EIR LEAD EDITORIAL SATURDAY APRIL 22, 2023
Think Like Cusa, and All Things Are Possible
April 21, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—First, the good news. While there are momentous changes in the world, several of which are discussed in the body of what follows below, sometimes the greatest change occurs in the microcosm of the process called “organizing.” A crucial and successful thought-experiment has proven that education can, in fact, still take place at an American university. And this can even be done among the most emotionally inaccessible of groups—a department faculty.
A Schiller Institute contact, a professor at an American college, reported a faculty conversation which discussed the future directions of the particular department. At one point, the conversation turned to the topic: “Should we be teaching a course on peace?” Other important matters were posed, but all of them from the standpoint of “what the administration would expect.”
The contact intervened, saying he was associated with the Schiller Institute, and had endorsed the call by Pope Francis to negotiate an end to the Ukraine war. He then said, “people look at ideas in the wrong way. The first thing you have to do, is ignore what the (school) bureaucracy has to say; you have to take ideas from the top, not work your way up from the bottom.” A spark was ignited. The meeting went on for four hours, with full engagement from the 16 people present, who represented several disciplines. At a certain point the professor, somewhat shocked, stood back and thought to himself, “I had no idea that people would respond to me in this way.”
In his call to report the happy, successful thought-experiment, his opening words were, “I’m calling you because I want to thank you and the Schiller institute for something that happened to me.” When the organizer said to him, “It sounds to me that you have been reading Helga’s Ten Principles of a New International Development and Security Architecture,” he said, “Of course I read it!” Now, he has also grasped “the principle of the Ten Principles,” and used it. He proved that it is possible to use higher philosophical principles to lift the thinking and potential actions of a (wrongly) presumably unresponsive intellectual sector; the same should be attempted everywhere, and with everyone.
The bad news, for the trans-Atlantic egotists that have supremely miscalculated, in their infinite wisdom, the limits of tyrannical power, is that the world has walked away from them. They have lost the hearts and minds of the “Global Majority.” Even the Ukrainians can no longer trust them, in part thanks to the various leaked documents that continue to be released from the bowels of the intelligence “hall of mirrors” that they themselves have created. Though the Anglosphere can pressure, torture, and kill, they cannot persuade. As the saying so aptly puts it: “You have not converted a man, merely because you have silenced him.” And the Global Majority is increasingly vocal about it, to boot.
The response internal to the Anglosphere itself also threatens the morally tone-deaf of the ruling governments of their crisis-ridden nations. The trans-Atlantic world’s elite rulers and “omnipotent administrators” are unable to face, and therefore they deny, the spirit of rising hope that can, at any moment, grip their populations—as it gripped the audience at the RFK Jr. 2024 Presidential candidacy announcement this week. The 1,200-person audience assembled itself from around the entire United States. A handicapped 69-year-old who traveled with his son from New York said, “We’re here for one word: hope. Our generation has failed miserably. I think Bobby is the only one who can create real change and help us get out of this mess. He is not a Neanderthal. He’s not a TikTok punk. He has felt pain. The word is hope.” It was not RFK; it was the “Hamlet’s ghost,” the “awful shadow” of the two slain brothers and the responsibility to the better angels of America that was palpable there.
Schiller’s poem, Die Hoffnung, says that “we are born for that which is better.” That is the sentiment of people in the United States, in Brazil, in South Africa, and in the war zones of the world, many of which are aspiring to peace, as in Yemen, or Syria. In other areas, like Sudan, a different direction is being imposed. Yet, in even the circumstance of a re-emerging colonialism in Africa, a policy to which China and Russia are presently counterposed, the more astute of the liberal imperialists are aware that they are not winning hearts and minds; their duplicity is too obvious. A Foreign Affairs article on Africa, “Order of Oppression—Africa’s Quest for a New International System” by Tim Murithi, warns that “Seventeen African states refused to vote for a UN resolution condemning Russia, and most countries on the continent have maintained economic and trade ties with Moscow despite Western sanctions. In response, the United States and other Western countries have berated African leaders for failing to defend the ‘rules- based’ international order, framing African neutrality in the Ukrainian conflict as a betrayal of liberal principles.... But the truth is that the rules-based international order has not served Africa’s interests. On the contrary, it has preserved a status quo in which major world powers—be they Western or Eastern—have maintained their positions of dominance over the Global South.”
There, of course, is the lie. There is not an “equivalence” between the relationship of “Western” former colonialist powers, like Great Britain and France to Africa, and that of the “Eastern” powers, like China and Russia, that have no colonialist history in Africa. People and nations are choosing sides, and it’s not that of what Larry Summers calls “the right side of history.” They are choosing, instead, to be, not on the side, but in the center of universal history.
Force, including overwhelming thermonuclear force, is not the arbiter of history. Nietzsche spoke in his “Twilight of the Idols” of “philosophy with a hammer.” The image of “the irresistible force of the will to power,” captures the conceit, as well as the downfall of the post-Nietzschean neo-cons, “Republican” or “Democrat,” of the unipolar world order, the decline that 20th-century American eugenicist Madison Grant once characterized as “the passing of the great race.” Nietzsche’s collapse into insanity at the age of 44, and subsequent death 11 years later, does not recommend the “hammer” approach, but, in its consequence, rather invokes the Islamic observation that “Truth knocks out the brains of falsehood.”
A philosophical approach like that of “learned ignorance,” pioneered by the organizer of the 1439 Council of Florence, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, is far preferable to the violence of “philosophy with a hammer.” Instead of a hammer, think of the mind as wielding a conductor’s baton. Each player of the mind’s orchestra is sovereign, a master of a different instrument. The whole group of musicians, however, comprise a meta-instrument, which is called the orchestra. That is the metaphysical instrument the conductor plays, with the consent of the musicians governed by the intent of the composition. It is neither unipolarity nor multipolarity, but a community of principle devoted to achieving the re-creation of a singular, unique idea, and its unity of effect, on the mind of the audience.
Conductor John Sigerson once stated that a conductor should never use a fist as a gesture to an orchestra. A fist conveys force, precisely the opposite of the “force free” mood and method of performing—that is, re-composing—a great musical work. Beethoven directed, in his instruction for performing his Great Fugue, that it must be “so frei wie streng”—“as free as it is rigorous.” To convey Beethoven’s daunting Great Fugue, a very difficult piece, requires a transparency of intention that conveys the composition’s unit-idea. It also requires, in its original setting as the sixth and concluding movement of his String Quartet No. 13, a concentration over those six movements, as though they were heard all at once in the minds of the performers as a single movement —a kind of “over-movement.” The unity of effect, produced in a great Classical performance, conveys, over multiple movements, a unit-idea, like that of the republican notion, E Pluribus Unum—“out of the Many, One”—the solution-concept that supersedes “unipolarity” or “multipolarity.”
Truth also seems to be knocking out the brains of absurd ideas in physics these days. The London Daily Mail reported April 17 about “The Galaxies That Shouldn’t EXIST: Experts Are Baffled as NASA’s $10 Billion James Webb Telescope Discovers Six Super-Sized Star Clusters That Are Too Big For Their Age.” The story, which first was reported on Feb. 23, and was updated because of a follow-up study published in Nature Astronomy days ago, is that six galaxies that contain as many as 100 billion stars or more, more or less the size of our Milky Way, have been observed by the James Webb Space Telescope, except that they should be much older; they shouldn’t be where they are “at the beginning of the universe.” They should be little fellas, according to the Big Bang, that are just being formed.
Reached by EIR for comment, the galaxies issued a two-word statement in response to the Earth-bound, uncreative post-Newtonians: “Sez Who?” The universe represents not a linear, or non-linear extrapolation, but a development architecture everywhere dense with the potential for change. It is this hopeful notion that the discussion of the Ten Principles can catalyze in even the remotest reaches of the universe—including, even, the mental faculties of college faculties.