Embrace Krafft Ehricke’s Age of Reason:
No Limits to Growth
by Kesha Rogers
July 1—Over weekend of June 25-26, the Schiller Institute conducted three conferences simultaneously, in Houston, Texas; Berlin, Germany; and New York City, all of which provided clarity that mankind is now on the verge of bringing forth an Age of Reason, defined by peace and cooperation, and grounded on the economic and scientific development of human society. The proceedings of these conferences, taken as a whole, show that we are truly on the verge of a new paradigm and a renaissance for mankind.
This new paradigm can only be brought about through the emergence of a new approach to economic development that is based not on monetary value, but on the creative identity of the human being and the unlimited potential of mankind that is now becoming the dominant principle among leading nations around the world. This system of economic value—implicit in the actions and words of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Xi Jinping of China, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and many others—puts no limitations on human progress and human creative potential.
This is the new dynamic that is now emerging throughout the world, a dynamic of governments that already represent more than 50 percent of the world’s population. It is a notion of economic value which must again shape our great republic, as it did in phases of the 19th Century, but it is an outlook which we have long forgotten. It reminds me of what the great American statesman and economist Henry Carey wrote at that time, that there are two systems in the world.
One of those systems promotes barbarism, poverty, war, and starvation. The other one promotes the strengthening of human identity and human progress. We see now that the system that has been dominating our society—that paradigm of barbarism associated with the zero-growth policies of a dying empire—is now coming to its end. A new approach to human development is emerging. The British monetarist system is collapsing, but if we act now, we can once and for all put an end to this dying financial system and the British Empire, and bring about a world of cooperation, peaceful progress, and scientific and technological development.
When you think about an outlook that understood the conception of mankind’s unlimited potential and progress, an outlook that rejected a zero-growth society, one of the greatest examples of it is the Apollo Program and the vision laid out by President John F. Kennedy. For Kennedy’s mission was one of the greatest examples of a thrust for mankind to reach an Age of Reason, to continue what the Renaissance had begun.
Kennedy gave a speech on May 25, 1961 that many people remember and think about from time to time. It was the speech in which he announced that we would land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth. But this is not a speech to simply reminisce about. It is not simply a reminder of the “good old days,” of a time that is long gone, that can only be fondly remembered.
You must recognize that Kennedy’s vision was embodied in the future; it wasn’t something that was just to be done in his own time and then forgotten. Kennedy knew that his vision was not just for one nation, but was for the benefit of all nations. That is why it was such a threat to this zero-growth system, which that sought to keep people impoverished, enslaved, and down.
Kennedy knew that accomplishing the mission of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth was not for the benefit of the few. It was going to mobilize the best in the nation in science, industry, technology, and education—that the country would meet the challenge of doing that which it had never done before, of creating something entirely new. The intention was to transform mankind, to bring humankind to new levels of character, understanding, and economic existence.
It is time for many of you to meet the great mind and the contributions of Krafft Ehricke, a dear friend of Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche. He would already be a dear friend of yours and of all the world, but for the fact that his works have been isolated and in many cases deliberately made unavailable, because of his optimistic view of the creative power and unlimited potential of mankind. Ehricke was not only a brilliant aeronautical engineer and one of the great contributors to the U.S. space program from among the German scientists brought to the United States after World War II: Without Ehricke’s vision, a vision which inspired John F. Kennedy, that Moon landing and the return of the voyagers safely to Earth would not have been possible.
Ehricke had the vision of an open world system, that mankind’s extraterrestrial imperative was to transform cislunar space, the Moon, and other planetary bodies. But that vision could only come about by rejecting the limitations of a zero-growth system, a system that said that mankind is restricted to a single planet of limited resources that we have to continue to fight over.
The Battle Is Joined
Ehricke gave an inspiring speech on the fifth anniversary of that first landing of our species on the Moon on July 20, 1969. In this 1974 speech, Ehricke expressed everything that he was dedicating his life to: He captured the essence of mankind’s destiny and the open world of space exploration and colonization. Moving into space, as he correctly understood it, is mankind’s extraterrestrial imperative. When you think about that, it’s not just a catchy slogan to tickle all the space buffs and gurus. The extraterrestrial imperative is a necessary expression of mankind’s unlimited potential. By asserting humankind’s extraterrestrial imperative, Ehricke came forward on the battlefield of principle, in a philosophical battle over the truth of mankind’s unlimited potential.
It was this battle that Ehricke was waging while the space program—just as it is today—was under brutal attack. When Ehricke was putting forth his extraterrestrial imperative and describing the consequences of an open versus a closed world system, he realized that the dominant policy—and indeed the dominant paradigm—in force at the time was one that demanded limitations on mankind’s progress, the paradigm of a system that thought of the spread of the human species as nothing more than the multiplication of mindless waterlilies in a pond. That is what Ehricke took on. That is the paradigm and the systemthat he waged war against
At the time of the Apollo missions, there was a major battle going on to reverse the thrust that the Apollo Program represented. The “limits to growth” environmental agenda emerged at this time. And so did policies for financial warfare against the space program and everything that it represented.
It was this for which Ehricke was attacked—his belief in human progress and the unlimited potential of mankind, as expressed also in his engagement with Lyndon LaRouche. It was said that he promoted too much optimism. He had a different view of mankind which he understood to be the only conception that could bring about an Age of Reason. Ehricke was a brilliant mind, and his most fundamental challenge to people was that you cannot put a limit on your human identity. He believed that the right concept of mankind was expressed, and found its rightful place in the Apollo Program, that this represented a new opening and breakthrough for what we are capable of accomplishing.
That is why he said that the Moon landing in July 1969 carried with it the everlasting message that we came in peace for all mankind. Krafft’s description of the heritage of Apollo spoke not merely of a cherished past event, but of a future which had not yet been created, a future that could only be brought about by rejecting the dogma of limitations to mankind’s potential and progress as found, for example, in the “limits to growth” mobilization.
To Crush American Optimism
Ehricke saw the space program as an opening toward a new Renaissance. The space program was expressing the potential of the human mind and the moral law within mankind that would enable him to open the Age of Reason. He laid out “The Anthropology of Astronautics” in an article with that title in the journal Astronautics in 1957, which expressed the principles that the space program really represents. But not just the space program. They are the principles by which mankind should live. He stressed three fundamental laws:
- Nobody and nothing under the natural laws of the Universe impose any limitations on man except man himself.
- Not only the Earth, but the entire Solar System, and as much of the Universe as he can reach under the laws of nature, are man’s rightful field of activity.
- By expanding through the Universe, man fulfills his destiny as an element of life, endowed with the power of reason and the wisdom of the moral law within himself.
Now that is a person who really lives in the future, and who knows that mankind has a destiny not confined to one small planet! Krafft puts forth this destiny in “The Heritage of Apollo” (1974), in which he gets your imagination going and enables you to understand what we have to do—what our destiny is in exploring and actually transforming our Galaxy. He says—and people just don’t think this way anymore:
Earth is not an isolated space ship, but travels in the convoy of our star—a luxurious passenger liner flowing through galactic space along with a giant power station and many freighters. Let us not tear up the stateroom furniture to use it for resources. We can board the freighters. It was done on July 20, 1969! The human dimension of Apollo’s heritage is a message of hope and confidence, of growth and fulfillment of the human potential. In brief, of a greater and potentially better world, if we make it so.
That optimistic view of man’s destiny was one not then shared—and it continues not to be shared—by those who continue to push an anti-science, limits to growth, neo-Malthusian view of man, that we are confined to one small planet, fighting over limited resources. This view exists today. It is what we’re up against right now. The targeting of the space program has been rooted in this promotion of pessimism and cultural degeneracy. When we examine the criminal targeting of our space program in the United States, under the atrocious cuts and attacks by President Obama, including the attacks on the manned space program, most people want to see this as matter of money and monetary value. They repeat what they’ve heard, that there’s not enough money, and so we have to take these cuts. But cost is not the real issue; in fact, the space program itself is not the real target.
The target is the optimism of the American people. The objective is to induce Americans to reject their human identity and accept bestialization. Bestialization is what you get when you have a society in which optimism—which enables us to understand that we can accomplish anything—is completely taken away. And that is what the scientific community must also come to understand, that this is a war for the minds and the souls of humankind. It is a war for human progress, which is absolutely necessary to lift the people of the United States and the world out of demoralization and despair.
This explains why our space program has been destroyed. It’s not a matter of, “Did you agree with this policy?” “Was this policy any good?” The question is, what is society’s real intention rooted in, right at this moment? Ehricke attacks the zero-growth outlook that has been the basis for targeting our space program. He explains what limitless growth means by contrasting the concept of the mere multiplication of mankind like lilies in a pond with “the increase in knowledge, in wisdom, in the capacity to grow in new ways.” That is what you are seeing emerge right now in the Asia-Pacific region, in China—which has lifted more than 600 million people from poverty. This process is uplifting the world. What are we doing here in the United States? What has happened to us?
The point is, you can’t have a Renaissance in a degenerate, dead culture, and you can’t have a space program which promotes the true principle of human creativity in a zero-growth society.
People in high places have waged war against the space program, opposing its true intentions. They have made very destructive claims that the space program promotes false optimism, that it promotes the idea that good can come from scientific progress. They say that good will never come from scientific progress! Somebody is going to use it for ill, they say, so it should only be used for the benefit of a very few. All of you who have read Bertrand Russell will hear the echo. He’s an evil guy!
This is a false conception of human nature and a dismissal—out of hand—of the idea that a higher and more human culture, one that fosters genius, creativity, and greatly improved conditions of human life for all, could ever exist! Yet this is exactly the kind of orientation to the future that we see in the commitment to peace, human progress, and cooperation now being fostered by such nations as Russia and China.
Fight for This!
Ehricke understood that mankind’s actions have consequences. He developed a diagram to contrast the consequences of a growing world with those of a no-growth world, as part of his demonstration of the extraterrestrial imperative. Figure 1 presents half of this diagram, the half that shows the growth paradigm, which he calls the open world system. But to get there, we must also have an understanding of what ideas we have to reject, ideas that have been imposed on mankind to inhibit the progress of science and technology and divert our minds from a renaissance that truly rejects all limitations. If you look at what Ehricke poses here, this is the conception of mankind that we have to be fighting for. This idea of growth is what we see becoming a dominant factor in the new paradigm in the world right now
This view of an open world system that poses no limitations on human progress, was very beautifully expressed, and expressed most emphatically, in a speech by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in St. Petersburg, Russia last month. He joined others on the podium at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and spoke of the need for peaceful cooperation, collaboration, and advances in science and technology that can increase the productivity of mankind. Renzi also talked about increasing the life expectancy of human beings around the planet to 100 years. A hundred years! We used to have some of that. My great grandfather lived to be 103, but he had a strong work ethic and sense of mission in this world. And the food was better then.
But that’s the very thing that Prime Minister Renzi was talking about: How to increase life expectancy on the planet through scientific breakthroughs that eliminate disease, poverty, and war, and by achieving the peaceful, beautiful cooperation of mankind. We can bring this about.
You are seeing strong movement in the direction of this new paradigm with the new commion in space exploration, promoting peace among nations. Many international agreements have been signed, including with Russia and China—agreements for cooperation in space that we in the United States should be a part of. We should be collaborating with China as it prepares to accomplish something never done before—going to the far side of the Moon, exploring the far side for the first time, and setting up a facility for radio astronomy in the radio-quiet of the far side, never before exploited. With this cooperation, Ehricke’s “poly-global world,” looking beyond this Earth, is truly being brought into existence, and the zero-growth paradigm is not going to have any place in our world any longer.
Ehricke’s conceptions transform all practical thinking and remove all of the imaginary limitations put on mankind’s creative progress. His conceptions go against “living for the moment”—for one’s own personal gratification. Ehricke said you come to understand that “Earth and world are no longer synonymous. We no longer live in a closed world of one planet inside a womb of a biosphere. Our world is no more closed than it is flat.” Now that’s very important, because some of us out there are promoting the idea that we have a flat Earth—the Flat Earth Society. They missed the boat; I don’t know where they’ve been. Ehricke said, “Our world is open to space, and its resources are potentially limitless.” It is the human mind which will unlock those unlimited resources of our Universe.
Ehricke had quite an imagination, and he knew that the potential for human progress would transcend and transform mankind’s wildest imagination. An artistic depiction of a city on the Moon, done by Ehricke, is shown in Figure 2. You can see a museum of astronauts and an indoor rail system—probably a high-speed rail system—all nuclear powered. There are no solar panels. Ehricke saw the Moon as our “seventh continent,” where mankind begins to transcend the limitations of physical space.
Courtesy of Krafft Ehricke
There are no borders here. There is no war. There is no unipolar dominance; nations and people are living together in harmony. We have to bring this idea forward once again. This is the embodiment of the Age of Reason. This is what the BRICS association of nations is bringing into being right now.