This transcript appears in the April 22, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
We Are Creating a World Movement
This is an edited transcript of Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s concluding remarks after the final panel of the Schiller Institute’s April 9, 2022 conference, “To Establish a New Security and Development Architecture for all Nations.” Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche is the founder of the Schiller Institute.
What we are trying to do is create a world movement of people who fight against the danger of nuclear war, who fight for a new paradigm, and obviously, when you are trying to put together a movement all over the world, you cannot expect that when you come together for the first time everybody is in total agreement. If you agree on the most basic questions, which is that we absolutely cannot have a nuclear war, and that we need a new paradigm because the old institutions are failing, then that is a good beginning! And if there are other questions which are not so clear, or people have different views, well, that’s not a problem, because we are all in the process of hopefully learning, of self-perfection.
Dennis Speed just said that you can undo your axioms. This is very important because—how is it that people react to the same event in such different ways? How does it come that people have different interpretations of the same thing, that they jointly experienced? It has to do with the axioms and theorems, because the axioms determine what you think and how you look at a certain thing. And that’s why I earlier kept mentioning the image of man. The image of man is one of the most essential axioms: Because either you think each human being is potentially limitlessly perfectible and potentially limitlessly good—that is one idea; or, you think that just a small group of people should have all the privileges and they should rule over backward people—that’s a different axiom. Or you think man is bad, evil by definition, and you need a strong state, like a Leviathan to keep such bad persons under control.
These are all completely different images of man, though the second two are very similar. Therefore, one has to start with fundamental ideas, axioms. The Schiller Institute is called Schiller Institute, because of the German poet Friedrich Schiller. One of his most important is about why we should study universal history. [“What Is, and To What End, Do We Study Universal History?”]
I can only emphasize everybody should read that. It will give you an approach to what we want to accomplish and how we think. He starts that beautiful treatise with the confrontation of what he calls the “philosophical mind” and the “bread-fed scholar.” He says, the philosophical mind is somebody who loves truth much more than his system, and he is the one who takes apart the system to put it together more perfectly, because he loves truth more than all ideologies and doctrines. As compared to the “bread-fed scholar,” who learns up to a certain point, then he gets his university degree. But then, after that, he does not want to have any more knowledge, because he already has learned and now he doesn’t want to have the pain of learning new things all the time. And therefore, he becomes the most reactionary, because he fends off all new inventions and new knowledge.
You have very few people, unfortunately, who are such philosophical minds. But that is what counts. Because if you have people who have many opinions, and who say, “my opinion is as good as your opinion,” well then, you end up in the kind of cacophony that we experience today. And that is being manipulated by the media. Our mass media which have studied how to manipulate the view of people, how to “nudge” them. There’s actually a book, Nudge by Cass Sunstein; it’s a terrible book, which describes how to manipulate people to cause them to think the opposite of what they were thinking before.
So how do you fight in a world which is so complex, and so difficult, with so many different challenges? How do you deal with that? I can only say, that in order to make this beautiful human race—and there is only one race, by the way; there are not several races, only one human race—how do you make sure that mankind can survive this very difficult situation? I think it depends on a lot of people, who take the development of their own minds seriously enough that you become a truth-seeking person. And truth-seeking persons—the only people who normally fit that category, are scientists, because they have to test scientific principle, because if they don’t test it, it’s not valid. And they have to go deeper and deeper into the matter, and great artists.
We had many friends in the last decades from many fields who were truth-seeking people. I give you one example: Norbert Brainin, who was the first violinist of the Amadeus Quartet. He was a very close friend of my husband and he and I also liked each other a lot, but he described how the Amadeus Quartet was actually accomplished in the great art which they could perform. He said, they took the late Beethoven quartets, and they would rehearse them, over and over, until they were certain that they had an approximation of what Beethoven, the composer, had intended to do. That is what I call “truth-seeking.”
So, if you are a truth-seeking person, then you may not be perfect, and you may not know everything at once, not even at the end of your life, but you have developed a method of honesty in trying to get to the truth. Right now, I think the more people really work from the things which we absolutely can know as certain, and that is, that we have to save this beautiful human species, and that we have to have an image of man that is optimistic, which takes man as unlimitedly perfectible, and that that identity of an unlimitedly perfectible human mind is in cohesion with the laws of the physical universe.
There is a simple proof of that, which is the fact that the human mind can generate a valid idea and if that valid idea is applied and leads to a deeper discovery of a physical principle of the universe, that that is called “scientific progress.” And that is then, if it is applied in the production process, in the form of a technology, then that leads to an increase of the productivity and the increase of the living standard, the longevity; and if you look at the evolution—and Caleb was talking about it very nicely earlier in the panel—if you take that from the standpoint of the evolution of last, the let’s say, 10,000 years, you see an enormous progress, in what human creativity has accomplished.
Now, that proves that an immaterial idea, something which is being created by the mind, which has no weight—an idea has no length, it doesn’t have any matter—but, it can change the physical universe. That means that there must be a cohesion between mental creativity and the lawfulness of the universe, because otherwise we would still do the same thing as the beavers and the rabbits and all the other beautiful animals, which we also like. But they can’t do what human beings can do. And because there is such a cohesion between human creativity and the laws of the universe, you have something to work with to become a truth-seeking person. And I think that that is a quality which is absolutely required, if we want to win this very crucial battle.