This transcript appears in the May 21, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
This is an edited transcript of the discussion period following Panel 2, “The Method of the ‘Coincidence of Opposites’: Only a United Worldwide Health Effort, Without Sanctions, Can Reverse a Worldwide Pandemic,” of the Schiller Institute’s May 8 conference, “The Moral Collapse of the Trans-Atlantic World Cries Out for a New Paradigm.” Participating were the panel moderator Dennis Speed, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Gen. Peter Clegg, Dr. Walter Faggett, Luis Vasquez, Marcia Merry Baker, Dr. Khadijah Lang, Genita Finley, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, and Antonio Sánchez.
Dennis Speed (moderator): Helga, what are your impressions from what you’ve heard this afternoon.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I think what was very good to hear is that our pilot projects [have] come into being, and hopefully are an encouragement to expand the effort, because that is what we want to accomplish, that we actually set a model of what governments should be doing in this crisis.
Moderator: General Clegg, we didn’t have a speech from you today. If there’s anything you’d like to say at this point, just go ahead.
Gen. Peter Clegg: This has been a very interesting set of sessions. The only thing that concerns me a little bit is that everybody has all these criticisms of our policies of putting on sanctions and all this other stuff. But nobody—I didn’t hear from anyone today—says how we overcome the political questions which are really the most significant thing preventing all these good things from happening.
I certainly don’t want to be seen as casting everything in military terms, but ultimately, in places like Syria, it comes down to a military question. As nice as it would be if we could go in there with all sorts of assistance, we don’t even have the ability to get anything in there; we have no influence whatsoever. We have pulled our troops out. The only thing I can think of, if we want to really assist the Syrians, is that we’d have to go through the Russians. Because they’re the ones who have replaced us, and now have the influence in that arena.
It’s nice to say we should never impose sanctions anywhere, but then if you eliminate direct military intervention—nobody wants to go to war—the number of tools in your toolkit is substantially reduced.
I certainly sympathize with many of the arguments I heard this morning, particularly about the negatives involved of applying sanctions. Sanctions are a blunt instrument, although we sometimes try and finely tune them, and exempt those measures which would most severely impact innocent civilians and the population and so forth. I’m sure many times sanctions—the measures we take—are ineffective and don’t help the way they should. But it’s not clear to me that even if we removed the sanctions completely, it’s going to help us in getting aid into any of these countries, where the primary problem is political.
Dr. Walter Faggett: I really agree with General Clegg, but I’d like to hear General Clegg’s comments, too, on the fact that we have now withdrawn from Afghanistan. I think the previous panel really did not emphasize President Biden’s position that he really wants more competition than conflict. And there was a conference by the Department of State this past week which kind of seemed to imply that there is a new sense of collaboration and rebuilding of our coalitions. So, I think there were some folks who could listen to one speech and get different takeaways.
But I was encouraged. I’m more encouraged, too, that if everybody looks at CNN at 8 p.m. Sunday, you hear Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On? This is, I think, reflective of the fact that we are moving into a whole—we’re going back 50 years now. The sentiment now is against war. I think General Clegg would agree, we do not have as many troops in the field. As an old paratrooper, I’m sorry I missed the jump in Estonia, but that to me is just a real military exercise, and should not be presented as some offensive action on our part.
I think that the General could really help us understand some of the reality and accuracy of some reports that we’ve been discussing. But I think overall, I’m personally feeling a lot more—I’d just like to hear from General Clegg. Are we moving more away from—
Moderator: OK. Before that, because he asked a question about the panel and he talked about the entire conference, I want to give Helga the chance to respond to Gen. Clegg.
Why Can’t We Cooperate?
Zepp-LaRouche: Maybe it’s a question of ... when we talk about the New Paradigm, we really think that the present loggerhead—I don’t know if my English is right—if we cannot solve the problem between the United States and Russia, and the United States and China, and move away from a policy where it’s either/or. It’s either the Russians are in Syria, or it’s the United States is in Syria. You have heard the story from Latin America. We did not speak so much about Africa, but it’s 54 countries who are dying; who are in an absolutely unbelievable situation.
The whole approach we have is: Why can we not cooperate? The world is so big. The reason why, at the end of my speech, for time reasons, I used only a minute or so from the speech of this woman from the United Arab Emirates, Ms. Al-Amiri. She pointed to the sky, and she said, “Look at this little point around your finger,” and you see billions and hundreds of billions of galaxies, not stars.
I find this always very useful, to think about the space aspect, because I have this inspiration from people like Krafft Ehricke and Vernadsky. Krafft Ehricke in particular had this long view of history. The evolution of life out of the oceans with the help of photosynthesis; then higher species with higher metabolisms developed. Eventually, man appeared in this evolutionary process. Then there was a conquering of more room to live, first starting with habitation near the oceans and the rivers. Then, through infrastructure, the inside of the landscape and the continents was opened up. This process is still going on, and with the whole idea of the New Silk Road, or the Schiller program, “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge.” We have this program to develop all continents through infrastructure, and connect the continents through bridges, tunnels. That way, we make the whole world habitable for all human beings.
That is not the end of it, because we are now getting back in a serious way in the age of space research and travel. There is the idea to put man back on the Moon, and a woman hopefully as well. To build a village on the Moon as a staging ground for expeditions to Mars. And that will be only a stepping-stone for interstellar space travel. If you look at the sky in the way that Ms. Al-Amiri was pointing to it, you realize that we are living in the universe which is so incredibly gigantic. It blows my mind every time I’m thinking about 2 trillion galaxies. Have you ever tried to think about the galaxy in which we live? That is already a challenge. To think about one galaxy is mind-boggling; but 2 trillion galaxies!? That may not even be the end of it, because the Hubble Space Telescope may not be the last stage in the development.
The reason why I said this morning that if you think about what an incredible development mankind made in only 10,000 years. From the standpoint of the history of the universe, 10,000 years is like a second. We came from a hunting and gathering society, where the population potential was very limited. If we would have stayed at that level, we would have been 5 million people maybe, because there were not more berries and rabbits. If there would have been more people than berries and rabbits, we would have a population collapse.
But man is a creative species, so we were able to domesticate animals, develop agriculture, increase the population potential by orders of magnitude. Then continuously, we made discoveries which increased the energy flux-density in the production process, and thereby increasing the living standard, the longevity, increasing the number of people who can live on the planet.
Now, it’s already clear we are looking for life on Mars; we found water. We had the first little helicopter fly on Mars, which is a remarkable breakthrough. We had a little plant growing on the Moon, which is very important if astronauts want to grow their food in space. You have to create conditions where plants can grow, and helicopters can fly, despite the fact that you have very little gravity on Mars.
So, these are all incredible accomplishments. In what time? Ten thousand miserable, little years. From the standpoint of the universe, this is nothing.
Now, let’s think we are the creative species. As Kennedy said, there is no limit when human beings put their minds to it, to find solutions. In a certain sense, once you start to think about mankind this way, and you start to think that there are so many areas where we could collaborate in a productive way, well, is it not time that we stop thinking in terms of geopolitical confrontation, and that we really start to think of how we can collaborate for the common aims of mankind and make sure that we continuously exist?
If we have nuclear war, then that option is very probably extinct, and we will vanish. There will not be even an historian to report about it, because they will vanish, too. So, all was for nothing. Beethoven composed his beautiful compositions, for nothing. The Founding Fathers created the United States, for nothing. Schiller wrote his dramas, for nothing. That thought is really upsetting, and I think we should look for ways for how to move mankind a gigantic step forward.
The way I look at it, history was not linear. You had periods of tremendous cultural flourishing. Ancient Greece was such a period. The various Renaissances, the Andalusian Renaissance, the Italian Renaissance. Then, you had the Black Death, the Dark Age in the 14th century which was a miserable period. You can read Boccaccio’s Decameron, and you see that people went absolutely crazy because of the Black Death. But then, through a whole bunch of developments, we managed to get into the 15th century, the Golden Italian Renaissance.
I always compare to our present situation the difference between the axiomatic thinking in the Dark Age in the 14th century, and what changed in the way people were thinking in the 15th century. In the 14th century, you had scholasticism, you had witchcraft, you had the Inquisition, you had Flagellants. People were just generally crazy.
In the Golden Renaissance, you all of a sudden had a complete change of the image of man, the idea of science and technology improving the living conditions of mankind, and that it was the task of the governments to provide for the common good of the people—that was a revolutionary new idea, because up to that time you only had the oligarchs and the privileged classes who would have a good life, and the masses of the population would be backward. That started to change in the 15th century by increasing the number of people who would be literate, who would study and could contribute through their discoveries. This was a complete change in paradigm.
It seems to me that we are now at a point in history, we are a global society: viruses, nuclear weapons, planes flying around the globe. We are one civilization. And we have now reached a point, where we are faced with a pandemic out of control, with a world famine, which is crazy to have a famine in the 21st century, when it would be so easy to solve it.
It seems to me that we have to make, as a civilization, an evolutionary jump in our thinking like that between the 14th and 15th centuries, but this time, from different countries squabbling over limited resources on the planet; that we go to the next phase—thermonuclear fusion—which will undo the idea of limited resources, because it will create limitless energy, limitless raw materials. And if we cooperate in space travel, it will open up a whole new development of infrastructure in nearby space.
So, that is what motivates me, that in a certain sense, we make that evolutionary jump, and find ways to cooperate. It just happens to be that the place where we should start that, is to build a modern health system in every country. And there, I’m absolutely certain, that if the United States would say to Putin or to Xi Jinping or to Assad, “We want to send in the Corps of Engineers. How can we cooperate with Chinese engineers, with Syrian engineers?” And make that happen. That’s why I think this summit of the Permanent 5 members of the UN Security Council should take place, and they should start to discuss such a change, and the whole world will be happy. Everybody, every country in the world will welcome that, and we will become adults as a human species. That is how I look at this.
Moderator: OK. This is the point of the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites. If you ask a question, we will ask various people to answer it in whatever way they think is appropriate. You are now embarked on that journey.
Luis Vasquez: [through interpreter] I’d like to add that this idea of the Coincidence of Opposites is the political solution for countries and for the world as a whole. There’s no doubt that the microcosm and the macrocosm function in a complementary way in that regard.
Let me briefly take up the case of Peru as an example to illustrate why it so, that this approach of the Coincidence of Opposites is the only way to deal with any country in any part of the world.
In a few weeks, we will be in a situation where we’re going to be having the second round of elections for the Presidency of the Republic. What we have left is two people who are running in the elections. On the left, incredibly enough, you have followers of Abimael Guzman, which were the Sendero Luminoso terrorists. And on the other side, you have the candidate of the anti-communist right wing, who still defends the neo-liberal economic policies which have destroyed the economy of this country, like the economies of the whole continent and the world.
So, the alternatives being presented to people are ... what’s the political discussion? “Well, what do you want? Capitalism, or communism?” And, of course, what you have on each side is, on the one hand people who present all of the crimes of Sendero Luminoso of the left; and on the other hand, you have the righr wing, who present and pose all of the failures of 40 years of neo-liberal economic policies which have, in fact, destroyed the economy.
It really has to be said that this is the traditional game of the left versus the right, which has been used to manipulate, from time immemorial, the political situations in the countries of Ibero-America. I’m sure the same situation applies to many other countries as well. The population is presented with two options: Both of them are mistaken, both are wrong, and people are told to choose.
The problem here is that nobody actually talks about what’s at the center of the issue—how to solve the problems that both sides are supposedly trying to resolve. That is to say, you have to have a program that solves—that really, actually solves, the problem of poverty, the problem of backwardness, the most immediate problems of the pandemic.
The answer to this is that you have to break out of the closed box with these two stupid responses, two false answers which have been used to control the population. Otherwise, if you look at Peru, there isn’t a solution. These elections are not going to bring any kind of optimism to the population. This is the same thing that’s happening everywhere in the world, as far as I can tell. Because the confrontation which is being created, is growing more dramatic and dangerous day by day: On the one hand, you have the United States, and there is indeed a lot of fault to be found, especially with the military-industrial complex that has wanted to keep waging and winning these perpetual wars. On the other side, what you have is the Belt and Road proposal of the Chinese, backed by the Russians.
The solution to this is that both sides have to reach a consensus. It’s not a matter of left versus right, it is not capitalism versus communism. China and the United States and other countries have to join and to pose solutions and answers that actually solve problems, which provide a way out for the current crisis in the world. That’s my comment.
Moderator: OK. Now, let me just say that there is now a small explosion of questions. This question is for Khadijah and Marcia. This is from Kynan; he says, “I want to thank everyone on the panel, especially people like Dr. Elders and Dr. Lang for their work with the Committee in bringing food and medical support to Mozambique. I wanted to know what actions we can take to expand the Committee’s current membership, and if it would be possible to get international support for the Committee’s activities from churches, charity organizations, and government agencies, so we can raise awareness of what can be done across the world. How are youth getting involved in the Committee?” I should add Kynan is 19 years old. “What can be done to recruit more youth who will act as community health workers, and go to places like Africa and Ibero-America to help people, in bringing them water, food, and electricity?”
Marcia Merry Baker: OK. First, thank you, Kynan. We have a completely open situation for action. The specific pilot aid project for Mozambique that Dr. Lang described, is an exemplary action, which comes about from continuity from the years of very good work that the National Medical Association was already doing there, and elsewhere. So now, it is completely open.
In meetings since last June, when Dr. Elders and Helga Zepp-LaRouche initiated the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, there have been participants from many places—Paris, and elsewhere in France; from South Africa—Phillip Tsokolibane; and Canada. Participating is not merely formally a question for youth—youth are the future. As Dr. Faggett and Miss Finley described, we have an open door to get involved in public health projects like the model shown in the Mississippi Delta and Ward 8 in Washington, D.C.
Of course, with the pandemic, people-to-people connections anywhere in Africa, or anywhere in Mississippi, or North Dakota, or you-name-it, are very restricted. We must be careful and respectful, but we do have the internet possibilities as long as there’s electricity.
I’ll be specific. Get in touch to participate. But also, we’re talking about spreading the word. I think that in the next few weeks—Dr. Lang can say more—we are hoping to literally assemble the concrete material—the antibiotics, the high protein-dense biscuits, and cash for onsite purchase of food. We’re sending water purification tablets. When this shipment is made, please join in publicizing not just this initiative, but publicizing the idea that we have to have the moral and economic and strategic response like this everywhere in the world.
For example, in Syria, Russia is shipping in wheat to save lives. That stands out in two ways. Under the hard sanctions against Russia, Russia has nevertheless done a great job of increasing their agricultural productivity in the last few years. They’re the leading wheat exporter in the world. Secondly, Russia is rightly getting the wheat into Syria, ignoring the U.S. unilateral sanctions against Syria, which were just renewed yesterday for a year. On one level, Russia’s action is a gesture. We’re making a gesture in Mozambique. These actions add to forcing an overall shift.
Dr. Khadijah Lang: Thank you very much for that, Marcia. That was a very good explanation and summation. I don’t have much to add to that, but I will say this: In response to the caller’s question, all of us here today can get on the calls, and all of us here today can reach out to our various colleagues, various groups we are with, and let them know this is going on. What our hopes and goals are with this mission, is that we will be a model, a pilot program, so that people can see what can happen when people come together. People have a tendency to say, “The problem is so overwhelming that there’s nothing we can do about it.” But what we’re showing here, is that although we are not the United Nations or the World Health Organization, or the government of the United States or the government of Mozambique, or any country’s governmental agency that may have very deep pockets with which to purchase supplies and try to address these problems, what we’re trying to show here, is that on a small scale, we are able to come together.
And we have a tale in America where we talk about something called “Stone Soup.” And in Stone Soup, there’s a story about a man who comes along—he’s a vagrant, I guess you would call him—someone walking along without any food; no house to stay in. He comes to a village, and he’s hungry. He asks everyone in the village for food, and everybody says “We don’t have any food. Sorry, we can’t help you.” He carries a pot with him, so he gets the pot and he picks up a stone, and he wipes off the stone and he puts it in the pot. He asks if anyone could maybe loan him a little water. They’re looking at him strange, saying “What are you doing?” He builds a fire, he says, “I’m making stone soup.” Then, he sits there boiling the stone in the water. [Internet connection failed.]
Moderator: We lost her right in the middle of the punch line! [laughter]
Dr. Lang: ... I was just trying to say, we can all ask our friends, the religious and spiritual organizations that we’re a part of, our employee situations, our employers, or employees, whatever your situation is; our teachers if you’re in school; our fellow students; our neighbors to contribute: And everything adds up. Because the thing we have to realize is that when you’re purchasing as we’re going to do—we’re going to take the funds and purchase food there in Mozambique for distribution.
Number one, that means we’re decreasing our carbon footprint, because we’re not going to have to pay to have gas and things expended to ship something all the way across the ocean.
Number two, that means we’re going to get it for a much lower price than what it would cost us to purchase the same food in America.
And number three, we’re going to help the economy in a country where the majority of the people have been devastated. They need that income!
As an example: less than $20 will cover—and I’m probably wrong about this—but less than $20 will provide clean water for a family of four for approximately a month, if I remember my calculations when I was putting this together. Somebody who’s having a Starbucks coffee every day before they go to work, if they forgo their Starbucks for less than a week, they would be able to provide a family with clean water for a month. Because your purchase value goes so much further when you purchase there on the continent, everybody pitching in—a student saying, “I’ll take my $5 of allowance, or I’ll take my bus money, and walk one or two days instead of taking the bus all the way.”
Moderator: OK. I want to make sure I ask Genita Finley to answer that question, since there was a 19-year-old asking the question, and he was asking about getting the young people involved.
Genita Finley: I’ll give an example of a project that I once organized a few years ago for breast cancer awareness, which is a little bit different than what we’re talking about here, but we raised funds and it was student-led. It was something we organized back home in the Mississippi Delta. This is something that, from my experience as a student, you can definitely do, and you can also get other students engaged in it who want to participate, which is more than just raising awareness, but is actually contributing financially. What it was, was a community basketball competition…. I think we raised close to $6,000…. It was organized through the churches.
What some people may not know is that people in the Mississippi are extremely religious, so we used different churches that had family life centers, that had basketball goals in them…. If you want to get involved, there are ways to get involved. The best thing to do is pick something you’re naturally drawn to. Another event that we did was the community health fair, where we asked all the physicians to contribute supplies and things of that nature.
My suggestion would be: find something you’re interested in, find an organization within your city that often participates in activities that are helping other communities. For me, it’s always been churches; they’re really big in my community, so that’s why I always center things there, because they tend to be the focal point of the Mississippi Delta cities. I hope that gives you some guidance as a young person.
Dr. Faggett: Nita is talking about competition. Would it be good if we had a competition between Russia, China, and the U.S.: Who can do the most for India? Rather than have conflict and fighting over it, let’s work together. I think that would really do what Helga and Dr. Elders were talking about.
I do think we need to remember that there is going to be a need for security, and this might be another area where the military could assist in providing security for some of these efforts.
Skills Training—Make the World Better
Moderator: Here is a question which came in, on expanding the health extension service idea. This is from Harrison Elfrink: “The presentation about the health occupational training to disadvantaged youth of the Mississippi Delta region of the United States, to train them to become health workers, spurred an idea. My question is: Could something like this be applied to other occupational areas, like aerospace, engineering, physical and life sciences, education to create teachers, skilled trades, advanced forms of agriculture, and other skilled occupations? Or, other geographical locations, especially in Africa, Ibero-America, and so on? And what would the logistics and the strategic organizing for such a program entail?”
Dr. Joycelyn Elders: I think the simple answer is, yes, I think it could be applied to almost any profession. But you have to have [what is required] to make it go. Of all the things we’ve talked about today, you’ve got to have a leader, somebody who’s going to get out in front and lead it. I may be committed, but I’ve got to be able to be competent, be able to provide leadership, get the community involved. And it can be applied to anything. We can apply it to teachers, physicians, community health workers, whatever, but somebody has to provide the leadership. We’ve got to make it public health; that’s what we need so much.
Obviously, in COVID, where it gets to needing intensive care and ventilators, we’re talking about a different level. But where we really needed the leadership was back in the beginning, to get people to go out and make sure that people get immunized, get other people immunized, get churches involved, schools involved, businesses involved; everybody is involved. What we’ve got to do is try and stop the pandemic, and the short answer is, we’ve all got to be involved, and everybody—everybody—has something to offer. Some of it is bigger and more impactful than others, but everybody has something to contribute, and we need to make sure we contribute what we have to contribute.
We’re talking about getting China, Russia, and the United States involved with other countries, to do what they need to do to make a difference. For India, I think there’s no question that there’s something all three countries can do on many fronts, not just in regard to India.
But if they can come together and begin to work together on solutions to problems, real problems, rather than a lot of just the power issues, I think we could get an awful lot done.
And I just really think Helga gave us just some wonderful history lessons this morning, to go back and really review our history, find out what’s going on. She was talking about the Coincidence of Opposites—about how people on opposite ends in the spectrum of the world could begin to work and come together, think together, and try to think of solutions and answers, rather than thinking of how they can become more powerful, but to make a difference.
I think in every country and communities, if we can start getting out young people to start thinking about what can we do to make the world a better place and become more united, I think we’ll make far more progress than we’ve been making. I think what we’ve just heard is that the whole world, all countries, we’re all involved and we all have something to contribute. If we need to start thinking about how we can make the world a better place, rather than how can we promote our own power, we can get to where we need to go an awful lot quicker.
Gen. Clegg: Just briefly I have some thoughts, but the obvious answer is, yes. But I think there’s a hierarchy of needs, so to speak, and those needs which are most urgent are where the efforts should go. We’ve heard all day: food, electricity, and clean water. It’s hard to think of things that are more important than those things, because without those, all your other efforts are probably going to have not too much effect. I would second everything she said.
Zepp-LaRouche: Yeah, I fully agree with Dr. Elders. She actually quoted Schiller. Schiller, at the end of his writing about universal history, he said, you all have to contribute something, and that is how you make your mortal life—you connect it to the endless chain of generations—and that way you gain your own immortality. If you act, everybody can do, and I think that’s the spirit we have to evoke.
Finley: I just want to add to the question that was asked: can you do this in other fields? Absolutely yes, and I wanted to give an example of another field that’s doing it, which is media broadcast journalism. Just to shine a light on it, PBS Student Reporting Labs has a special program where they go into middle schools and high schools, and they teach children and young kids how to become broadcast journalists, where they create their own student reports. They actually air on national and state television channels. One of their main goals is to improve media literacy, because a big problem they see is that a lot of people don’t understand the different types of media, don’t know the difference between news and entertainment journalism. And they also want to help expose young kids to broadcast journalism from an early age, especially minorities, to get more of those voices included in broadcast journalism. So, more voices and more opinions and more collective reasoning and things of that nature can come from that.
Dialogue Based on the Best in Cultures
Moderator: We have a question which sort of touches on that: “Helga, you said in your Syria Times interview that you created the Schiller Institute on Schiller’s conception of man, and spoke of the dialogue of civilizations, based on the best aspects of cultures. Given the dark days in the trans-Atlantic world, which aspects of American and European culture should we seek to revive now and emphasize? Do you think that people will respond to this approach? Could you say more about Schiller’s view of mankind?”
A related question comes from Leo: “I think you are based in education, so if we were to create schools at the primary, secondary, and university level in a digital mode via the internet, would we have more success because we can promote cultural interests for a new world?”
Zepp-LaRouche: From the United States, obviously Benjamin Franklin comes to mind, who was a universally educated person. He is a typical example for the dialogue of cultures, because he studied Confucius, among many other things, and he was so impressed by Confucius that he applied the Confucian moral theory in his own system.
Then naturally, everything which went into the creation of the United States, the whole idea of the Founding Fathers: The idea of sovereignty, the rejection of imperialism, the founding of the first sovereign republic. The whole idea of the American Constitution, the Preamble of the Constitution, the idea that the country must be forever devoted to the common good, not only for the present, but for future generations. I mean, that Preamble of the Constitution sort of is the umbrella which defines every other thing which is expressed there. Naturally, the Declaration of Independence. John Quincy Adams.
On the Declaration of Independence, I should mention that when the Schiller Institute was founded, I was looking for a charter, and I took the liberty to just change about six words from the Declaration of Independence, where it says “American colony” I say “all countries,” basically to make it fit for every single country. I think that that is really a very good idea which we should promote today. But then also the American System of economy; the whole Hamiltonian banking credit system. The whole question of the idea of the republic that you come back to it, again and again, which is what the American historical struggle was—every time the British tried to subvert it, there was a reassertion of it.
So, I think these are ideas which are extremely important, and they are a contribution to universal history, forever. Then, naturally, there are other things one can mention—Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, the whole idea of the Apollo program. When we performed the [Mozart] Requiem for the death of John F. Kennedy, we played several of his speeches, and that optimism which was expressed by Kennedy—I mean, that’s so American. And that optimism has to be reinstalled, people have to think again like that.
Concerning Europe, there are many things. There’s, as I said, the Italian Renaissance. We have this year, the 700th birthday of Dante. Dante was the inventor of the Italian language, the whole idea of the divine Commedia; that you can educate people to arrive from Hell to the divine goodness. There are many things. Verdi’s music, the whole question of the Verdi tuning, why you have to have the correct tuning in music. The many Renaissance paintings; Brunelleschi’s architecture. In Germany, you would definitely include Nikolaus of Kues, who’s a very important father of modern science. He was the inventor of the sovereign nation-state, which was for the first time expressed in the Concordantia Catholica. Naturally, Kepler, Leibniz, Lessing, Schiller, Gauss, Riemann.
So, you would go to those thinkers in every country. I didn’t mention now Spain and France and many others, but you would take from every country the qualitative contributions that they made. You take the best thinkers from all of history, and you make them known again, because the problem is, who talks about Benjamin Franklin in the United States? Who talks about Leibniz? A little bit more, but not enough. Leibniz was very important for many countries. The way you get the dialogue of cultures going is, you take those people like Friedrich Schiller, who had a beautiful image of man, because he thought every human being had the potential to be a beautiful soul. That notion is very dear to my heart, because it is what makes us human. Anyway, that’s a whole other discussion.
I think that a lot could be done with digital education. One can use the internet for useful things. I don’t think it replaces quite the dialogue between the teacher and the pupils, but I think a lot more could be done for mass education. But you need certain preparatory steps, so that children learn how to use the internet for good purposes, and not for playing video games and similar things. But I think we could make a revolution: We could very quickly have a universal education for every child on this planet, and that would set off a wave of creativity. We would have so many people who would really make fundamental contributions to universal history. So, the answer is yes.
Moderator: And Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Frederick Douglass, Harry Burleigh, Hall Johnson—these are other important Americans that I’m sure find their place in your discussion.
Dr. Faggett: I want to submit Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation in which he freed the slaves, I think that set the tone in terms of the value of the human spirit that Americans can share.
Antonio Sánchez [via interpreter]: I think what Helga said is really of vital importance, because often we don’t realize that the way we act is based on the ideas and the axioms which we have. The different situations we have discussed in this conference—the problem of war, the problem of pandemics, the problems of poverty—are all the result, in one way or another, that over the last number of decades we’ve been governed by false axioms.
As for the question that was asked a little while back about is it possible to establish a New Paradigm, I would say that it is not only possible, but it is necessary. And that we have to go back to our Classical cultural heritage in each of our countries, and each of us has to do as President Putin of Russia said—I think it was back in December of 2020—this has to begin with each of us reflecting on these ideas. We have to find once again the path we have lost as a society. We have to return to the idea of the fundamental principles of the universe, and to put aside these superficial things that have been created to separate us. And we have to place the issue of the sanctity of life at the center of our value system.
And once we bring about this kind of change in paradigm and thinking, we will be able to solve our problems by having this approach govern the way we think and approach these problems.
Coincidence of Opposites and Economics—China, USA?
Moderator: I’m now going to pose three questions which will go to three separate people. First, to Helga, on applying the coincidence of opposites. “Given your understanding of Cusa’s coincidence of opposites, how would you assess the problem of reconciling China’s policy of advancing the wellbeing of its people, by exploiting its capitalist sector, with the policy of the trans-Atlantic states and other states ruled by capital of advancing the power and vested interests of their capitalists by exploiting their working-class sector?”
Then, for Luis, a very specific question from a gentleman in Germany: “When I saw the picture, where people are waiting to fill their oxygen cylinders, I was initially surprised that the gas cylinders are green. According to international regulations, these are gas cylinders filled with argon. There should be white cylinders filled with medical oxygen. Is it a problem to get such cylinders in Peru? Why are these cylinders used? And on the other hand, people have to buy the cylinders. I can’t imagine that! It should be possible to rent them. Why is that not possible?”
And then finally, Marcia, from a farmer in South Dakota, well known to us. “Do you have any ideas on what we can do to activate more U.S. farmers and farm organizations to join together in the fight? We need an organization of young, trained, ag people, to be sent to developing nations, especially in the continent of Africa.”
Zepp-LaRouche: Well, the funny thing is that the American System of economy and the Chinese system of economy are very, very identical. The problem is that in the United States and also in Europe, people have moved away from Alexander Hamilton national banking, from the American System toward the British system. If you think about the debate which was held by Henry Carey, Friedrich List, and the whole discussion, a good government and the American System as it was developed by Hamilton and the Careys in particular, and as it was continued by Lyn [Lyndon LaRouche], their idea was that you have to increase the productivity of your own working class, through education, through healthcare, through increasing the living standard, because that’s the only source of wealth.
Now, then, the British system was the idea, that no, you have to control trade, you have to “buy cheap and sell expensive,” and control the middle man, and that way you can add now the stock exchange and the speculation on futures markets and all of that; and that is your source of wealth.
Now, these are two, relatively incompatible ideas, but if you look at this contrast from that standpoint, what are the Chinese doing? Well, OK, they opened up their markets a little bit; they did have a certain amount of speculation and so forth, but they have curbed that; they have now forbidden even that Chinese people should speculate abroad. And they have now a policy, more or less, with ups and downs, but by steadily increasing the excellence of their workforce, by betting on innovation—innovation being the only source of wealth in society, and it’s not an accident that, naturally, they have Karl Marx, but they also have the most known foreign economist, Friedrich List, who is much better known and much more discussed in China, than in Germany.
So, if you really look at it, the way to reconcile it is not to cause the Chinese to join the liberal model, which was the hope after China was allowed into the WTO. The actual reconciliation would be that the United States and Europe go back to their better periods, like for example, when Germany had the economic miracle in the postwar period, they applied the American System of economy. They had the Reconstruction Finance Corp., Franklin D. Roosevelt’s idea, as the basis for the Credit Institution for Reconstruction [Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, KfW], which was the main engine for credits for the economic miracle.
The way to reconcile it is—and I said this earlier today—you have to go back to those economic systems which worked when the economy went well, and it was based on scientific and technological progress and the education of the creativity of every single person as the most [important], and actually, the only source of wealth. So I think the way to reconcile it, is that the casino economy should stop, and you have to go back to increasing the productivity of your workforce, and then everything falls into place.
Vaccines, Health Care—
Not Free Marketeering
Vasquez: [via interpreter] This whole question of the oxygen: If there weren’t dead people as a result of this, it would be laughable. Because Peru is a mining country, one of the things it has produced is oxygen, what’s called industrial oxygen, and it does so in large quantities. There’s an issue of the cylinders, the packaging of this, and also the concentration of the gas, of the oxygen, so that it can reach a medical level and it’s a relatively simple industrial process. But it didn’t happen, it didn’t get done. The government didn’t carry this out, and only very late in the game did it begin to address the problem to solve it.
Picture the long lines of people trying to buy oxygen—the free market at play: The model precisely of “buying cheap and selling dear,” the whole idea that the only thing that is really profitable is money, without any moral or ethical sense whatsoever! And what happened is that the price of the new cylinders, and of refilling those cylinders, shot up—why? because of the laws of the market. Sure, there were some people who did rent these things out, but there were businessmen who preferred to make a greater profit, and so what they would do is they would sell them for great gain.
And as for the color and the paint on it, I don’t know—surely, they ran out of white paint or something like that. I’m not knowledgeable about the color of these things.
Let me point something out, just briefly, I wanted to add something not only with regard to this question of oxygen, but with regard to the entire system, the whole system that’s needed to deal with something like COVID—we’re talking about equipment, but also trained medical personnel—which is something that has caught a lot of the countries in the world, but especially the poor countries, completely unprepared. And this is where the whole issue comes in, of international cooperation, which also has not existed! And then there’s the question of the vaccines: What’s happening with the vaccines is just flat out criminal, because, you know, there are countries like Peru where there are just no vaccines, no one is being vaccinated. There have been a couple of hundred, perhaps, in the country.
And what Putin has said, Putin’s call, Xi Jinping’s call, and thankfully Biden has come around and agrees on this: the question of vaccines is an international matter. It must be a public good, and it must be free. Maybe Big Pharma companies won’t get the greatest profits, but the world as a whole will win.
Because, look, the whole world will win: This is important to understand, especially for the United States. You had a great literary figure and poet, Edgar Poe, who wrote a short story about the plague. But the lesson of that is applicable completely in the current situation. And Edgar Poe, in the tradition of those great humanists such as Boccaccio and others, he wrote something called “The Mask of the Red Death,” which you may have heard of.
This is something that ought to be obligatory reading for students in high school and junior high, because this is a totally applicable case to today: It tells the story of those people who believe that by isolating themselves, that somehow they would be free themselves, save themselves from the plague which is outside, out there in the poor countries, the pestilent countries. Poe, there, tells the story about a prince who builds a castle which is completely defended against the plague, or, let’s say, totally defended against COVID; and he invites over his friends, the aristocracy, only them, to celebrate the fact that they have freed themselves from the danger of the plague. And the way Poe describes this, it was a masked ball, you had to wear a disguise.
And just to “cut to the chase” on the story, everyone was there, wearing their masks. And as they took them off, one person had a red mask on, and when he took it off, he was Death, and everyone began to die.
And so this applies totally to the situation today, which was the point I was making in my remarks: The United States cannot get by alone, Europe cannot get by alone. And so the first line of defense of this global war is here, it’s here in Peru, it’s in India, it’s in Africa. People should not be foolish: If you want to survive, there is no castle that can be constructed, that’s thick enough with walls, unless we fight this battle globally.
Fighting for a New Paradigm
Baker: Thank you for that question from South Dakota; I bet it’s from our friend and big activist in the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, Ron Wieczorek. Let’s look at this in two phases, because he asks, what about mobilizing youth. It’s a question of spreading the word, not just to ag colleges, whether it’s Tuskegee or Iowa State, but I mean individuals with or without a farm background who want to engage. We are inhibited by the pandemic from engaging person by person to literally have exchanges back and forth between the Caribbean and the U.S. or Europe, or Africa, and Argentina, but let’s consider ourselves in the preparation and staging phase for that.
Secondly, the exciting thing is that youth can bring an open mind to terrible opposites which are being played off against each other in things like food, as well as medicine, and between nations, in power politics.
For example, when our Committee effort was contacting independent seed corn producers in the United States about high-quality, drought-resistant seeds for southern Africa, for Mozambique, it turns out, that not only do the seed producers have to pay a license fee to big pharma and big chemical and big food companies like Bayer Crop Science (Monsanto), or Cargill, but these monopolies reserve the right to control to whom the independents can then send their seeds. So if your company produces good seed corn that grows well in Illinois or Nebraska, and would grow well in Zimbabwe or Mozambique, you have to have permission from Bayer Crop Science or Cargill, or you can’t supply Africa.
Worse, this is played off by people like Bill Gates and others, who declare that if you provide good seeds in Zimbabwe or Mozambique for high-yield corn, you will hurt the local farmers who carry their own seeds over from year to year. But, of course, does it have to hurt them? No! We can create a coincidence of common interest by deciding on behalf of everyone together, from every nation and every background, that we’re not going to let the big transnationals own the right to life, the means to life, like germ plasm in corn seeds, and we’re not going to hurt any farmer who keeps his or her own seeds back.
In conclusion, I take heart from the fact that there are “gestures” going on, that our actions can make sure are not “empty gestures.” Just yesterday morning, on May 7, at a meeting connected to the UN Security Council, brought together by China, you had Wang Yi from China, and Sergey Lavrov from Russia, and Tony Blinken, and they talked about multilateralism. But Lavrov said that Putin does reiterate, he wants a meeting between Russia, China and the others of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as soon as possible: We can outline the content of this, we can address the agenda, and I think that all the different speakers and potential that was shown today can make all the difference.
Zepp-LaRouche: I think we will see a dramatic worsening of the situation. I mentioned this already, that the head of the African CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] put out a warning, saying that the new variant in India is a wake-up call for the entire African continent, because it can happen there, any time. And the main vaccine production for all of Africa came from India.
So it will get more dramatic, and I think a crisis can always be a chance to accomplish exactly the new paradigm in thinking. And the reason why I mentioned the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 was because that was a moment when, because of the reports about the massacre, the tension and almost hatred between the Christians and the Muslims was at an all-time high. It was like a huge clash.
But that is exactly when Nicholas of Cusa applied the coincidence of opposites thinking, in writing this beautiful dialogue about the peace in religion [De Pace Fidei, On the Peace of Faith], by bringing all the different representatives of the different religions and nations together, and then establishing, step by step, in a pedagogical way, the higher level of thinking about the one God, the one truth, and the one religion, as compared to the prophets and traditions and so forth.
So I think, because people will be freaked out, because this is a big, existential crisis, I think also the perceptiveness will be bigger, so we should really go with this Committee work and make it a dominant idea in all of history in this conjuncture.
Moderator: Thank you. And to the many people who are asking how they can help, the best thing to do is to contact us through the Schiller Institute. You can of course send your questions right to . Lynne Speed and Marcia Merry Baker, and also Dr. Lang are the people who are doing the primary work of that type. We thank everyone for being with us today. We hope you’ll become involved in the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, and the method of averting a collapse of civilization, because we can come by a new morality, higher and high enough to allow civilization and mankind to survive. Thank you.