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Dialogue of Cultures

LaRouche Article

The Substance of Morality

by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

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Drawing byRembrandt
Justice, Truthfulness, and those creative powers by means of which we may discover valid, revolutionary principles of our universe, form a seamless whole, in which Classical culture, morality, and physical science, are united by a common passion for universal justice and truth.

Where are the men and women fit to lead us in the pathway toward safety, the pathway toward rule by the principals of truth and justice, not ‘popular opinion’?


Fidelio, Vol. VII, No, 4. Winter 1998
This article is reprinted from the Winter 1998 issue of FIDELIO Magazine.

For related articles, scroll down or click here.

Includes Appendix

The Substance of Morality1

by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

May 28, 1998


Evidence from as early as hundreds of thousands of years ago, shows the continuing existence of hominids capable of those kinds of discovery of physical principle, the which place mankind apart from, and absolutely above the higher apes.2 All competent scientific inquiry respecting the nature of the human species, and of qualities specific to human behavior, rests upon a showing of crucial evidence of our species’ distinguishing, manifest type of generation of an original or replicated discovery of a physical principle. No substitute for such knowledge of principles exists among outgrowths of such qualitatively inferior levels of mental activity as deduction or mere animal “learning from repeatable experience.”

On this point, the combined archeological and historical record shows, that the totality of human existence,3 as a developing, functional fraction of the totality of our growing biosphere,4 is dominated by an accumulation of progress in increase of mankind’s power over nature, a measurement conveniently reflected upon our perceptual apparatus in the form of increase of demographic values, per capita and per square kilometer, of the Earth’s surface. The human species is unique in its capacity for willful changes of this sort in its relationship, both to the biosphere and the universe in general.

Yet, in these facts lies a relevant, crucial paradox. The human species’ long-term progress, when measured, as a whole, over the span of hundreds of generations, shows progress to be a crucial, characteristic, and implicitly inevitable feature of our species, as a species. However, it is not simply pre-assured that every step of progress during a shorter term, such as several or more generations of a global or local culture, will lead to its appropriate supercessor. Scientific and technological progess, as such, are indispensable for the continued progress of the entirety of our species. However, when and whether progress, or even retrogression occurs, is never automatic; the actual outcome is a result of what we term “cultural factors,” as much as impulses attributable to progress in discovery of higher physical principles as such.

In fact, for reasons to be considered here, it is “cultural factors” which govern even scientific and technological progress as such, and which also govern the manner in which discovered physical principles are fostered and realized in ways bearing upon improvements in both man’s physical power over nature, and the realization of that physical power in the form of net improvements in demographic characteristics of cultures.

Presently, the ongoing, global financial and monetary collapse, has been plunging the once-proud civilization of the 1946-1963 post-war reconstruction period, into the threatened onset of a world-wide “new dark age.” We are faced, thus, once again, with the fact, that the most powerful technological cultures can be doomed by the kind of moral and cultural “paradigm shift” which has dominated the world, increasingly, since the 1964-1972 youth-counterculture revolt against both technological progress and rationality generally.

Therefore, sane national and related policies depend upon discovering and adopting those principles of culture to which we must turn, if we are to avert the seemingly inevitable demographic and per-capita collapse now gripping this planetary civilization. The author proposes, that the nature and importance of such cultural issues, ought to have been made clear by those studies of the principles of Classical art-forms and education which had occupied the best minds of the scientists, artists, and statesmen of European civilization’s early Nineteenth Century, such as, for Germany, Friedrich Schiller and his friends, the brothers von Humboldt,5 and, for the U.S.A., Benjamin Franklin’s great-grandson, the Humboldt-linked Alexander Dallas Bache.6

On this account, generally speaking, when compared to the superior levels of culture represented by early to middle Nineteenth-Century European Classical culture in general, even the leading sections of those of today’s populations dominated by our recent generations of global, European-dominated trends in global cultures, are ignorant, appallingly backward, even relatively bestial. This recent, moral and cultural degeneration of successive post-World War II generations, is typified by the recent rise in homicidal outbreaks of existentialism among present-day adolescents.7 This deplorable trend is typical of the majority of both the top-most ranks, and the lower levels of today’s society.

The challenge of reversing the present cultural and physical-economic collapse of global civilization, is the context for the following report. The solution to the difficulties of comprehending these presently most urgent matters, was first discovered, and, later, developed in the following way.

1. Three crucial discoveries

It was during the interval 1948-1952, that I first made three original, interdependent discoveries of physical principle, a set of principles whose continued and interconnected development has since dominated my life, my professional and related accomplishments, and also the controversies in which I have become an increasing central figure of recent decades.

The first among these principles, is one whose adoption dates from work during the 1948-1951 interval: man’s increase of power over nature, per capita and per square kilometer of the Earth’s surface, may be described, in rough approximation, as follows.8

It is to be said, that that ordered increase of man’s power over nature, per capita and per square-kilometer of the Earth’s surface, is always expressed in the form of the outcome of successive, revolutionary, realized discoveries of physical principle. It is shown, on physical grounds, that experimentally validatable, revolutionary discoveries of physical principle, form orderable, if not linear, or otherwise simple sequences.9 It is the realization of those sequences, whose accumulation correlates with an increase of mankind’s potential (physical) power over nature. During 1948-1951, as today, the argument remains, that this connection is typified by the treatment of an experimentally validated physical principle as the subsuming source of those applicable machine-tool designs, and analogous principles, which are to be recognized as “technologies.”10

The second of the three principles, whose discovery also dates from the 1948-1951 interval, was the apprehension of the fact, that those same processes of creative mentation, by means of which experimentally validated, original (i.e., “revolutionary”) discoveries of physical principle are generated, in response to deductively insoluble paradoxes of experimental physics, are processes identical in their nature to the validatable solution for the type of paradox rightly identified as metaphor, as such metaphors are unique to strictly Classical modes of musical, poetic, dramatic, and plastic composition in art. This second principle, which is contrary to the currently popular, erroneous notion of a division of art (e.g., Geisteswissenschaft) from physical science (e.g., Naturwissenschaft),11 is the key point of reference for the present report.

The third of these principles, dating from 1952, was my recognition of a relevant implication of that generalized notion of a Keplerian, multiply-connected manifold, first defined as an amendment to the work of Carl Gauss, in Bernhard Riemann’s 1854, revolutionary habilitation dissertation.12 From a reexamination of Riemann’s habilitation dissertation at that time, I recognized, that his discovery provides the indispensable, meta-mathematical basis for comprehending, and integrating, the function of validated creative discoveries of principle, not only in physical science, but also Classical art-forms.13 Furthermore, my appreciation of Riemann’s discovery was novel, in the degree that it is associated with an explicitly Platonic notion of the relevant principles of ontology in general. I contended, that this metaphysical connection to the ontology of Platonic ideas, is strongly implied in Riemann’s work by a comparison of several among his writings from that period;14 in my own statement of the case then, as restated here for the case of music, the notion is explicit.

If one is to adhere to the principles of a Classical humanist education, one must account for the origin, and deeper, present-day implication of these three, interrelated discoveries. One must take into account that consuming occupation with modern philosophy which had dominated my adolescent years.15 All of these discoveries of the 1948-1952 interval, were rooted in an adolescent choice of the world-view of Gottfried Leibniz. During adolescence, my adherence to Leibniz’s standpoint,16 included a specific, explicit opposition to the educational dogmas of John Dewey,17 and coincided with my continuing rejection, to the present day, of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’ English and French reductionists generally.18 It was during the later phase of that adolescent study, that I first defined my opposition to that paradigmatic, neo-Aristotelean attack on Leibniz which is central to Immanuel Kant’s famous Critiques.19

On account of those same principles of Classical humanist education, one must emphasize, that there was nothing accidental in the fact, that the combined, 1948-1952 discoveries themselves, were prompted chiefly by my impassioned concern to expose the essential, neo-Kantian fraud underlying certain radical-positivist innovations introduced by two prominent devotees of Bertrand Russell. Those latter, targetted frauds, were, the radically reductionist “information theory” (e.g., radically positivist “linguistics”) of Professor Norbert Wiener,20 and the closely related hoax, the “systems analysis” of Professor John von Neumann.21

Similarly, the tactic which I chose for development of my 1948-1952 refutations of, initially, Wiener and, later, von Neumann, was a conviction which I had adopted during the war-time 1940s, that the problems of a theory of knowledge posed by Kant’s Critiques, must be attacked from the vantage-point of a general science of physical (as distinct from monetary-financial) economy—i.e., man’s self-perpetuating increase of his species’ practical power over nature. This must be a science whose elementary focus is the adducing of those principles which govern mankind’s manifest, unique potential for willfully increasing our species’ potential relative population-density. This ordering must be associated with the impact and correlatives of the generation of scientific, technological, and cultural progress.22

In service of the same, Classical humanist principles of accounting for one’s own knowledge, today’s continuing, central, practical issue of world culture and politics, which I shall bring into sharper focus here, is the fact, of the increasing political hegemony, within modern European world-culture, of an anti-Renaissance, reductionist, and specifically Venetian world-outlook. That perverted outlook, is, most notably, the legacy of Pietro Pomponazzi,23 Paolo Sarpi,24 Antonio Conti,25 et al. This Venetian influence has established, as its legacy, a specific pathological trait, a trait which has been imposed upon the most widely accepted beliefs and practice of modern European academic and related culture. The latter, sundry—variously Aristotelean, “neo-Aristotelean,” “empiricist,” “Cartesian,” materialist, and “positivist”—trends in leading opinion, have established the hegemony of their common pathological dogma, the which implicitly demands a dichotomy between the idea of knowledge in general, such as the so-called “liberal arts,” and the notion of rational behavior to be associated with physical science. This conflict is usefully compared with what British author C.P. Snow identified, more simplistically, as the “Two Cultures” dichotomy of modern European empiricist dogma.26

Despite presently hegemonic kinds of philosophically reductionist influences: since the influence of Classical Greek culture, especially the heritage of Plato and his Academy,27 the best currents of European civilization had acquired a relatively clear, if not simple conception of an implicitly ordered relationship underlying the ordering of human social progress, the latter respecting both individual physical practice and demographic characteristics of cultures at those technological levels of practice. This is an ordering correlated, measurably, with notions of relative potential population-density. The notion of a correlation between an improvement in the demographic and related individual characteristics of populations, and the related role of applied scientific and technological progress in fostering advances in per-capita and per-square-kilometer power over nature, has supplied a clear practical standard for measuring what, until recently, had been recognized as “the idea of progress.”28

However, although the idea of progress involved clear notions of ordering, and of related measurements, the inevitability of progress was not a matter of clearly established principle. It appeared, for example, that there exists no conceivable mathematical function of the ordinary type, the which would ensure that any valid advance in discovery of applicable physical principle should lead to the lawful generation of a next higher order of discovered principle of general practice. Indeed, even in the case of a valid discovery of principle, there was no clear assurance that society would accept an experimentally proven such principle as a rule for improved social practice. Taking as much as we know of the whole span of the human species’ existence to date, human progress has been the likely, but uncertain outcome of history considered in the large.

To repeat the crucial point: It was clear to modern European civilization, that progress were always possible,29 but that progress did not necessarily occur in the manner a simple notion of physical science suggested. Stagnation, or worse, demographic and physical retrogression, often occurred. In the long, combined history and pre-history of mankind, only a few strains of cultural development have not been cast aside, rightly, as failed cultures. In known history, the catastrophic persistence of oligarchical forms of society, such as those of the ancient Mesopotamians, the Romans, Byzantium, and the Aztecs, illustrate the frequent case, of cultures which, although more or less long-dominant, are best characterized as cultures ultimately self-doomed by their inherent lack of sufficient “moral fitness to survive.”

We pivot our argument here upon the issues of that pathological, cultural-historical paradigm referenced by Friedrich Schiller.30 We reference, so, the awful history of France’s moral degeneration, during most of the periods following the outbreak of the French Revolution of 1789.31 Excepting such great, exemplary achievements of 1792-1814, as were led by the circles of Lazare Carnot and Gaspard Monge’s Ecole Polytechnique, the reconstructed France of Louis XI, which had continued until 1789 as the world’s most developed nation-state, had, by 1789, turned sharply downward, away from the course implied by the Marquis de Lafayette’s role in the American Revolution, into those “Enlightenment” orgies of moral degeneracy typified by followers of Robespierre, Barras, Napoleon Bonaparte, and the French positivists in general.

Schiller’s intent in addressing this ominous, crucial failure of French culture, is elaborated in locations such as his Über die Aesthetische Erziehung des Menschen.32 Nonetheless, although Schiller’s intent ought to be clear from his own writings, the deeper, most crucial, ontological implications of his argument, as in the Fifth Letter of that series, appear to be grasped by most among his putative admirers only in a relatively superficial way, not grasped in the sense of a relevant, cognitively rigorous notion of ontology. It is those ontological implications which I am specially qualified to address, as I do here. Those ontological issues, and their practical implications for world politics today, are the essential subject of this report.

In a report to be published in a forthcoming issue, we focus upon the case of music, to illustrate the ontological basis for Schiller’s insight into the role of cultural development. There, we focus upon the exemplary case of Classical musical, motivic thorough-composition, as located by W.A. Mozart in the foundations supplied by such works of J.S. Bach as A Musical Offering.33 That development, from Bach, through Haydn,34 Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, is employed here as a model of the ontological function at the core of Schiller’s principle of aesthetical education. We include, as crucial, reference to Goethe’s poor judgment on Mozart’s and Beethoven’s song settings for Goethe’s poems, and the related case of Franz Schubert’s sharing Schiller’s opposition to Goethe on this matter of practice.35

What we offer, thus, is not a complete treatment of the role of Classical culture. Our task here, is to lead the reader into a breakthrough in recognizing, from the example of music, the nature of the ontological principle involved in Classical culture, as a whole.

2. Art as science

In the history of ideas of principle as represented by the work of Plato, the relatively brief Parmenides dialogue occupies a special place of relevance. From the standpoint of that Parmenides and related writings, Plato’s notion of what he defines as ideas is presented by him as a defense of the seminal contributions of the school of Pythagoras, against the anti-Pythagoras, Eleatic faction of reductionism. These Eleatics are epitomized by the dialogue’s Parmenides. Constantly, the echoes of Heraclitus’ ontological standpoint, “nothing is constant but change,” reverberate in the crucial passages of Plato’s dialogue.

The central issue attacked in that dialogue, is the same ontological blunder which underlies all of the reductionist tradition, from the Eleatics, through the sophists and Aristotle, through to the modern empiricists, materialists, and positivists. Given a sequence of developments which corresponds to some ordered change of principle, how might we conceptualize a higher principle which underlies and generates the ordered sequence of relevant, successful changes in apparent principle?

In the long history of mankind, only a few strains of cultural development have not been cast aside, rightly, as failed cultures. The catastrophic persistence of oligarchical forms of society, such as those of the ancient Mesopotamians, the Romans, Byzantium, and the Aztecs, illustrate the frequent case, of cultures which are ultimately self-doomed by their inherent lack of sufficient ‘moral fitness to survive.’

In art generally, as in Plato’s dialogues, the dominant role performed by the composition, is the quality of ontological surprise, a point in the development at which a paradoxical transformation occurs in the import of that composition, a point at which the composer leads the audience away from a narrow focus upon the apparent, relatively literal, merely formal expression of the ongoing subject-matter, into what proves to be an ordered series of successive, more or less kaleidoscopic transformations in meaning, in principle. That principle which subsumes such an ordering of successive, mutually contradictory principles, appears, thus, ontologically, as the true, subsuming subject-matter of the artistic composition.

That true subject is the location of the ontological quality of the composition, the location of the ontological quality of all Classical art.

For example, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, especially the notable Third Act soliloquy, Hamlet is confronted by the choice of either clinging to his “macho’s” habitual, petty, paranoid, swashbuckling world-outlook, which assures his self-imposed doom, or venturing into a new quality of world-outlook, the latter which he rejects as a “bourn from which no traveller” has returned. There is virtually no difference between that Hamlet and those tragic statesmen, today, faced with the inevitable collapse and disintegration of the world’s present financial and monetary system, who prefer to work within the bounds of adapting, as “practical politicians,” to the doomed system, rather than risk the escape to safety from the doomed system, by adopting what they presently abhor as a radically new form: a bourn from which no traveller has returned. For them, it is more comfortable to return to the old, familiar, diseased slut, than to couple with a healthy immigrant.

On this account, no great playwright ever composed fiction. Just as Aeschylos’ Prometheus Bound is nothing but a truthful presentation of the paradoxical principle then governing the real universe of ancient Greek culture, so neither Shakespeare nor Schiller ever composed mere fiction, mere existentialists’ entertainment. The essence of Classical tragedy and poetry is the equivalence of truth and beauty. No great tragedian ever composed a drama in which the principle of history exhibited on stage was not a truthful representation of a relevant principle of real-life history, a principle expressed in a real-life-based apprehension of historical specificity.

Contrast Classical tragedy with the degeneracy which has taken over the modern staging of even Classical opera and dramas. The Classical stage has been replaced by the theater of cheap tricks performed by aid of irrelevant sensual effects and paranoid symbolisms. Take, for example, the late Orson Welles’ famous 1937-1938 Mercury Theater, “relevant” staging of Shakespeare, as a notable example of this presently continuing degeneracy of practice.36

In the Classical theater, from Aeschylos through Shakespeare and Schiller, the medium deployed on stage is what appears, at first, to be nothing but a literal representation of what the dramatist intended to portray: without symbolism, without cheap sensual, or other “special effects.” The substance of the drama emerges as an eerie something which is occurring behind the scene, within what the author and audience apprehend as the minds of the characters. This is a different, higher dimension than the literal actions on stage, a dimension of paradox and metaphor. In a valid performance, the mind of the audience is shifted from the literal drama as such, to the eerie sense of some principle of the mind which intervenes to change the character of the literal events on stage. The drama is thus shifted from the literal drama on stage, to the drama within the mind of the audience.

Thus, it was Schiller’s principle, that the audience must emerge from the theater better people than they had entered that theater. In great Classical tragedy, the audience is horrified at the discovery that it entered the theater with a disposition for condoning the kinds of errors which led the tragic figures on stage to the latters’ doom. It is in that eerie sense of irony, that the true drama lies; there, thus, within the audience itself, lies the true ontological dimension of the Classical drama.

Consider the case of Schiller’s Don Carlos. Apart from the sole hero(ine) of the tragedy, Elizabeth, Don Carlos, Posa, and King Philip II, are each gripped, like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, by a compelling devotion to some fatal degree of relative spiritual littleness in themselves. World-historical roles are more or less evaded, out of small-minded attachment to small-minded family and kindred personal considerations. Among the three principal male characters, the otherwise flawed Posa, alone, rises to the relatively highest level; he recognizes, if without the necessary consistency, that the alternative to the doom of Spain’s monstrous follies in the Netherlands, is to rise to the level of world-historical statesmen: Not what might seem to offer personal success, but to make one’s living a meaningful role in shaping history for the betterment of future mankind.37

There is no fiction, no petty moralizing, in the writing of Schiller’s Don Carlos; it is a truthful account of those principles underlying the historical specificity of that senseless butchery in which the contending forces of the Netherlands’ warfare went down to mutual bestiality, the folly by which Spain doomed itself to degenerating from a world power into a morbid relic of its earlier pretenses to grandeur. The audience, gripped by such great tragic compositions, is induced to sense the paradox, the irony, the metaphor lodged in the discrepancy between the character’s personal motivations and that same character’s world-historical accountability for the outcome of current events. In Schiller’s composition of the drama, the truth lies not in the selection of literal events on stage; the truth lies in the artful juxtaposition of those conflicts of principle—those metaphors—which account for the tragic, actual history of referenced, real-life events.

Indeed, it should be noted that, for reasons we shall identify below, all great tragedy is grounded in historical specificity.38 If Rome of the doomed Julius Caesar is the subject chosen, then it is the historically specific crisis of the process of continued degeneration of the Republic of Rome which is the matter addressed by Shakespeare. Similarly, the real, self-imposed doom of Spain is the historically specific location of the subject of Schiller’s Don Carlos, just as Aeschylos’ Prometheus Bound is historically specific to the self-induced doom of the ancient oligarchical Greece dominated by the pervasive influence of the satanic cult of Apollo.

In drama, as in Classical poetry, the essential difference between mere fiction and true art, is that the artistic content of great tragic compositions lies not within the literal events arranged on stage; the content lies in the successively emerging conflicts of principle, that succession of surprising ideas which prompts the audience to leave the theater better people than they entered it, shortly before.

In music, the same principle of Classical artistic composition appears in a different form of expression. Nonetheless, the same ontological principle, as implicit in the paradoxes of Plato’s Parmenides, is the governing principle underlying those transformations in physical science which are the outgrowth of successive, validated discoveries of physical principle. In fact, it is this same principle, as expressed in the form of Classical artistic composition, which is the governing moral principle of realized scientific progress.

To this purpose, shift our focus from the Classical tragedy of Aeschylos, Shakespeare, or Schiller, to the manner in which the same principle of artistic composition is developed, with relative perfection, in the progress of post-Renaissance musical composition from J.S. Bach through Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms.39 To that end, let us now define the historical setting in which the importance of modern Classical musical composition is situated. We emphasize the development of modern European culture which was built upon the foundations of the Fifteenth-Century “Golden Renaissance,” contrasting this to the presently dominant role of the anti-Renaissance, Aristotelean and Ockhamite “Enlightenment,” which gained increasing hegemony in post-League of Cambrai, Sixteenth-Century Europe.

To restate the nature of the connections: the essence of the matter, is the precise agreement between the principles of physical-scientific discovery, as these principles might be adduced from the accomplishments of Bernhard Riemann, with the principles of such Classical art as Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Classical, musical motivic thorough-composition. For the purpose of locating those developments of Renaissance science leading into the emergence of Classical motivic thorough-composition, Cardinal Nicolaus of Cusa40 is the founder of modern experimental physical science, a role which emerged from his De Docta Ignorantia41 and those other, later writings,42 which educated, and otherwise inspired such founders of modern science as Luca Pacioli, Leonardo da Vinci, William Gilbert, and Johannes Kepler.43

In method, Cusa, is, in turn, a follower of the great Plato; his work is in the same Platonic tradition so clearly adopted for theology by the Apostles Paul and John.44 The special emphasis to be supplied here, is, that although the glimmerings of the notion of Classical ideas do antedate Plato’s dialogues, it is with Plato that the nature and role of the idea first appears in a rigorous and clearly replicatable form. This principle of the idea, which underlies the work of such Fifteenth-Century Golden Renaissance figures as Cusa, is key to grasping the ontological implications of Friedrich Schiller’s arguments in his Aesthetische Erziehung and related writings.45 Here, by way of that Platonic Golden Renaissance, art found its essential unity with science.

In narrowest focus, the idea which distinguishes the essence of Classical musical composition, from Romantic and other alternatives, exemplifies the kind of Platonic idea we must associate with Schiller’s attention to ... Der Gegenstand des sinnlichen Triebes46 (the object of the sensual impulse). It is for that reason, that we have selected the case of Classical music to illustrate the principle of culture in general. For this reason, it may be said, that the general principle of all Classical art, is most simply illustrated by the case for the principles of Classical motivic thorough-composition in music.

The ontological issues are sharply defined. It is not the notes—the tones, chords, overtones, etc., as such—which form the self-evident, sensuous elements of Classical musical composition. The substance of Classical music, in its defining, subsuming process of development, from Bach through Brahms, lies within the same creative-mental process of development which governs the ordering of metaphor expressed as the coherent unfolding of a work of Classical motivic thorough-composition.47 It is in that ordering, not any collection, or interpretation of the individual tones as such, that the ontological actuality of Classical musical composition and performance lies.

Agreed: in Classical composition, the composer’s intent must be followed scrupulously. Echoes of the decadent, symbolism-ridden, anti-Renaissance mannerism of reactionary, mid-Sixteenth-Century European art, are not to be tolerated kindly. However, the function of that rigorous respect for the composer’s intent, is not rightly intended to represent a strict school-book interpretation of the score, as if according to the vanity of some poor pedant’s conceits. The strict observance of the composer’s intent, is to ensure that the paradoxes (e.g., metaphors) generated within the composition, are clearly defined ambiguities, paradoxes (metaphors) whose resolution must be the idea corresponding to the artistic intent of that choice of motivic thorough-composition taken in its wholeness.

Contrary to today’s widely taught musicological dogmas, the “substance” of Classical music is located outside any linear measure, outside any domain of constant curvature; what we hear, and what should be performed, thus, must be heard “between the notes,” not within them. It is not the notes we must hear; it is not merely a matter of the “right tuning” of the well-tempered scale. So, for J.S. Bach, as for Mozart et al., after him, we must never hear intervals merely within voice-parts, or even merely across voices, except that we also hear the totality of the implied, complementary inversions within and across the voices, as these unfold in the course of that motivic development which is the unity of the composition as an indivisible whole.48

As we shall show in the forthcoming report, it is the ordering of that “in-betweenness,” which is the rudimentary location of that musical developmental process, the which is heard primarily with the mind, and only in a lesser degree the ear as such. Monkeys with perfect pitch do not make music. From J.S. Bach on, well-tempered tuning, whether within the individual composition, or subsuming the succession of development of musical ideas by great Classical composers, is a reflection of a coherent process of thoroughly composed motivic development; it is in the process of composition, that the required coherence of the performance must lie.49 No mere computer could ever compose, or perform—or hear—such music.

On account of such underlying principles, Cusa’s role as the initiator of modern experimental science, situates him, historically, within the “Golden Renaissance,” as the most relevant, Platonic point of reference, for uncovering the essential unity of modern science and the accompanying development of Classical culture, Classical musical culture included.

A Matter of Passion

Using the case for Classical musical composition as paradigmatic, three propositions are to be addressed.

—First, how do we demonstrate a common ordering for both Classical artistic ideas—in Plato’s sense of idea—and the ideas associated with experimentally validated, revolutionary discoveries of physical principle?

—Second, how do such ideas regulate both the impetus for such scientific progress, and the adoption of a corresponding, revolutionary practice?

—Third, how do Classical artistic ideas govern the moral motivation of a population, to the effect that the lack of such motivation usually results, erosively, or catastrophically, in a great cultural calamity such as that ongoing today?

The answer to those three questions is embedded, pervasively, in Plato’s notion of agape, as a motivation—a passion—which compels one to subordinate everything to concern for realizing justice and truth. This is the same passion, agape, so prominently emphasized in the Apostle Paul’s I Corinthians 13. The related issue, is the central feature of Plato’s dialogues, that truth lies, ultimately, not in any fixed belief, but only in those valid, progressive changes in belief and behavior, the which supersede the paradoxes inhering in a previously established learning, with a validated discovery of higher principle.

Thus, the central feature of the thesis which we present here, is summarily the following.

Justice, truthfulness, and those creative powers by means of which we may discover valid, revolutionary principles of our universe, form a seamless whole, in which Classical culture, morality, and physical science, are united by a common passion for universal justice and truth.

These issues of truth and justice are associated empirically with tests of humanity’s increased power over the physical universe, per capita, and per square kilometer of the Earth’s surface. The increased development of the average newborn individual, the increase of per-capita power, the maintenance of the increase of those improvements in demographic and productive characteristics, and so forth, are typical of the evidence by means of which we may know that changes in knowledge for practice are in accord with the Creator’s intent for the laws of the universe. This accords with justice, as justice means a more adequate participation of each individual life as a world-historical being, a life so dwelling in the simultaneity of eternity, a mental life thus situated in the further development of the condition of all mankind.

That passion for truth and justice, is rightly, and most conveniently identified as the agape of both Plato and the Christian New Testament; it was, indeed, this Christian, Apostolic standpoint, based in agape, which is the key to what emerged, during the period of the Fifteenth-Century Golden Renaissance, as modern European Classical culture. This passion, expressed as the powers of concentration through which valid discoveries of principle are prompted by metaphors, is the purest expression of reason, its active expression.

For example: contrast reason and mere logic, as opponents of one another. Where is the passion in a formal, deductive logic? The question itself is a contradiction in terms! Without the passion of relentlessly extended concentration, how might we discover the principle which overcomes a defiant paradox? Without the passion for truth, how would we be impelled to refuse to accept less than the recognition, or new discovery of such a principle?

The notion of a “dispassionate” search for truth, is a contradiction in terms. Logic as such, is morally dead, or, better said, outrightly immoral because it is amoral. It is the creative impulses governed by an overriding passion for truth, that same passion, agape, which separates the Christian from the moralizing hypocrite in I Corinthians 13, which are the only efficient source of truthfulness and justice. This is the passion which produces truth in the progress of physical science. This is the passion for truthfulness, the which is the essential distinction between Classical and allegedly “alternative” forms of art such as “the popular,” Romantic, Modernist, Existentialist, Post-Modernist, etc.

This, as we shall see, leads us directly to the issue: If reason must be controlled by passions, rather than the dead hand of mere logic, what shall govern these passions? How shall we define the injunction of I Corinthians 13 on this account? By what means are such passions uniquely efficient in guiding us to practices of truth and justice? How do we, then, distinguish, those passions and forms of passion which are irrational, from those contrary forms which are the seat and substance of reason? This is the issue of culture. This is the issue which places Classical culture morally and otherwise apart from and above all currently popular misconceptions of culture.

The role of passion in the composition and performance of Classical music, is to be located so. As we shall indicate by aid of the forthcoming report, summarizing Classical musical tuning, the medium of Classical motivic thorough-composition, as we have located that here, is the sensuous domain within which musical ideas are expressed as musical ideas.

To that effect, turn now to those aspects of Plato’s dialectical method which bear more emphatically on the matters of physical science.

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Footnotes

1. See, the references to the relationship between an “m-fold” and “n-fold” manifold, in Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., “Russia Is Eurasia’s Keystone Economy,” prologue to report by Dr. Sergei Glazyev, Executive Intelligence Review, March 27, 1998, pp. 45-51.

2. Recent archaeological work in Germany has revealed well-crafted throwing spears, solidly dated to about 400,000 years ago. The use of such technology predating 40,000 years ago was previously unknown. The wooden spears were shaped and balanced to be used as javelins, rather than simple thrusting implements, and reflect a technological skill by their makers, that has generally not been credited to humans of this Pleistocene, so-called Lower Paleolithic, period. See Hartmut Thieme, “Lower Paleolithic Hunting Spears from Germany,” Nature, Feb. 27, 1997, pp. 807-810; Robin Dennell, “The World’s Oldest Spears,” Feb. 27, 1997, pp. 767-768.

3. i.e., as a component of the existence and development of the biosphere as a whole.

4. Man is part of the total biosphere. Man’s portion of the biosphere increases, but the biosphere also grows, per capita. Compare this with Vernadsky’s conception of a noösphere.

5. Marianna Wertz, “The Classical Curriculum of Wilhelm von Humboldt,” Fidelio, Summer 1996, pp. 29-39.

6. Alexander Dallas Bache (1806-1867) graduated U.S. Military Academy (1825); was sent to Europe in 1836 to work with scientists and educational leaders including Carl F. Gauss, Wilhelm Weber, and Alexander von Humboldt. Bache formed an elite American grouping of scientists, cooperating with German and French co-thinkers. He and his aides designed and organized the U.S. Naval Academy. As chief of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, Bache was chief strategist for the emergence of an advanced U.S. military-industrial capability, and the creation of the electrical industry; he was a leading intelligence adviser to President Abraham Lincoln.

7. Six serious incidents of school killings have taken place in rural areas of America since February 1996, involving children between the ages of 11 and 16. In two cases, the children killed their parents, before proceeding to the schools, where they also killed classmates and teachers. In all cases, the children were immersed in video games, such as “Mortal Kombat,” mind-numbing rock music, and violent films. Note, that in five of the cases, the children are being tried as adults.

The phenomenon of juvenile violence in Germany was addressed by Countess Marion Dönhoff, in an editorial in the weekly Die Zeit on April 8, 1998. Titled “These Are Our Children,” she points to such sources of juvenile violence as “the lack of sense of injustice, intolerance, extreme ego-centrism”—the results of a permissive society in which “everything revolves around material and commercial success.”

Such cultural degeneration is an example of what Nazi existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger called “thrownness.” Helga Zepp-LaRouche, in a Sept. 3, 1994 speech (“Ghost of Martin Heidegger Haunts Cairo Conference,” Executive Intelligence Review, Sept. 12, 1994), described Heidegger’s existentialism as follows: “ ‘Man, in the course of the history of Occidental culture,’ says Heidegger, ‘has forgotten the essentials of human life. People live life in an unactual way, and they look for entertainment in their flight from death agony. The actuality of true life, lies in the banal, basic experience of the being-thrownness’—Geworfenheit, that is, you are thrown into history, and plop, there you are.” Heidegger was a major influence on Jean-Paul Sartre.

8. Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., So, You Wish to Learn All About Economics?, second edition, (Washington, D.C.: EIR News Service, 1995).

9. Consider the intersecting, but distinct contributions to the founding of a science of electrodynamics by Ampère, Fresnel, Wilhelm Weber, Gauss, Riemann, et al. See Laurence Hecht, “The Significance of the 1845 Gauss-Weber Correspondence,” 21st Century Science & Technology, Fall 1996, and Laurence Hecht, “Optical Theory in the 19th Century, and the Truth about Michelson-Morley-Miller,” 21st Century Science & Technology, Spring 1998. To be emphasized, on this account, are Ampère-Weber on the “longitudinal force,” and Fresnel-Riemann on refraction and retarded propagation.

10. Formally, the introduction of “machine-tool design” into modern economy, originates with the work of Lazare Carnot, especially his role in the economic-military mobilization of 1792-1794. However, the “machine-tool-design era” is dated to a later time, the 1861-1876 mobilization of the U.S. economy. The “industrial revolution” proper was thus launched from the United States, from whence direct U.S. influence spread it into Bismarck’s Germany (1877), Meiji Restoration Japan, and the Russia of Alexander II.

11. i.e., the doctrine of G.W.F. Hegel’s politically reactionary ally, the neo-Kantian Romantic Karl Friedrich Savigny: i.e., the absolute separation of Geisteswissenschaft from Naturwissenschaft . In a cruder version, this is also the doctrine of “art for art’s sake:” that there is no rational principle underlying the determination of value in art, that art is the arbitrary taste of artists and their audiences.

12. Bernhard Riemann, Über die Hypothesen, welcher der Geometrie zu Grunde liegen , Bernhard Riemanns Gesammelte Mathematische Werke, H. Weber, ed. (New York: Dover Publications reprint, 1953). This Kepler-Gauss-Riemann standpoint, is identical with Leibniz’s insistence that the “infinitesimals” of his calculus are not linear, but are intervals of non-constant curvature.

13. Bernhard Riemann, Zur Psychologie und Metaphysik, Werke, op. cit., pp. 509-520.

14. e.g., Geistesmasse , in Riemann’s posthumously published manuscripts on the subject of metaphysics, Werke, op. cit.

15. In Classical culture, no principle is ever merely learned. A principle must be known, rather than merely learned. To know a principle, is both to experience in oneself the process which generates the discovery, and to experience the equivalent of a crucial-experimental proof of that principle. By “principle,” one signifies a law of nature which can not be derived by deduction, but only by discovering an experimentally validatable idea which solves an otherwise insoluble contradiction in previously established knowledge.

16. Especially, at that time, the Theodicy, Monadology, and Clarke-Leibniz Correspondence.

17. A reading of works by and on the subject of Dewey’s educational programs, during my fourteenth year, in the Ninth Grade, left me with a sense of being degraded by, and hostile to submission to the philosophy of education integral to the courses of instruction offered in secondary education at that time. It was this issue which led me to the subsequent years impassioned occupation with the issue of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

18. E.g., the reductionism of such followers of Paolo Sarpi as Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Thomas Hobbes, René Decartes, John Locke, Bernard Mandeville, David Hume, and such followers of Antonio Conti as Voltaire and the French “Encyclopaedists.”

19. At that time, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Prolegomena. See also, on Leonhard Euler’s resort to the fraud of petitio principii in his own effort to supply an argument against Leibniz’s Monadology: Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., “Pope’s Havana Homily Defends Nation-State,” Executive Intelligence Review, February 6, 1998, p. 51.

20. e.g., Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1948). The root of Wiener’s “information theory,” is to be found in the founding of Russell’s school of linguistics in the relevant collaboration of Russell, Karl Korsch, Carnap, Hutchins, Harris, et al. Russell’s 1938 “unification of science” project, is the setting for the MIT school of linguistics and “artificial intelligence” of Noam Chomsky and Marvin Minsky.

21. After John von Neumann’s work had received a devastating blow at the hands of Kurt Gödel’s 1930-1931 works “On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems” and Discussion on Providing a Foundation for Mathematics , Collected Works, Vol. I, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), von Neumann shifted into the field of a mathematical theory of games. By 1938, von Neumann fell into the absurdity of claiming that he could reduce economics to a matter of solutions for simultaneous linear inequalities. In this connection, von Neumann fell into collaboration with Oskar Morgenstern, producing the radically absurd doctrine of their Theory of Games & Economic Behavior, third edition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953). In a similar vein, von Neumann, like Wiener, proposed the possibility of defining “artificial intelligence” as an offspring of a linear digital computer-system.

22. The initial attack on this problem occurred, during the early 1940s, as a critique of Karl Marx’s Capital. The writer’s critical focus was on the devastating effects of Marx’s refusal to consider the implications of “the technological compositions of capitals,” a refusal, stated in Volume I, which supplies the crucial error in Marx’s attempt, in his Volumes II and III, to construct an account of “simple” and “extended reproduction of capital.” The technological issues which Marx evades, are the foundation for any scientific approach both to the understanding of the processes of physical economy generally, and to the origins of so-called “business cycles.” On account of Marx’s axiomatic error on this point, the four-volume edition of his Capital manuscripts, and related writings, absolutely does not meet the requirements of a science of extended social reproduction. Over the recent four decades, and longer, this has often been a persisting, crucial issue of attacks on the present writer by those esteeming themselves defenders of Marxist economics orthodoxy.

23. Pietro Pomponazzi (1462-1525). Padua’s Pomponazzi emerged as a leading apologist for the opponents to the mid-Fifteenth-Century ecumenical Council of Florence. In his capacity, together with his student Cardinal Gasparo Contarini, as the leading opponent of the Fifteenth-Century Renaissance throughout Europe, he introduced the gnostic, Aristotelean dogma of Averroes et al. into the Venice-dominated, post-League of Cambrai, Sixteenth Century.

24. Paolo Sarpi (1552-1623). Sarpi, who was, from 1582 onward, the leader of the dominant faction of Venice, is notorious for his adoption of a radical version of Aristotelean formalism, a formalism derived from the model of William of Ockham. Sarpi was, in his time, the controller of the English monarchy of King James I, and the sponsor of such related notables as Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, and Thomas Hobbes. He is the founder of the British empiricist and Cartesian method.

25. Antonio Conti (1677-1749), famous as the creator of Voltaire and of the myth of Isaac Newton’s calculus. He was the leading successor to the role of Paolo Sarpi in spreading the hegemony of the Eighteenth-Century versions of the British and French (anti-Renaissance) “Enlightenment” throughout Europe. Conti’s influence, as expressed by Leonhard Euler, Lagrange, Laplace, and Augustin Cauchy, established the political hegemony of the radically reductionist faction in scientific teaching throughout European civilization, to the present day. The notion of “linearity” in the infinitestimally small, and the related radical empiricism of the positivists Bertrand Russell, Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, et al., are included among the products of this influence of Conti.

26. C.P. Snow, Two Cultures and, the Scientific Revolution (London and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993 reprint).

27. “Plato and his Academy” embraces the work of Plato’s followers, through the work of Archimedes’ contemporary Eratosthenes.

28. The improvement of transportation, water management, and usable energy per capita and per square kilometer, are typical of those changes in basic economic infrastructure which have the same general effect as technological progress in general.

29. Admittedly, influential radical empiricists, such as Bertrand Russell and his followers, did not share that optimistic view.

30. Friedrich Schiller references the failure of the French people to seize the opportunity of the French Revolution in two locations. In the Fifth Letter on the Aesthetical Education of Man, he writes that “a physical possibility seems given, to place the law upon the throne, to honor man finally as an end in himself and to make true freedom the basis of political union. Vain hope! The moral possibility is wanting; and the generous moment finds an unresponsive people.” Pope’s Havana Homily , Vol. I (New York: Schiller Institute, 1985) p. 230. He also wrote the following epigram entitled “The Moment”:

“A momentous epoch hath the cent’ry engender’d,

Yet the moment so great findeth a people so small.”

Ibid., p. 325.

31. Not only under the Jacobins and the Napoleonic regimes, but also the post-1898 Third Republic, the Fourth Republic, and the Mitterrand regimes.

32. F. Schiller, Über die Ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen , in Friedrich Schiller Sämtliche Werke: Fünfter Band, Gerhard Fricke and Herbert G. Goepfert, eds. (München: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1993). An English translation is in Friedrich Schiller: Poet of Freedom, Vol. I, op. cit.

33. Briefly, J.S. Bach’s development of a form of polyphony situated with respect to the Florentine bel canto voice-training standard, led into a determination of both pitch and of counterpoint derived from a rigorous application of the principles of a multiply-connected manifold. The related treatment of the principle of polyphonic (e.g., “cross voice”) inversions led into such crucial Bach works as his A Musical Offering and The Art of the Fugue. The rigorous study of this aspect of J.S. Bach’s methods of composition, from the standpoint of A Musical Offering, steered Wolfgang Mozart directly (e.g., the K. 475 Fantasy) into that method of motivic thorough-composition which is the characteristic of the post-1783 work of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, et al. It is this process of development, from J.S. Bach through Brahms, which defines the Classical, as opposed to Romantic, et al. notions of musical composition.

34. The evidence is, that Professor Norbert Brainin is probably unique among contemporaries in his recognition of Haydn’s initial demonstration of principles of thorough-composition, although the discovery of the more general such principle is dated to the work of Wolfgang Mozart, beginning 1782-1783. Nonetheless, without Haydn’s work in carrying the development of composition beyond the standard established by C.P.E. Bach, Mozart would have lacked the foundation upon which to grasp the fuller implications of J.S. Bach’s A Musical Offering, implications upon which a general principle of motivic thorough-composition depended.

35. Chapter 11, “Artistic Beauty: Schiller versus Goethe,” A Manual on the Rudiments of Tuning and Registration, Book I, (Washington, D.C.: Schiller Institute, 1992).

36. Welles’s Caesar, adapted from Shakespeare, opened on Nov. 11, 1937 at the Mercury Theater in New York. The staging and costumes were done to suggest the fascist regimes of Hitler and Mussolini, with what was described as “Nuremberg lighting.” See Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich, This is Orson Welles (New York: HarperCollins, 1992).

37. See F. Schiller on the role of Elizabeth, as contrasted with that of Posa, in Don Carlos. Posa, finding the King in a state of mind that disposed him, in his loneliness, to seek an adviser other than his usual court lackeys, seizes the moment of opportunity to passionately reveal, to the most powerful ruler in the world, Posa’s own innermost thoughts, along with his perspective for securing happiness for the people of Flanders. That he does so, is understandable; but the fact that he allows himself to believe for longer than an instant, that in Philip he had found his instrument for effecting the “greatest possible realization of individual freedom, alongside the greatest flourishing of the state,” borders on delusion.

Worse still, is the fact that for this and other reasons, he breaks his alliance with Don Carlos, without informing the latter of the changed situation (“Why show a sleeping person the storm cloud that is hanging over his head?”), and that he even resorts to court intrigues, ostensibly in order to save Carlos. And finally, when his plan fails, he sacrifices himself out of egotistical motives: “... and thus, on the contrary, it is entirely in keeping with the character of this heroic enthusiast, that in order to shorten this route [out of a condition of despondency], he seeks to place himself once again in high esteem by means of some extraordinary act, by means of a momentary heightening of his being,” Schiller writes in his “Letters on Don Carlos.” Cf. F. Schiller, Briefe über Don Carlos , Friedrich Schiller: Sämtliche Werke (München: Carl Hauser Verlag, 1981), Vol. II, Dramen II , Letters Six through Twelve, pp. 244-267.

38. For a more fulsome treatment of this principle of historical specificity, see the treatment of the case of world-historical individual, below.

39. Contrast the success of the first movement of Frederic Chopin’s echoes of Beethoven’s Opus 111, with the pathetic folly of Franz Liszt’s notoriously failed effort to replicate the same Mozart-Beethoven legacy of the K. 475 Fantasy.

40. Nicolaus of Cusa (1401-1464). See Helga Zepp-LaRouche, “Nicolaus of Cusa and the Council of Florence” Fidelio, Spring 1992, pp. 17-22.

41. De Docta Ignorantia (On Learned Ignorance), trans. by Jasper Hopkins as Nicholas of Cusa on Learned Ignorance (Minneapolis: Arthur M. Banning Press, 1985).

42. The principal writings on the subject of scientific topics by Cardinal Nicolaus of Cusa, composed after De Docta Ignorantia, include: “On Conjectures,” “On Beryllus,” “On the Game of Spheres,” “The Vision of God,” “On Mathematical Complements,” “On Geometrical Transformation,” “Quadrature of the Circle,” “The Golden Proposition in Mathematics,” and “The Layman on Experiments Done with Weight-Scales.”

43. For the case of Luca Pacioli and his collaborator, Leonardo da Vinci, see Pacioli, De Divina Proportione (1497) (Vienna: 1896; Milano: Silvana Editoriale, 1982, facsimile of 1497), Chapter 1.

For Kepler on the “divine” Cusa, see Johannes Kepler, Mysterium Cosmographicum (The Secret of the Universe), trans. by A.M. Duncan (New York: Abaris Books, 1981), p. 93: “For in one respect Nicholas of Cusa and others seem to me divine, that they attached so much importance to the relationship between a straight line and a curved line and dared to liken a curve to God, a straight line to his creatures....”

Kepler frequently acknowledged his debt to William Gilbert, for the application of the primacy of the field (structure of space) to magnetic and, by analogy, solar gravitational phenomena, over the materialism of Paolo Sarpi and Sarpi’s agents Francis Bacon and Galileo. Gilbert was attacked by Bacon in multiple printed locations: Bacon’s “New Organon,” “On Principles and Origins,” “On the Ebb and Flow of the Sea,” for his experimental method rooted in hypothesis.

44. For example, the treatment of agape in Paul’s I Corinthians 13.

45. “Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man,” Friedrich Schiller, Poet of Freedom, Vol. I, op. cit., pp. 223-98; “On Grace and Dignity,” “Kallias or, On the Beautiful,” Friedrich Schiller, Poet of Freedom, Vol. II (Schiller Institute: Washington, D.C., 1988), pp. 337-395, 482-526; “Philosophical Letters,” “On the Pathetic” and “On the Sublime,” Friedrich Schiller, Poet of Freedom, Vol. III (Schiller Institute: Washington, D.C., 1990), pp. 197-225, 227-271.

46. Friedrich Schiller, Über die Ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in Einer Reihe von Briefen, op. cit., Fünfzehnter Brief , p. 614.

47. For an example of this, see Mindy Pechenuk on the function of the Lydian principle in Mozart’s thorough composition of his Ave Verum Corpus motet. Mindy Pechenuk, “Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus,” Fidelio, Winter 1996, pp. 34-45.

48. Among the very best demonstrations of that principle of performance is a Wilhelm Furtwängler recording of Franz Schubert’s great C-Major Symphony (available on Music & Arts label, MUA 826). Other leading conductors’ performances have a tendency toward a “pasted together” quality, by contrast with the gripping unity of motivic thorough-composition which Furtwängler achieves, and sustains, from the initial attack, onward.

49. Start with Wolfgang Mozart’s work of the 1782-1783 period. Locate a significant number of those compositions which Mozart derived from the same solution for Bach’s A Musical Offering which is typified by the K. 475 Fantasy. Next, arrange a set of compositions by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, et al., which are derived from this same root. The K. 475 “Lydian” modality, represents not only a principle of motivic thorough-composition for individual works; the development of successive works, by various such composers, expresses a higher principle of motivic thorough-composition than any single work of that species.

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