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This article appears in the August 3, 2012 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

The Human Mind: Two Views

by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

July 22, 2012

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This is to be heard in the mind of the reader, according to no intended choices of punctuation differing from those which I prescribed for being heard in the reader's mind as I have written here. There lies the authentic meanings of what I have thought, in writing this here. The distinctions so emphasized, are crucial for a proper comprehension of the content presented. Shakespeare is to be imagined as hearing, from wherever he may be found presently.

The subject of the ontological basis for defining the concept of the human mind, had come up again, as what has appeared to be, a persistent continuation of what should have been finally resolved, as the agreed conclusion reached between Max Planck and Wolfgang Köhler. Planck had concurred, systemically, with Köhler's principle, that of the systemic unity of the function of the human mind. The unsettled aspect of what was, only nominally the same subject-matter, is what I shall identify as that matter still at issue, below, actually, on a different (and dubious) subject. That other subject was presented by some as a differing, actually reductionist-leaning view, found among some persons. The difference was expressed, as what I had encountered as an uncertainty, by some observers, respecting a still unsettled distinction, of "mind," from "brain."

In any case, certain positive advances in that subject-matter strongly merit re-examination presently.

In my own, rather long-standing, and now matured view of the matter,[1] I had tended to enjoy the privilege, of a certain degree of indifference, to such quibbles from critics of Köhler's argument on the subject of the unity of mind. Nonetheless, speaking of ontological matters, it has remained of relatively crucial significance, to point out, that the relevant professionals had failed to grasp the concept of mind, as Köhler and Planck had done. The issue so posed, here, is a subject-area which requires some carefully chosen insights. At bottom, the subject remains, essentially ontological, not literary, in its nature.

The treatment is of the same subject-matter, as by Johann Sebastian Bach, Arthur Nikisch, and Wilhelm Furtwängler; all of which continues to be of first-rate relevance. So, Bach's Preludes and Fugues, presents us with a crucially relevant case of the ontological issues, the issue of the ordering of present and future in the actual communication of ideas.

I. An Ontological Issue

The most direct route of investigation for locating, and understanding the problem which I am considering here, must begin with attention to certain, crucial questions, questions which arise from distinctions respecting the contrast, between a competent insight into sense-perception as such, and the reductionist's degree of dependence on a-priorist notions. For the purpose of locating the distinction between the two, insight versus literally mathematical arguments as such, the latter are close to, or perhaps worse than useless, that as a matter of principle. The means required, for the purpose of such distinctions, must include provision for an escape from that contemptible trap, which is describable as "literal sense-perception," as such.

The key word for all such discussions, is "metaphor." For example, as one of the greatest scientists in modern history, Johannes Kepler, treated the principle of metaphor in creating the only originally competent insight, into the principle of gravitation (despite the failings of some otherwise well-qualified scientists, on that subject). Let us now proceed accordingly.

The predicament which this fact represents, is to be traditionally addressed, by assuming, that the object of sense-perception, is merely a shadow of reality, as in the role of metaphor in Classical drama, such as, for example, the role of Birnam Wood in Shakespeare's Macbeth, or, as taken from the core of a most crucial soliloquy, from Act III, of Shakespeare's Hamlet, as follows:

"But, that the dread of something after death—
That undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus, conscience doth make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their current turn awry,
And lose, the name of action—"[2]

The action, thus, is typical of all profound moments in Classical drama, as in Hamlet, and as in the closing scene of Macbeth. To convey meaningful conceptions, especially in matters bearing on my subject in this report, it is essential to assist the audience's access to understanding of the actual intention, through aid of the reflection of some potently influential, shadow, whose true image lurks, as if hidden, beyond the reach of sense-perception. This demands sensitivity to prescience of a moving, imagined shadow, which mimics the thought of unseen, and unheard, marching feet. Such was Kepler's certainty of the unseen motive of a planetary domain. Such is the true principle of metaphor. I explain.

The issue is a matter of a double-error. The problem to be avoided is the commonplace ignorance which is commonly expressed as a childish adoption of what you might take for certainty, a misplaced confidence, in what you, customarily, mistakenly, presume as being, in fact, as an experienced pseudo-certainty. A pseudo-certainty which you may also experience as your self-deluded confidence, respecting the efficacy of your own motives. Without the contrast represented by those two, you would actually know, essentially, nothing. It is by the—shall I not say, "vicarious hypothesis," so presented? That you might be enabled, as Kepler was enabled, to solve the riddle in which the two, counterposed actions—yours and theirs—might touch upon a reality found, uniquely, in the domain of metaphorical counter-position.

That is the method required, for the discovery, by mankind, of a convergence of provable truth, which can be wittingly experienced, only through mankind's experience of history, as since the belated rediscovery of the real-life Troy.

The considerations which that method employs, are to be the discovery of, the otherwise unknowable reality, with which mankind is, very often confronted. These are, thus, to be made known, with an allowable degree for a discoverable margin of error.

Only the long sweep of an unfolding, of an actual history, as, often, only the greatest poets and playwrights have presented an insight into reality, could provide the basis for the relevant convergence which is required for an experience of the truth. It is by this method, when driven forward by a passion for the discovery of a truth opposing all obstacles to relevant insight, that mankind is enabled to prosper through the uncovering of those otherwise unsensed processes, the which we may regard as insight into actual "history," as of the Bach, Nikisch, and Furtwängler who have demonstrated those relevant, Classical poetic principles, which underlie true insight, into history.[3]

Hence, it is the Classical, poetical method, which carries the mind into proximity with what might be judged as truthful, even if not perfectly so. It is the progress toward advances in discovery of truthful forms of knowledge and practice, as in the case of the great Passions of Bach combined as a single, growing intention, which is what we might have wished to adopt as "the heritage of the principle of history."

Thus, there is no "outside authority," which is not subject to the effects of those changes within that universe which we inhabit, or which we might seek to inhabit. What rules us, is that view considered as an authority governing truth and falsehood, alike. We must reconcile ourselves, to the reality, that we are enveloped by what we may call, universal creation. This to be done, by virtue of attention to our active relationship to the seeking of the discovery of the actual universality which envelops our existence. It is that universe—that universe!—which demands our self-development, as if in the self-improvement of our universe, that done toward the effect of serving the higher intentions defining our responsibilities, as we might choose to say, to serve.

That latter prospect, is that which confronts mankind, as our presently living moment, of universal history. That is what merits the Classical poet's name for a scientific quality of truth. Fiction, at its best, is thus deprived of its own best hiding places, and thereby made free. Such has been shown by the work of such as Bach, Nikisch, Furtwängler, and Planck, Einstein, and Wolfgang Köhler. The profession varies, but the mission remains the same.

In the preceding set of opening remarks, I have removed certain gratuitous, relatively incomplete, and probably wrong presumptions respecting our existence in this universe. What this accomplishes, is to assist us in pushing aside useless questions (useless, because there is virtually nothing presently known about them, which we might be enabled to exploit successfully, until we have progressed, to know better). Keep trying, but only honestly, within the bounds of an extended discovery of real history, through the aid of the great Classical dramatist, who is a better authority, respecting the pathway to truth, than any other historian. That leaves us with the advantage, of un-cluttering our ability to know what could be foreseen, and, thus, to know better for the time being.

In my immediately preceding remarks, I do not exaggerate in the least. The following argument, must be interpolated here.

What Is it That We Actually Know?

I think it more than fairly said, of people whom I know, that, as a matter of general custom, they sometimes tend to make themselves ignorant, by claiming to know too much collateral stuff for them to digest, or, too little to reveal any truth; and, therefore, if they claimed less, they might have learned, actually, much more. The case of metaphor, which I had just presented here, is typical, of that case.

The pestilence called sense-certainty, is among the leading causes of virtual stupidity respecting the important subjects for mankind. By seeking to know what sense-certainty could not know, merely in and of itself, one ends up virtually knowing actually nothing but that which the ordinary reporters might pretend to believe. The latter is typified by the errors associated, with those investigators, who are my implied subject in this report. Hence, the necessity of the reliance on the principle of metaphor, as Kepler, for example, defined it.

We do not actually know, as we might imagine that we know sense-certainty itself. We must uncover, as such as Planck and Köhler had done, that which lies beyond the seemingly impenetrable sensual boundaries of the sense-perceptual existence as such. We must be content, on this account, exactly as Kepler presented the case in the course of his discovery of the principle of universal gravitation.

Sometimes, not pretending to know more than you actually know, is the available opening to genuine scientific progress, as in the instance of the work, approaching, or somewhat beyond the Nineteenth Century and somewhat later achievements of Max Planck, Albert Einstein, and, then, V.I. Vernadsky and Wolfgang Köhler. Removing the rubbish, helps to create a better neighborhood for honest ideas. That is what, for example, Johannes Kepler had accomplished, as in his intentional following of the greatest mind of two or more centuries, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, before him.

I am not recommending "generalities." They claim too much, without actual reason, and bury themselves, like cheap popular dramas, under a mass of "nothings."

Practicing Science

Take the illustrative cases of what have been my own successes as a forecaster in economy, as against my putative rivals. The rivals seek to claim the ability to command the future from within the past, as through reliance on past experience, and thus tend to complain that the future is implicitly unknowable. This, of course, was precisely the same argument made against Johann Sebastian Bach: actually, living persons of true consequence, dwell in the future, not the past.

How could you know the future, if you are clinging fanatically to deductions from the past? Take Bach's method, for an example, as the accomplished scientist and musician, Max Planck would do, or the violinist Albert Einstein, or all the greatest musical composers from Bach through Johannes Brahms. Bach insisted, by the virtue of his practice, on composing only for the sake of the future contained within his own compositions, and protested against those pompous dullards confined to an either deceased or never-born past. There is nothing eccentric in this principle; the difference of man from beast, is that man has the unique capability of not only knowing how to determine the future, but to live in it, rather than, as Romantics do, making other people's "potties" for pleasing the appetites of the past.

A Case from Present History

It is essential for the competent scientist, like the really serious dramatist, to compose what are in practice, if not "literal fact," a reflection of principled truths, truths which attempt to deal with the consequences which the present actually inserts into the future, as all great Classical tragedy adopts that policy as a mission to be delivered to the future of the present. There is a truthful, if nonetheless, sometimes seemingly ordinary way, of treating this subject; this goes directly, as, also otherwise, to the principle of the human's potential abilities, to foresee, the meaning which is the surrogate of the actual future.

This, for example, addresses, more or less precisely, the most dangerous and commonplace blunders which appear in the shaping of opinion among my own youthful associates' sometimes occasional lack of ability either to recognize, or to cope with the idea of an actual future which is looming as a threat ahead of them. This is the fundamental principle of competent physical science, of the study of history, and the crafting of victory in warfare.

On this account, the mental disorder which I encounter, frequently, among my young associates, and also numerous others, is the inability to grasp the fact, that the only thing in life, for mankind, is the birth of the future. Deductive people, often seem to be very much like those virtually dead, but still living people whose dominant characteristic is the lack of a practical approach to dealing with a future which they have yet to meet, but which is moving to take them over sooner than they might allow themselves to imagine. For them, the future lies only in the proximate consequences of dumbed-down past experience.

Specifically, the problem which I have just pointed out, is a very real, and very important one. It is not really what might be classed as "a natural error," but one which is, rather, commonly "unnatural" under conditions such as those of prevalent forms of "popular" opinion presently. The effect of this is often met as the prevalent incompetence among our current generations of "the professional economic forecasters," who rely upon what is defined by "statistical forecasters" whose nominally professional commitment is to the worship of statistical "death." They worship "statistics," which means that they possess no rational insight into the scientific actuality of the existence of a future (unless they had committed the relevant crime, themselves).

"Tell me what is en route to happening within some part of the decade immediately before them, rather than their typical inclination to adduce the existence of the future from a past which exists no more." Such are the putrid effects of the typical notion of "lessons from past experience." The fooled person, adduces the future as a simple extension of the past and present, most of them preferring to shun the present, in favor of memories "carbon-copied" from experiences of past times.

Think of deceased great artists, statesmen, and true heroes from times recently past. Which, young or old?—might prove to have been the more valuable to the cause of humanity? It is the deed in history of past and future, which is the standard of truth, if one can discover the identity of the actual author. If one has not worried about the outcome of one's life, more in terms of benefits delivered to others, as in the future, more than what is the immediate experience of now. "Truth," for most Americans, for example, presently, is little better than what they find it convenient to say in the presence of the proximate persons in the practice of the policy of lies one tells as a matter of, "Go along, to get along."

The United States of America, among other nations, is presently ensnared in the gravest threat of virtually global, and also a thermonuclear warfare which would be horrible, in fact, and even in the imagination of current history in this immediate time. In the present situation, for example, you, if you are among young adults, or slightly older, you are faced with things beyond your present ability to contribute a competent assessment of the challenges which lie immediately before you. You will not be prepared to reckon with what is true, that which is now placed immediately before you: until you have subjected yourselves to a truly deep, and truthful reassessment of your notion of a currently real, and, perhaps, presently awful experience among nations.

This consideration is of crucial significance for those confronted with the reality which I have set forth as my foresight into the experience confronting you at this time. Like the oncoming of World War II for us now, as on what we came to name "Pearl Harbor Day," certain past events, such as that one, have a certain similarity, loom now as a change in life-style, for you presently. Whether it is to be a new general war, as serious, or more serious than World War II since Pearl Harbor, remains uncertain; but, the immediate threat is already there. Whether there is war, or not, for us, the psychological requirements for encountering such an onset are already there for you.

Consider the matter which I have introduced as the subject of this report at the outset here, as already an expression of the set of options which I have identified here, this far. By not failing to face the realities of foreknowledge seen by the person whose mind is already in the future, the most monstrous past events in future history might have been averted.

II. How To Meet Your Future

We meet, whether directly, or in spirit, on the threshold of the most ominous developments in, perhaps, all known history, or even worse. Therefore, now, let us turn to consider matters in terms of certain more easily digested precedents, such as excerpts from Macbeth and Hamlet, precedents which some think, mistakenly, to have been relegated to past history, or only to the domain of the imagination.

This time, instead of coming on stage, imagine leaving the stage at the close of the performance.

Now, both here and there, you are filled with a sense of the close of warfare, or its like, as contrasted with the beginning of the experience. What, then, would be your judgment as to how you might have reacted once you were freshly filled with memories of the outcome of that recent experience? Judge yourself as the veteran coming out of that war. What are you presently willing to recognize as your state of mind, as you had been caught up in the already rising fury of warfare in progress now, as contrasted with your outlook a short time before the beginning of what is already that war now in progress? What would you wish to have now foreseen at the latter point, and during the early days of the still-oncoming process of that warfare in a future which, for the sake of our consoling self-delusion, seems not to exist?

Are you like the stubborn sinner, who did not believe in the existence of Hell: or, more likely, something which might fit its likeness?

My key point here, as in the preceding chapter, is to induce you, now, to anticipate the experience of the contrasted states of mind, at the end, and then the beginning. What does the "you" which is now older, think of the state of mind before you recognized the certainty of your being pulled into the onset of the experience? ("If I had only known then...") That is exactly where many of our young adults fail emotionally, that often rather smugly and otherwise at the present time. You could not fool me; I was there.

That is only an essential part of the report I am presenting here. There is a much deeper issue to be considered.

The Deeper Issue

I bring you, again, to the subject of the distinction of the process represented by the birth through death of an individual person, into the broader domain of the continuity of successive generations. The subject is, therefore, the distinction of the individuation of the personality, as from self to offspring (biological, or otherwise), and ancestors, too. The work of society, is not defined as the work of a particular individual, but, rather a mission which is represented by a sequence of lives, a sequence, a process, which embodies, and thus transcends, individual mortality.

Presuming that the present population does not permit such as President Barack Obama to lead the world into thermonuclear self-extermination, as Obama presently threatens to do, the current thrust toward the realization of Solar-systemic missions, which scientific development has placed into position within the nearby planets and beyond, will intensify family ties, rather than lessen them.

There are several factors to be taken account in this connection. The most significant of these factors will be the virtual eruption in individual productivity, which means those effects on individual productivity which such as the progressive development of thermonuclear fusion, and beyond, confers as a power deployed by a massive increase in the individual human's power in the Solar system.

Furthermore, the increased role of human individuals in space, and in related exploration and development, enhances the significance of the individual beyond anything in the customary reach of the individual's and the individual family's social importance during the remainder of this present century. The effect, will be expressed in terms of a sense of mission, a development which greatly expands the significance of the role of both the individual and the family far beyond past histories. This will be effected by the leap into thermonuclear fusion, and beyond, leaps expressed in a method. In effect, history itself will speed up, far beyond anything imaginable presently.

This far, in this present chapter, I have referenced your imagination. Now, consider the more probable likeness of the actual truth.

Now You Must Face the Music

The irony of sense-perception, is, first of all, that it is in a certain, very important respect, a lie, but only if you believe in the wrong way. From a scientific standpoint, there is nothing really surprising in that fact, especially if you had thought through the inherent factor of self-deception associated with a notion of certainty in the matters of human sense-perception. The lie, in such a case, is not sense-perception itself. Sense-perception, properly respected for what is, should be recognized, and often promptly: it represents a set of signals, so to speak, which fully sane persons do not ignore.

Then, that much said. Shall we say, "Granted the music, what is the song?" Or, some might ask, "Is the truth we do not know presently, as innocent as we might wish to believe?"

The question which I have just posed, does not signify, for me, at least, that there is intentional malice in our lack of direct means provided by creation for discovering a fuller truth. I think quite to the contrary. I might be considered pessimistic by some, in having said that; but, there is no such outlook existing in my opinion. The matter of issues to be considered, runs in the following summary outlook. We know, to the credit of leading scientists, as, notably, since the time of Nicholas of Cusa, that mankind has the means within us to produce capabilities which are tantamount in effect to added supplements to what is named as "sense-perception" beyond the initial array of the inborn. At precisely this moment of writing here, I change the subject of what is called "sense-perception," and do that radically, to the following effect.

The history of physical science has presented the practice of science with means which "attach themselves," so to speak, to the given senses. In the history of physical science, beginning with the specific distinction of mankind, that of the willful employment of fire, mankind's knowledge has never been limited to the so-called "standard array" of sense-perceptions. The instant that mankind has extended the willful use of fire to change man's effective conditions for controlling the use of fire as a qualitatively new dimension of willfully changing man's nature itself, the existence of mankind has ceased to be defined by mere sense-perception; the role of mind has transformed the practical nature of the human species, and, therefore, generated an addition of definitions of the nature of the human species which is expressed by efficient means beyond the existence of the initial array of biological senses.

Indeed, progress in certain among the applications of the development of man's culture, has enabled us to develop both prosthetical and comparable "artificial" means, whose application has replaced injured or failed natural senses and other parts of the living human's body. We can only estimate how medical science, for example, might go toward further success in this direction. The point to be emphasized here, is that such developments in human behavior, have demonstrated a categorical species-difference of man from beast. That, however, is only the first consideration to be taken into account.

While we can account for prosthetic substitutes among non-human life-forms, that, considered by itself, does not define the case. The crucial case lies in not only those specific kinds of prosthetics which are essential for activating added dimensions of the human nervous system's range of applicable powers of mind in the category of instruments such as the effects of Johannes Kepler's discovery and development of categories of mental capabilities which do not exist among beasts, nor in categories of what exist among any other known living species, and, probably never will.

A typical demonstration of this fact, is shown in the fraud which the late Bertrand Russell introduced to the misled, bestial types of adaptions typified by the foolish claims of Russell's dupe, Alexander I. Oparin. Mankind is self-defined as unique with respect to all known others as being a creative being in the universe, as like no other known to us presently. That might be stated otherwise, as pointing in the direction of the actual meaning of the "human soul," more or less precisely as in the collaboration between Max Planck and Wolfgang Köhler.

That is a relatively "bare-bones" argument. The implications go much further, and, also, deeper. The functions of the human mind go much further and deeper than I have argued in this present chapter, thus far. Mankind itself has generated entirely new equivalents for "biological" categories of mental capabilities whose characteristics are those of a typical function specific in to the notion of the human soul.

What, Therefore, Is Religion?[4]

The often-heard, pathetic sort of discussion of religious beliefs of mankind, is what is fairly considered as a belittling of the Christian, in particular, estimation of the capabilities with which mankind's innate creative powers are endowed. There is, for example, a helpful reference on the subject of my complaint found in the work of Philo called "of Alexandria." What is put in some relative jeopardy on this account, is the belittling of mankind which can be traced efficiently to the evils inherent in the oligarchical system, a system which employs the device of the belittling of the human "underdog" for such purposes as the cause of serfdom.

We have, lately, been confronted with the essential need, for the continued existence of the human species, of mankind's accelerating progress in the role of increasing the science-dependent capabilities for the very continued existence of the human species. We can not, under existing circumstances, continue the imposition of practices comparable to slavery or serfdom on our planet. The very continued existence of the human species is becoming conditional on such means to secure continued human existence, not only within the range of current trends for Earth in the galaxy presently, not only within the galactic pattern Earth is entering presently, but, rather soon at increasing risk to Earth's existence within the Solar system itself.

These dangers could be addressed by science-driven progress. The notion that a Creator would have desired the extermination of the human species, would be a terribly evil delusion by the proponents of such a cause.

The categories of human-driven advances in qualities of the means on which continued human existence depends, can therefore be attributed to the monsters who conducted the siege of Troy and the siege's outcome, but not to honest human beings. Further, there is no speculation, but only fact, in stating that the oligarchical system's record is that of something evil.

In any case, while the immediate prospects of mankind's continued existence under a science-progress increase of the relative energy-flux density of applied power per capita and per square kilometer on Earth itself, is the prospect for nations under sane rule, there is a danger of a future dysfunctional state for human existence on Earth. Naturally, mankind must enhance the conditions of life for our species, and we must favor the likeness of a "running start" for meeting the indicated ultimate contingency. This means a great deal of development of the human species itself is required in advance of the time (within the currently estimated two billions years left for the Sun) for securing and moving the entire "circus company" to new premises. Hope for a happy outcome is highly desirable, but that will take a bit of doing, especially if we are unduly laggard.

However, that much said on that, on this occasion, our obligation, beginning now, for example, is to proceed with that long-term development a human species far more capable of doing its duty in the universe, than is within our reach at this time. The best advice, is to enjoy a long journey.

[1] Which had originated as an adolescent rejection of Euclidean geometry.

[2] Thank you, Shakespeare! That was helpful.

[3] E.g., Bach's St. John and St. Matthew passions.

[4] I Corinthians 13: 12-13.

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