On the Start of Life
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
In discussion and debate following other presentations at the Summer Academy of the Schiller Institute in Oberwesel, Germany on Aug. 18 -19, 2001, Lyndon LaRouche gave this response to questions raised, over Gabriele Liebig's concluding remarks on the nature of the starting point of human life. It is slightly edited for publication, and subheads have been added.
LaRouche: The two questions poseactually, in the context of today's discussion, particularly this session's, three specific points are posed by these two questions. The first point is, we must recognize certain fallacies in the fact that we have a phenomenon of mass insanity, which is considered the generally accepted culture, as taught in acedemia and so forth.
That can be understood on several levels. First of all we are living in a romantic culture, in which everything which is good in European civilization comes from two related developments. The first is what we call Classical culture, which comes down to us, in the best known form, in the form of the Classical Greek, as exemplified by the work of Plato as to method. The realization of what Plato meant was accomplished by Christ and his Apostles, particularly in the elaboration by the Apostle John, of the conception of man in the universe, and by the Apostle Paul, in particular in the elaboration of the Platonic concept of agape as a Christian conception. Everything that is good and superior in European civilization has occurred as a result, chiefly, of these two developments, which also owe a debt to some earlier cultures, such as the Egyptian culture and so forth. But, nonetheless, this is what we have. The world today is dominated, and has been dominated, by a globally extended European culture. You can include Islam in that culture, because it is a product of the same process. And that is civilization.
However, it has an affliction. The affliction is the Roman tradition, which is also an older tradition. It's also the tradition which the Greeks had to fight in defeating the Persian Empire, which was done actually under the influence of Plato, after he was dead, on Alexander the Greatwhich established Hellenistic culture, which is the highest level that European and extended European culture achieved prior to this abomination called Rome. Everything that has happened good since Rome, has been a result of a resurgence of this Classical Christian culture and some inputs of the Islamic cultures, as in the case of Frederick II, in the case of Spain, and so forth, in the process. You have these classical periods which are always going back to the Classical Greek, essentially as a point of reference. But the culture itself is still a Romantic culture, it's a Roman culture, based on the theory of the rulers and the predators, which are called the populari, popular opinion.
The whole civilization is controlled by several methods. It's controlled by divide and conquer. So, you divide the human race into a different bunch of cultures just the same way that Teddy Goldsmith divides the new terrorist movement of today. Teddy Goldsmith set up competing anti-globalist movementsand he runs them all! And they attack him and he laughs about it because he's running them all. You have the black ones, the white ones, all these different varietiesATTAC in France, so forththey're all different varieties of the same thing. That's the way the Romans work. They used religion, synthetic religions, which they played against one another, to administer the control over the empire. Romanticism does this.
Romanticism's Denial of Humanity
The principle behind this is the denial of humanity, the denial of the identity of the human being as human. That's where it starts from, because once you say that the human being is human, and is distinct from the beast by his cognitive capacities, then immediately, the whole Roman system, the Romantic system, goes out the window, because no longer is it permissible to have a ruling class, a ruling oligarchy and its lackeys, ruling over slaves and populari. (And when the slaves become too numerous you kill them. When the populari become too numerous you kill them.)
Population policy was practiced by Rome. The Byzantine Empire enshrined population policy in the Code of Diocletian. Read the Code of Diocletian. This is where this thing started. Feudalism, European feudalism, was based on the Code of Diocletian which has this embedded in it. European feudalism was pure evil. The struggle of European civilization was to free itself for the idea which we finally achieved in the Renaissance: this notion of man, that government has no right to rule morally, except as it is efficiently committed to promote the general welfare of all the people and their posterity for all humanity. That's the only legitimate basis of government.
Once you do that, and you admit the special character of man, then you have a different way of looking at life. What they do thereforein order to rule over society, you must stupify the masses. The stupification takes many forms. Crazy religious cults, like the American Evangelical Protestants. They are a crazy, fascist cult, nothing else. Seventy million Americans are in crazy fascist cults. They are the biggest supporters of the Middle East war, from inside the United States.
You have other things. You have also a cult called the cult of Aristotle. The cult of Aristotle was developed in Europe again by Pompanazziemphasis on "Nazi"who was a mortalist. And the essence of Pompanazzi's doctrine was the denial of the nature of man. He was a mortalist. He made the argument, based on Aristotleand he's right, Aristotle is consistent with the mortalist dogma.
So of this, it was then said, "This [dogma] is inconvenient." But the real bastard was Paolo Sarpi, who took over the Venetian system, and codified it to create empiricism. Galileo was a lackeya personal household lackeyof Paolo Sarpi.... The attacks on Leibniz, by Antonio Conti and his networks, and by Euler in mathematics, Cauchy and LaGrange in mathematics, LaPlace and Helmholtz in mathematics, Clausius and Kelvin in physics, Grassman in mathematics; Mach and Felix Klein. These people had this cult, even in science, and well as in popular culture, wherein they demented the population, and deprived the university process, and made knowledge the subject of the authority of what became the modern empiricist cult, and its positivist and existentialist derivatives.
An Evil Priesthood in Science
So therefore, what we were talking about this afternoon, was the impact of an insane cult, deliberately imposed by a high priesthood, which is the worst kind of Babylonian priesthood. And you have, in the name of science, what is dominated by a priesthood called "peer review committees" and similar kinds of people, who run this operation. We know this. Jonathan [Tennenbaum] has had personal family experience with these creepsPrinceton University, Institute for Advanced Studies; Chicago University; Harvard, today; Yale University; University of Pennsylvania. All of these institutions are corrupt. But, they're not merely corrupt because they're wrong, and because they're bought. They're intentionally corrupt. They're dominated at the top by evil. And the only professors and scientists that survive, are the ones that submit to the evil.
Everything that they say is evil, and if you understand the axioms, and if you look at this from a Classical standpoint, it becomes perfectly clear. If you look at it from the standpoint of science in a Classical context, as I do, then it becomes even transparent.
The essential cult, in the name of science, today, is the Euclidean, or Cartesian cult. All of the things we've dealt with today, deal with that problem. The false assumption is, that man is an animal. Therefore, man's sensations are his knowledge; man's sense experience is his knowledge. The sense perception is a transparent windowsometimes dirtythrough which the eyes, the senses, see the real world, as it is outside, as through a dirty glass window.
But, in point of fact, we know, scientifically, that we don't know what we see as what we see. What we experience in our senseswhat the brain is told by the sensesis an impulse which reflects an experience of the sense-perception organisms, and other organisms which have the effect of sense perception. That's what the brain experiences. That's its experience of the outside world. In other words, the brain's experience of the outside world, lies entirely inside the skin of the individual, not outside. You don't know anything of the outside world through sense perception.
But with your brain, you can discover what's out there. What we discover and are able to prove, is how we can control these things, which determine our existence; and how we must interpret sense perception from the standpoint of mankind's ability to control the world to survive and prosper in it.
These discoveries we make, we call principles. In physics, they're called scientific principles. You find a contradiction. You find a hypothesis which would eliminate the contradiction, by introducing a new principle. You test the new principle by standards of experiment, for universal principles. Then you know, if you've tested it, you can share this by replicating the same experience in another person.
You explain to other people what the contradiction is. Induce them to experience the same contradiction, the same paradox. Help them, stimulate them, to discover the same hypothesis on their own. And maybe they make the wrong one. But then, go to the experiment, and say "Okay, we have two hypotheses. Now let's conduct a universal experiment (what Riemann called an einzigartisch, or unique, experiment). And let's see which hypothesis is right. Or if both are wrong."
Now you have two minds, or three or four minds, [which] have gone through this experience together, as in a classroomany good, humanist classroom. They now know, here's what the questions are. Let's find the answer. What kind of a test can we construct, to outwit our senses, to discover what it really is, that causes this thing to happen the way it does? And how can we control this effect, which is occurring outside our skin?
This is what Plato calls the paradox of the cave. You do not know, through the senses, reality; you know the shadows cast on the wall of a dimly lit cave. And your job is, through the mind, to discover what the objects are, which you can't see, which cause these shadows. You learn how to control the shadows, and thus, you learn how to control existence.
Contrary to this, as we've discussed today, the pseudo-scientists, the empiricists (what you get in most of academia), say: "Start with mathematics, go to the blackboard, or go to the computer keyboard, punch in the numbers for a Euclidean-based matrix. Call that matrix mathematics, call it science." Nothing exists which does not agree with these assumptions, these Euclidean, or expanded Euclidean assumptions, about space-time matter. Nothing.
So, therefore, we have to start from the most primitive level of the isolated event and interpret the isolated eventor two eventsinterpret this from the standpoint of this matrix, this goldfish-bowl matrix. Explain everything from that. Anything that does not agree with that, we don't want to know about. It doesn't exist.
When, in point of fact, the struggle wasthrough all history of the development of European civilizationto develop a way of understanding the universe which did not depend on this so-called Euclidean space-time matrix. So, you don't start with the perfect circle. You don't start with the sphere. You don't try to measure the difference between the sphere and the circle. What you do is what was finally done by Riemann. You say, we will now discard, as Riemann said of the opening of his habilitation dissertation, we now expel from science all a priori axioms concerning space, time and matter. We throw them all out. No more non-Euclidean geometry and anti-Euclidean geometry, as this was defined by our dear friend Kästner.
What Kästner emphasized, which was the founding of anti-Euclidean geometry in his time, was that we do not go forward from Euclid, we go before Euclid. We do not try to add postulates to Euclidean geometry to make it work. What we do, is we reject Euclid. We go back to the beginning, before Euclid, and don't work any assumptions in, which you have not proven scientifically to exist. In other words, space does not exist except as you can prove it scientifically to exist. So, before you introduce the notion of extension in space, prove that space exists. Before you introduce time, prove that it exists. And I can proveI have in some writingsthat you cannot prove that pure and simple, absolute, time exists. Relative time exists, not absolute time. It depends upon how you define action. So, in that point, now, any principle you discover which is validated as a physical principle is a dimension of your mathematics.
So, don't try to find a mathematical explanation of an eventfirst of all, create the mathematics that corresponds to reality. That is your mathematics.
Vernadsky's Non-Living, Living, and Cognitive
Now, let's take the very specific question, on this question of Vernadsky, on the question of life. By these standards of experiment it has been establishedit was established first, in part, by Plato in his Dialogues; it was established, in the sense, implicitly, by the work of Pasteur and others, before him and after him. This was understood more clearly by Vernadsky, because he did the experimental work of looking from a geological standpoint, and from the standpoint of the work of Mendeleyev before him. He looked at this problem of living processes in the biosphere from that standpoint.
What he established, is the same thing that Plato warned us about, the same thing that Kepler warned us about: You do not think that life is a product of non-living, abiotic processes. So, you don't go to an abiotic universe to define life, because life, as Vernadsky defines this, has proven itself an efficient category of principle, independent of abiotic processes. It acts upon abiotic processes. It interacts with them, but it's existence is independent. Which means that life existedif you want to say the universe had a beginningthen life existed as a separate principle from abiotic processes at the time the universe began. That's essentially the meaning of the first verse of the Gospel of John, "In the beginning."
Now, Vernadsky did something else, which is not adequate and not complete. But, he did recognize, on the same basis that he proved empirically that life is an independent principle, not subject to derivation from abiotic processeshe also showed on the same basis, though more weakly and less adequately, that the human cognitive powers, which are unique to the human species, and no other living being, are responsible for man's mastery of both the biosphere and the abiotic universe. He didn't understand it because he didn't understand and recognize the social process; that was number one. And, secondly, although he was attracted to the question of Reimannian geometry, he didn't understand it. But, if you include the notion of the categories of abiotic principles, the category of biotic principles (that is, living processes), the category, distinct from any other biotic processes, of cognitive processes: You have in the universe three distinct categories of universal processes, all of which must, of necessity, have existed in the universe as efficient powers, whenever the universe existed, from the beginning.
What you get from Vernadsky is a sense of the interaction of this. So, therefore, when you look at things from this standpoint, you are looking at the behavior of lifeyou're looking at the behavior of human cognitive processes. The minute you say, "Let's explain life processes from the standpoint of abiotic molecular biology," you are now classed as an idiot, or an ideologue, because, where is the principle of life, which was empirically demonstrated by the work of Vernadsky?
In respect to these processes, as Vernadsky uses the term [biosphere] ... the life process actually dominates the abiotic earththat is, the earth has been transformed successively from what it was, as an abiotic earth, into an earth which has been transformed by living processes. Even the so-called former living matter, or matter which is created by living processes, like the oceans, the atmosphere, most of the [biosphere] down to three kilometers down, has been created, by life, of which the actually, actively, living part is a very small portion.
Cognition Not a Biological Process
So, a weak force, relatively speaking, life, has transformed the planet. It is a force, though weak, which is more powerful than the planet. It can assert its authority over the planet. Similarly, mankind is unique. Mankind is not defined by mere biological processes. Cognition is not a biological process. You can examine biological processes to the end, and you will never discover the principle of cognition there. It's an independent principle, experimentally demonstrated.
The very increase of mankindlook, if mankind were an animal, the human species would never have risen above a population level, on the known earth in the past 2 to 3 million years, above 2 to 3 million individuals, mostly under 20 years of age, with a high mortality rate. The fact that we have more than 2 to 3 million people living on this planet, proves that cognition is an independent principle. That, in itself, is a fact.
So, how do we explain this. Well, we know this. Anyone who has had a Classical humanist education that's worth anything, knows it. You do not know individual principles. You do not know individual discoveries. Your mind as it develops from babyhoodit has a certain potentiality, as humanbut, as it develops, it is not developed as an individual working from the inside out. You're reacting socially. The communication of ideasideas expressed as culturefrom parent to child, from the first moment of interaction of the newborn baby with a parent, something is going on in a cognitive form. That baby is transformed in its attitude toward society, every day of the week, from birth. Watch a child from birth. In the first days, this baby undergoes a behavior transformation, which is not just due to this morphological development of the body. It's the interaction with the parents. Very quickly, the dependency on the parentsespecially on the mother, usuallythe relationship with the parents and other individuals who come into the child's purview; the child interacts.
Then we go on to something we call education, if it's any good. And you become acquainted with people who lived 10,000 years ago, 5,000 years ago, hundreds of years ago; great scientists, discoverers. You reexperience their discoveries. All of these minds that you know from this experience, of sharing their thoughts as they had them thousands of years before, now live inside your mind.
You don't act on nature on the basis of one discovery! You act upon the whole consortium, of all of the principles that you know, inside your mind. They interact like a conscience; they drive you, they impel you, they give you suggestions. Any act of discoverywhen anybody's made a scientific discovery, they very rarely make it on the basis of solving, simply, directly, the paradox that confronts them. The mind wanders, like a playful puppy, from one area of itself to another, until it discovers something, and says, "Wait a minute! It's like this!" And the mind then seizes upon that: "Is it this?"
So, the mind conjectures, a conjectural hypothesis. The mind tries to define a way of proving or disproving this idea. "Am I silly? Is this right?" And so forth. ... Because the creative mind is playful. The essence of all artistic work is playfulness. The essence of all scientific work is playfulness. The essence of good pedagogy in a classroom, is playfulness. But it's human playfulness, not puppy playfulness. Otherwise you might get wet corners on your chair.
Therefore, these are the considerations. So you have to realize, we are living in an insane society, which is rendered and maintained in insanity because some people like it that way. They want to keep the mass of people stupid. They want to breed a class of lackeys, who are also stupid, who will do anything for them. The Gestapo. Their lackeys, who work for them. Whether they believe in what they do or not, is not relevant. They believe that they should do it. That's what's relevant.
And then you have the stupid people who say, "Well, I want to get ahead in society; I want people to like me; I want my neighbors to love me; I want to get a lot of sex; I got to get along, buddy! If I start saying these kinds of things, they're going to say I'm nuts. They won't want anything to do with me. I got to believe, buddy! I gotta get that job, buddy! Believe me, I gotta believe!"
If we can look at this situation, as I've just summarized it, and look at it this way, then your mind is free. You realize that you are being controlled, and the poor people around you are being controlled, by a control mechanism which is called orchestrated popular opinion. And it comes in all flavors, from academic doctrine, all the way down.
And when they teach you something, they teach you because they thinkas they say in the vernacular, in the United Statesbecause they are sure it'll screw you up.