentiation or definitions are by their very nature medians, or assumptions extrapolated from limited data, or an interpretation of data according to a hypothesis, and all of which data are static, time-dependant, relating as they do to a perceived or an assumed commonality existing or alleged to exist 'now' or at some static moment in time but which perceived or assumed commonality did not necessarily exist in the past and will probably, almost certainly, not exist in the future.

For in reality humans change, through social interaction and migration, over millennia so that, for example, some posited so-called 'race' said to exist now in some specific geographic location did not exist twenty thousand years ago (probably not even ten thousand years ago) and the peoples allegedly said to be of this race are and always have been in flux, changing, adapting, assimilating, being assimilated, migrating.

To define such a static 'race' there has to be assumptions made about 'when' it allegedly came into being and about what median values are used to determine if a specific individual 'belongs to' such a race.

But all life - human and otherwise - changes, is subject to change, is in flux. Life changes as it changes [1] and has changed as it has been changed. This is the wisdom of wu-wei; of the physis of things: of beings, of life. To make some posited category the 'ideal' and thus to impute an importance to, and try to preserve, such a static impermanent human-manufactured impersonal 'thing' over and above the flux of life, over and above the wu-wei of individuals, over and above the morality of empathy, compassion, fairness, and over and above the wu-wei of love, is wrong, inhuman, immoral, contrary to the physis of life itself. It is hubris, an ignorance of, or an arrogant disregarding of, The Cosmic Perspective, and thus is a cause of suffering because it upsets the natural balance, the natural harmony, of life.




David Myatt
March 2012


Notes

[1]


ἔστι δ᾽ ὅπη νῦν
ἔστι: τελεῖται δ᾽ ἐς τὸ πεπρωμένον:
οὔθ᾽ ὑποκαίων οὔθ᾽ ὑπολείβων
οὔτε δακρύων ἀπύρων ἱερῶν
ὀργὰς ἀτενεῖς παραθέλξει


Aesch. Ag. 67-71

What is now, came to be
As it came to be. And its ending has been ordained.
No concealed laments, no concealed libations,
No unburnt offering
Can charm away that firm resolve


Translated by DW Myatt





Acknowledgement: This text summarizes my replies to questions submitted to me in - or which arose during - recent correspondence with several individuals, some of whom raised various objections to my Numinous Way, especially in relation to the concept of 'race' and my use of terms such as 'extremist' and 'extremism'.