Dialogue with Lyndon LaRouche: The Passion To Communicate Profound Ideas

The Classical String Quartet

Communicating Ideas

How To Tell a Story

The Shaping of the Youth Movement

From Volume 4, Issue Number 10 of EIR Online, Published Mar. 8, 2005

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Dialogue with Lyndon LaRouche: The Passion To Communicate Profound Ideas

Here are selections from the discussion with Lyndon LaRouche following his Keynote address Feb. 20, to the Presidents' Day weekend conference of the LaRouche political movement. The complete transcript of LaRouche's Keynote, "The Great Crash of 2005" appeared in the March 7 issue of New Federalist. The two questions posed here are from members of the LaRouche Youth Movement.

Question: Hello Lyn.

You touched upon this idea in your address, and in your answers to the last couple questions, which is, the idea of leadership, and the quality of leadership that must be provided within this movement, knowing the type of historical mission that we're engaged in....

And so, you go home and you reflect, and you look at that type of leadership that you've invoked in other people, but you get scared. Right? Because you have in this culture, that type of tension of reflecting on what you've done; you start to get scared. And when you're in these tense moments, especially coming out of this culture, you respond by reverting back to opportunistic habits, habits that you've engaged in with your family, your friends....

And, you recognize, also, that you're scared, you're able to admit that. You're able to admit that you're afraid of taking the necessary leadership that's needed. And you can't break out of it, because those habits you've adopted, take over you, mentally, physically....

So, my question is, how do you break out of this cycle, and how do you communicate that to your fellow human being, and to your fellow organizers?

LaRouche: Helga [Zepp-LaRouche] gave you part of the answer, yesterday. I'll give you the rest of the answer today:

You have a project out there in California on taking some amateurs and introducing them to the ABCs of the Classical stage, particularly some Shakespeare and some Schiller. Now, most of you can recognize that two things are true about the non-Classical stage: That the way to be popular in the non-Classical stage is to be stupid. To make wisecracks and jokes, but don't convey any real ideas. In the Classical stage, you have the phenomenon of the failure of the actor on stage, the failure to play the part as the stage requires it.

Now, what you're talking about, about the street experience, is what you can relate to as comparable to the Classical acting challenge, on stage. How do you say something, in a way which imparts the idea which is involved, as opposed to the formal description of something. How do you impassion an idea, and thus make it comprehensible, by impassioning it?

The same thing you should learn in part, from Classical music. I was not here, unfortunately, for the performance yesterday, or I would have screamed about the inadequate conditions, which I know the conditions here—I didn't have to be here.

The Classical String Quartet

I know that music, Classical music—. Let me go through this, because this is relevant to many things. Now, in the performance of the Classical string quartet, the nature of Classical musical composition in the style of Bach is made clear. This was the achievement, specifically, of a group of writers of quartets, beginning from the "Sun Quartets" of Haydn, and the later quartets, those of Mozart in particular, and those of Beethoven.

Now, in the string quartet, the location of the idea of the quartet, is not the additive sum of the parts performed. It lies both in the cross-voice relationship—essentially there, in a cross-voice relationship across the instruments. Now, this condition requires the artists to be able to adjust their tuning and intonation in ways which convey the idea of the string quartet.

In other words, you don't have people playing the notes. That doesn't work. Or, it unfortunately does work—and I leave the room.

Because, it's the adjustment of the pitch, and intonation, in the interval of the cross-voice relationship, not the vertical, chordal relationship, in which the idea of development in the string quartet lies. It is the unity, as the basic case of Opus 132, for example, of Beethoven—131, 132 are perfect examples of this: Where the composition, the idea of the composition is not a succession of experiences, it is one idea from beginning to end, totally integrated.

How do you do that? How do you get someone to hear a string quartet, such as the Beethoven 131 and 132; or the famous Mozart quartets, or the Haydn quartets? How do you get people to hear, a single idea, from before the beginning of the composition, to after the end of the composition, and get them to hear a single idea, rather than a collection of parts?

This is done by artists, who work, and work, and work at string quartets, until they polish them to the point that they know they're right. How do they know they're right? Because of a manual, because of a this or that? No! They know, because the idea is communicated. A process of development as an idea is communicated, as an integral singleness of effect.

Now, in the case of the quartet, this is manageable. People who hear string quartets, people who perform string quartets, can themselves do this, if they're qualified musicians. That's what they do. That's what the distinction of the Amadeus Quartet was, in its great years of performance—this ability.

Now, when you get to a larger ensemble, you get a problem: The same principle applies. And you have the famous case of Furtwängler, who, toward the end of his life became despairing of continuing to live, because of the deterioration of his hearing, he could no longer hear the inner voice of the symphony. And therefore, his métier, his whole purpose in life, was lost. He could no longer hear—like Beethoven losing hearing—he could no longer hear what the orchestra was doing, from his standpoint. He became some dummy, like Bruno Walter, or some other pig like that.

So therefore, now, in the performance—when you have an ensemble, such as performing of the Jesu, meine Freude, the members of the ensemble can not direct themselves. Because you need a leader of the ensemble, a director of the ensemble, who can do what Furtwängler did for the orchestra, and that is, to locate the actual place where things must go: the slight variations in intonation and pitch, which must be introduced, to maintain this cross-voice development, through which the composition becomes the development of a single idea. Not a collection of parts.

So, this is the importance, in a sense, of Classical music. If you don't perform Classical music, if you don't perform in choral forms, for example, for large populations, then you will not be able to communicate the art of communication itself of ideas, in speaking in society. Because you can not—you aren't able to place the tone and the intonation in such a way that the cross-voice relationship becomes a process of development which gives unity, singleness of effect, to a single composition in its entirety.

Communicating Ideas

The same thing is true on the stage, speech on the stage, on the Classical stage. And some of you in California are working on this question, and it's very important. Doing this effectively is important to becoming a political organizer on the street! Or in any other case. The way people punctuate, according to style books today, like the New York Times style book—you're an idiot. You can't communicate ideas. You can communicate words which people can copy—but not ideas! The New York Times does not communicate ideas. They have a sign up there: "We do not communicate ideas. We send you words."

So therefore, the key thing that gets you here, the kind of thing you described, is this question of the Classical stage. You found that you did something, which was effective. You were reacting to the person to whom you were speaking, on the basis of knowledge you had and the way they were responding to it. Your response was effective. It moved them. It moved them, not because of the words you spoke, or because of the choice of words you used. You moved them, because you were actually engaged in a kind of artistic composition, performance composition, which is done by the great actor on the Classical stage. Therefore, I've always been happy, and emphasized both, not only that there's an interrelationship between Classical musical performance, as in choral performance, and the Classical stage in speech performance. How do you actually convey ideas, rather than a bunch of words, which somebody leaving the theater has to interpret afterward? How do you have a conviction of the communication of an idea?

Now you have to know your subject. You have to be passionate. You have to have the idea to convey. But, when you have a clear conception of an idea, a valid conception of an idea, and you engage the mind—you're looking inside the mind of the person you're speaking to; you're hearing what they're saying; you're hearing what's going on in their head; you're responding to it with an idea that you know. This will bring out of you an ability to communicate, you didn't think you had. And when you get back home, you say, "How did I do it?"

And therefore, the way to be conscious of this, when you study drama, Classical drama, and you study it in a Classical—. Don't recite poetry! Please, don't recite poetry! For my sake, do not recite poetry! The results are usually awful! I used to recite poetry. I don't any more. I gave up on my potential audience. Hopeless—they don't understand ideas.

But, pay close attention to the Classical stage. Hear the best Classical actors performing. Judge for yourself, how well are they communicating ideas, like the case of Richard III, as performed by this idiot [Laurence Olivier], hear that. Look at that phenomenon in ordinary speech. Look at the Classical stage as an educational experience, as Helga indicated in this sense: Not only in the sense of the formalities of the ideas, but the way in which they're communicated.

Look at, say, the first act of Julius Caesar of Shakespeare, it's rich in the challenge of getting the idea, so that when Caesar comes onstage, actually, people understand several things: They understand that Rome is a terrible place. It's an immoral place. They wouldn't want to live there. The people are crazy and evil. The last decent guy, Cicero, is about to disappear—that sort of thing. And you get a sense of the pure, stinking evil of the place. Then, you're presented this figure—"the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."

This Caesar, this colossus stands over us! We hate him. We fear him.

And then, Caesar comes on stage. Then, you get a sense of the superstition from the soothsayer [in a high-pitch tremulo] "Beware the Ides of March!"

You get a sense from the understanding, the insight, the work on this by great actors, and by the work on this by young people who are trying to understand what the Classical stage is, by trying to learn how to participate in it in a credible way. So, there's a reciprocal relationship between learning how to perform Classical music such as the Jesu, meine Freude, and learning how to perform Classical drama. This will give you the ability to have insight in how you should communicate to people in society in ordinary conversation, rather than this stupid dribble and drabble that you get on the television set.

How To Tell a Story

Question: Hello. I have a question about inspiration. Is inspiration simply a derivative, or a function of effectively conveying ideas, profound ideas, or, is there a method of inspiring? Because it seems to me, with the drama, Shakespeare and Schiller and others, are able to contain the power of inspiration. They're able to, they know exactly how to uplift the audience who's watching the drama unfold. Whereas, sometimes when we're organizing, it will take that later reflection in the evening, after the day is over, to realize that, "Oh well, I did inspire this person, or I did not inspire this person here." And sometimes it's not a controlled effort.

So, I was wondering if you could speak on, how we can begin to get a sense of how to inspire both those around us in the organization, and those that we meet every day.

LaRouche: On the question of the role of Classical tragedy: See, as you know, you've got two ways of talking. People talk to see themselves convincing somebody else of something, when they may not be convinced themselves. It's like a typical lawyer, who tries to appear to be convinced that his client is guilty, but tries to pretend otherwise.

No, the Classical drama is a natural way of life. It's a matter of reliving, recalling, an actual experience, but recalling it again, and again, and again. Try to discover what the experience was. The process is very much like scientific discovery. In scientific discovery, we're dealing with evidence, sense perceptual evidence. We know the evidence. We've gone through it again, and again, and again, but the answer is not yet clear. There is no clear answer.

So, we visit it again, and again, and again. We rework the experience in our own mind. We reconduct the experiment. We do it over and over again. Until finally we get an understanding of the principle which solves the question, of what is determining this process. What principle, what idea has determined this process.

Now, what do you do then? Provided you've done that, and you know what you are talking about, which is a rather rare capacity in today's population—most people talk a great deal, but they never pause to find out what it is they're talking about. They hope they convince somebody else that they're very smart, or they're very persuasive, or they're sexy, or whatever, but what they are talking about is left rather uncertain. Unfortunately in some cases, fortunately in others.

So, therefore, how do you communicate? What you do is you take your experience of an idea. You take from your knowledge and discovery of the idea, you take the facts as you know them, the facts of sense perception as you know them. And now you craft them together, as a story. A story of the facts. But now you understand the facts, because you understand the idea. So therefore, you can now recite, retrace the steps, which lead to the discovery of the idea, for somebody else. Therefore, you can now tell the story of what happened, in a way that other people can now see what was behind what happened.

This was the thing that Helga dealt with yesterday on this question of the Classical drama, particularly, she described the way in which the first part of the drama sets the stage, the stage for a very complex process, to make the stage clear to the audience, before getting into the meat of the drama itself.

That's the kind of thing. The advantage of that kind of training in Classical drama, as in Shakespeare and so forth, as in Schiller also; this idea of learning how to tell a story, which is a true story. The facts, as empirical facts, are true. The question is, what do the facts mean? Which of the facts are significant? Which are not significant to the meaning of the whole process? And therefore, you tell the story in a way which makes it possible for others to see what the meaning of this process was, and you collect the facts, and present the facts, in ways that they can see the meaning.

You take similarly, a simple situation in politics. You try to present the facts of a person's life back to them, or the experience, back to them. You have to prompt them to see, and you lead them to seeing what the principle is, what the idea is, which brings these facts into some meaningful correlation. And that's exactly how you convey it.

The Shaping of the Youth Movement

Don't worry about the youth problem. For example, let's take the case of what the youth have done in California and elsewhere, with Archytas and with the Gauss studies. These young guys can now present the ideas of Gauss, these ideas, and related ideas, in a way that most professors in universities could not. Because they've worked through it in a proper way. Now, they can take and express these ideas at Harvard University, where there's a lot of ignorance about what mathematics is. And you get in Harvard Square, they get a response. "Well, I don't do this," says Professor so-and-so. "I don't know what this is all about."

So, by learning to communicate ideas, and how to bring the facts which correlate with these ideas, into play in the minds of an audience. That is, you can do it in physical science, in demonstrating the case of the Archytas solution for the doubling of the cube, and similar kinds of things that our young people do. This development of this capacity in these ways, enable them to take almost any subject, and approach almost any subject in the same way. Whether politics, economics, whatnot.

My concern in the shaping of the youth movement, my part of the shaping of it—because it wasn't all mine—was to concentrate on this aspect of the process. Forget all this stuff you're supposed to learn. Forget the textbook! Forget this, forget that! Concentrate on what you can know. What you can know as a principle, a provable principle of nature. Train yourself to think in that way. Don't waste your time with other kinds of discussions and explanations. Concentrate on presenting what you can know to be the truth, and present that to people in ways that they, hearing you, and following your argument, can also make their own independent experience of the same discovery. If you can do that for the Archytas case, and for other cases in physical science, in the elements of physical science, the same method works in the area of politics and art in general. Do you know how to communicate? Do you know how to define ideas? Not as opinions, but as ideas. Do you know how to sort out a mass of facts, which bear upon an idea, to discover which of those facts are the correlatives which lead to the discovery of the idea?

Once you can do that, and do that as many people who have been spending several years doing this in the youth movement have, then you have developed the ability to develop ideas, and to communicate them. And that's what you concentrate on.

You have to educate people, you have to think of everything as like a case in history, to relive history: the history of the discovery of ideas, the transmissions of ideas of science—this is history. You have to learn to relive history, to experience it in your own mind, to think that way, as a great scientist thinks in elementary terms: as the great scientists of the past give examples of this. And then apply that, to communicating all kinds of ideas, or simply stating a problem in a way that might lead to the discovery of an idea.

And suddenly, someone looks at you, even such a person of such status as an ordinary adult, and says, "Hey, I see, you really know what you're talking about, don't you?" And he wipes his jaw, and goes away, saying "I've got to think about that." And that's the process, typical of the process, the way it works.

These young guys are doing it. It's when they don't flinch, when they don't try to take shortcuts, when they don't try to fake it, in short, that everything works fine.

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