On Composing a New Future
The following are edited transcripts from two sources. The first part is from a discussion which Lyndon LaRouche conducted with members of the LaRouche PAC Science Team on Feb. 23, 2017, and the second part consists of edited remarks from the Feb. 23 LaRouche PAC National Activist Call,1 delivered by John Sigerson, member of the Board of Directors of Schiller Institute, Inc., and National Music Director of Schiller Institute.
Jason Ross: What is it to be productive? People are so divorced from an idea of productivity, young people have no idea what productivity means. . . . The general theme has got to be, “how do we increase productivity, what is productivity, what are the ways that that gets fostered both through Glass Steagall and National Banking, to make it possible for manufacturing to return—including the public works aspect of it—on the science front, the fusion front, and on the infrastructure platform front.” The potential productivity of the whole nation takes a tremendous leap with a high speed rail network, the maglev rail network, and there is this problem that people have in thinking about this when they are looking at it piece by piece rather than the platform that is generated as the whole. So those are some of the things I want to change.
Lyndon LaRouche: Well, some of these things you might not want to change—if you think carefully, because these issues don’t come in numbers. They aren’t simple quantities. What they do is they represent an action of the mind of people and it is the action of the mind of people that determines what action is in reality. So, therefore, you don’t go to a quantity directly. You have an effect, which looks like something otherwise. But what you have to do is, you have to get to the gut of the issue itself. Hmm? You can’t, in other words, make different kinds of combinations or work them out. That doesn’t work. If it’s serious, you have to discover what the meaning of what you just saw, was. In other words, you cannot go by deduction, simple deduction. You have to actually develop a conception of how the whole system might work, and then work down to discover what that system means.
It’s the creation of the creation of an idea, which apparently came from nowhere, but was just suddenly there. Then you have to find out what that meant. You have to investigate what was the way in which this thing happened. You can’t do it by anatomic dissection. Some will do that dissection, but. . . . I don’t think we want to do that in the public streets.
Ben Deniston: Can you say more about what you mean when you say “discover how the system works as a whole?”
LaRouche: Yes, the idea is, you cannot make a deductive approach to accomplish any system. It has to be something which evolves with the independent character, distinct from other characters which have been experienced otherwise. Therefore, it has to be a justification for this characterization.
Real discovery—all real discovery—is not pragmatic. It’s always creative. You create something, in action, which would not have happened otherwise. In other words, everything that fits in, that comes in by definition itself, and it does not come because it’s a combination of things—it becomes a servant of an idea. But the servant of the idea is not something which was composed in a formal way. That’s why the so-called practical approaches to scientific work become a disaster. Because you have to deal with something which you can make this something—you can change it without changing the character of the thing.
So you get something which is independent of the particular thing, because the particular thing is not the solution. But you’ve got to find something that is so important to what you are trying to do, that you’ll stick to that and not drift off into another direction. And that characteristic, these same kinds of discoveries, are not discoveries which can be quantified. They can appear to be quantified, but they’re not of that character. It’s like creating a solar system, or a stellar system. It is not something you make by composing it, as such. It’s something that you have to call upon in order to create, to stimulate the creation of an idea which otherwise would not exist.
Ross: Composition without components.
LaRouche: That’s right! But composition with composition. So there has to be a relationship between the composition and what could have been otherwise the component. It is like making babies! You can sit it there in the crib all the way through life. But this crib does not define the baby! I hope it does not. What you are looking for is something, an idea which is necessary for a purpose, that is not something you simply deduce. Deduction process is not the means of dealing with that.
Megan Beets: Rather than making babies, I was going to say it is like making music, because the notes are necessitated by the idea.
LaRouche: Would we hope that’s the way it is going to work out. Like our friend we discussed a time ago . . . the composer you liked in the particular way, we discussed it. Kepler. Because it’s a completely different composition. It does not have compositions as such. It has something which has a higher order of composition as such. And that’s how all good things generally come about. Furtwängler was the man who made a very important turn in the understanding of composition, musical composition. That’s an example of what we mean in creativity. It’s not something you can add in numerically or any other way like that. It is something that you have to feel and create. And nothing else will do. And Furtwängler’s case is typical of that—in the latter years of his life when he came to the greatest degree of development of his powers.
That’s the difference between what you can make—by making some kind of dough or something—and creating a new idea which had no anticipation as such. Somebody did, somebody saw the idea, but they didn’t make the idea. They adapted themselves to the idea, because it is something they understood, something they had understood, only lately. That’s how great ideas come about. Like Furtwängler. Furtwängler was a very important figure in my life time.
Société Wilhelm Furtwängler/furtwangler.net
Everything that is really good is of that same nature, is composed not by putting parts together. . . The important thing is what is necessary to create a new reality in the world, as Furtwängler did. Just take the closing end of Furtwängler’s famous composition. That’s what makes the music. Not the parts. So that’s what I think our problem is, is to get a conception which is inherently intrinsic, and when the composer or the person who is functioning as if he were a composer, and effectively so, that you get a special kind of reaction in the composition as such. And that’s what I think is in real scientific work—the location of the scientific principle, just like a musical principle, like Furtwängler, and put that together. Now you have something which comes alive; alive in its own way, its own characteristics. Anybody can make a poem but very few people are competent to develop compositions. So you want to have compositions—an inherently, intrinsic characteristic of something which is composed. And the ability that this thing represents for a productive achievement—that is what the point is you have to shoot for.
That is what Krafft Ehricke did. If you look at what Krafft Ehricke did in the United States, for example, it was unique. The way he died reminded us, those of us who knew him—realized that this was a composition made by a human being, Krafft Ehricke. And the whole thing was something unique, and you would turn around and say, well, “Krafft Ehricke—What does Krafft Ehricke mean?” Krafft Ehricke means the creative powers of a person, a highly developed person, who elevated mankind to a higher level of development.
So the fact that this idea of composition was situated in those terms is exactly what you have to do if you want to do what we are doing here. You can’t synthesize something. You have to actually create it. And the creation is based on something which is inside what you are doing, but you could never interpret it. It could interpret you, but you cannot interpret it. This is the best way to get something worthwhile. Concentrate on that objective. If you want to cook something, always cook a composition. A composition is cooked, it is not made. . . I mean what are we doing here? We are taking a phenomenon, it is really strange, it is a phenomenon! That’s why it is there—it’s a phenomenon. It is not a fact—it’s a phenomenon, in the same way that Furtwängler set up his programs. So you want to create something that in and of itself has power, the power of creativity. And you will never get a simple answer. That would be wrong. If you did the right thing, then you would create something. But you wouldn’t make it out of parts. Musical composition, the same thing. And it’s fun. That’s the other part. If it’s not fun, don’t do it!
San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives
Deniston: One aspect of this is what you went after very early on, the whole information theory fraud. You have often said that was a major part of your economic work, the fallacy of information theory as a methodological approach to any kind of system, like an economy. It seems like it has also permeated science and fundamental physics, to a degree I didn’t even realize. It seems like information theory—literally breaking down the universe into a digitalized fundamental framework of yes/no information—appears to be actually a fundamental tenet of modern physics. It seems like that’s another angle on the permeation of this completely fallacious methodological, epistemological view, not just in the economics as you cited then, but in science more generally.
LaRouche: It is not the action. It is the effect. And it is the effect you create—it’s what makes the meaning of a text . . . what makes it work. It does not work by composition as such. It functions itself by being able to repeat or to develop something out of an idea, but an idea which is in itself creative. And that’s the formulation which is crucial. And people fail because they try to make things up. It’s when they realize that something has come over them, it has an intrinsic value. It has no literal composition; it just has itself and that’s what makes history great.
Like Furtwängler. He had an innovation, a capacity for innovation in a certain part of his life and that’s the way it worked. And if you listen to Furtwängler’s performances in life, that’s what you see, that’s what you get. There is no piece. There is a composition, a composition in a very special meaning—that you have an idea and this idea which flows from you on the basis of your discovery, is something unique, and is precious to you, it’s precious to mankind. That’s like the Furtwängler composition, his. . . composition, in the leading edges of what he did.
But Furtwängler’s practice, and what he said about things, and what he did in response to this idea, is clear. It can be accessed. So the idea that music, composition, that the same thing is applied to all kinds of important things which are composition. When something comes out of your mind and suddenly says something that mind has never spoken before—and yet on a second thought, the person who is expressing that thing will respond to what he or she had intended. The meaning of that experience suddenly becomes something—a force more powerful than any mere idea. And that’s what mankind has to achieve, the necessity is to get mankind to grasp this idea. Where do great ideas come from, what are great ideas, what do they represent? And that’s the secret of science.
The same thing is discovering what Krafft Ehricke did in his work. He created things, new things, entirely new things coherent with the coherent systematic quality. Out of this thing, a whole story begins to evolve as something which has never been seen before. The point is to get rid of the amateurs. The amateurs are no use to science. When all the stars you want to study represent mankind as a whole, that’s what you have to do. The problem is that most of the great politicians have no intellect. They only have bad. But the Furtwängler case is really a very good example of what the issue is. It is the idea of how do you create something which is beautiful. What is beauty? There is no such thing as beauty in the simple sense. It’s the effect. Beauty lies in the effect it represents. I think by now you probably see more clearly what my argument is. And for me that’s the principle of composition. It has many aspects and expressions but they all have one quality.
The National Activist Call
John Sigerson: Hello everybody. I wanted to approach what we’re doing from a standpoint which I hope will make you happy. What we’re doing is not just protecting the presidency; we’re actually “composing” the presidency—that’s our job. When I say “composing,” I mean composing from the standpoint of, say, a poetic composition. Just today, Lyndon LaRouche was having a discussion with some of our people and he pointed out along these lines, and I quote, “Anyone can make a poem, but very few people can make a real composition, that is, a composition that has an underlying idea, a principle behind it.” And this began to strike me with the Trump Presidency the other day, when he gave his very combative press conference to the media, attacking the media, which I’m sure you heard about, and probably listened to. At last Saturday’s Manhattan Meeting, I pointed out something which struck me, which is the way he used the term “the failing New York Times.” And I sensed a note of poetry in what the President was doing there, because he said it a number of times, and it created a kind of breath of fresh air for me, and I think for everybody, because it broke a taboo, which is you’re never supposed to say anything bad about the New York Times. It changed the whole attitude of the population, without people even knowing about it. We’ve seen the results of that even in our organizing over the last week, and I’m sure we’re going to hear reports about that.
There was another incident with the President that I wanted to point out, which is even more amazing, which was the—you may have heard about this—the comments that Trump made in commemorating Black History Month. He was talking about Frederick Douglass, who of course was an incredible fighter in the 19th Century against slavery. President Trump said the following, “Frederick Douglass is an example of someone who has done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.”
The liberal media went absolutely wild over what Trump said. Why? You would say, well, why is that? Let me read you what the Washington Post said. “The world may never know whether President Trump just got a little sloppy with his verb tenses on Wednesday morning, or simply had no idea that the famous black abolitionist Frederick Douglass was in fact dead.” In other words, what they are quibbling over is the fact that he used the verb “is” rather than “was.”
This is exactly the kind of violation of rules which is the core of anything having to do with poetry. There is a book called the New York Times Manual of Style and there is also a similar book by Strunk and White called Elements of Style which may have been inflicted on many of you in your studies, which outline all the rules you are supposed to follow in order to communicate something, and all of these rules are, especially with commas—you’re not supposed to use a comma except grammatically in order to throw off certain kinds of phrases. And you’re not supposed to use “is” if you’re talking about something in the past—and all of these kinds of crazy rules. Obviously, what President Trump was saying—and that’s what his press spokesman said later on—that obviously Trump was thinking of Frederick Douglass’ legacy as being completely alive and growing, which I think is a wonderful idea. What’s the problem with that?
That brings me to this question of poetry, and I think that we all have to be thinking, as we’re doing all of the things that we’re doing—we have to be thinking that ultimately it is poetry, a certain kind of poetry—polemical poetry—that actually changes the entire paradigm of the population.
I just wanted to read something from Percy Shelley. It’s his essay, A Defense of Poetry. If you’ve ever read this essay, it’s not that long but it’s incredibly packed, and you may have heard bits and pieces of it. I just wanted to read one passage here, where he says:
Painting by Alfred Clint
At such periods—and I would say such periods as the one that we’re living through right now[John Sigerson]—there is an accumulation of the power of communicating and receiving intense and impassioned conceptions respecting man and nature. The persons in whom this power resides, may often, as far as regards many portions of their nature, have little apparent correspondence with that spirit of good of which they are the ministers, but even while they deny and abjure, they are yet compelled to serve, the power which is seated on the throne of their own soul. It is impossible to read the compositions of the most celebrated writers of the present day without being startled with the electric life which burns within their words
Okay. Let me read that according to the way that the New York Times Manual of Style would read it. [Reads it again as described.] I guess you can get the idea that also it is very important that things are presented in an emphatic way; and the key there of course is that I eliminated all the commas, which is exactly what is usually done nowadays. And that is what the liberals like. They don’t like commas, at all.
What is this thing called poetry? I just want to read a little bit more from earlier on, where Shelley says something about what poetry is. He says:
Poetry, in a general sense, may be defined to be the expression of the imagination: and poetry is connate with the origin of man. Man is an instrument over which a series of external and internal impressions are driven, like the alternations of an ever-changing wind over an Æolian lyre, [that’s a musical instrument], which move it by their motion to ever-changing melody. But there is a principle within the human being, and perhaps within all sentient beings, which acts otherwise than in the lyre, and produces not melody alone, but harmony, by an internal adjustment of the sounds or motions thus excited to the impressions which excite them. It is as if the lyre could accommodate its chords to the motions of that which strikes them, in a determined proportion of sound; even as the musician can accommodate his voice to the sound of the lyre. [And skipping a little bit, he talks about the child’s delight in these things, and he says,] In relation to the objects which delight a child, these expressions are what poetry is to higher objects.
And indeed, what we are talking about is that higher object.
Over the recent period, we’ve been re-issuing a number of wonderful written pieces by Lyndon LaRouche, which if you have not worked on, you really should work through. I would just point out that there are a couple of pieces that are very, very critical, which you could listen to or study in order to get a sense of that. These are pieces which I’ll probably be working on, giving a class series, as well. One of them is a piece by Mozart, which is called Ave Verum Corpus. It’s a seemingly very simple piece. It means “Hail True Body.” It’s a song to the Virgin Mary, but it has embedded in it this exact same principle that I’m getting at here, and it also points to an incredible piece that was later written by Beethoven which is a string quartet, which is Opus 132, which has in it something that harkens back to Mozart, whom of course Beethoven revered. It’s “a holy song of thanks to the Godhead of one who has been cured,” and that is also something very beautiful.
The other thing that I would like (again, just for time, we can’t really work these things through here, but I will) is to work through something that has preoccupied me for many years, and ought to preoccupy everyone, which is the work of the great conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, who was a German conductor and German music director; and who, if you want to understand what really is motivating Lyndon LaRouche—and I say “is” and will continue to motivate Lyndon LaRouche—you must work through the effect that Furtwängler’s work, and the pieces that he conducted had on LaRouche, as he was growing up. I will just point out that there was one point, in 1946, when Lyndon LaRouche was in India and he heard for the first time a recording—which I actually dug up—it’s a 1938 recording by Furtwängler, doing a piece by Tchaikovsky, the Russian composer; and in a footnote, in another work which we will probably be publishing, called “Man’s Original Creations,”2 which he wrote in 2005, that is, at the age of 83, he said:
As I have often, on occasion, referred to this experience, the first time I experienced Furtwängler’s conducting was in 1946, in hearing a recording of his directing of a Tchaikovsky performance. It was like a ‘Damascus Road’ experience, in which I recognized that the effect I experienced, of the ‘transparency’ of the performance, lay in a gripping cross-voice movement throughout the performance, to the effect of the relentlessness of a compelling sense of a seamless intellectual development underlying the heard music which is heard not with the ear, but with the mind.
And it is precisely that musical sense which if we are able to get that across and communicate this in everything that we do, we will win. With that, I will hand it over to questions and answers.
In response to a question concerning the political organizing in New York City, John said the following:
Sigerson: OK. Well, A__, I just have to keep hammering away at this question of irony. This wonderful article that Lyn wrote called “Man’s Original Creations” which we quoted before, talks about this thing, because that’s the way to put it into words. Let me just read the paragraph that Lyn wrote:
As Schiller emphasizes, the man from the street should leave the theater as virtually a different person than had entered a few hours before. Irony! This effect is not, like the experience of some fundamentalist parson’s rant, some maudlin sort of edifying moral effect upon the audience. It is the effect on the citizen of looking over the shoulder of a history different than that of his own experience of life in his own time and place. [We’re talking about great drama, like Shakespeare now.] Irony! “Why could they not see the rottenness of their culture? Could I do something about a tragic error in the culture of my own society today? What kind of a fool I would be, if I could not look at my own culture as I could now see so clearly the insanity of that other culture presented to me by that play?” Irony! He is not such a fool that he would attempt to deduce a principle for his culture from the other culture on stage.
But then later on, a wonderful paragraph that I really love, Lyn says,
The orbit of the planets is not circular, but elliptical. Irony! Fermat demonstrated that the pathway of least action is not the shortest distance, but the pathway of the quickest time. Irony! Huyghens thought this pathway was defined by the cycloid; but Leibniz and Bernoulli demonstrated that it is the catenary-defined principle of the Leibniz calculus, the principle of universal least action. Irony!
And indeed, the more ironical juxtapositions that you’re able to do, when you’re even talking to people, it requires a little bit more concentration, a little bit more effort, but that’s why I brought up this irony—earlier on here—about this crazy thing with Frederick Douglass, because it points out the ironical juxtaposition of how crazy all the media are at this point, so that people can actually laugh at it—as Trump was laughing at it.
The Activist Call concluded with these final comments:
Sigerson: I want to add one thing to what Dennis just said, on a political note, which is something that Lyndon LaRouche was very emphatic about earlier on, this week, which is Obama personally. Lyndon said very explicitly, “We have to destroy Obama.” That doesn’t mean physically, but right now we have an opportunity to destroy his credibility, destroy everything that he represents. And Lyndon was very explicit on saying that we should focus also on the Tuesday kill sessions, that Obama was doing: He is a murderer. He continues to be a murderer, and everything that he’s doing right now is pushing towards murder even of the sitting President of the United States. And I think that we should not be nice to Obama. We should really pile it on with this guy, because he should get everything that he deserves. He should be discredited and a good part of the population now may actually be able to take that Damascus Road. People who up to now have been sort of dumb supporters.
And I think some of these meetings, especially the one that P__ just mentioned, is a perfect example of that kind of thing. They’re ripe for conversion, and almost like, I would say, “deprogramming.”
Otherwise, I just want to urge people not to ignore these incredible works that now we’re re-issuing in Executive Intelligence Review, on these incredibly, for some of you, possibly quite difficult to read, longer pieces by Lyndon. Because if you want sticking power, which is what this movement has had for now almost 50 years, if you want sticking power, you’ve got to learn to know Mr. LaRouche in the deepest way possible. He’s still around, he’s 94 years old now, and you can still talk to him, but it’s these papers that really reveal as deeply as you’re going to get, his soul. And really, avail yourself of this opportunity; Mr. LaRouche is one of the greatest thinkers of the past millennium and a lot of us, reading these papers, and re-reading these papers myself, have reinforced that idea. It’s not an exaggeration: future generations will, I think, bear this out. Thank you.
1. The entire dialogue with John Sigerson may be found at:
2. See "Discussion on Science with Helga: Man's Original Creations," in this issue of EIR.