Excerpts from the proceedings at Lyndon LaRouche's lecture to Prof. Wilhelm Hankel's senior adult economics class at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany on May 29, 2006.
Man Is Not an Animal
Now, the key problem we have, and it's a problem which is characteristic of European history: Europe which began, as Europe, essentially by the influence of some Egyptians on the development of the Greeks—such as Thales, the Pythagoreans, Socrates, Plato, up to Eratosthenes and Archimedes—defined a basis for civilization of the ability of human beings not to live by treating other human beings as cattle, but a society which had sufficient productive power and requirement of use of the human intellect that you could have a state of type that Solon spoke of, or that Plato spoke of in The Republic. Now, this is has been the tendency in Europe all the way through, despite the Roman Empire, despite the Byzantine Empire, despite the ultramontane system of the Middle Ages, and despite all the modern problems.
And its treatment by the Treaty of Westphalia is a benchmark, just as the Golden Renaissance was, where Europe took the legacy of European tradition, and brought it forth, first in the Renaissance, and then after, in the Treaty of Westphalia. Things went bad after that, but nonetheless, the principle was established. And therefore, in European civilization, if we're civilized, if we participate in the civilized side of it, we know that there's something about man, that is different than an animal: Man is not, contrary to either Thomas Huxley or to Frederick Engels, man is not an ape. And the distinction is key for economy, which is especially my kind of economy, which comes from Leibniz: the idea of physical economy. That economy is physical primarily, and financial and monetary only as a way of handling the thing, as administration.
What is this physical economy? It's, if we were apes, the human population would never have exceeded, under conditions known on this planet, a few million individuals. We now have over 6 billion individuals. Why? Because we increased our power, as a species, over nature. And as Vernadsky, the Russian scientist indicated, not only does life take charge of non-life on the planet, with the rise of the Biosphere out of a pre-biotic planet; but the part of the planet, the growth of the planet, the change of the planet due to the accumulated actions of man, particularly the creative actions of man, is more rapid and more powerful than even the process of life itself.
The key here is that, the key to economics, which is often not understood particularly in today's economy, is that the increase in productive power of labor, comes essentially from the equivalent of original scientific discoveries, typified for example by the discovery of gravity by Kepler, or the discovery of quickest action by Fermat, or the discovery of the calculus by Leibniz; and the discoveries of Gauss and the discoveries of Riemann: This understanding of discovery of a universal physical principle is the distinction between the ape and man. The reason we're able to have 6 billion people on this planet, today, is because of an accumulation of discoveries, made by people, embedded in cultures, over centuries, over millennia, which increase the power of the species, which make man, in a sense an immortal species: Through the ideas we develop and convey from the past into the future, we have a certain, very specific immortality, even from the standpoint of economy. Because, it is the ideas embedded in us from successive generations, ideas that correspond to fundamental discoveries, that distinguish us from the apes, or from people who like to act like apes. And therefore, what's often lost in economy, is the importance of emphasis on actual creativity, of the type demonstrated by fundamental scientific discoveries, and also by good, Bachian choral music and so forth—but essentially by science.
And therefore, the problem we have today, particularly in the so-called post-industrial culture, the zero technological growth culture, is that the acceptance of this change from about the middle of the 1960s to the present, has been the fundamental shift in European civilization in particular, over this period. Up to that time, despite all our mistakes, we still had a leading section in most societies, who believed in scientific and technological progress. We took pride the machine-tool design specialist, who is, in a sense, the link between science and the improvement in technology at the point of production.
Now we've destroyed this: We've destroyed the infrastructure upon which industry depends. It shrinks. It vanishes. And with it, vanishes knowledge. The significance of these machine-tool designers that I'm trying to save in the United States, is that they typify the fellow who takes a physical discovery by a scientist, and devises the equipment in the laboratory to give a proof-of-principle test of the validity of the discovery. That same machine-tool designer then goes over into the plant, and builds the lessons of that construction into something, or into many kinds of things. And this is the specific method of progress. This is what farmers did. Progressive farmers did the same thing in their own way. And that's what we've destroyed.
The success of what I'm proposing be done, depends upon taking young people, essentially young adults, who are coming up in society now, who represent the next 50 years of the economy, because we have to make investments which are going to be 25-year to 50-year life-cycle investments: We need a generation of young people, who are oriented toward scientific achievement, or to its application. We need to shape employment in education, in ways which give us more of these kinds of people. And we have to turn them loose, and say to them, "You are the future. It's in your hands."
So that, what I'm proposing as an action, depends upon that. If we can not say to a demoralized world, of a reigning generation in the United States and Europe today—which does not believe in the future!—and say to the young people, who would like to have a future, "We're promising you a future." And that, what we then do, is, we tap the greatest of all economic resources, which we may call "increase of productivity": By telling young people, that we're going to support them, in developing in their role as the creative personalities, whose combined efforts are going to lift mankind up over the coming 50 years, that they will be running the workplace.
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About Rolf A. F. Witzsche
Rolf A. F. Witzsche, is an independent researcher, publisher, and author of eleven novels. The novels are focused on exploring the Principle of Universal Love, the principle that is reflected to some degree in every bright period throughout history, with the added challenge for today to give our universal love an active expression with a type of 'Universal Kiss' for all mankind.
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