Yesterday was one of those glorious English Summer days of warm
Sun, blue sky, when I - after a long walk - had sat down in the
tufted grass on that slope of a hill to view the vista below. The
river curving as it curved through the hedged-in fields of crops
and pasture; the far distant greenful hills unclear in heat-made
haze; the country lane that, now devoid of vehicles, would give
access again to scattered houses and those well-separated working
farms. It felt - perhaps was - paradise on Earth, for I fortunate
to have water, food enough to feed me for a day; clothes and boots
- though worn - sufficient for their purpose; even a place - dry,
undamp, with bed - to sleep such sleep as might by night be
gifted. It felt - and was - good to be alive, touched a little and
for a while by some type of inner peace. So little, so very
little, really needed...
The problem in the past had been me, my lack of understanding of
myself and my egoism. It was my fault: not the place, not the
time, not the people, for I so desired with that arrogance of
youth to exchange this paradise, here, for those ideas, the
idealism, the abstractions, I carried around in my prideful
hubriatic head. Seldom content, for long, since happiness came
with - was - the pursuit, or the gratification of my personal
desires. So destructive, so very destructive. So hurtful,
inconsiderate, selfish, profane.
The defining moment, for me – in terms of understanding myself, in terms of understanding politics and the error of my decades of extremism – was the tragic personal loss of a loved one in May 2006. In the hours following that event I just knew – tearfully knew without words – my own pathetic failure; what I had lost, what was important. Thus there came upon me that day a sense of overwhelming grief, compounded by a remembrance of another personal loss of a loved one thirteen years earlier. For it was as if in those intervening years I had learned nothing; as if I had made the life and the dying and death of Sue, in 1993 – and of what we shared in the years before – unimportant.
I have no words to describe how insignificant, how worthless, I felt that day in May 2006; no words to describe, recall, retell, the remorse, the pain. Suffice now to recount that my life was never, could never be, the same again. Gone – the arrogance that had sustained me for so many experiential decades. Gone – the beliefs, the abstractions, the extremisms, I had so cherished and so believed in. That it took me another three years, from that day, to finally, irretrievably, break the bonds of my Shahadah sworn six years earlier – and the oath of personal loyalty that I believed still bound me to one person still alive then in a far distant land – most certainly says something more about me, about my character, about my interior struggles.
Thus it was that I came to know, to feel, how irrelevant politics and political organizations were for me, personally. So that ever since I have had no desire whatsoever to involve myself in politics – or even in trying to somehow change the world be it by politics, or by religion, or by whatever. Instead, my concern has been to try to [fully] understand and thence reform myself; to reflect upon my four decades of diverse involvements, discovering as I did those involvements for the extremisms they were; and to try to, and finally sans all abstractions, answer important questions such as Quid Est Veritas.
As I wrote in my May 2012 essay Pathei-Mathos, Genesis of My Unknowing:
” 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, and thus when some ideology or some dogma or some faith or some cause is given precedence over love and when loyalty to some manufactured abstraction is given precedence over loyalty to family, loved ones, friends.
For I have sensed that there are only changeable individual ways and individual fallible answers, born again and again via pathei-mathos and whose subtle scent – the wisdom – words can neither capture nor describe, even though we try and perhaps need to try, and try perhaps (as for me) as one hopeful needful act of a non-religious redemption.”
Therefore I have no political views now; I do not and cannot
support any political organization, as I do not adhere to nor
believe in nor support any particular religion or even any
conventional Way of Life. All I have are some personal and
fallible answers to certain philosophical, personal, ethical, and
theological, questions. No certainty about anything except about
my own uncertainty of knowing and about the mistakes, the errors,
of my past.
Having written so much - far too much - for so many decades and having made so many suffering-causing mistakes, I also have no desire now to write anymore about anything, except perchance for a few missives such as this, as part perhaps of my needed expiation, and in explanatory reply when asked of certain things. Such as in exposition of my mistakes, my remorse, and particularly in explanation of the personal love, the gentleness, the compassion, the humility, the peace, that I feel - feel, not know - might possibly enable us to find, to feel, our paradise on Earth, and so not cause suffering, not add to the suffering that so blights this world and has so blighted it for so long, mostly because of people such as me. The ideologues, the extremists, the fanatics, the terrorists, the bigots, the egoists. The unhumble ones unappreciative of the numinous: those whose certainty of knowing - and those whose sense of a personal 'destiny' - makes them uncompassionate, unempathic, hateful, prejudiced, intolerant, and devoted to either 'their cause' or to themselves. Those whose happiness comes with - and is - the pursuit, and/or the gratification of their so selfish desires.
Just how many more seasons - years, decades, centuries, millennia
- will we humans as a species need to find and to live our mortal
lives in compassionate, empathic, paradisal peace?
The above text is taken from one of my replies, in June 2012, to an e-mail correspondent who had initially enquired about my Numinous Way and with whom I corresponded between March and June of 2012. I have corrected a few typos.