This transcript appears in the May 5, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
The Power of Labor for a Moment of Epochal Change
This is the edited transcript of the presentation by Jacques Cheminade to Panel 4, “The Necessary Philosophical Foundations for the New Paradigm,” of the April 15-16 Schiller Institute Conference, “Without the Development of All Nations, There Can Be No Lasting Peace for the Planet.” Mr. Cheminade is the President of the French political party Solidarité et Progrès, and has run three times for President of France. Helga Zepp-LaRouche moderated the panel and introduced Mr. Cheminade. Embedded links and subheads have been added.
Watch the entire conference here.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche (moderator): Hello! I greet you very warm-heartedly for the fourth panel of our international Schiller Institute conference. The topic of this panel is the principles on which the new security and development architecture, the New Paradigm, must be built. I think the discussion in all three earlier panels, but especially the previous one, Panel 3 [see EIR, Vol. 50, No. 16, April 21, 2023], made very clear the extraordinary circumstances in which mankind finds itself, the enormous pressures. In that panel, the questions of hunger, food, the need to keep the economy functioning, are nevertheless not so easy to find cohesion among all these different interests.
That is why I think this discussion about the principles on which the New Paradigm must be built is extremely important. Actually, when I thought about it last November, when I proposed the Ten Principles, it was clear to me that it would not be enough to just have programmatic points. I think these programmatic points in one sense are the most easy to agree upon, because this is what everybody encounters: the need to have sovereignty, because without sovereignty the individual cannot participate in the government; the urgent need of mankind to overcome hunger, poverty; to create a modern health system in every country; to have access to universal education; to have a credit system which can finance all of that; to have the necessary infrastructure in every continent to deal with actual security considerations. All of these things are difficult, but they are manageable, provided one has fundamental philosophical principles on which different representatives of different countries can agree.
I think that is the one thing which is mostly lacking, because I have not seen any forum which addresses that from a scientific standpoint, to actually solve it. I think the Schiller Institute has a special role, because our whole organization and our whole movement and the principles of us working as an international think tank, are very much influenced by the method of, on the one side, Lyndon LaRouche who developed a very unique scientific economic method—physical economy.
But we also are taking as a resource the methods of thinking which have been developed by other great philosophers in history, like Nicholas of Cusa, Gottfried Leibniz, Friedrich Schiller, Confucius, Plato, and several others. I think that is what we should discuss in this fourth panel—to work out principles which provide the key to overcome tensions among nations that come from their historical experiences, their different cultures, and their different understandings to even communicate with each other in the right way when there are completely different backgrounds in terms of tradition and culture.
Nicholas of Cusa, the great thinker of the 15th Century, made a very valid observation when he said, the only reason why representatives of different nations and different cultures can even communicate with each other is because they all have wise men—and women, naturally—artists, musicians, mathematicians, people who understand universal principles in science and art. Once you agree on these universal principles, which are called universal because they apply everywhere, otherwise they would not be universal, that is why even if people come from different cultures, they can establish a common ground.
In this fourth panel we will attempt to establish at least an approximation, so that people get an idea of why these principles are so absolutely important. That gives me the opportunity to announce our first speaker, Jacques Cheminade, who will give the keynote in this panel. He is a three-time Presidential candidate in France, is President of the party Solidarité et Progrès, and is one the great philosophers of our time.
Jacques Cheminade: To mobilize the power of human labor is our immediate challenge, to build a new architecture of security and development for all of us. Both the nations of the Global Majority and the peoples in the Western section, claim the existential, immediate necessity to succeed. This is the real sense of us demonstrating in the streets of Europe.
By contrast, our financial elites of the Global North are pursuing a policy of social war against their own peoples and of rearmament against the nations that are seen as the enemies, the nations that resist them. Their policy is a danger for all: Facing the crisis of their predatory financial system, they are like wounded tigers that become man-eaters.
Human Labor Is Neither Bestial Nor Mechanical
Against them, our decisive weapon is our image of Man, that Man is characteristically good. The accomplishments of human labor embody and prove our creative powers! Nonetheless, the oligarchical elites try by all means to reduce labor to a balance of power within their established environment, pre-defined by the rule of money and pricing.
The purpose of my intervention is therefore to contribute to freeing the power of human labor. First, it is human because it is neither bestial nor mechanistic. To be physically exploited in a coltan or gold mine is not human labor, it is colonial slavery. Human labor consists in physically transforming nature for a useful social purpose and not to perform a task to get remuneration. The work of a human being develops and broadens its creative powers. It is not something in itself; it is a contribution to our common good for the social future. Labor is a human right to develop, not a price.
But to say this is not enough. The necessary philosophical foundations for a New Paradigm demand a much deeper investigation into what is human. The best reference that I could find is a set of presentations given by Lyndon LaRouche on the power of labor, natural law, and technological progress, in his , So, You Wish To Learn All About Economics? from April 1984. LaRouche starts with the need to increase the potential relative population density of a society to avoid its doom. Potential means above the level of the present population. It is the discovery of new physical principles and their application to foster technological progress that increases the productive powers of labor, per human being, and per land area. Because there is a special quality in mankind to improve its environment and increase the energy flux-density and the carrying capacity of its universe!
Look then at the present state of our trans-Atlantic universe. It is potentially doomed! It has destroyed its potential under the rule of a financial oligarchy which issues more and more money without creating—and now destroying—real, physical growth. Politically therefore, the essence of our fight is clear.
But let’s take a step ahead with Lyndon LaRouche. An animal or an oligarch can’t transform its environment for the best. We are going to see that an artificial intelligence processes data better than humans but does not transform it. Human labor can do that, because it can hypothesize. It has the power to transform and create a better universe by changing the rules of the game, economically, socially, and culturally; it breaks through the given constraints!
LaRouche defines three levels of hypothesis that make human labor uniquely human: Simple hypotheses are compatible with existing axioms and hypotheses, so to say, “they discover along the way.” Higher hypotheses overthrow existing axioms and postulates of accepted scientific or other opinion. It is the kind of thinking that reconstructs all scientific discoveries and opens the way to the discovery of new physical principles applied under the form of technological progress that potentially every human being has the power to understand and apply socially, because he or she is human. It is their social implementation which is the power of human labor to increase the relative potential population density. The hypothesis of the higher hypothesis is a principle which efficiently generates successful successive scientific revolutions. It is the domain that Vladimir Vernadsky calls the noösphere, the power of human labor to become a geological force that shapes the Earth in coherence with the laws of the physical universe.
The Benefits and Limitation of ‘Artificial Intelligence’
Let’s now take one more step ahead: the so-called revolution of Artificial Intelligence, AI. AI processes data and establishes logical correlations, “learning” to induce and deduce in domains with an enormous but finite number of cases. It does not know what it is really doing physically, it is not self-conscious. True, it can win over a human rival in the board games of chess or Go. It did it. It’s logic. But no AI can ever proceed in the domain of physically discontinuous processes—creative human labor. It amounts to a very sophisticated statistical model quantifying correlations between scales of values.
For AI, a metaphor—a change of meaning from a level of thinking to a higher one—is like a chicken finding a piece of white clay. AI cannot reach the level of higher hypothesis! This means that AI can process better than human beings that which is not human; the boring domain of data. “Machine learning” and “deep learning” allows it to explore what is already known, and usefully proceed in that domain of the already known. But never metaphors; never a new physical principle. In that sense, whereas LaRouche said that money is an idiot, AI is another one, an idiota senza mente [mindless idiot], a data analyst servant on electronic steroids.
Good news, or bad news? It is a matter of intention. The very bad news would be if AI were to be left in the hands of those who wish to eradicate creative human thinking with a more sophisticated level to control human behavior—the oligarchical game to train humans to be non-humans—destroying human labor through the algorithmic control of images, fake news, and financial operations. In that sense, the true enemy of human knowledge and labor is not ignorance, but—as Socrates knew—the illusion to know.
Now, the very good news would be if AI were under the control of the power of human labor. AI is a very useful helper not only to accomplish time-consuming tasks, but also to proceed by itself in a domain of known logical relations. For example, it takes more than half an hour, one way, to communicate with a rover on planet Mars. AI can train the vehicle to face everything that could be expected, except if an unexpected, illogical event happens—an unknown! Limited, but very useful. True, AI is going to replace many jobs accomplished by human beings. But those jobs are not human creative labor! It is mainly white shirt, bureaucratic jobs, such as strategic consultants, the McKinseys, traders, lawyers, power-point experts, all the impostors that pretend to master the rules of the game, and are in fact profiteers.
If we control the domain of the AI, our work is going to be necessarily—and happily, I must say—human, because our mindless assistant is going to accomplish the non-creative work!
The decisive political issue is then who controls credit? Who controls the process of credit issuance and for what purpose?
Escape From the Destructive Logic of Blocs Against Blocs
There is more to say. The consciousness that our labor is truly human is the key point. I have not enough time to go into it. So I would simply advise you to read Nikolaus von Kues [Cusa], the best philosophical friend of Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Just a word: in his book, De Beryllo (1458), among other works, Cusa teaches us the true way of human knowledge, freed from the sterile Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction, to enter instead the domain of the intellect beyond that of reason. The domain where the human mind conceives the Coincidence of Opposites and becomes capable of reaching a higher level of action. The metaphor for this creative insight—into what Cusa later called posse ipsum, power itself—Cusa’s metaphor is beryl, a semi-precious stone from which spectacles were cut in his time. Human eyes would thus be equipped with the intellectual beryl that would allow the mind to grasp the Coincidence of Opposites, such as a metaphor.
Today, Helga Zepp-LaRouche applies this approach to the solution of human conflicts, to get out of—“from above”—the destructive logic of blocs against blocs. It is thus from within our own minds and by listening to the minds of others, in the spirit of the Peace of Westphalia (1648), that creative human work establishes the roadmap to get out of the dilemma. This is its very nature at its highest level, that of insight, of creative intuition, carrying a dynamic of peace—not from data gathered in the form of plans, but from principles generating the power of human labor: our Ten Principles of the Schiller Institute. The shift of the world today is the best opportunity for all of us to become actors of this change for the best.
Let me finish with a quote from Bernhard Riemann on the concept of Geistesmasse:
The mind is a compact cognitive mass [Geistesmasse], multiply connected by the most intimate internal connections. It creates continuously, as new cognitive masses enter it, and in this way it continues to develop.
It is thus the contribution of new ideas that resonates and stimulates the whole of our knowledge. Helga Zepp-LaRouche and my wife, Odile, have explored Johann Friedrich Herbart’s contribution to the pedagogy of creative abilities to create the soul of the student and not to format him, as is the case very often today. Human work is the experimentation of this permanent progress of which the whole life of humanity, and the best of ours, brings the experimental proof, the historical proof.
This is what is immediately threatened today by war and economic chaos. Let us become more aware of it. Let us move about it; let us mobilize more humans to work to reverse the flow in our trans-Atlantic part of the world and bring opposites together. It is a matter of life and death. The power of human work must inspire us to think in terms of metaphors, and to develop hypotheses beyond a sensory experience that today—left to its own logic, the logic of this sensory experience—would make us pessimistic and therefore powerless.
Let’s follow the advice of Lyndon LaRouche when he was asked the secret of his creativity: “Work, work.” The decisive moment of history that we are living requires from us the full mobilization of our creative human work so that our great moment of history falls due—to greater peoples.