This transcript appears in the January 15, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
ON INTELLIGENCE METHOD
All New Ideas
Have No Names
The following is an edited transcript of remarks made by Lyndon LaRouche during a private meeting with his Intelligence staff in 1995.
All ideas are incommensurables. All human concepts are incommensurables. Which means that, like these higher categories of mathematics (the incommensurables discovered from Plato on), that before they are actually discovered, two things are true: They have no name and there is no way to discover their name by deductive methods from the previous state of knowledge. This is the essential principle of all intelligence work. All intelligence work is premised on the method of Plato, that is the method of change, epitomized by the problem posed in the Parmenides dialogue. So, you are searching for something which has no name. Now, what name are you going to put in the computer to find it?
All intelligence is creative work in the sense of the One-Many relationship described by Plato in the “Parmenides” dialogue. You’re going to discover a One whose name you do not know and therefore you can never put the name in the computer. Well, how do you define an incommensurable? You take at least two or more values which are not the incommensurable and you try to box in the area where the incommensurable lives, dwells. Thus, you set up a series which consists of everything you know about the area defined. The area among a set of values not on a set of values. You cannot triangulate the precise position of the value you’re looking for. If you can, you’re doing the wrong thing.
You must define an area of knowledge in which you are going to search to define the existence of that you’re looking for in terms of the conditions in the area of knowledge put under scrutiny. So what you’re actually doing is, you’re creating a Many from everything you have available plus what you can think of. You’re looking at that Many, and you’re trying to solve the One-Many problem. That is intelligence work.
What you want to do is force yourself to think. And, how do you do that? By overwhelming your prejudices. By forcing yourself to consider what you didn’t want to consider and saying, “Look, I’m not doing competent work unless I take all of the relevant evidence in this area.” Like, for example, “I think the man murdered his wife.” “Why?” “Because they’re the only two people I’m thinking about.” “What about the mass serial killer who’s running loose in that neighborhood” “Oh!” So, what you want to do is define the area, not pick out the personalities and try to solve the problem in terms of a predetermined list of personalities. You’ve got to look for other things. You’ve got to take a reductio ad absurdum approach. And, how do you do that? What you’re looking for is a definition of the area. Now, let’s go ahead with something else we discussed.
If you don’t know the past 600 years of European history and of world history from the standpoint of European history and in no other way, you don’t know anything! Every conclusion [that] would be based on studying the 20th Century per se, or the 19th and 20th Century, or even the 18th, 19th, and 20th Century, which is somewhat of an improvement, would contain fallacies. You would have to go back to the 15th Century, and you would have to understand the 15th Century issues from the standpoint of the 14th. Then immediately once you look at the 15th Century and 16th Centuries, you recognize that the entire conflict between good and evil during the past 600 years and longer goes all the way back to Spain, and so forth, back in the 12th Century to Maimonides and Ibn Rushd. So, this conflict between Plato and Aristotle is history! This is the same issue that’s posed by Schiller in discussing the laws of Lycurgus, and Solon as being the only conflict in all European history!