Schiller Institute founder and chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave this keynote address to a conference sponsored by EIR and the Schiller Institute, on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, at the historic Riverside Church in New York City.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear members and friends of the Schiller Institute, I think we all assemble here today, in the full knowledge about the extremely grave situation mankind finds itself in. And at this point, it is not clear if this mankind will have a future or not. The reason why I’m saying this, is because we have the coincidence of several existential crises, which each would be sufficient to pose a question about the survivability of the human species.
First, the most dangerous and immediate one is naturally the possibility that the crisis in the Middle East, and now spreading quickly to Northern Africa, has become a new Balkans, what the Balkans were before World War I, which is like a combination of alliances, which once you have a trigger, one more step beyond what it is now, could ignite World War III. And this time it would be a thermonuclear war, because as everybody knows, for example, a strike against Iran would absolutely, immediately trigger a thermonuclear Third World War. It could even be a situation starting with the toppling of the Assad government, or even just continuous chaos as we see it right now, with the spread of al-Qaeda in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Now, if it would come to this thermonuclear war, it is a very good likelihood, that nobody would be left; that you would have a thermonuclear Winter, in which the people who die in the first hours could boast of being the happy ones, compared to those who die later. The problem is that this is no longer in the minds of people; but remember that President Kennedy, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, said exactly that. And now, with the arrival of much larger weapons arsenals, the power of extinction has absolutely increased.
Now, the second major, potentially existential crisis, is the fact that the entire trans-Atlantic financial system, as a result of the high-risk speculation, the 25% profit, and the continuous bailout policies for the too-big-to-fail banks, has now come to a situation where the only thing left is a hyperinflationary blowout of the entire system.
Now, if that happens—and we are seeing signs that it could happen this week, or the coming week, or in February, or any day—then you would have a hyperinflation like in Germany in 1923. And that means the most brutal expropriation of the population at large. Now, if this would happen, you would have a political and social crisis beyond belief, because if you think that the entire Eurozone, the dollar zone, and then spreading through the rest of the world, would have hyperinflation like it happened in Germany in 1923, the chaos would plunge civilization immediately into a dark age.
The Cultural-Moral Crisis
Now, the third crisis I want to mention is the unbelievable cultural and moral crisis: If you think about the spread of drugs, pornography, violence, and especially how that has affected the youth culture, where you not only have more and more massacres like that in Newtown—wild people shooting many of their children and teachers—but you have a crisis in the heads of the young people! If you have 12-year-old children who “know it all,” who have done everything possible in terms of pornography, rape, and so forth, what is left of the minds of this generation? And that is something which affects the United States and all of Europe, and unfortunately, with globalization, many other countries.
Now, the image of man which is the underlying axiom of all of these crises, has turned into a bestial image, where the values have become completely depraved and degenerated, And this is not because man is like that—I don’t believe that man is innately evil. I just think that the oligarchical system, which is driving this globalization, has basically done exactly what the Roman Empire did to lower the morality of the people consciously, to dumb them down, so that they are pretty defenseless, or so it seems. Because if you go into the streets, as we do every day, people say, “Oh, there’s nothing you can do.” And that is the sure sign of the oligarchy, when people are saying that.
So the point I’m making is, the crisis is so multifaceted, that only a complete paradigm shift, a complete change of values is going to solve this problem. Almost 46 years ago, on April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King spoke in this very church, giving a speech with the title, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break the Silence,” which was a very, very emotional and powerful attack on the Vietnam War. And he said, we are indeed in need of a new way, beyond the darkness that seems to so close around us; and then he called for a radical revolution of values.
A Paradigm Upshift
Now, the existential requirement of today is exactly that. We need a total, fundamental shift in the paradigm, and it must be an upshift, as fundamental as the paradigm shift which separated the Middle Ages from modern times, what Nicholas of Cusa, with his writings, consciously evoked, when he consciously broke with the dominant ideology of the time, which was scholasticism, which was superstition beyond belief, which was the logistical thinking of the Peripatetics of his time, and he introduced a completely different way of thinking, which led to all the breakthroughs of the modern age, the breakthroughs in modern science, the breakthroughs in Classical composition and many other things.
Now, what I find the most horrifying in thinking about this present situation is how close we are to a complete catastrophe, and that all the governments, the leading governments of the G20, and many other governments, don’t even want to acknowledge that! And they keep doing things which lead, step by step, further down the road to catastrophe.
The German government yesterday was reported to also now be producing armed combat drones. This is insane! Why would you continue a policy which is murdering people, where you have absolutely no way to differentiate between criminals, terrorists, and civilian casualties? And the problem is that not only are they not responding, but they are on a course which is leading to disaster, and the population is depraved, too.
I agree on that point with the next speaker [Bruce Fein], that it’s only, unfortunately, a very small portion of people who have the morality and the guts to do something. And the purpose of this conference, and previous and subsequent conferences, is to appeal to those, maybe 5% of the population, who have the courage to go against the mainstream and to go against this present paradigm; people who must be guided by an inner truth, who are capable of thinking through the consequences of the present policies.
Because the vast majority, probably 95% or more, are other-directed: They like depraved entertainment; they’re seeking pleasure in the here and now. Or, they are simply so preoccupied with the burden of getting their daily meals and survival, that they don’t have the energy to think through the larger issues of strategy, history, science, and culture.
Therefore, we have to find and mobilize those 5% who have the intellectual and moral disposition to come together and effect this paradigm shift. We had a conference at the end of last year near Frankfurt [Germany], and we will have many more such conferences and invite people to contribute papers, discussions, seminars, to define the new paradigm, because this is the absolute necessary flanking environment which has to occur.
We have to mobilize the better parts of the population, but if push comes to shove, we are so short-term in the crisis, that unless the American Congress implements immediately, in the next days, Glass-Steagall—and if that happens, similar things will go into motion in Europe—chaos will erupt in the short term.
I can assure you that if you talk to some of the top bankers, when they are honest in private, they admit that this thing could come down in one minute, and that the people pushing these policies are completely irresponsible.
Now, Glass-Steagall is the absolutely necessary first step, and it does not look so bad, because we have led an unbelievably successful mobilization to bring Glass-Steagall onto the table internationally: the separation of the banks,Trennbankensystem, as it’s called in German, was completely unknown two years ago. And just reading my morning mail this morning, I saw an article in Süddeutsche Zeitung, saying that the bankers are now coming around to see that politics is getting serious with separation of the banks, that it’s no longer just the crazy people, die Spinner—meaning us, obviously!—who are pushing that.
But while it is not yet decided if you will have Vickers Commission, Volcker Rule, Dodd-Frank, Liikanen proposal, all these watered-down versions, or whatever, they naturally don’t mention Glass-Steagall, they don’t mention the bill of [Rep. Marcy] Kaptur in the Congress [HR 129], that coming in the light of the fact that the German election campaign is going into high gear for the Federal election, this will be the dominant subject. And I can promise you, we’ll make sure it will be the real Glass-Steagall.
Now also in the United States, Richard Fisher [head of the Dallas Federal Reserve] gave a very important address in the National Press Club about a week ago, where he called for the separation of the too-big-to-fail banks. Well, why is it necessary to have that?
Now, last week there was a panel discussion in Königstein in Taunus, near Frankfurt, with the participation of Anshu Jain, now co-director of Deutsche Bank; Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan; Klaus Engel, the CEO of the chemical firm Evonik; and Nikolaus von Bomhard, the CEO of Munich Re, the largest reinsurance company in the world. And in this debate, where the banks were the subject, Engel said, “Well, at least our toxic products are highly regulated.” And then Jamie Dimon responded, “Well, your mistakes have cost lives, ours have not.”
Well, I cannot let that stand: Because this is a case of chutzpah as I have not ever seen it, especially coming from JP Morgan! Because, immediately after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death, it was the very JP Morgan bank which started to undo the strict regulation of Glass-Steagall, which had its roots in the 1950s. In 1984, JP Morgan, where Alan Greenspan was a director at that time, produced a pamphlet “How To Undo Glass-Steagall.” When Alan Greenspan was the head of the Fed, in the ’80s and the ’90s, he step-by-step undermined Glass-Steagall; and naturally, in ’99, when there was the repeal of Glass-Steagall and all the deregulation started, he was absolutely in the picture.
This deregulation led to the IT bubble, then the secondary mortgage bubble, and then in 2007, the present global financial crisis erupted full steam, and the policy of bailout package after bailout package occurred. In the United States, nobody knows exactly how much was involved, because the Federal Reserve refuses audits, they don’t have transparency, but maybe $30 trillion alone for the U.S. banks. There has been, at the same time, a complete transformation of private gambling debt into state debt, which has erupted into the so-called “state debt crisis,” which in reality is a banking crisis and a gambling crisis. Now they turn around and say, we want to have cuts, balanced budgets, at the expense of the living standards of the population.
Now, the opposition party in Greece, the Independent Greeks, on Jan. 16, launched a lawsuit against the so-called Troika—the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Union Commission—for crimes against humanity, at the International Criminal Court of Justice, for the measures which that Troika imposed between May 2010 and today. And they say that this policy has led to 3,500 suicides, 1.5 million job losses, thousands of firms closing down, and this is a violation of Article 2 of the Rome Statutes, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU that was concluded in Nice, France, in December 2000, and which confirms that everyone has the right to life. Now, the state, according to the suit, has the obligation to take the necessary measures to protect the life of every individual.
In Italy, there are now marches of the widows of entrepreneurs who have committed suicide as the result of these policies.
The former UN Rapporteur for food, Jean Ziegler, said that every five minutes, as a result of these policies, a child dies; 23 people die of hunger every day. An SUV tank filled by biofuel uses 352 kg of maize, which is sufficient to feed a child for one full year. Now, as a result of these polices, 2.2 million children in the EU are undernourished; 43 million people in the United States depend upon food stamps. In Spain, 55% of the teachers bring food to the schools, because that’s the only food the children get.
Ziegler says, in light of the fact we have all the technologies to solve that, and that the planet could feed easily 12 billion people—he calls this murder. And he describes very, very dramatically how hunger is the worst way to die: It leads to a terrible agony, people become lethargic, then it leads to a collapse of the immune system; you get bloody dysentery, you have extreme pain. Then the last stage is the atrophy of muscles, and then death.
And I think we should think about that, because banking policies are not unrelated to the consequences, no matter what people tell you. We have, in all of Europe, especially Great Britain, and in the United States, a three-class medical system: Rich people can afford good medical care; then there are some people who are taken care of; but many cannot afford to go to the doctor, because they cannot even afford the prescribed medicine. So this is cutting people’s lives short. [See article in National on the U.S. health system—ed.]
‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’
Five and a half years after the outbreak of the crisis in July 2007, there is more toxic rot in the banks than ever. We were told this by top bankers in Europe, who agree with our Glass-Steagall approach. Already, in 2003, Warren Buffett called derivatives “weapons of mass destruction.” And these weapons of mass destruction have been threatened every time a bailout package was due to happen.
For example, when Mr. [Charles] Dallara of the IIF, the International Institute of Finance, which is the lobby of the 620 largest banks, is sitting at the EU summit table, they always threaten: If you don’t do what we tell you, the whole banking system will disintegrate. And this same Mr. Dallara, at Davos, at the present World Economic Forum just said, a new big storm is about to occur. And then he blamed the G20 for not having done enough.
In the meantime, what have these universal banks, too big to fail, accomplished? The Libor scandal: The 40 largest banks have defrauded their customers over several decades for several hundred billions of dollars. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC) has been accused, but unfortunately not punished, for laundering 85% of the Mexican drug money, which according to Antonio Maria Costa, the previous executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and Victor Ivanov, the Russian counterpart, is the only reason why the financial system has not collapsed, and which is done by every single bank of any size.
Deutsche Bank was caught in CO2 certificate trading, tax evasion; and in December, there were two raids against the offices of Deutsche Bank, in one case, involving 500 armed police! Now that’s not a small contingent.
Lanny Breuer, the head of the Justice Department Criminal Division, was just exposed in a TV program called “Frontline”; he was asked, why is it that not one Wall Street bank was prosecuted for these crimes? Breuer gave the answer that he can’t sleep at night, thinking about what would happen if you go after Bank A—it would have a ripple effect on all the others. And then [former] Sen. Ted Kaufman said it’s very disturbing, because it’s not the job of a prosecutor to lie awake at night and worry, but to prosecute criminal behavior.
Now, Richard Fisher called for the cutting into pieces the too-big-to-fail banks; that 0.2% of the banks in the United States control 69% of the assets, and Fisher also correctly noted that Dodd-Frank, which includes the full Volcker Rule made things worse.
So therefore, we need the full Glass-Steagall, as Roosevelt did it. And Volcker also made the point that if you try to regulate a totally non-transparent system of derivatives and creative financial instruments, with an even more complex system of regulation, it cannot work.
Now, just look at what they have accomplished. The draft of Basel III, which was supposed to increase the capital holdings of the banks, has 616 pages. The quarterly report to the Fed spreadsheet has 2,271 columns. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act has 848 pages, and so many rules that it could amount to 30,000 pages of legal addendums if fully codified. Now, do you really think this impresses anybody? And that is the tactic they always use, so that nobody can really understand it. [FDR’s 1933 Banking Act, which included Glass-Steagall, was only 37 pages long—ed.]
The only way to solve this is Glass-Steagall: Separate the banks and protect the commercial banks, tell the investment banks to solve their problem on their own without taxpayer money, and if they have to declare insolvency, so be it.
A Credit System or Chaos
Then, naturally, they need an immediate credit system. If we don’t do that, we will have, in the next days or weeks, uncontrollable chaos, a hyperinflationary blowout, and this is now already acknowledged. For example, Prof. [Hans-Werner] Sinn, from the IFO Institute in Munich, just wrote an article saying that the banking system is on the verge of bankruptcy; bank creditors will not get money back, and that alone, for example, the six most affected countries in Europe have EU9.4 trillion outstanding debt, as compared to one-third of that as sovereign debt.
Now, if you compare that to the existing instrument, the so-called European Stability Mechanism, which has $80 billion capital and $620 billion guarantees, if you want to service this debt, you go into hyperinflation immediately! So, there is now a debate about separation of the banks, but we have to make sure that it is the full Glass-Steagall.
That is exactly what Richard Fisher was talking about at the National Press Club, namely, that you need to have a complete withdrawal of protection for the investment banks, but you also have to get rid of the hedge-funds, the private equity funds, shadow banking, and so forth.
Glass-Steagall is the hottest issue, but it has to be only the first step. We need, immediately with that, a credit system, in the tradition of the national banking system of Alexander Hamilton. We need to have credit lines for the investment of large infrastructure projects. And the Schiller Institute for the last, I would say, 40 years, but in particular for the last 20 years, since the collapse of the [Berlin] Wall, we have worked out what actually amounts to a global Marshall Plan, a global program for reconstruction.
Now, this is from a report we published in 1990 (Figure 1), immediately after the Wall in Berlin had fallen and the Iron Curtain was no longer there, which was the idea to integrate the industrial and population centers of Europe and Asia through so-called “development corridors.”
This was, at that point, only an idea. We had about 100 conferences, and presentations, seminars, all over the world. And eventually this developed into the World Land-Bridge (Figure 2), which is the idea to connect the whole world, from the south of Chile, all the way up to Central America, through North America, the Bering Strait tunnel, the Eurasian Land-Bridge, and through a large number of bridges and tunnels into all of Africa.
Now obviously, the connection between North America and Eurasia through the Bering Strait is a project which already is under way. It is the commitment of the Russian government to do that; it has attracted interest from China, from Japan, from Korea, because it is the way to open Arctic development.
One centerpiece of it, obviously is NAWAPA (Figure 3). NAWAPA would immediately create 6 million jobs. It is the largest water-management project ever conceived in the history of mankind. It is exactly in the tradition of the TVA project of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is supposed to connect, also, into Latin America through the Pan-American Highway, including the bridging of the Darién Gap, which right now is practically insurmountable and a World Wildlife Fund “biotope.”
This is the Bering Strait tunnel more precisely (Figure 4). This is the Arctic development (Figure 5): If we open up the Arctic development for exploration and even human habitation, this is one of the areas with the largest raw material resources for the next 100 years of civilization and an absolutely crucial project.
Eurasian Land-Bridge Projects
There are many projects of the Eurasian Land-Bridge, which now are in different moments of construction. There is large cooperation between the Chinese and Russians, Koreans, India. Many of the projects which we proposed at the beginning of the ’90s are now in various phases of completion.
In the recent period, we have added an extension of the World Land-Bridge into southern Europe (Figure 6), because the only way that Italy, Greece, Spain, or Portugal will ever recover from the present crisis is by having large-scale infrastructure corridors, which were all already drawn up in the beginning of the ’90s, which are in drawers of various offices, but they were blocked because of the Troika policy. And this program is supposed to include the development of the Mediterranean; it has a tunnel through the Strait of Gibraltar, a tunnel from Sicily to Tunisia, in North Africa.
And it is supposed to connect into large infrastructure projects in Africa. This is the Transaqua Project (Figure 7), the equivalent of NAWAPA for Africa. In another project, the water of the Congo River goes through nine countries and into the Mediterranean, by building a 40-meter-wide canal, which will help to irrigate all of the areas which are now complete desert, and be a second area of agricultural land besides the Nile.
Now, one big problem is that, in the last 10,000 years, the deserts of the world have expanded (Figure 8), and for example, if you look at the region of the so-called Middle East, it is entirely desert. If you go from the Atlantic coast of Africa, all the way to the Middle East into China, you see this tremendous belt of desert, which absolutely needs to be reversed. De-desiccation can be accomplished through three means: One is by redirecting the rivers; this (Figure 9) is the Ob and Irtysh Rivers, which normally flow into the Arctic in Siberia, which have to be redirected to fill up the Aral Sea, which has been depleted down to 10% of its previous size. Here you see the Aral Sea (Figure 10), which is shrinking and will vanish very soon, and therefore, this redirection of the rivers is a project which is absolutely necessary to undo the damage from the monocultures which existed during the time of the Soviet Union.
Then you have a project, the so-called GAP project in Anatolia, which involves altogether 22 dams; a region right now completely contested by ethnic strife between all kinds of tribes, Turkish, Kurdish people. This is the Ataturk Dam (Figure 11). This is the region in the southeastern Anatolia project. If it is completed, it would create a whole new region of agricultural and other activity.
This is the greening of Iraq (Figure 12): This is an absolutely necessary project for this region.
The desert of the Saudi Arabian peninsula has to be encircled by different greening projects for which we can use, in the first phase, the water from aquifers, but in the final instance we need large-scale desalination of ocean water which only can be accomplished through peaceful nuclear energy, and there, we need the inherently safe, fourth-general high-temperature reactors.
Eventually, this will lead to new vegetation, new rainfall patterns, new local climate patterns, and eventually this region will have lush gardens, and woods, with vegetable plantations and so forth.
So, obviously, what we need is this vision, of how to transform the globe. The argument of the too-big-to-fail bankers is that in order to do any of these things, you need universal banking, private investment, and so forth. You need free trade, privatization, deregulation; and these bankers say that the biggest danger is that the countries will go back to protectionism and the defense of the national interest. Now, this is the biggest lie, ever! It’s the argument of the imperial and the colonial systems, because the empires, like the Venetians or the British, used to control the sea trade, and they followed the principle of “buy cheap and sell dear.” The equivalent of this are the cheap labor markets of today, where you have child labor, things are being produced for the Dollar stores in the United States or in Europe.
It comes back to the question: What is the source of wealth in society? It is not raw materials, it is not the control of trade and finance, it is, exclusively, the creative potential of the domestic population and the increase of the productivity through education in science, technology, and culture. And the more developed the population is, the greater the wealth is of the nation.
Hamilton, List, von Kardoff
You need, in addition to that, the sovereign control of credit creation in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton, and the First National Bank of the United States, where the state has the right to create credit for well-defined projects for the physical economy in the interest of the common good. It is what Friedrich List, the author of the national economy and the Customs Union, called the difference between the American and the British systems.
This economic theory was the basis for the industrialization in Germany, of America, Russia, and Japan. It was continued by the ideas of Henry Carey, the economic advisor of Lincoln, and within a few years, Germany became one of the leading industrial nations through the ideas of Henry Carey. Otto von Bismarck, the chancellor who unified Germany, was first, a total believer in free trade, and then, through the influence of Wilhelm von Kardorff, who was a member of parliament, and later became the founder of the central association of German industry for the development and protection of national labor, advised and convinced and recruited Bismarck to turn from a free-trader into a believer in protectionism. He wrote a book called Against the Stream, where he describes the lies of the free-traders, and developed the principles of a productive national economy. And I can only advise people that this book is an absolute must-read for everybody who wants to study these things today. It is completely omitted from all official biographies of Bismarck, which is really very amazing.
What this theory says, is that you have to invest in areas in which you would invest, if the economy were in good shape, and that money creation is not inflationary; and, as a matter of fact, it can be proven that every time this was applied, the tax revenues became bigger than the initial credit, simply because of the primary and secondary effect on the economy.
Now, the Middle East development program which you can look at at the Schiller Institute website in greater detail [http://www.schillerinstitute.org/conf-iclc/2012/1124/main.html], naturally can only be realized if the four big powers, or the neighboring powers, agree to make peace in this region: namely Russia, China, India, and Iran; and hopefully, the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and others will agree that you have to have a perspective of having peace through development, and have a vision which is an incentive for this region to agree on a higher level of reason, something which is to the advantage of all parties, and is a vision for the youth.
We have to draw a picture of how should the world look 50 years from now? Should the Middle East—and when I mean Middle East, I mean the region from Central Asia, to Afghanistan, Pakistan, all the way to the Gulf States and the Mediterranean—should this region have, in 50 years or maybe earlier, an infrastructure as dense as in Europe today? And what I mean by that is, if you ever have been traveling along the Rhine, you see the cargo ships, which then go to computerized train stations, and then go to production centers, without any interruption. And that is exactly what we need to have in the Middle East: We need to have a vision of beautiful cities, in places where you have desert today. And these beautiful cities should have the architecture of the ancient Silk Road, of the Abbasid Caliphate periods, and not look like Houston!
We have to have the idea of lush forests, vegetable gardens, green landscapes, where basically deserts and sandstorms are dominating today.
We need a renaissance of the period when Baghdad was the leading capital of the world, when Haroun al-Rashid and al-Mansour paid in gold for every discovery which was brought to them from Mediterranean countries, and when scholars like al-Kindi, al-Farabi, and Ibn Sina were continuing the heritage of the Platonic tradition in that part of the world.
Is it realistic to think that way, in the face of the present situation, when the Middle East is a powder keg, which could lead to World War III?
A New Peace of Westphalia
If you look at the trail of destruction of the regime-change policy of the British and U.S. government, starting basically with the fall of the Soviet Union, you look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, the Gaza Strip, you look at the destruction, the bombed-out houses. You have now a conflict between Shi’ites and Sunnis which easily could develop into a Hundred Years War. If you look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is that a realistic perspective? Is Henry Kissinger right when he says that the Peace of Westphalia principle is not valid for this region?
Well, I strongly say: No! I think the Peace of Westphalia is the only way how peace in that region can occur. And well, how did the Peace of Westphalia come into being? It was the conclusion of 150 years of religious war, topped by the Thirty Years War, which had left large parts of Europe totally destroyed, 80%, so that the people finally got to the table to recognize that if they would not stop this, there would be nobody left to enjoy the result.
Now, the Peace of Westphalia developed very important principles: The first principle being, for the sake of peace, let’s stop all vengeance; let’s forget all the crimes from the one or the other party, and put them behind us. Principle #2 being, for the sake of peace, let’s make love the basis of foreign policy; let’s make the interest of the other our own interest. And thirdly, cameralism developed, namely, the role of the state in the reconstruction after the war.
Now, is that realistic? Well, if the people in the time of Peace of Westphalia could recognize that they would not live if they continued, maybe in light of the fact that everybody who knows anything about the region today—that a strike against Iran could lead to the thermonuclear destruction of civilization—is that not incentive enough?
If you look, for example, at the long history of bitter hostilities between Germany and France, who used to be arch-enemies, where in the War of 1870, large territorial disputes were a thorn in the flesh of people; in the First World War, there were four years of fighting between German and French troops, senseless fighting and killing for four years in the trenches, sometimes only a few meters ahead, a few meters back, in four years of complete destruction and uprooting of entire populations.
In 1923, the French occupation of the Rhineland—because Germany did not pay the expected amount according to the Versailles Treaty—triggered the hyperinflation of 1923, and also escalated the hatred against the French. On top of the humiliation of the Versailles Treaty, now you had the complete expropriation of the people.
Then World War II: again, bitter fights. Out of this Adenauer and de Gaulle made the foundation of a new German-French friendship, and we have just now had the 50-year anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, and people are studying each other’s language, there are youth exchanges. And while they are far from being what we would make out of it if we were the governments, nevertheless, there is an example that you can overcome such conflicts. How did they do it? Adenauer and de Gaulle went back to the roots of both countries in Charlemagne, and they came up with a common vision for Europe of the Fatherlands.
Cusa’s Coincidence of Opposites
Now, you cannot come to this if you remain in the thinking of Aristotelian contradictions, if you make a long list of ethnic religious conflicts. You have to have a completely different thinking, namely a thinking on the method of thecoincidentia oppositorum, the coincidence of opposites, the method developed by Nicholas of Cusa: that the One has a higher priority and a higher power than the Many.
You have to think the way Cusa developed it in the famous dialogue De Pace Fidei, about peace among the religions, which he wrote after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, which was a clash of civilizations of its time, where many people were killed. And he said, the 17 nations and religions went to God and they said to God, we each claim that we are in the sole possession of truth, but we all kill each other in your name. That cannot be your interest.
And then God answered: Well, you are all philosophers in your religions, and therefore, you can recognize that there is only one truth. And they said, “Yes, that we can understand; but still, we have killed each other so many times, can you help us some more?”
And then God said: Well, as philosophers you recognize that there is only one truth, but you make the mistake tomistake the words of the prophets for the one truth. And they said, “Yes, but help us more.”
And then God said, You make the mistake, also, that you mistake the one truth with the many traditions. And the representatives said, “But what should we do? How should we talk to our people?”
And then God said, “Go back to your people, and teach them that there is only one truth, that there is only one God, and that there is only one religion which is above all the religions of the prophets.” And that is what the solution obviously must be.
Now, the truth Nicholas talks about is not some static body of facts, which man can learn about through sensuous experience, but it is a process of continuous creation, which man participates in when he acts on his creative potential, discovering more and more principles about the physical universe, and natural science, and Classical art. And in doing so, it is not that every generation has to start from scratch, even though the moral obligation for each individual to do that, remains the same, and new. But I believe that Vladimir Vernadsky was absolutely right when he said that the noösphere would gradually have a greater and greater role over the biosphere.
Therefore, the identity of human beings, different from all other living beings, is that man is not a creature of sensuous experience, but it is his identity to discover these principles. It is what Friedrich Schiller wrote in the fourth of theAesthetical Letters: Each individual human being carries, one can say, according to his constitution and destination, a pure ideal human being within him. And to coincide with that unchangeable unity in all of its development and changes, is the great task of his existence.
Now, how to get to this coincidence with one’s own ideal personality? How to make that inner truth that corresponds to that great task of our existence, the guiding principle of our action, as compared to sensuous gratification of pleasure in the here and now, which is what most people are dominated by? It is through the aesthetical education of man, through Classical composition in music, Classical drama, poetry, and similar forms of art.
Why is this the means to get that transformation? Well, you start in music, in Classical music, or in a poem with a musical or poetical idea. You have the development of that idea, what you call in music “thorough composition,” like a polyphonic-contrapuntal fugue of Johann Sebastian Bach. And then you arrive at a higher level of truth.
In Classical drama, you start with the pregnant moment, which is like a seed containing all potentialities, which later unfold, like a tiny seed that already contains the entire potential of a full-grown oak. Then, through development, you arrive at the punctum saliens, which is the point of decision with the highest degree of freedom, and depending on the motive of the principal figure in the drama, it will be decided if there is a positive resolution of the conflict, or it ends up as a tragedy. If the drama is in the Classical form, its inner lines of action follow the same principle as the polyphonic contrapuntal fugue.
And it is the same with the Classical poem: You start with the poetical idea in the form of a metaphor, a paradox, or an irony, and then, through a process of “densification”—and the German word is actually Verdichtung, densification—one arrives at a higher level of meaning, which could not be expressed in simple prose.
Now, looking at the world today, we have to ask the same question Schiller asked: How is that we are still barbarians? I come to the same conclusion as he did, that the education of the Empfindungsvermögen, of empathy, of sensitive compassion, of emotional resonance with the condition of humanity, is the answer. You must not only educate the power of imagination, and have a vision of what the future has to be, but you have to have the power of compassion, of love for mankind.
The Extraterrestrial Imperative
But man is not only man on the planet Earth: Our planet is situated in an expanding, evolving universe, cosmic processes affect us which we have to master. Next month, an asteroid will fly by our Earth at a relatively short distance away, and we should take that as a wakeup call: that mankind presently does not have the ability to deflect or protect itself against large objects striking Earth. The last major such even was in 1908 in Siberia, in Tunguska, where a relatively small object, of only 30-50 meters across, hit. But it already effected a crater larger than the region of New York City, the larger area around it.
A more severe impact was that of 65 million years ago, which had about 10 km across and created a crater of 180 km in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and led to the Great Extinction, in all likelihood, the extinction of the dinosaurs. Now, that had an energy release of 100 million megatons, and this was about 20,000 times the estimate of what the destructive power of the entire nuclear arsenal of the world is; and it led to a large period of the equivalent of a nuclear Winter, blocking out the Sun for years.
Now, obviously such large events occur fairly seldom, but smaller objects could hit the Earth very easily, and lead to extinction.
Now, if you look at all these threats, and also other ones—extreme weather, which in New York, you have seen very recently; the outbreak of volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes; the drug plague, which is leading to menticide of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people—don’t you think we should have a movement for the common aims of mankind, trying to conquer all of these dangers through the means of our creative potential?
Obviously, this requires a leap in knowledge about the cosmic effects on the planet. We need to go to higher energy-flux-density energies, and technologies based on those, and we need to move consciously into a new era of mankind, which must be guided by what Krafft Ehricke called “the extraterrestrial imperative,” as the conscious next phase of the evolution of mankind. This must be guided by the power of reason, and the wisdom of the moral law within ourselves, as Krafft Ehricke put it.
That means we have to comprehend and to colonize nearby space as a first step, and this is not just an option, but a necessary next step. But it has to be connected with the aesthetical education of man, because if we don’t become more human, if we don’t become more of what is worthy of the dignity of man, all of this will not function. And Krafft Ehricke, who was a close friend of ours in the last years of his life, said: The absolute importance of the ideas of Friedrich Schiller, the Aesthetical Education, the turning of people into real, loving human beings, capable of agapefor the rest of mankind, has to go along with these technological developments.
Now, when the ISS [International Space Station] crew came back from their last mission, they held a press conference and they said that the dinosaurs made the mistake not to place their DNA on other planets!
We must think of mankind as the only potentially immortal species. We have to think ahead, because the Sun, in the next 3 billion years—it’s not tomorrow, but it’s coming—is no longer making the Earth a livable place. Most geophysicists when you ask them, they dismiss that and say, “Oh yeah, man only appeared one minute before midnight, and he will disappear one minute after 12.” I think this is not acceptable. Because if you look at this in perspective, mankind has only been around a meager 7 million years; recorded written history is only available since about 3,500 years ago—that’s only about 200 generations—not very much.
If you would have told a Stone Age man about the Internet, about viruses, fusion power, or the activities of Curiosity on Mars, what would this Stone Age man have said? Now, just think how mankind will look 1,000 years from now! I’m very optimistic, that if we are still around, people will have forgotten about Jamie Dimon, but they will think about Krafft Ehricke.
 See “Bank Supervisors Throw Glass-Steagall Thunderbolt,” EIR, Jan. 25, 2013.http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2013/2013_1-9/2013-04/pdf/19-20_4004.pdf
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, President and Founding Member of the Schiller Institute, is known in Asia as the “Silk Road Lady” for her efforts to make the Eurasian Land-Bridge a reality, is an expert in many fields of European history, as well as a scholar of Friedrich Schiller’s poetical and philosophical writings and Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa’s ground-breaking work toward bringing the modern nation-state and modern physical science into being.