A Vision for the Future of Humanity
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the international Schiller Institutes (www.schillerinstitute.org), delivered this address to the Oct. 7 closing plenary of the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations, Oct. 4-7, 2012 in Rhodes, Greece. Zepp-LaRouche had previously addressed the Rhodes Forum in 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2009 (when Lyndon LaRouche also spoke there). Subheads have been added.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There were many important issues discussed during the last days, but I agree with Professor Dallmayr, that we cannot conclude this conference without focusing again on the reality that we, as a civilization, are on the verge of thermonuclear war. The possibility of a military attack on Iran; the escalation of the situation between Syria and Turkey; the deployment of U.S. aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific close to these contested islands, and [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton's statement that any attack on these islands would bring the U.S.-Japan military treaty into play; the agreement of the Spanish government to participate in the NATO anti-missile defense shields—all of these developments demonstrate that we are in mortal danger.
During the last weeks, the existential danger in which the human species now finds itself has become clear for all thinking people. The almost continuous policy of "regime change," after the collapse of the Soviet Union, bombed Iraq "back to the Stone Age," plunged Libya into anarchy, turned Afghanistan into a nightmare, and victimized the secular state of Syria with foreign intervention and religious warfare, and, in the case of military operations against Iran, could lead to an uncontrollable worldwide wildfire.
The Near and Middle East threaten to become a new Balkans, in which existing alliances, like those before World War I, led to a conflagration. The unthinkable could occur: that Mutual Assured Destruction no longer functions as a deterrent, but thermonuclear weapons are deployed, leading to the extinction of the human race. Not at some possible time, but within the next weeks.
Crashing into a Brick Wall
The dynamic which is driving the war danger is accentuated by the accelerating collapse of the trans-Atlantic financial system. [Federal Reserve chairman Ben] Bernanke's euphemistically named "Quantitative Easing III" liquidity expansion is just as hyperinflationary as [European Central Bank president] Mario Draghi's "whatever it takes," unlimited purchase of state bonds through the European Central Bank. Hyperinflationary money printing, in connection with brutal austerity—in the tradition of Chancellor Brüning—against the population and real economy has already had a life-shortening effect upon millions of people in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, and threatens to plunge Europe into a firestorm of social chaos.
Humanity is in the process of crashing into a brick wall at full speed. The question which we urgently must answer is whether the human species, confronted with its own self-destruction, is intelligent enough to change course in time, from the presently ruinous paradigm of attempting the consolidation of a world empire, and the feigned legitimization for resolution of geopolitical conflicts by means of war, and replacing that paradigm with another, which is viable for humanity.
To solve this problem, we have to address an epistemological problem: We must repudiate the relics of the methods of thinking that are anchored in the oligarchical system, including deductive, positivist, empiricist, monetarist, or linear statistical projection concepts expressing a bad infinity, as they belong to a worldview that has nothing to do with the laws of the real physical universe, nor the creativity of human reason.
Thinking 'from Above'
Instead, we must craft—with the same creativity and love of humanity, as that of Nicholas of Cusa, Johannes Kepler, Gottfried Leibniz, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Friedrich Schiller, Vladimir Vernadsky, or Albert Einstein, to name but a few—a vision of a better future for mankind, which, of course, can only be realized when enough forces unite themselves for this good cause.
Such a vision can never be the result of Aristotelian thinking, or become a "consensus" of solutions for many small side-issues, i.e., thinking from "below," but comes from thinking "from above." Nicholas of Cusa had, with his method of coincidentia oppositorum, the coincidence of opposites, whereby the One has a higher order of power than the Many, laid the cornerstone on which not only the priniciple of the Peace of Westphalia and international law were built, but also a universal method of problem- and conflict-solving, which is still valid today.
This means we must begin with the definition of the common aims of mankind. What could be more important than the ontological question of "esse," being, that we are able to secure the prolonged sustainable existence of the human species?
By virtue of the anti-entropic lawfulness of the physical universe, the enduring existence of humanity requires a constant rise in the potential relative population density and a continually expanding energy-flux density in production processes. If we want to find a solution to the twofold existential threat to mankind—the danger of thermonuclear world war and the systemic economic crisis—then the new paradigm must bring itself into cohesion with the order of creation. We need a plan for peace for the 21st Century, a vision which simultaneously inspires the imagination and hopes of man.
Despite having all the scientific and technological means at hand to guarantee humane conditions of life, while there are over 1 billion people subject to hunger and malnourishment, while 25,000 children—a small city—die daily from hunger, while 3 billion live in poverty and are denied their human rights, is it not then our sacred duty to actually deploy those means? We need a large-scale development strategy, building on the ideas of the United Nations Development Decades of the 1950s and '60s, rejecting completely the paradigm change of the past 40-50 years as the wrong track, and thus reviving the idea of "Peace Through Development."
The World Land-Bridge
Such a vision could be the implementation of the World Land-Bridge with its many great projects like NAWAPA, the tunnel under the Bering Strait, the development of the Arctic, expansion of the Eurasian Land-Bridge, above all into the Near and Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, including linking Africa to the World Land-Bridge through tunnels under the Strait of Gibraltar, linking Spain and Morocco, and also between Sicily and Tunisia.
There are two large regions of this planet where lack of development cries for vengeance, one being the African continent, that was never allowed to recuperate from the centuries-long colonial exploitation; and the second being the Near and Middle East, which are currently way behind their golden periods, when Baghdad was the center of world culture, or when Palmyra Tadmur in Syria was a pearl on the ancient Silk Road. We must put on the agenda for discussion a vision for an economic and cultural Renaissance for these regions, representing an element of reason at a higher level than the local, ethnic, and historical conflicts. Were the representatives of a group of large nations to bring such a message to the world community, showing that, in fact, there is a real alternative that would make possible the survival of all people on this planet, then that element of hope could be brought into the debate, which is presently completely lacking.
Strategic Defense of Earth
The same kind of thinking using the standpoint of coincidentia oppositorum, thinking from "above," as applied to overcoming the underdevelopment on Earth with the World Land-Bridge, we also need for defense from the dangers to all of us on the planet which come from space. Russia, with its project for the Strategic Defense of the Earth, SDE, has made a proposal for the cooperation of Russia and the U.S.A., and potentially more countries, for joint missile defense and the protection of Earth from asteroid and comet impact, which can replace the current geopolitical confrontation and the existential threat of its escalation.
The SDE project is in the tradition of the SDI, the Strategic Defense Initiative, the proposal for overcoming the nuclear threat and division of the world into military blocs, which my husband Lyndon LaRouche developed over 30 years ago, and which President Ronald Reagan made the official policy of the American government in 1983.
The SDE project, which includes early warning systems for man-made and natural catastrophes, as well as cooperation in manned space flight, is the absolutely necessary economic science driver that the crisis-ridden world economy needs in order to achieve higher levels of productivity and create the new scientific and technological capacities that are also needed for the solution to the problems on Earth. Joint manned space travel is the necessary next step for the evolution of mankind. And with the "extraterrestial imperative," as called for by the renowned scientist and rocket engineer Krafft A. Ehricke, mankind can now enter into an age of adulthood, leaving behind, like childhood diseases, the solving of conflicts through war.
The Common Aims of Mankind
If we promptly succeed in unifying ourselves around the vision of achieving the common aims of mankind, and consciously present this perspective as a war-avoidance strategy, then it can inspire the imagination of the younger generation, which is now threatened worldwide by mass unemployment and desperate hopelessness. If the young people develop the same passion and elevated concepts as the pioneers of space travel once had, who now are encouraged with the instruments which the Mars rover Curiosity is deploying, and which have now shifted the sense-experience of man, admittedly, with a 14-minute delay, the world has entered a new phase space; if young people develop that passion, then we have won. In the next phase of mankind, man will think like scientists and the composers of great works of Classical art.
We either act now, in this moment of existential danger, on the common aims of mankind, or we will not exist.