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Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
This article is reprinted from the Spring 2000 issue of FIDELIO Magazine.
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Prometheus and Europe
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
July 7, 1999
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 historys greatest instances of the kind of period of rising crisis to which Shelley referred. During recent months, especially since the past winters 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 childrens 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 todays 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 Ages 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 nations 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 politicscheap political tricks, for examplefunctions on the basis of exploiting most peoples 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 knewtheir failed axioms, their sinking Titanictheir leadership, if we permitted it to do so, would take us all downwith the sinking ship.
So, it was, when Abraham Lincoln warned you, that most of our citizens areas still todayfooled 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 themas 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 dont wish to be bothered. Nothing has caused greater suffering to ninety percent of the people of the U.S.A.the underdogsduring 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, lets 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 wont happen; they [the so-called authorities] would never let it happen!
Usually, the blind side which makes todays all-too-typical U.S. citizen fair prey for fresh disasters, lies within the domain of his customary cynicism, his so-called popularor, populistdisdain 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.
Lincolns 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 politicaland militarystrategy.
What Art Must
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 mans masterful comprehension of the material universe, the subject of universal principles of Classical art, is the individuals 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 audiences 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 audiences focus, to insight into the seemingly spiritual, shaping, orbital force exerted over the dramas 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 Goethes 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 Goethes 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 Goethes form of poetic composition.
The incident which then provoked my judgment to this effect, involved a poetic soliloquy, excerpted from the draft of one of Goethes 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 1950s 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. Wolfs 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 Vincents 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 audiences 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 Platos 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 Vincents 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 Earths 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 ones own knowledge of universal principles, takes the form of a dialogue within ones 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 ones 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 ones insight into the process of change, associated with the outcome of repeated efforts to perfect such dialogues, through which ones 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 Platos 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 ones 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 evenings 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 Goethes 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 baritones, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskaus 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 Goethes 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-Dieskaus 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 Shakespeares 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 todays technically proficient, professional musical performers, todays 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 Furtwänglers 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 students 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 Hamlets 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 users 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 Aladdins 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.
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 Dantes 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 Platos 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. Artistryand true scientific thinkinglies 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 composers 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 Shakespeares 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 actors presentation to the others.
For example, conductor Furtwänglers conception of what is sometimes described as performing between the notes is so distinctive in its benefit to presenting the composers 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 1950s.
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 persons 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 audiences 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 Goethes 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.
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.
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 Cusas and Leonardo da Vincis successors, Johannes Kepler, provided what became the link to modern physics and microphysics, as Leibnizs 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 mans 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 worlds 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 1960s, 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 Aeschyluss 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 Aeschyluss 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 Germanys Nineteenth-century reactionary, Savigny, in insisting upon the absolute separation of physical science from art and statecraft. Kants and Savignys lunatic folly of art for arts 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 1960s 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 Greeces 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 Wieners 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.
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 weanyonechoose 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 Pauls 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 mankinds 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 ones 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.
1. A Defence of Poetry, Shelleys 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 Mozarts 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 Mozarts reading of Bachs A Musical Offering. Mozarts 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 parsons 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 Furtwänglers 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 nations powers of government today.
16. Thus, when true evidence of guilt of the accused is lacking, todays 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 Aeschyluss 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 Aeschyluss 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 Kants 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.
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