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Prometheus


Prometheus
And Europe

by

Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

1999


Fidelio, Vol. IX, No, 1. Spring 2000


This article is reprinted from the Spring 2000 issue of FIDELIO Magazine.

For related articles, scroll down or click here.

Prometheus and Europe

by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

"...Man imagines his gods according to a conception of the universe which coheres, functionally,with man's image of himself.

"Aeschylus's Prometheus did not simply defy the pagan gods; he pointed toward a real God, thesame God identified in Plato's Timaeus, upon whose justicefor mankind Prometheus implicitly relied. A Prometheus image as, artistically, a necessary idea, which contributed an essential role during the recent thousands of years of emergence of the best features of modern European civilization today."

July 7, 1999

This article was first published in Executive Intelligence Review, July 23, 1999 (Vol. 26, No. 29).
Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., is the Founder and Contributing Editor of EIR (Executive Intelligence Review) newsweekly.
The U.S.A. will not be capable of choosing those decisions on which its survival now depends, unless there is, now, a rapidly renewed influence of Classical thinking. This renewal must occur within a citizenry which had become, predominately, disastrously illiterate, and often wildly irrational, even relative to the standards of twenty-five years ago. The strategic purpose of the present, like related earlier reports, is to prompt those who are able, to educate broader circles among their fellow-citizens. Their task, like that of EIR, is to communicate ideas which must become influential, if this nation is to outlive the presently accelerating global crisis.

Effecting such a result, within the relatively short time now available, will not seem an impossible chore to those who are encouraged, as I am, by study of similar efforts in the Americas, and elsewhere, during certain critical earlier periods of, in particular, U.S. and European history.

The required method, is the same method used successfully during the middle to late Eighteenth century, by our Benjamin Franklin, and by Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn in Europe, and by the Fifteenth-century Renaissance, earlier. The method is based on provoking not only prominent, but also so-called ordinary people, into facing those facts which force them to overcome the ignorance which has been recently, habitually embedded in them. The ignorance which must be overcome, is typified by present-day, widely and strongly held, but destructive popular prejudices. The proven method, from those cited and other notable cases of cultural renaissances from past history, is the method which EIR is applying to this work today.

The policy is, to educate a small minority of the citizens, who will, in turn, educate others, who will, in turn, educate still more. We should recognize, from comparable, successful experiences of the past, that those who participate in learning to teach others, in this chain-letter sort of organizing process, will be, together with their children, among the leading citizens of our republic during the years to come. That happy outcome assumes, of course, that our republic survives the presently ongoing succession of crises, that during the months preceding the next U.S. general election.

The principal obstacle preventing such happy results earlier during recent times, has been that such a proposed, rapid success, in bringing up the level of the morality and intellect of an entire people, occurs only as the poet Percy Shelley described this process, in his celebrated “In Defense of Poetry.” In ordinary times, such an uplifting of the intellectual and moral level of even a small portion of the population, often appears to be a thankless, if necessary, tiresome drudgery, an effort enjoyed only by a few stubbornly exceptional thinkers and their pupils. Only under special conditions of profound crisis among nations, as now, do the preconditions exist, for a sudden upsurge of the general power of people for receiving and imparting, profound and impassioned conceptions, respecting man and nature.1

At present, the world as a whole is gripped by one of history’s greatest instances of the kind of period of rising crisis to which Shelley referred. During recent months, especially since the past winter’s mad effort to carry out a political lynching of President Clinton, and since the associated succession of financial crisis and war which followed the Washington G-7 meeting of last October, the political and economic situation now deteriorates at an accelerating rate. As a result of this turn, there has been a perceptible, now accelerating quickening of the minds, spreading among more strata of the population. More and more of an increasingly fearful population smells the approaching death of the existing economic order. It smells that odor of doom emanating, world-wide, from the proverbial “old regimes.” In past history, this kind of window of opportunity now opening up, has been small. In such brief intervals as this one, we must then soon seize that opportunity, or lose it forever.

Any alert, reasonably well-informed observer, can see such a crisis, erupting, as if seismically, around the world today. If, and only if, that relatively brief opportunity is seized appropriately, and quickly enough, our nation can, and will land safely on the safer, far side of the presently rising storm. Otherwise, past comparable periods of history should have forewarned you, that without using that approach, of which this present report is an integral part, this nation will not survive during your children’s lifetimes.

If you had any doubt that our nation has been sinking into a quicksand of functional illiteracy, ask: What percentile of the pupils in local schools are being turned into virtual zombies, even killers, by programs of stuffing the pupils with the disassociative, mind-deadening drugs, such as Ritalin, Prozac, and dexedrine, and so-called “information,” instead of knowledge? What does that tell you about the kind of education being delivered to those victims, those pupils, by our schools, and by the Internet?

Ask, then: Is the content of mass media output much better, or, perhaps, even worse, than that destruction of our young, presently ongoing within our schools? Compare today’s schoolroom and popular readings with those of twenty-five and fifty years ago. Compare the most popular and other racks of bookstores today, with the offerings of twenty-five and fifty years ago. This nation has adopted many enemies, either real, or merely imagined; the most deadly among the real enemies, is the present “New Age’s” spread of illiteracy, and of moral and intellectual numbness, within both the leading ranks of politics and business life, and all ages of the population in general.

How Citizens Fool Themselves

In proceeding as I do now, I forewarn you once more, not to allow yourself to be so microscopically small-minded, as to make the commonplace mistake of recent, increasingly illiterate decades in our nation’s life. Do not fool yourself into thinking that the topic presented here is relatively unimportant to the practical side of life in your local community today.

Perhaps some readers will be tempted to think, mistakenly, that I am referring to some “secret doctrine” known only to puppet-masters who control politics on stage from behind the curtain. Those readers should free themselves from such, or similar illusions.

Real politics operates on three levels.

On the lower level of thinking, even that practiced at what most people would consider the levels of high office, ordinary politics operates on the basis of certain relatively superficial, axiomatic presumptions. People, at this lower level, cling to assumptions which operate inside their minds, pretty much as do the definitions, axioms, and postulates of a traditional classroom Euclidean geometry. Most politics—cheap political tricks, for example—functions on the basis of exploiting most people’s customary blind faith in those assumptions.

Suddenly, when a crisis like that now erupting world-wide, begins to reshape events, those axiomatic assumptions break down. This is true even for many people in relatively high positions of politics and finance, as today. They are suddenly perplexed by a rapidly changing world. Those changes are being controlled according to new rules they do not understand. That is what more and more plain citizens, and leading business and political leaders, are discovering now. This will become worse, that rapidly, during the coming weeks and months.

In such times, a new kind of political leadership must emerge. It must replace the style of leadership which was generally accepted, during a period of decades, or even longer, until now. Those who will be effective political and business leaders, under those conditions, will operate on one, or both of two levels of new thinking about policy-making.

On the first of these higher levels, the second level, the new assortment drawn from a retooled combination of both former and new leaders, will simply learn the appropriate new rules, to replace those failed definitions, axioms, and postulates which had seemed to be effective in earlier times.

However, the most effective leaders, will be those who look at this business of political axioms from a still higher, third level. That third level, is represented by those who have come to understand the way in which successive changes in ruling political axioms come about. These are the kinds of thinkers from which the world, in any time, obtains its greatest poets and scientists, and also the best qualified political leaders. This third level represents the quality of leadership which is indispensable for a time of great crises.

It is those other citizens, and their current political leaders, who resist understanding what I have just said in these immediately preceding paragraphs, who will fail us during the presently onrushing world crisis. Like hysterical passengers clinging desperately to what they thought they knew—their failed axioms, their sinking Titanic—their leadership, if we permitted it to do so, would take us all down—with the sinking ship.

So, it was, when Abraham Lincoln warned you, that most of our citizens are—as still today—fooled most of the time. He referred to the blind side of those who are so often fooled, because, to speak plainly, they wished to be fooled. Thus, often, in times of crisis, they wish to cling to their blind faith in beliefs which will fail them, even destroy them—as in the case of people occupied in the folly of “financial derivatives” trading today.

The “blind side” of the typical American (among other people), lies in his, or her indifference to subject-matters with which “I don’t wish to be bothered.” Nothing has caused greater suffering to ninety percent of the people of the U.S.A.—the underdogs—during the past thirty-odd years, than their own desire to limit their attention to so-called “practical questions,” or, so-called “bread and better” issues of daily life. Usually, it is what they do not wish to see, which hurts them most. Faced with actually important matters, the typical American says, “Please, let’s change the subject!”

Thus, disaster creeps up upon them, step by step, always catching them by surprise. That is how they were caught by surprise, by economic disaster which hit the financial markets in October 1987, in October 1997, in October 1998, the Brazil crisis of February 1999, each of which I had forecast beforehand, and also the most recent bail-out crisis of June 1999. In each and all of these cases, the crisis had crept up, year by year, during the past thirty-odd years, to become the situation of ninety percent of the U.S. population today. Now, the “big one” is coming soon, and most people will have said, “No, it won’t happen; they [the so-called authorities] would never let it happen!”

Usually, the “blind side” which makes today’s all-too-typical U.S. citizen fair prey for fresh disasters, lies within the domain of his customary cynicism, his so-called “popular”—or, populist—disdain for principles of science and Classical art. So, we must now do away with populism, and its cult of “libertarianism,” and go on to real politics.

In the following pages, I call your attention to one of the most important topics in all political science, the way in which political axioms are radically changed under conditions of severe political and social crisis. See why one of the most powerful political leaders the U.S. has had, operating during a period of the greatest crisis our republic has known up to now, President Abraham Lincoln, taught his Cabinet political lessons of master-politics, passages from the tragedies of William Shakespeare.

Lincoln’s celebrated late-night lectures to his war-time Cabinet, on Shakespeare, are not an exception to the kind of practice to be found among the greatest political leaders, in all parts of the world. All of the most successful doctrines of military science, are also derived, and used to be taught, from the standpoint of the Classics, reaching back to ancient Greece. All of the greatest military leaders gained much of their competence in being educated, as masters of real politics, in that way. Much of the knowledge we have about really serious politics, we have from the greatest art inherited from what are sometimes seemingly remote depths of earlier history.

The ancient myth of Prometheus, our subject here, contains one of the most fundamental, and important of those Classical lessons in grand political—and military—strategy.

1.
What Art Must
Teach Politics

Turn now, once again, to real politics: the nature of man. This time, I present that subject from an indispensable standpoint, the method of Classical artistic principle as such.

As I have stated the reason for this in a recent report: Personalized accounts of experience, on the subject of the elementary form of cognitive relations among groups of individual persons, provide the only mental images by means of which the discovery of validatable, universal artistic, or scientific principles, can be competently reported and argued.2 Any different sort of discussion of such matters, is merely rhetoric. The difference between the cases of artistic and scientific principles, is that, whereas the subject of universal physical principles pertains to man’s masterful comprehension of the material universe, the subject of universal principles of Classical art, is the individual’s explicitly cognitive, rather than sensory, relationship to the sovereign individual cognitive processes of other minds. The clinical evidence of Classical tragedy illustrates this point.3

Classical forms of art put human individuals on its stage, and force the meaning of the interrelations so displayed there, to be made visible within the audience’s powers of cognitive insight. In this way, Classical art, such as tragedy, impels the individual members of the audience, to experience a prescience of the pairwise cognitive interactions of the deepest interior of those minds presented on stage.4

Successful such artistic compositions, force the mind in the audience, to look beyond the diversions of sense-certainty. They shift the audience’s focus, to insight into the seemingly spiritual, shaping, orbital force exerted over the drama’s battlefields. They show, thus, how real history is shaped by ideas.

This force is revealed in the interaction of the cognitive processes represented on stage. The sensitive audience recognizes, from that artistic experience, that the same principles demonstrated by great Classical art, are the principles by which peoples must shape the destiny of their nations. Thus, in this way, as the playwright and historian Friedrich Schiller defined the standard of competence for Classical tragedy, the audience must leave the performance of the Classical tragedy better, more insightful people, than had entered the theater a few hours earlier.

That is real politics, as practiced by the only people who are truly serious about the outcome of current history. That, conversely, is the political mission which supplies Classical forms of art its unique legitimacy, its moral purpose.

The real-life incident which I shall put on stage, here, occurred nearly fifty years ago, during the year 1950. This was during the closing years of a time of my occupation with, among other projects, a comparison of the treatments of the natural (i.e., bel canto) vocalization of the poetry of Johann Goethe, by such composers as Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Hugo Wolf. Already, then, I sensed, more and more, that those composers understood the principle of composition of ideas within Goethe’s poetry distinctly better than Goethe himself. Nonetheless, I had also come to know that Goethe was perhaps the most elegant composer of short Classical poetry in modern times, the one quickest and slickest to provoke in me a hilarious sense of truly Classical metaphor.

Therefore, in assessing Goethe’s poetry insofar as I knew it, I compared him not only to Keats, Shelley, Heine, and Shakespeare; but, I also included the setting of short Goethe poems, as Lieder, by the composers Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Hugo Wolf, masters of Classical poetic composition in their own right.5

It was an incident which occurred during that year, which prompted me to reach a certain crucial political conclusion, concerning a crippling epistemological defect which lurked behind the customary Classical elegance of Goethe’s form of poetic composition.

‘Prometheus’
Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Bedecke deinen Himmel, Zeus,
Mit Wolkendunst
Und übe, dem Knaben gleich,
Der Disteln köpft,
An Eichen dich und Bergeshöhn;
Musst mir meine Erde
Doch lassen stehn
Und meine Hütte, die du nicht gebaut,
Und meinen Herd,
Um dessen Glut
Du mich beneidest.

Ich kenne nichts Ärmeres
Unter der Sonn als euch, Götter!
Ihr nähret kümmerlich
Von Opfersteuern
Und Gebetshauch
Eure Majestät
Und darbtet, wären
Nicht Kinder und Bettler
Hoffnungsvolle Toren.

Da ich ein Kind war,
Nicht wusste, wo aus noch ein,
Kehrt ich mein verirrtes Auge
Zur Sonne, als wenn drüber wär
Ein Ohr, zur hören meine Klage,
Ein Herz wie meins,
Sich des Bedrängten zu erbarmen.

Wer half mir
Wider der Titanen Übermut?
Wer rettete vom Tode mich,
Von Sklaverei?
Hast du nicht alles selbst vollendet,
Heilig glühend Herz?
Und glühtest jung und gut,
Betrogen, Rettungsdank
Dem Schlafenden da droben?

Ich dich ehren? Wofür?
Hast due die Schmerzen gelindert
Je des Beladenen?
Hast du die Tränen gestillet
Je des Geängsteten?
Hat nicht mich zum Mann geschmiedet
Die allmächtige Zeit
Und das ewige Schicksal,
Meine Herrn und deine?

Wähntest du etwa,
Ich sollte das Leben hassen,
In Wüsten fliehen,
Weil nicht alle
Blütenträume reiften?

Hier sitz ich, forme Menschen
Nach meinem Bilde,
Ein Geschlecht, das mir gleich sei,
Zu leiden, zu weinen,
Zu geniessen und zu freuen sich,
Und dein nicht zu achten,
Wie ich!

‘Prometheus’
Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Cover your sky, Zeus,
With vaporous clouds,
And try out, like a boy knocking
The heads off thistles,
Your strength against oak trees and Mountain-tops: you still must leave me My earth standing,
And my hut which you did not build, And my hearth
For whose warm glow
You envy me.

I know of no poorer thing
Under the sun than you gods! Wretchedly you feed your majesty
On sacrificial offerings
And the breath
Of prayers,
And you would starve
If children and beggars
Were not fools full of hope.

When I was a child
Not knowing which way to turn,
I would raise my misguided eyes
To the sun, as though up beyond was An ear, that would hear my complaint, A heart like my own
That would pity me in my anguish.

Who helped me
Against the overweening Titans?
Who saved me from death,
From slavery?
Did you not accomplish all this yourself, Oh my holy glowing heart?
And in your youthful well-meaning error Did you not glow with gratitude, for your deliverance To that Sleeper up there?

I, honour you? Why?
Did you ever allay the agony that Weighed me down?
Did you ever dry my
terrified tears?
Was I not forged into manhood
By almighty Time
And everlasting Destiny,
My masters and yours?

Perhaps you thought
I should find life hateful,
And run away into wildernesses,
Because not all my
Dreams blossomed to maturity?

Here I sit, making men
In my own image,
A race that shall resemble me,
That shall suffer and weep,
Know joy and delight,
And be heedless of you,
As I am!

The incident which then provoked my judgment to this effect, involved a poetic soliloquy, excerpted from the draft of one of Goethe’s plays, a soliloquy which came to be recognized as the celebrated Goethe poem “Prometheus.”6 That soliloquy reflects the influence of the ideas of Classical artistic composition, those of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato, and Shakespeare, which Gotthold Lessing had revived in Germany. The crux of the discussion on this 1950’s occasion, was the examination of the Goethe poem itself, within the setting of that soliloquy, “Prometheus,” provided by the music critic and composer Hugo Wolf. Wolf’s instinct for the musical side of vocalization of poetry often, happily, overwhelmed deliciously his factitious practice of musical Romanticism.

During 1950, I had been introduced to personal acquaintance with Vincent _______, and his wife, who had become known to me previously only from Vincent’s reputation spilling over, as if from the other side of the fence, from a decade earlier, as having been a philosophical anarchist from Lynn, Massachusetts’ circles of left-wing politics and poetry. During the period of the several occasions on which I was occasionally their guest, they were living in the quaint, celebrated Massachusetts fishing town of Gloucester, a few miles up the New England coast from Lynn.

This was during a time, my 1947-1952 years, when my activities included the occasional composition of poetry in the Classical mode, a preference which my host and I shared, but on which we differed. He was a true artist, and therefore expressed no difference with me on the principles of composition of poetry as such. Rather, the gist of his view on this account, was that the audience’s current Zeitgeist required so-called progressive, modernistic forms. Differences, on both politics and poetry, made the discussions the more interesting; the fact that we were serious about ideas, in Plato’s sense of ideas, made these occasional visits attractive, and fruitful encounters in respect to their by-products. As study of Plato should have taught each of you, disagreements over principle, situated in a pleasant social setting, have often been, for me, as for many others past and present, the most profitably stimulating grist for creative work.

In this setting, in one of the informal seminars held at Vincent’s residence that year, it became my turn to contribute a theme. I brought up the subject on which I had been reflecting for some time: both the Classical idea of Prometheus, and, with it, both the Goethe poem and its Hugo Wolf setting. My reaction to the outcome of my presentation, and our discussion, on that occasion, contributed in a marginally significant way to shaping that approach to both science and Classical artistic composition, which was embodied within my subsequent, 1952, initial articulation of what were to become known world-wide, later, as the principles of the LaRouche-Riemann Method.

Sometimes, the correction of a seemingly small error, even a seemingly tiny error, if it involves a point of principle, can shape a great matter. So, as Carl Gauss showed for the case of the asteroid Ceres, a seemingly infinitesimal error in the Gauss-Riemann characteristic of Earth’s orbit, would have been sufficient to doom our planet, long ago. The crucial importance of what might appear, mistakenly, as a mere subtlety of my understanding of the deeper importance of the Classical Greek conception of Prometheus, was forced upon my reflections during the weeks following the discussion which I had shared with my hosts and other participants in the informal seminar.

The participants in that seminar, had emphasized, that my rendering of the content of the Goethe poem, in English, was more successful artistically, than the Wolf setting.7 I often recalled, later, how I was startled by that response. Over the following days, I thought about that criticism, and was soon satisfied that they were correct. After a well-prepared presentation of a subject, during a seminar among serious people, you may have reason to smile in acknowledgment of the fact, that you sometimes taught yourself more than you had taught the others.

The process of individual discovery, and refinement of one’s own knowledge of universal principles, takes the form of a dialogue within one’s self. It is the experience of that self-critical process of change, the which is generated by such internal dialogues, which should lead one to a more refined sense of one’s inner self. Such a dialogue on some specific paradox, may be recurring over days, weeks, or longer. On one occasion, it is with others. On another occasion, it is with oneself. Nonetheless, on every occasion, it is always, primarily, with oneself.

It is one’s insight into the process of change, associated with the outcome of repeated efforts to perfect such dialogues, through which one’s private self-image is elevated. One may be transformed by such habits, away from the self-conception of a fixed thing, into a conception of oneself as a process of changing, a continuing process of becoming a better person. So, in Plato’s The Republic, the leading figure, Socrates, argues for truthfulness and justice. It is in such experiences, and their outcome, that a truthful conception of the nature of both man and the universe is molded.

If ever this Socratic process of change of one’s perception of universal principle, for the better, ceases, it is for the body as if a certain kind of willful death of the soul has set in, after which that still-living, emptied body only passes time.

Just so, in my later reflections upon that evening’s discussion, it dawned upon me, that, from the evidence contained within the internal features of that song, Goethe and Wolf, each in his own way, had expressed the wrong conception of the so-to-speak real-life Prometheus, and also of man.

A little less than two years after that discussion, I had occasion to put forth my corrected view on the subject of Goethe’s “Prometheus.” About a year after that, I came to emphasize, that Brahms’ setting of I Corinthians 13, in the conclusion of his Four Serious Songs, was a better poetic address to the actual issue posed by the Prometheus theme, and much better music. Both qualities had been achieved by Brahms without the epistemological flaw.

This reference to Brahms was prompted by my reflections upon a young baritone’s, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s recorded presentation of the Brahms.8 Reflections upon strongly motivated, repeated study of that recorded performance, implicitly confirmed some crucial features of the correction of my 1950 estimate respecting the poetic and musical answer to the problem posed by Goethe’s “Prometheus.” I learned years later, and was not surprised by that report, that the greatest conductor of this century, Wilhelm Furtwängler, had had a hand in the polishing of young Fischer-Dieskau’s performance of the Brahms.

How To Read A Poem

All this about a poem? As I shall demonstrate afresh, here, Shelley was right, when he proclaimed poets the true legislators for mankind.9 To know the laws which govern the reshaping of the direction of history, you must know Classical poetry, as the point is illustrated by the sense of that discussion of “Prometheus,” in Gloucester, back in 1950.

As I have already forewarned you, do not allow yourself to be so small-minded, as to think that such cultural issues are relatively unimportant to the practical side of life in your community today. The fate of you and your family might now depend upon your grasp of these issues.

The trouble is, very few people today, including most professional actors, know how to read a poem, such as the legislative work of Shakespeare’s tragedies.10 Those with a formal university education in literature and the arts, are perhaps not the worst, but usually, like that poorer quality so painfully common among a large ration of today’s technically proficient, professional musical performers, today’s university graduates are the least likely to free themselves from foolish, pride-filled defense of their stubbornly adopted bad habits. Thus, the latter often prefer an interpretative reading of the literal text itself, rather than, as Furtwängler’s conducting did, emphasizing the music, the cognitive ironies which must not be buried under the mere text.

Most public recitations of the poetry I love, drive me from the room, unless I am held there by loyalty to the efforts of a student’s recitation, his, or her effort, thus, to learn what real poetry is. The performance of Shakespeare by most professional actors, disgusts me by its plain travesty! When such offenders deliver such poetry, they are posturing for effect; their offense lies in the fact that they are not even seriously attempting to “put across” the contrapuntal play of ideas which is the subject of every good Classical poem produced.

The essence of all great Classical art-forms, is a polyphonic interweaving of ironies, metaphor. The essence of poetry, is, that words as such could not contain the meaning of ideas. Relative to any literal statement in words, no matter how sincerely those words are chosen, reality is always ambiguous: the mere words leave something important out. It is not the reality itself which is ambiguous; it is the literal use of words which is always false to reality. Classical art corrects the error, to bring the idea corresponding to reality into the mind of the hearer, where the mere literal words could not. In poetry, as in all Classical art, the artist uses ambiguities about the use of not only words, but commonly known ideas, in order to impart to the mind of the hearer a sense of the reality which literal use of words could never accomplish.

In Classical sculpture, for example, the principle of ambiguity is the same. Thus, back in 1946, I was delighted by lectures on the work of the great Classical sculptors Scopas and Praxiteles, which made clear to me, how all Classical composition functions.

In contrast to the tombstone-like quality of Archaic forms of earlier Greek and Egyptian sculpture, Classical sculpture captures a body in mid-motion, as if off balance. Thus, to the mind, the Classical sculpture ceases to be a mere symbolic work, but rather communicates a sense of the body in mid-motion to the mind of the viewer. Thus, the ambiguity in the sculpture, is recognized by the mind as an image which is nearer to reality than the merely literal representations of inferior, symbolic representation.

It is most informative, to look at the way in which the same problem addressed by Classical sculpture appears in Classical Greek, as opposed to inferior Latin notions of space-time. The Roman conception, like that of Hobbes, Descartes, and Newton, is of a rectilinear universe of matter (objects) roaming in space and time. The ancient Greek Classical thinkers, such as Plato, looked at the physical universe as Scopas and Praxiteles defined Classical sculpture. The real universe, including the view by Classical Greek astronomy, was not seen as rectilinear in form, but as a curved universe, just as the angular measurements of the ancient astronomers defined the universe as a whole as a more or less spherical one.

The function of all Classical art is the same as that. Literal meanings are always false to reality. It is through focussing upon the ambiguities posed by attempting to explain the world in terms of literal statements, that the human mind discovers the real universe hidden behind the deceptive screen of rectilinear-like, literal statements.

When the educated person recites a Classical poem atrociously, but apparently according to some academically accepted rule, he misses the purpose of art entirely.

In the case of Hamlet’s much-celebrated Act Three soliloquy, “To be, or not to be ... ,” the soliloquy addresses a conflict between two states of mind at war within the same person. Whether to cling to his present habits of behavior, which he knows will doom him and his nation, or, to leave the folly of his accustomed ways, for what is for him the unfamiliar alternative, the choice which might save him. He then pleads his excuses, his awe-stricken fear of the unfamiliar, and announces thus his intent to march to his doom. Thereafter, the audience follows his fateful decision to its natural outcome, his chosen doom.

Those are among the ironies of the drama; that is the metaphor, the idea of the tragedy of that Prince and his kingdom. That is what the poetry provides the actor the means to do: to put across to that audience, that idea, and its accompanying passions. On this point, most of the most famous actors fail miserably. They are so occupied with parading themselves on stage, that they leave the real poetry, the ideas, if they ever had them, behind, in the dressing room.

What must be imparted by the performance of a Classical tragedy, to the insight of the audience, is that stream of irony, whose subsuming metaphor is the idea to be conveyed by the reading of the poem. It is the same with music. In music, sight-reading is an indispensable capability, but when it is abused by the formally-trained user’s temptation to sing and interpret the literal score of a worthwhile composition, as if symbolically, rather than the music, the result of public performance must be a saddening one.

The poor pedant never grasps the essence of either true science or Classical art. He resists the notion, that ideas do not reside within any literal language itself. All decent poetry is premised upon the principle of Ideas. All ideas, whether in science or Classical art, are metaphors, whose existence lies entirely outside any literal reading of language itself. The symbol-minded conceit, that one might cause the idea to appear, like a Genie from Aladdin’s lamp, by stroking the spoken language of the poetry or musical score itself, is the rule of performance most likely to assure a pitiable sort of result, in any language, in any choice of artistic medium. The attempt to replace a lack of comprehension of the actual artistic idea, by some ruse of interpretive reading of the words, or notes, of the written text, is the practice, which like illiterate efforts of Roman sculptors to replicate Greek sculpture, is most likely to succeed in transforming a pitiably sterile, literal performance, into an vividly pathetic one.



How Classical Art Communicates Ideas
‘In poetry, as in all Classical art, the artist uses ambiguities about the use of not only words, but commonly known ideas in order to impart to the mind of the hearer a sense of the reality which literal use could never accomplish. In Classical sculpture, the principle of ambiguity is the same.

‘The work of the great classical sculptors Scopas and Praxiteles make clear how all Classical composition functions. In contrast to the tombstone-like quality of Archaic forms of earlier Greek and Egyptian sculpture, classical sculpture captures a body in mid-motion, as if off balance.
Thus, to the mind, the Classical sculpture ceases to be a mere symbolic work, but rather communicates a sense of the body in mid-motion to the mind of the viewer.This, the ambiguity in the sculpture, is recognized by the mind as an image which is nearer to reality than the merely literal representations of inferior, symbolic representation.’
(Above: Sculpture of Laocoön, 41-21 B.C.E clipart.com)


Poetic ideas are generated, not from language, but, as Goethe did, or Keats, or Shelley, by absorbing the human cognitive processes’ experience of the real world. As Dante Alighieri showed, art is generated, as the expression of those ideas, by forcing the language to dance, as it may be possible to force it to do so. Language must dance to the tune set within a domain of the mind into which language itself could never intrude. Indeed, one of the traditional auxiliary functions of Classical poetry, such as Dante’s celebrated Commedia, has been to transform the use and forms of expression within the language itself, for this very purpose.

Nonetheless, for all that, ideas are not the property of any language or custom. Ideas are imparted by the artist who has mastered the method of making his particular choice of language his obedient slave, as Dante did, as Goethe mastered this much, and more than a bit more.

The ideas of Classical European art are derived essentially from the Classical Greek notion of ideas as such. This is a notion expressed in the great art of the Golden Age of ancient Greece, and of Plato’s Academy up through the time of Eratosthenes. Modern European Classical art, and every renaissance in European history, was built upon the foundation of replicating the same notion of ideas earlier stated in this Classical Greek.

The ideas themselves belong to none of those particular languages. None of them can be brought forth from within the language itself. It is the ideas, as they exist independently of the language used as a medium, which are the content and subject of art. It is as Dante Alighieri emphasized in his work, ideas which must shape language to their need, not permitting the mere current, vulgar, or other customs in use of language, to be imposed upon ideas.

It is this fact, that the idea rises above differences in spoken and written languages, which chances to empower Classical musical composition, since Johann Sebastian Bach, with a degree of immediate prescience of universality, which is not achieved in any other nonplastic medium.

Actual communication of ideas, including artistic conceptions, occurs as if directly from mind to mind, not as “information” embodied within some transmitted literal message. It is the image of an idea, existing in one mind, generated, and thus reproduced, within another mind, which is scientific and artistic communication of principled ideas. Artistry—and true scientific thinking—lies within the developed capacity to see, and also to cause others to see, an idea of this quality, as such, in its non-verbal, non-literal form, as an idea in its own right.11

In rule-of-thumb usages, we may refer to this capacity for direct communication among minds by indirect means, as “insight.” True artistic composition begins with the non-literal idea in the mind of the composer; the words or notes are then selected as they seem, to the composer’s mind, to fit the intent to evoke a corresponding generation of the same source-idea within the cognitive processes of another mind.

For example, if two actors rendering Shakespeare’s celebrated Act Three Hamlet soliloquy, both proceed, independently, from a competent, cognitive comprehension of the same idea of both the play and soliloquy, that fact of such underlying agreement, will be recognizable to a sensitive audience, even if the specific style of delivery differs from one actor’s presentation to the other’s.

For example, conductor Furtwängler’s conception of what is sometimes described as “performing between the notes” is so distinctive in its benefit to presenting the composer’s idea, that, in earlier years, I have often recognized its distinctiveness on hearing even glimpses of his recorded conducting. This startlingly superior conducting, which I first recognized with astonishment on hearing an HMV recording of a Tchaikowsky symphony under his baton, in early 1946, evoked the same sensation as I later experienced in the first hearing of a Fischer-Dieskau performance of the “Four Serious Songs,” especially the final song, during the early 1950’s.

In music, otherwise, this is the singular quality which I later recognized in the work of the Amadeus Quartet, led by Primarius Norbert Brainin, and of outstanding other violinists in the Boehm-Joachim-Flesch-et al. tradition. It was much the same kind of distinction achieved by Pablo Casals, as both ’cellist and conductor. I have often referred to this as placing the emphasis on performing the “verbs,” rather than the mere nouns.

Never permit the mere notes, or words, or a particular choice of language, to impose their will upon the process by which one person’s mind prompts the generation of its idea from within the insightful mind of another person. Never do what I have often heard uninspired religious professionals do in their sermons: let the Romanticized, repeated, sensual mouthing of a noun chosen as the theme of the sermon, take over the occasion. True art never substitutes the fakery which is symbolism, for cognitive thinking.

Such issues are also the essence of the Classical-humanist method of education. It is the essence of communication in Classical artistic compositions. In contrast, the athletically well-trained musical performer, for example, like the modernist stage director, will follow the footsteps of Franz Liszt at his Romantic worst, to use sensual effects as a method of diverting the audience’s attention away from the lack of actual artistic idea-content in either the performance, the composition itself, or both. Thus, the cognitively impaired performance, which is typical of the Romantic or modernist, aims, through symbolism, at the bestial passions of sense-perceptual experience, rather than reaching toward the human mind.12

Thus, the Romantic, modernist, or post-modernist composer or performer, often has one leaving the concert feeling that one has passed the evening listening to the singing of one who first learned to sing after he was dead, or, worse, perhaps, as in the case of modernists of the Frankfurt School of Theodor Adorno, never actually born. In such cases, the human feeling uniquely associated with cognitive insight, the cognitive resonance of the sound of the soul singing, is wanting.

So, as Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert proved, and, Schiller, too, showed, they each understood the principles of musicality implied by Goethe’s poetry, better than Goethe.13 The same issue is that raised by Wilhelm Furtwängler, under the rubric of “reading between the notes.”14 This issue of the musicality of poetry, and of Classical forms of poetry, as the origin of all developments leading into the origins of music, is the point of reference from which I proceed here.

That view of the matter of reading a poem, or reproduction of a musical composition, defines the medium in which to situate the outcome of the discussion of “Prometheus,” the which occurred at Vincent _______’s residence.

2.
Three Views
Of Prometheus

The various, reasonably well informed, but conflicting appreciations of the Classical Greek image of the figure Prometheus, may be assorted among three broad moral classifications. This leads us toward a still more profound conception, one of great importance for understanding the crisis of extended European civilization worldwide, today. Bear in mind, that these three views of Prometheus are mutually opposing political views, representing, collectively, the standpoint from which the critical issues of politics, throughout modern European civilization, are to be understood, still today.

All views concur with the version which identifies that figure of Classical art, Prometheus, as an immortal, ranking among the gods and demi-gods. His offense was to teach human beings such forbidden arts as the use of fire, among the other technologies by means of which the human species might be able to save itself from the unpleasant destiny intended for it by the ruling gods of Olympus. Since the mythical Prometheus was, according to the sundry accounts, an immortal, the pagan gods could not kill him, but they submitted him to captivity and perpetual torture, instead. His refusal to capitulate to his captors, even under torture, was considered by the latter his greatest offense.

The first of the three contrasted views of Prometheus, is a morally repulsive one. To be specific, it is the reactionary conservative’s view of Prometheus, as from an oligarchical standpoint. It is fairly summed up, as judging Prometheus as, either guilty of the crime of hubris against all of the pagan gods, or, as a tragic figure fallen victim to his own error of tactical indiscretion, of breaking the “club rules” of the oligarchical game.15 That view includes the argument, that Prometheus, unlike Galileo, was guilty of refusing to make a reasonable submission to the authority of his tormentors.16 On that, and other premises, Galileo is clearly not “my kind of person.”

The second view of Prometheus, which also appears as a mistaken reading of the Homeric character Ulysses, is the view of Prometheus as, perhaps a tragic figure shaking his angry fist, expressing thus a supposedly noble spirit of revolt, by the oppressed, against the bad gods. This is one permissible reading of Goethe’s soliloquy as such, and is certainly Wolf’s apprehension of Goethe’s intent. This second was the view which prompted some contemporaries of Karl Marx as a young man, to portray him, inappropriately, as a Prometheus-figure.

The third view, which is introduced by Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound, defines the tyrant Zeus, not the hero Prometheus, as the tragic figure of the drama. Zeus is that tyrant and crooked judge whose beastly defiance of the immortal Prometheus brought doom, upon not only Zeus, but all of the gods of Olympus. It is this reading of Aeschylus’s Prometheus trilogy,17 upon which contemporary European republican opinion modelled its references to Benjamin Franklin as a “new Prometheus.” They spoke of Franklin in terms of “God’s sparks.” The latter reference is that adopted so famously by Friedrich Schiller in his “An Die Freude,” and by Beethoven for his Ninth Symphony. This is also Schiller’s pervasively implied conception of the Prometheus image itself.

The view presented by Aeschylus, as imperfectly echoed by Goethe’s poem, was, for a time, my own, a view of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound which I had adopted, largely, under the influence of Goethe himself. If one recalls the moral self-degradation into which most of my fellow-veterans sank during the half-dozen, cultural-pessimism-ridden, post-Roosevelt years, it might be recognized, that my reaction against that then-pervasive stench of cultural pessimism, influenced the reading I tended to project upon the Goethe poem. Although that projected view erred only by virtue of what might be misread as a very small margin, since that error involved a matter of principle, it included a critical error of principle, even if a humanly understandable error. Until the aftermath of the referenced evening at Vincent’s, the still deeper, nobler implications of the Prometheus image had not yet been brought home to me.

Had we today the last two, mostly lost parts of Aeschylus’s Prometheus trilogy, the deeper implications of the Prometheus theme would, doubtless, be more widely understood, studied against the background of Aeschylus’s own sometimes perilous relationship to the irate keepers of the Eleusinian mysteries.18 Lacking the lost parts, we must place the greater responsibility upon other evidence, in our searches into the meaning of the continuing, deep relationship between the Prometheus image and the political history of European civilization.

If, as I shall show, the Prometheus image is of such crucial importance in the political history of extended European civilization, still today: What is the historical and artistical truth of the matter? Who, if anybody, was the real-life Prometheus, and what is the specific nature of the importance of this issue for current history? What is the validatable universal principle of politics involved?

On that account, I reference several sets of evidence here. First, there are chronologies in which various ancient reporters situated their real-life Prometheus. Second, there is the critical, scientific reading of those chronologies, the first that of Plato, the second my own. Finally, there is the view which overlaps my appreciation of Plato’s work as a whole, including his celebrated Timaeus, which looks at Christianity and its legacy, as the location in which the role of the Prometheus image must be situated for comprehension of the principles which are demonstrated by the transition of the Mediterranean region, from ancient times, into the emergence and development of modern European civilization as such.

The obvious chronologies, include those referenced by Plato and those of Diodorus Siculus,19 as these might be compared with the work of Herodotus.20 Taken together, all these chronologies, tell us a story. We must listen to the narrators of the chronicles with what Theodore Reik, for example, identified as our “third ear.”21 Is the story truthful? Is the account attributed to the ancient Egyptian authority Manetho, to be taken as factual?

When these accounts are situated circumstantially, within the hard evidence bearing on the broadest physical and closely related features of the recent 12,000-odd years of life in the Mediterranean region, we are confronted by a case of alarming verisimilitude.

First, summarize the chronologies, which run to the following effect.

About 12,000 years ago, or somewhat earlier, a flotilla of ships arrived from the Atlantic Ocean, to found a colony in the region of modern Morocco, near the Straits of Gibraltar, in the vicinity of the Atlas Mountains. The colonists found there a relatively primitive culture, that of the ancient Berbers, whom the colonists educated in methods of agriculture, and made subjects of the colony. After a time, the sons of a royal concubine, Olympia, conspired to murder the tyrannical ruler, and seize power for themselves. The leading figure among these revolting sons of Olympia, was Zeus.

Prometheus was one of the legitimate heirs to the power of the colony. He joined the Olympians in the opposition to the tyranny itself, but fought against the brutalizing new tyranny which the patricidal sons of Olympia imposed upon the Berber population, over the corpse of Zeus’s butchered father.

This occurred within the same, Peoples of the Sea, colony of the Atlas region, which extended its cultural impact throughout the Mediterranean littoral, to the included effect of participating in the founding of Egypt at a time now about 10,000 years ago.

Once we recognize, despite British frauds over the subject of “Linear B,” and so on, that the populations of the period of Greece prior to its usually referenced “Dark Age,” were the same “Greeks” who had, as Peoples of the Sea, populated that area, and Cyrenaica, as elsewhere, during the millennium preceding that “Dark Age,” we begin to close the gap between 12,000 B.C.E. and the emergence of Ionian sea-power as rivals to Phoenician maritime power. If we take into account some great catastrophe, perhaps a natural catastrophe, which wiped out much of the culture pre-existing about 10,000 B.C.E. the conceptual gap between 12,000 and 600 B.C.E. if not the actual lapse of time, shrinks. We may view this interval of nearly 10,000 years, as knowledgeable people today think of the Norman Conquest, Charlemagne, the birth of Christ, the great dynasties of ancient Egypt, and Vedic astronomers in Central Asia during the interval between 6,000 and 4,000 B.C.E.

The legacy of these events in the ancient Atlas region, and the policy-fight between Prometheus and the Olympians, persisted so, somehow, over the intervening millennia, to emerge as the pagan mythology of Olympus, as reflected in such places as the Homeric epics.

Such, in summation, is the chronicle and its setting.

Is that account a plausible one? First of all, the worst thing which can be said about it, is that, in no way does it appear to conflict with what is presently known. It corresponds in its adducible internal characteristics, and circumstantially, to the long existence, over millennia, of the cultural phenomenon known to early historical times as “Peoples of the Sea.”

Secondly, most of the argument against the possibility of such a history, stems from the unfortunately widespread influence of what are known to have been academic frauds, concocted, chiefly, by Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-century British hoaxsters. Those known frauds, include the absurdity, foisted by so-called “Biblical archeologists,” and others, which claimed that not only the world’s civilization, but also the existence of the human species, began in Mesopotamia after 4004 B.C.E. Similarly, these hoaxsters shifted the actual dating of Egypt’s history several thousand years closer to the present, as a way of defending claims for planet-wide, Mesopotamian precedence.

Contrary to the British monarchy’s habit, in its adopted tradition of the Code of Diocletian, of encouraging its dupes not to think, there is relatively massive evidence of sophisticated human cultures existing in Europe 50,000 years ago, and crucial physical evidence, from European sites, showing evidence of human behavior as early as 400,000 years—the corresponding number of ice-age cycles—ago. There is also evidence of some devastating crisis throughout the Mediterranean region, or more widely, about 10,000 B.C.E. , as well as awesome seismic events, such as the explosion of Thera, during the later period leading into the prolonged “Dark Age” of Greek civilization.

Consider the fact, that there is much evidence of a high degree of cultural development of solar astronomical calendars, and the languages related to those calendars, prior to the melting-phase of the last great glaciation in the northern hemisphere. This is part of the evidence pointing to the dominant role of transoceanic, especially trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, and Indian Ocean maritime cultures, prior to the present interglacial period.

Consider the fact, of the rising of the relative levels of the seas and oceans by as much as 300-400 feet, sometimes at catastrophic rates, sometimes with accompanying, massive deluges, between the onset of the melting phase of the last ice-age and the present level reached about 2,000 years ago. This is to be taken into account in respect to those coastal sites of relatively denser, and higher levels of quality among some populations.

These circumstances thus reflect developments during the period since approximately 50,000 B.C.E. , until 12,000 years ago, or even a later point of catastrophic climatic, seismic, and related crises afflicting what had been the most technologically advanced cultures of the immediately preceding times. Not only the rising of sea-levels, but also the effects of climate changes, in North Africa, Central Asia, and so forth, as a result of the unfolding of the present interglacial interval, are also to be emphasized, in looking back to the cultures which existed between 12,000 and 2,000 years ago.

Also take into account, the fact, that the medieval falsehoods, which taught that the world is flat, or that the sun orbits the Earth, were inherited by medieval and modern Europe as intentional frauds. These had been introduced, as enforced delusions, to late-Hellenistic Europe under the culturally depraved influence of the Roman Empire. Such was but one of the many cultural calamities which medieval and early modern European culture suffered, despite contrary efforts of Christianity, from the legacy of what Christians of that time knew as “the New Babylon.”

For those who know the actual circumstances of Christopher Columbus’s rediscovery of America, this occurred as a by-product of the reopening, by leading Fifteenth-century scientists associated with Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, of the previously known feasibility, as by Eratosthenes of Egypt, of circumnavigation of the planet. Columbus’s voyage was the direct result of the rediscovery, by Cusa’s circles, of the sane astronomy which emerged from a long “Dark Age” imposed by the legacy of Roman culture. Take into account the fact, that European civilization today, is still suffering cultural disorders introduced to the eastern mediterranean’s civilization 2,200 years ago, a cultural catastrophe which began about the time of the Roman butchery of the great Archimedes.

The notion, that the cult of Olympus has an historic basis in fact, and the myth of Prometheus, too, is a much more probable view of the indicated chronologies, than any cuckoo hatched under the wings of the modern British monarchy. The ambiguities left unresolved by the foregoing types of evidence, may be cleared away by adducing the principle which underlies the pattern of transformations in the Greek view of gods and men, over the thousand of years or so preceding the missions of such Christian Apostles as John and Paul. Thus, in the end, we are advised to conceive the historical significance of the Prometheus image through the prism of Brahms’ “Four Serious Songs.”

Permit me to remind you again. Do not allow yourself to be so small-minded, as to think that such spans of cultural ties over many thousands of years, are relatively unimportant to the practical side of life in your local community today.

How Men See Their Gods

Look at the images of the pagan gods of Mesopotamia, or of ancient Egypt. These were gods portrayed in the Archaic, tombstone-like images of something worse than beasts. Contrast these proffered Mesopotamian and Egyptian deities, in the forms of beasts or polymorphs, to the all-too-human gods of Olympus, as these appear in the Homeric epics, and, appear again, as viewed differently in the tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles. Then, consider Plato’s insistence, upon putting the issues posed by the great tragedians, on a still higher level, that of Plato’s Timaeus, for example. Finally, look at the Classical Greek culture of Plato, as the Apostles John and Paul viewed this.

It can be said, from the vantage-point of Christianity, that, as a matter of a general rule, man imagines his gods according to a conception of the universe which coheres, functionally, with man’s image of himself. As the monstrosities of Mesopotamian theology forewarn us, the image of the gods is not, as a rule, a symbol-minded sophist’s projection of the image of man; it is invariably a reflection of man’s image of the universe within which man dwells as a subject of that which he imagines to be the ruling power. The characteristic mapping of the relationship of the gods to men, within the Homeric epics, as in contrast to the view of the Classical tragedian Aeschylus, and both in contrast to the view of Plato, underscores the point.

The question thus posed is, which image of God, if any, is a truthful expression of that latter principle of ruling power?

Herein lies, without doubt, the significance of the Prometheus image. Aeschylus’s Prometheus did not simply defy the pagan gods; he pointed toward a real God, the same God identified in Plato’s Timaeus, upon whose justice for mankind Prometheus implicitly relied. The evidence is conclusive, that a Prometheus image was, artistically, a necessary idea, which contributed an essential role during the recent thousands of years of emergence of the best features of modern European civilization today. That is the more easily proven of two facts.

The more difficult question, whether an actual, historical Prometheus, more or less cohering with such an image, ever existed, must be judged from determining whether or not a person corresponding to that image necessarily should have existed. It will be useful, as you shall soon learn, that, for our strategic purposes here, we should focus upon the second question first.

As Herodotus should be heard, and the role of the Islamic Renaissance’s ibn Sina should be read, the fact is, that what is often regarded today as the land-locked Indian subcontinent did, at various intervals, play a powerful role in the development of European civilization. The role of the ancient Dravidian maritime culture in founding civilization in lower Mesopotamia, is but one instance. Nonetheless, even after such considerations are taken into account, the development of European civilization over the recent three thousand years, during which Classical art of Scopas, Praxiteles, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael Sanzio, superseded the Archaic sculpture of Egypt and earlier Greece, represents a functionally distinct phase-space within the emergence of modern history world-wide.

Our focus here is upon that phase-space, and on certain circumstances, and validatable universal principles, which clearly exerted an impact of exceptional significance in that process. The image of Prometheus contributed a necessary political, artistic principle to creating that phase-space. There is only one way in which this cultural phase-space can be defined: in terms of an emerging conception of the nature of man, a nature defined, functionally, in terms of man’s willfully changing ability to change the relationship of the universe to ourselves. The conception of man implicit in the third perception of the Prometheus myth, is the crucial point on which to focus.

For reasons emphasized in an earlier report, this is the only way in which competent judgments as to principle, can be adduced in a way consistent with the requirements of proof. As specified there, the proof of any hypothetical universal principle, whether a physical principle, or one of Classical art, must meet the Riemannian standard of a unique experiment.22 The only means by which this requirement can be satisfied, respecting the universal artistic principles reflected in man’s changing the relationship of the universe to the human species, is the empirical standpoint embodied within my approach to a science of physical economy.

For related reasons, the matter of the Prometheus conception figured as a crucial element in my initial development of my contributions to that branch of physical science. In return, that branch of physical science enables us to unravel some of the mystery attached to the two questions I have underlined above.

From what we know with certainty today, the increase of the potential relative population-density of any past or present culture, is defined, as a movable upper limit, by a culture’s submission to self-government by certain validatable kinds of universal principles. At the outside, these limits are defined by universal physical principles. Yet, the fostering of the discovery and employment of those physical principles, is shaped by those kinds of validatable universal principles typified by the principles of Classical artistic composition.

Mankind’s physical power in the universe, is a matter of actions taken according to valid, universal physical principles. However, the ability to discover those physical principles, and, also, the ability of society to cooperate in use of those discovered principles, depends upon principles which are unique to the human mind itself. The principles of Classical artistic composition are the form in which the principles of discovery and cooperation are preserved and taught.

In physical science, we are prompted to discover new, validatable universal physical principles by means of ambiguities arising in those unsuccessful attempts to explain reality, which arise because of the errors inhering in literal statements borrowed from currently accepted general classroom principles of mathematical physics. These ambiguities are identical in form to the true ambiguities of great Classical artistic compositions. Just as the Classical poet uses the principle of metaphor to prompt an hypothetical solution to that metaphor by the sovereign, creative cognitive processes of the individual mind, so the scientific discovery generates the validatable hypothesis which becomes a new universal physical principle. In sharing such a latter discovery with another mind, the scientific discoverer employs the same methods of cognitive interaction which define the relationship between the great artist and his audiences.

Thus, the principles of Classical Humanist education, are an expression of the same principles as met in Classical art. Without those latter principles which are best represented in the form of Classical artistic compositions—such as great Classical tragedy—a progressive form of civilized cooperation in society would not be possible. The transmission of valid discoveries of universal physical principle, from one generation to the next, depends upon methods of education which are identical with the principles of Classical artistic composition. Scientific progress would not be possible without those principles best known to us in the forms of Classical artistic composition.

Prehistoric Man and Cognition

Contrary to the lying ideology that man has been essentially a “primitive being” for most of his biological existence, and that the social, technological, and intellectual accomplishments of civilization are but a recent overlay on a primitive past, recent archaeological discoveries provide increasing evidence that early man was, like ourselves, a creature of self-conscious cognition.

The advent of new research technologies in recent decades regarding more precise dating, refined chemical and microphysical analyses of trace remains, and use of radar, sonar, infrared, and other imaging technologies from satellite and other platforms, has provided us with powerful tools with which to search out, not merely the artifacts of man’s prehistory, but the ideas implied within the production of these ancient physical objects. Here are some recent discoveries, made to the amazement of the so-called “experts,” showing that human cognition is, in fact, a very ancient thing indeed:

  •  “Humans of 400,000 years ago were sophisticated big-game hunters. Complete hunting spears discovered in a German coal-mine puncture the idea that these people hadn’t the technology or foresight to hunt systematically.” These were a rare find, of well-preserved wood, fashioned into properly balanced javelins, i.e., aerodynamic long-distance ballistic weapons, rather than the mere thrusting spears. (Nature magazine, 1997)

  •  “Clay shards display the outlines of the world’s oldest known examples of woven material, pressed into the clay while it was still wet, around 27,000 years ago. The sophisticated twining methods apparent in the impressions attest that weaving had reached an advanced state much earlier than most researchers have assumed.” (Science News, 1995)

  •  “Middle Palaeolithic [earlier than c. 40,000 years ago-N-REW] flint tools are usually considered to be rudimentarily made using unsophisticated techniques. It would be surprising if Middle Palaeolithic people used more complex procedures such as hafting. Studies based on micro-trace analyses, however, have shown that handles did exist at those times.” There had been no prior evidence of the use of glue in the manufacture of tools. (Nature, 1996)

Even people of the so-called Upper Paleolithic period, which is known for its revolutionary breakthroughs in technology and art, have been wildly underrated. The famous cave paintings of France and Pyreneean Spain were always believed to be relatively recent end-products of a long development from cruder attempts. The most famous of these paintings, from caves at Lascaux and Altamira, date from the latest parts of this period, c. 12-15,000 years ago. But the recently discovered Chauvet cave, in France, not only gives us artists some 30,000 years ago, but provides us with art more advanced than the newer examples—art which conveys both depth perspective and the idea of dynamic motion.

Similarly, a figurine found at Galgenburg, Austria, dated at c. 31,000 years ago (long before any such ideas were deemed possible), provides us with a sculpture in hard, difficult to work stone, shown in delicate mid-motion—i.e., displaying the “motion of the mind”—with fully sculpted limbs, utterly unlike the previously known, iconic statuettes called “Venuses,” whose prime use has been to bolster the modern myth of “primitive sexuality.”

It is time to acknowlege that the creative human mind goes back to the dawn of mankind, and to stop “supposing” otherwise.

                                                                                        —Richard E. Welsh

Here lies the unique debt of the whole of extended European civilization to the Greek classic. Here is the key to the uniqueness of that European phase-space which was generated from precisely these Classical-Greek contributions to the foundations of science and Classical artistic composition.

The pinnacle of that contribution of ancient Greek civilization to modern civilization is that notion of the idea, as expressed in stone by Scopas and Praxiteles, the notion as made transparent by the dialogues of Plato. The kernel of this Classical Greek notion of the nature of the idea, is expressed as the impact of the Prometheus myth.

My specific contributions to science, as expressed by the LaRouche-Riemann Method, lie precisely here. See the Prometheus myth from the standpoint embodied in my discovery. It is, thus, in my work to that end, that it has become possible to show the necessity for the existence of an historical model for the Prometheus of Aeschylus.

Science As Art

The entirety of physical science depends upon correlating the knowledge developed, essentially, from the standpoint of study of four distinct areas of empirical inquiry: astronomy, microphysics, the distinction between living and non-living processes, and the distinction between the human species and all other living processes.

The first known science was the development of solar astronomical calendars. This had achieved the level of rather precise measurements of such long-term phenomena as equinoctial cycles long before the Dravidians established the first rudiments of civilization, Sumer, in lower Mesopotamia. In tandem with this development of early astronomy, there was transoceanic navigation based in such astronomy. From such foundations in construction of solar astronomical calendars, ancient Egypt and other locations provided the foundations, upon which ancient Greeks founded what developed into the foundations for the modern European science launched by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa.

It was these foundations which provided us the notion of universal physical principles, principles associated with a notion of measurement itself rooted in the angular measurements of astronomy, as the premise for a notion of measurable regular curvature, and with this the notion of universal laws inherited by physics in general. The work of one of Cusa’s and Leonardo da Vinci’s successors, Johannes Kepler, provided what became the link to modern physics and microphysics, as Leibniz’s concept of monadology led his followers to the notion of elementary forms of regular curvature of action in the microphysically small.

Ironically, although we have yet to define an absolute physical difference between the nature of what can be clinically distinguished as living and non-living processes, the work of Classical Greece had already bequeathed us the foundations for a rigorous, absolute notion of the functional distinction between human and other living processes. This distinction, as defined in spite of such hoaxsters as Immanuel Kant, is the notion of cognition, as the content of what we have defined here as both Classical artistic principles, and universal physical principles.

On the premises just stated, a simply biological distinction between man and higher ape, as biology is defined today, is virtually impossible. The only valid standard for human life, is evidence which bears upon the presence of human cognitive activity, as distinct from the lower capability which we share with lower animal life, the capability for learning, as chimpanzees, for example, do.23

The case of a report by Thieme,24 implicitly dating the existence of human activity in Germany, to as early as 600,000 B.C.E. , is exemplary. In this case, the crucial evidence involves throwing spears found in a site so dated. The design of these spears was based upon principles of design, therefore the product of cognition, rather than animal-like powers, of even human beings, for mere learning. Similarly, the evidence of the controlled and task-oriented use of fire in certain archeological sites, shows the product of human cognition, rather than mere learning. The discovery of datable cave-paintings which qualify as actual art, rather than crude symbolic images, often demonstrates the antiquity of humanity to prehistoric datings in the order of somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 years.

The human species, as defined by modern man’s distinction from the beasts, has lived on this planet for perhaps a million years, or even much more. Our species not only lived here already long ago, but did not exactly waste all that intervening prehistoric time. Cultures were developed, and even, no later than tens of thousands of years ago, what we would classify, without exaggeration, as art. Millions of years of solar-orbit-determined glacial cycles, and their effects, have obscured most of the physical traces of human existence deep into pre-historic millennia, but we can infer certain among the incontestible, beneficial effects of the human cultures bequeathed to us from the lost shards of those earlier cultures.

When we look at the distinguishing characteristics of human populations over long periods, we are confronted by the phenomenon of increases of potential relative population-density, as I have defined that term.25 [See Figure 1]

This shows the effect of a fundamental distinction of the human species from all lower forms of life. That long-term view shows us two most significant general facts. First, man is the only species which has been able to willfully increase, successively, what I have defined as its potential relative population-density. Second, the greatest rate of such increase has been a product of the cultural changes introduced into and by European civilization beginning the great, Golden Renaissance of the mid-Fifteenth century.

Looking at those two facts more closely, it is the establishment of a cultural-political revolution, the institution of the sovereign form of modern nation-state, beginning France under Louis XI, which has been the source of that fostering of scientific and technological progress, out of which the recent centuries’ acceleration of increase of potential relative population-density was generated.

There are some notable exceptions to that happier trend. World Wars I and II have proven a demographic catastrophe for Europe generally. Since the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the willful, top-down, destruction of the institutions of the modern sovereign nation-state, including the willful uprooting of the promotion of scientific and technological progress, has produced both a demographic catastrophe in Europe, North America, and elsewhere, and an economic catastrophe among what had been, until then, the world’s leading economic powers.

This downward trend, resulting from the combined replacement of the modern nation-state through so-called “globalization,” and the accompanying, willful suppression of scientific and technological progress, now threatens to become a global demographic catastrophe, a global “New Dark Age” of humanity, perhaps as catastrophic as that which struck the mediterranean region, in particular, during some time after 10,000 B.C.E.

Call these combined effects “The Catastrophe of the Twentieth Century.” It is also known by other names. During much of this passing century, it was referred to by its utopian advocates as “The New Age,” or “The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” During the post-Kennedy 1960’s, it became widely known as the “cultural paradigm-shift” of the “rock-drug-sex counterculture,” and also proclaimed as either “the technetronic society” by Zbigniew Brzezinski, or, as a utopian “post-industrial society” more commonly.

This lunacy produced the 1972 launching of the world-wide “environmentalist” conspiracy, in furtherance of the aims of the World Wildlife Fund and “1001 Club” co-founded in 1961 by Prince Philip of England and Nazi SS veteran Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands. This produced such dangerous military lunacies of Newt Gingrich, Al Gore, and the Tofflers as “The Third Wave” and “Air-Land Battle 2000.” It produced the programs leading into the recent Littleton horror, too.

What you behold in these catastrophic Twentieth-century developments, is a real-life re-enactment of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound. The modern version of a self-styled “gods of Olympus,” centered around the Anglo-American-Canadian-Dutch oligarchy, has demanded the suppression of a real-life Prometheus, the suppression of the principle of betterment of the general condition of mankind, through fostering those kinds of cultural institutions which, in turn, ensure the benefits of scientific and technological progress. That today, has become the only war worth our fighting, a war to bring to an end the tyranny of such evil, would-be gods, the twilight of the gods. Let our courage, like that of Aeschylus’s Prometheus, bring about the effect known as “the twilight of the gods.” That result could not come too soon for humanity at large.

My contributions to the science of physical economy, have the specific historic importance, of showing, for the first time, how universal cultural principles must necessarily dominate the development of scientific and technological progress in effecting the improvement of the conditions of mankind as a whole.

When I, so to speak, came on the scene, it had become customary opinion, especially in the universities, to adopt the neo-Kantian irrationalism of Germany’s Nineteenth-century reactionary, Savigny, in insisting upon the absolute separation of physical science from art and statecraft. Kant’s and Savigny’s lunatic folly of “art for art’s sake,” reigned, both in the arts as such, and in politics. Classical art was in the process of becoming lost art. Populations were becoming increasingly irrational.

Then, it became worse. Since the anti-science “cultural paradigm-shift” of the late 1960’s was introduced to the U.S.A., both art and science rapidly lost their grip on the new generations of university graduates, and the society as a whole became more and more irrational, and self-destructive, each year. To any typical American or European visitor arriving by time-capsule from the late Nineteenth century, or even the close of World War II, the world of the past thirty years’ trends “makes no sense.”

When we consider what we know today, of both history and pre-history in the large, we should be warned against the popular delusion of something like an irrational “invisible hand” in the shaping of human existence as a whole. Without the recurring intervention of the virtual Prometheuses of both historic and pre-historic times, the human race would have gone nowhere, except, as now, toward its own destruction at the hand of forces such as either its own children, or the oligarchical “Olympian gods” of past and present times. The kind of creativity and dedication represented by the mythical Prometheus is an indispensable factor in the progress, even the survival of the human species.

Looking at the broad-brush features of ancient Greece’s history and legacy, all that occurred for the better within that culture, was of a pro-Promethean quality. When we trace the emergence of the role of cognition in society, from the Homeric epics, through the Classical period, through Plato, and when we look at that result through the eyes of the Apostles John and Paul, or Augustine later, we recognize the specific importance of the idea of Prometheus as a special element of importance within the legacy of Greek culture, the element which sparked that culture into producing the foundations upon which all the best of modern European culture depends.

Somewhere in the pre-history shrouded by the millennial mists of the melting glaciation, there was a real Prometheus, by whatever name he were known in those times. Without some concretization of a Promethean tradition, resisting the deadening effects of a parasitical, Olympus-style oligarchy, Ancient Greece could not have achieved its unique role in generating Classical culture, and with it, the foundations on which Cusa and others based the emergence of modern European science.

In that sense, a Prometheus had necessarily existed. This was clear to me from reflecting on what I had discovered.

During adolescence, when I had adopted Leibniz, and recognized the importance of discrediting Kant, I had already understood the principle of cognition, as distinct from the dead hand of formal logic. In the immediate post-war period, when I was startled by my recognition of the danger to civilization embedded in Norbert Wiener’s promotion of the radical-positivist notion of “information theory,” I returned to my earlier upholding of Leibniz against Kant. In my concern to define cognition for the specific purpose of pointing out the fraud of “information theory,” I chose the subject of Classical artistic composition as the way of demonstrating how the idea of cognition itself can be shared among persons.

Once we recognize that the physical profitability of production comes from a continuing factor of technological progress, and know the connection between the experiments proving a scientific principle and the generation of new technologies from that experiment, the general picture is clear.

Reflections on Immortality

However, this required an additional step. How do we define scientific and technological progress as a whole from the standpoint I had adopted respecting the relationship between Classical art and discovery of physical principle? Riemann supplied the key to solving that problem. But, then, another final step remains. The Riemannian edifice I assembled worked. The question was, what motivated that assembly into action? Why should we—anyone—choose to progress in this way?

What motivates us, as individuals, and groups of individuals, to devote our sense of identity to such work? The Apostle Paul’s I Corinthians 13 supplies the gist of the answer: Plato called it agape, a term which survives as a mere, commonly misunderstood English translation, as “charity.” It is, as Prometheus was charged by Zeus: love of mankind, rather than what is called today “the establishment.”

Now, state that same point a bit differently.

What quality must a person have, to be able to sustain that love of mankind in such a fashion, even when under the pain of immortal torture by the ruling oligarchy? Who would not play the contemptible, doomed role of a Hamlet under such fearful threat? Who would die, rather than recant and desist, as moral weaklings always do?

The answer lies within the domain of cognition itself. If we can see ourselves as we are, then we know that our mortal life is a talent given to us to spend in a way that the benefit we contribute shall be greater than that we have been given. When we recognize that the improvement of the condition of mankind, morally as physically, depends upon an endless stream of additions of newly discovered valid universal principles, of both Classical art and physical science, to the stock of mankind’s power within and over the universe, our best hope for our brief mortal life is to add something of durable value to the mankind which comes after us.

Once that sense of one’s proper true identity is acquired, you have the necessary motive to act as you must, to become the kind of person who can confront mortality with a smile. Anyone who has achieved that correct understanding of his, or her most vital personal self-interest, will not think differently about such matters than I do.

The trouble is, people who are not certain that their existence is really of any value to mankind, settle for lesser, even foolish questions, such as “I am too busy taking care of my family, my personal interests, and my community, to be bothered with such things. First things first!” Such small-minded people are the most foolish among the fooled people to whom President Lincoln referred.

Out of the parting mists of mediterranean pre-history, came the necessary idea of Prometheus, the idea which sparked the birth of what became European civilization. People with such ideas, must win, in some way or another.


Footnotes

1. “A Defence of Poetry,” Shelley’s Poetry and Prose: Authoritative Text, Criticism (New York: W.W. Norton, 1977). Shelley himself emphasized that John Keats was the greater master as a poet; but it was Shelley who helped us better to understand the genius expressed by Keats.

2. Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., “How to Save a Dying U.S.A.,” Fidelio, Fall 1999 (Vol. VIII, No. 3).

3. I.e., those of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Schiller, most notably.

4. Or, in Classical musical compositions based on the notion of obliging the singing and instrumental voices to interact polyphonically in a bel canto-driven, well-tempered mode, the contrapuntal principle of inversion, combined with the voice-species registration, uses dissonance and register-shift, to force singing out of the monotony deemed appropriate for the oompah-band, into a relentlessly driving sense of true musical thorough-compositional development. To free music of the monotony of noun-ness, into a domain of living verbs. To force the singers to sing “between the notes” in this way.

5. The use of the term Lieder, as distinct from the commonplace use of the same German word for song, is used here in the restricted sense of conformity to the form of well-tempered bel canto, polyphonic composition set into motion by Wolfgang Mozart’s composition of “Das Veilchen.” See, A Manual on the Rudiments of Tuning and Registration, Book I, (Washington, D.C.: Schiller Institute, 1992). One of the most celebrated discoveries of universal principle in music, was that of Mozart’s reading of Bach’s A Musical Offering. Mozart’s reading, and further development of a musical true metaphor in counterpoint, by Bach, in that work, led into the kind of compositional revolution in music toward which Haydn had been yearning in his Opus 33 string quartets. See, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., “Norbert Brainin on Motivführung,Fidelio, Winter 1995 (Vol. IV, No. 4).

6. Goethe, Selected Verse, ed. by David Luke, with plain prose translations of each poem (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd., 1964).

7. For that occasion, I presented the recorded performance, using a eminently qualified singer, as supplied from the HMV pressings of the Hugo Wolf Society.

8. Johannes Brahms, Vier ernste Gesänge, Op. 121, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) and Hertha Klust (piano), Decca DL9666 (1953). The recording has been re-released as part of the Deutsche Grammophon Centenary Collection CD 13, catalogue no. 459012.

9. Op. cit.

10. His Richard III, which Shakespeare based chiefly upon the documentation of that crucial period of English history by Sir Thomas More, and his father before him, is key to understanding how the terrible Wars of the Roses were superseded by the conception of the modern sovereign nation-state, pioneered in France by Louis XI, and introduced to England under Henry VII.

11. Performing artistry, as distinct from its essential basis found only in the artistry in the mind, lies in the development of the means to effect this expression with a certain degree of perfection.

12. Remember the old gag about the famous Bible-thumping, much “in your face” parson, who had died. When his zealous devotees used the occasion, to peek at last into that parson’s celebrated, well-thumbed, much-pounded Bible, they often found repeatedly, in the words pencilled into the margin beside some heavily underlined portion of scripture, the phrase: “Meaning unclear: shout like Hell!”

13. See Chapter 11, “Artistic Beauty: Schiller versus Goethe,” A Manual on the Rudiments of Tuning and Registration, op cit.

14. See my fuller discussion of the superiority of Furtwängler’s approach in the following locations: “Behind the Notes,” Fidelio, Summer 1997 (Vol. VI, No. 2); “The Substance of Morality,” Fidelio, Winter 1998 (Vol. VII, No. 4).

15. That has been the frequently expressed view of this writer among spokesman of the oligarchy. One leading member of the British-American-Canadian intelligence establishment made the point, immediately after my imprisonment: “He tried to make policy without having paid his dues, and for that he got the punishment he deserved.” Such is the nature of the oligarchical “establishment” which has usurped our nation’s powers of government today.

16. Thus, when true evidence of guilt of the accused is lacking, today’s crooked Federal judges and prosecutors in the tradition of English Justice Jeffreys’ Bloody Assizes, shift to trying their innocent victims for the alleged crime of insolence, the crime of being unwilling to confess, and repent.

17. Only fragments of the later two parts survive today.

18. Location of Aeschylus’s family origins, and the center of the oligarchy expelled from Athens by the great republican reforms of Solon. The mysteries, which Aeschylus was seen as betraying, are among the relevant topics to be included in understanding Aeschylus’s Prometheus trilogy.

19. Diodorus Siculus, Volumes 1 and 2, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press).

20. Herodotus: The Histories, trans. by Aubrey de Sélincourt (New York: Penguin Putnam, 1954

21. Reik was a prominent U.S. immigrant and psychiatrist, whose emphasis on the point was presented in his book, Listening with the Third Ear: The Inner Experience of a Psychoanalyst (New York: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 1948).

22. Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.,“How to Save a Dying U.S.A.,” op. cit.

23. Thus, although Immanuel Kant claimed to be human, he, as the central point of Kant’s Critiques, like his followers, defined himself, categorically, as not a cognitive being, and therefore not human.

24. Hartmut Thieme, “Lower Paleolithic Hunting Spears from Germany,” Nature, Feb. 27, 1997, pp. 807-810.

25. E.g. Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., So, You Wish To Learn All About Economics? 2nd ed., (Washington, D.C.: EIR News Service, 1995).


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