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Solving This Crisis Requires Dynamic, Not Mechanistic Thinking
Here are Lyndon LaRouche's opening remarks to LaRouche Youth Movement cadre schools in Boston and Philadelphia, June 4, 2005.
Well, you're meeting at an interesting time. We're on the verge of a not precisely known, but definite crisis, centered on things like the GM case and its implications; centered on bubbles, housing bubbles, mortgage bubbles in the U.S. and in Britainthe United Kingdom in particular; and centered on other things which are ready to blow in the financial derivatives and so forth areas, all coming together.
We're actually at the end of a system. These are not factors.
I want to refer to one thing in particular, which came up in connection with some discussion on my paper on Vernadsky and Dirichlet: That the characteristic of the universebut most clearly in the case of living processes as Vernadsky emphasizes, in what I referred to from his 1935 paper, and what I define as economic processes, or physical-economic processes. In these things, where the former is living processes and the second is the actual functioning of the human mind; in both cases you can not trace things by mechanics. People have the assumption that you have a mechanical kinetic connection. For example, people try to say, "Prices should be determined by an average of costs." This is all nonsense! It doesn't mean anything. It's false. And it's because they're trying to rationalize, as in the case of Lagrange, remember his famous title of work, "Célestes Mécaniques"? That a system of mechanics, of mechanical cause and effect.
Now, in real systems, and this is clear from the get-go in living processes, as Vernadsky defines them, and in physical economy, as I in particular define them, no mechanical of price or anything can function. For example: Let's take the case of what I reference in the paper (and I've referenced in other papers on this matter), of the relationship between scientific activity, or creative scientific activity, and increasing productivity at the point of production, that is, the power of the human being in production; but this activity at the point of production does not occur in a vacuum. It occurs within something we can define by relative development of infrastructure, such as power systems, such as water-management systems, air systems, the quality of the living environment around youall these sorts of things.
So therefore, you act, when you produceand production is not based on physical action as such, it's based on a change in physical action, change in the character which we call "technological improvement"; or better, technological improvement understood as subtended by a discovery of a universal physical principle. So, your action, your effective action in an economic process, is not repetitive productive acts. The significant action is the improvement in the quality of action corresponding to the benefit of the application of discoveries of physical principles in a new way.
All right. Now, the action is focussed in two ways: It's focussed on the point of production, for example, where you're applying an improved technology which reflects scientific progress, as a change in the way you behave, the way mankind behaves in dealing with this object, this point of production. You have a second point: is that the place that you're applying that, is to the society in general. You're not just applying it to an object. You're applying it to society in general, which means the environment of society, especially the physical environment. It also includes the human environment, in the sense of the development of people in society.
So therefore, your action is, on the first level, is, in the sense of technologyimplying we're talking about scientific discovery of principles; and the second case, what you're doing at the point of production, so-called, you're applying the effect of that action on the point of production, to the infrastructure; not just to the infrastructure, but to the degree of development of the infrastructure, which in turn, represents, again, another effect of utilizing scientific discoveries.
So that, as I make the argument, is that what has happened to the world, the reason you guys are so poor, the reason you don't have anything that you used to have, is that we have transferred production increasingly to cheap-labor areas of the world. Now, sometimes, we've shipped across some of the technology that we would have used here, or did use here, to production in cheap-labor markets. Now, people would say: That means you've increased the profit and we have an advantage by having the thing produced more cheaply, so we can buy it at Wal-Mart, instead of producing it. But, then you look back here, and what we did is, by shipping this production out of the country, and destroying our production here, and letting our infrastructure collapseas well as our productive infrastructure, our capacity to producewhat happened is, the average level of productivity of the human race, as a whole, was dropped, as a result of globalization.
And that's why we have this world crisis we have now.
Now, this is a case of a dynamic system, in which, in a dynamic system, we mean that any action, in the universe, is an action on the universe. And the reaction that will come, as a result of your action on the universe, will be a reaction of the universe. Just as I just described it for the case of economy: In the first instance, when you act to produce, the effect of what you do, is the action of a principle upon an environmentthe environment of the facilities of production in the first instance; the environment represented by the infrastructure, and its development, in the second instance. That's a dynamic system.
So, the price, the cost of goods, in a rational economy, is the price which corresponds to paying for the cost of maintaining the system, on which you are acting. Now, the system on which you are acting, is not a fixed system. The system depends upon a rate of growth. We often think of this in terms of attrition. We think in terms of absolute attrition, like depletion of the environment. Or, relative attrition, in the set of the relative technology, that sort of thing.
So, in this case, you're acting on the system, and the value of what you do, and the cost of what you do to the system, is a result of the action in respect to the system; it's not the sum total of individual actions within the system.
That's why accounting is stupid. Because accounting systems, and related kinds of so-called "mechanical systems" of estimating, the kind of suggestions that people come up with: "Well, wouldn't it be, if you add and subtract, and so forth?"that sort of argument. These are examples of mechanical approaches to the process. But, the real economy is dynamic: that is, your actions are always relevant to the system as a whole, within which the action occurs, rather than the action being the additive sum of the individual actions within the system.
So therefore, the price is the price which not only maintains the system, but compensates for attrition, compensates for entropy, and allows for improvement in the dynamic level of the system, that is, you're raising the system to a higher level of performance.
And you can see, when you think about this, exactly what our problem is, today, in the economy. The problem is largely in the mind, because we have a population that thinks in terms of mechanical systems: the characteristic of empiricism, for example. They think in terms of mechanical systems. And they think the action is located in the free will of the individual in the locality. They fail to understand the fundamental principle, that any action within human space, is an action upon the system of that space, implicitly, which leads, today, with an attempt at globalization, the action on the world as a whole.
And therefore, the value and the significance of the action, of the act of production, of the act of thinking, and so forth, is on the system as a whole. And it is the reaction of the system as a whole, to that action which determines its significance.
And obviously, people aren't thinking that way, these days, in Washington or other points, localities. Certainly, people who believe that money, the magic of money, somehow determines value and determines prosperity, are obviously on a much lower level than even the simple mechanical-thinking person.
So, that's where we stand.
So, we're dealing actually, with a population which is not merely poorly educated, in terms of levels of education, relative to modern technology in this world; even poorly educated from that standpoint, in terms of what education levels were, say, 30 years ago, 40 years ago. The cultural level of people is poorer today, than it was then. But the whole system, is a system that doesn't work. And that's what's coming down: a system that does not work.
It's not a system that needs fixing, needs repairing, that requires errors fixed. No. That's not that. The errors are the errors of a system, of an organism that's taken as a whole, not an error part by part, point by point, piece by piece.
That's our biggest problem.
That's the problem I run into. People say, "Why can't you make it clearer? Can't you explain it in clearer ways, that people can understand?" Well, what people understand, unfortunately, are mechanical systems, as best. And, at worst, they understand accounting! Which is not reality.
But, at best, they think in terms of mechanical explanations of things. And therefore, what they think is an explanation they can understand, is not an explanation at all! It doesn't explain anything. It's useless. So, they want to hear words, that they think they understand. But the words they think they understand, are words that correspond to no solution for any problem! So therefore, they can walk away, having heard something they agree to, thinking everybody's in good fellowship with everybody, and both parties know nothing, and have gained nothing, but probably lost something in the process of getting the explanation which they think they can understand.
Therefore, the real problem in education, is to challenge the population to rise up to something, to understand something they don't understand! Something that isn't so damned simple. It may appear simple, once you solve the problem, but you've got to go through the process of generating a creative solution.
Now, what we've done, just to reflect upon what the Youth Movement has done: We started out, simply, in California, with some occasions out there, where I was answering questions at cadre schools, or retreats organized in the mountains or down by the Salton Sea and things like that. And it soon became apparent, as it was also apparent to me in discussing with various student groups during the course of the 2000 election campaign, that we had a youth ferment in the United States, which was functioning on a completely different table than the older, adult population. These young people were asking questions, and challenging things and had different conceptions and different problemthese were largely university studentswhich were not the way of thinking, not the kind of questions I would get from the older audience, the older part of the population.
And this, coincided with these retreats out in California, of young people.
Now, you can imagine that many of the questions I got, and these would go on for a couple of hours or so, many of the questions I got were rather idioticbut that's all right: There was a beginning. We did a series of these things, and there was discussion among people who participated in these retreats. And after a few of these sessions, it became apparent to me, that a process was occurring. We were, in a sense, weeding out people who didn't come back, andthey weren't thinking seriously. They had things they wanted to talk about, but they weren't willing to accept the challenge of ideas. But, we had people who, more and more, in the group, were people who were responding to the challenge of ideas, rather than trying to babble about simple explanations among each other.
So, I knew we had a youth movement. I knew I had to protect it from interference by the older generation. Again, you're now dealing with systems; you're dealing with a dynamic situation. The older generation, the generation of people who were now between 50 and 60, is a different populationalmost a different speciesthan young people who are intelligent, who are in, say, the 18 to 25 age-group. It's almost different species. And you find out, that whenever you try to mix the two, except under certain controlled conditions, you run into problems.
Because, the older generation, even among our people, has gotten into a "life-style syndrome," which becomes a substitute for reality. You find it in the form of habits. Now, these habits are not permanently fixed in all cases; as a matter of fact, they tend to change as people get older, because their life-style changes a bit as they age, and therefore they get new habits. But, you find their life is organized, about the way the organize their time, the way they organize their weekend, what they like to talk about, what interests themthis sort of thing. And what they don't want to talk about, also; what they don't like to talk about. What makes them feel "comfortable" with what they're doing.
And you find that, among youth who are serious, and adults who you would otherwise consider serious, that they're almost two different species: One is the Baby-Boomer generation. The other is the youth, young-adult generation. Completely different.
So, your society is composed, largely, of a few old geezers like me, who are aware of both of these adult generationsand the "Tweeners" also in between. So therefore, we're dealing with this kind of social system.
Now, what I knew we had to do, and we started largely with a youth movement based largely in California: The question came up, "What are we going to do for an education?" Because the youth are largely people of university age, or university-eligible age. And naturally, they had questions, identity questions, "How are we going to get our education?" And I answered then, in the first timethis was in the West Coast phaseI answered, "Well, first of all, you're going to go to Gauss. And in Gauss, you're going to discover the meaning of an idea. You're going to look at physical science, from the standpoint of the meaning of 'idea.' Now, you're going to look at history, and study history, as the history of ideas, so defined."
There was some misunderstanding about that, but it was a good beginning. So then, when we started to go on the East Coast, as some of you rememberI think Jenny Kreingold and so forth, in particular, would remember thisthat, I talked to John Sigerson. I said, we've got to do something with this. I'm convinced that in launching the East Coast Youth Movement, we had to bring in Bach. And I suggested we take the Bach "Jesu, meine Freude" as a challenge. And this was worked out in a meeting we had out there at the house, in Virginia, and we launched the commitment to use the "Jesu, meine Freude," as a music project, which would correct for the errors, or shortfalls, that would tend to come in from the so-called "physical science-only" orientation to the history of ideas.
We're getting along pretty well, so far, largely due to John Sigerson's emphasis, because he understands, in a practical way, as well as in an abstract wayhe understands what it means to develop the cross-voice relationship within choral music. And this, of course, is the essence of all music.
It's this approach to choral music, which defines the difference between Romanticism, and serious music. By Romanticism, I mean, a Romantic performance of Beethoven, a Romantic performance of Mozart and so forththat's all Romanticism, in which the cross-voice relationship is ignored. And some of you know what John has done with the choruses, and a good number of you have been through it; and how that there are slight changes, which become changes in mode, as distinct from key signature. Changes in mode, which arise when you are taking a note in one voice, and related to a voice in the next instant, coming in, in a different voice. So you are singing across the voices, the human singing voices, and it is that working across the human singing voices, which defines the unity of the musical composition as a whole, if the unity is put there by the composer.
But if you don't do that, if you're not conscious of that question of modality, as typified by the cases in which the Lydian mode is the modality which defines this cross-voice progression, then you lose it.
So therefore, the point was, is to get the idea refined by using the Bach. Because Bach, as you have discovered, Bach's "Jesu, meine Freude" has a lot of challenge in it, that may not be apparent to you at the first crack. When you start to work at it and don't try to oversimplify just by singing notes, then you begin to say, at last, you've got a real challenge here. And there is an idea, underlying the way the composition as a whole is organized, which is not simply an algebraic, or similar kinds of code idea. It involves a lot of problems, a lot of conceptual problems.
So, anyway: We now have a Youth Movement. And to the extent that this musical aspect is applied, together with what we started on the West Coast, and by integrating the two things, we now have a core program of group education, which I think works.
And it has begun to work: I think, most recently, particularly in the last efforts around the Senateand around the Congress, generally, but particularly the Senate; around the Senate efforts, and our mobilization in Washingtonthat these things have defined a specific phase of development of the Youth Movement, which has now come to a higher level than it was before.
And we would hope that this would also spread into Europe, where there is some promising potential, but a lot of work needs to be done to bring it up to what we're doing in the States.
So, that's where we go.
So, this is all dynamics. And if you think about what I just described as dynamics, that, when you're singing in the chorus, and you're really doing a proper job with "Jesu, meine Freude," what you're doing at any instant, in one particular voice, is doing at any instant in the performance of that chorus, is actually an action upon the performance of the composition as a whole. And, of course, what it's doing to the audience, presumably, is also an action on the whole.
So, we have to, at this point, be conscious, of thinking in terms of what Leibniz would call "dynamic systems." Which, as I've described living processes in general, in the Vernadsky paper, and I've defined the human process, as distinct from the ordinary living, or biological process.
So, we're at the point that, you, in the movement, must complete the shift to getting free of the relics of the mechanistic view of history, and proceeding to understand the dynamic view, as I just described it, in these opening remarks, here today.
This is essential, because, just take for example, of one case, which I refer to again, as I had earlier, in the Vernadsky paper, on the question of what globalization has done: It has lowered, through this ignorance of dynamics, the attempt to think things through mechanistically; the assumption that if something is produced more cheaply in one part of the world, that this is a benefit to the world. And that we want to get the cheapest production from every part of the world, to make up, additively, the total world product. And we're living in the point, where, over the past 40 years, especially the past 35 years, that we've seen the world go to Hell, as a result of a process which is now called "globalization."
So therefore, we're seeing how a policy, acted on the basis of mechanistic assumptions, has had a dynamic effect on the world, which has lowered the productive powers of labor globally. And you suddenly see, if you look at China todayand look at India, tomorrowyou see that China is not in such a happy condition, as some people have portrayed it. It is not the powerhouse of the future in its present form. It is now coming to a point of crisis. The crisis can be solved. But we have to look at this problem of crisis, from the standpoint of dynamics, not mechanistic thinking; not the mechanistic thinking which is typical of the way most people in all countries are thinking about the world economy today.
So, your function is, essentially, a dynamic one. You have to typify, and embody as typifying, this dynamic approach to a world situation. And to spread this dynamic view of the world, as the alternative to the mechanistic view by which mankind is destroying itself. That's the big nut we have to crack. And therefore, I would hope today, and this weekend, that we really begin to approach this consciously. As I said, in writing the Vernadsky paper, that I thought that the development of some of the work of the youth movement, particularly around this question of the Dirichlet Principle, showed that the Youth Movement as an organism, as a dynamic organism, is now ready to take on this question of the dynamic view of process, from that standpoint. And thus, to transform, by upgrading our work and our thinking, in a way which is appropriate to the world situation today.
Now, where do we stand, on this world situation today?
First of all, it's clearor should be clearand the General Motors case, as we've dealt with it in recent weeks, helps to make clear: The system is disintegrating. When you consider the importance of the machine-tool principle in economy; and you realize that the capacity for machine-tool development has been concentrated in the civilian side, mainly in the automobile sectorand to some degree more on the military side, in the aerospace sector, that if we lose these sectors, we lose the ability to maintain what can be called a modern economy.
We realize that we're in jeopardy. If we look around the world, we see a similar pattern: we see it in Europe; we see it elsewhere.
That's where we are: We're at the end of a system. We're at the end, not because of a certain mathematical point has been reached, not because a certain value has been reached, but because we're having a systemic breakdown. We are losing an essential componentdynamic component, dynamic factorof the system as a whole. And you look around the world, outside the United States, and you see the same thing, manifest in other ways.
Therefore, we're coming now to the point of a breakdown. By the way, I would interpolate, that my success as a forecasterand it is quite a record of successhas always been based on this dynamic approach, from the beginning, when I first did the first forecast, as a private corporate forecast, of the U.S. economy back in the middle of the 1950s. It was a dynamic conception at that point, which is how I was able to solve the problem.
So, we're at that point, in which the system is coming down, for dynamic reasons. It will be finished. We have to try to defend essential elements, which are essentials, because they're essential for this dynamic reason. We have to make people conscious of this dynamic feature of world economy. We have to realize what's going to happen, and what the solutions are.
We have a very interesting situation, and let's take the military side: You have this fellow, Vice President Cheney. Now, he was on a program, which was a recorded interview with Larry King, and in the program, there were several things of interest: First of all, he was threatening, in effect, to launch a nuclear attack on North Korea. That was a clear implication. And there are policies taking shape, in the Defense Department, which coincide with what he was saying on television. So, there's a clear threat, to go to a mini-nuke attack on North Koreawithout notice. The implication is, without notice. And we already have the aircraft stationed in Korea, which are positioned to do exactly that: That is, to drop mini-nukes, probably into some mountainous area of North Korea, where some of the nuclear facilities are located. Without warning! That's the capability. That was the threat.
The second thing in there, was really even more interesting: It was something I would pick up on quickly, because I've been studying this Cheney family for some time. And that the boss in that family, is not Dick Cheney! Dick Cheney is the puppy-dog, a nasty puppy-dog, on the leash of Lynne Cheney, his wife! He was mumbling about not running for President in the year 2008, or something! And she prompts in and corrects him, and says, "Nohe's running."
And we've studied her, and she is the boss of the family. He flunked out of school, flunked out of college. She knew him from high school. And she picked him up, like a stray bulldog out of a kennel. And she took him over, sent him to college, got him into collegesent him to collegeand managed him! She is the one who is close to the late Leo Strauss, Chicago University crowd. She's the one that has the direct connections to the Blair liberal-imperialist government of Britainwhich Dick Cheney profited from. But, she's the contact!
So, we're at a situation, where we're on the verge, now, of going into an incalculable kind of warfare, that is, using nuclear weapons at alleven mini-nukes, the so-called "bunker busters"using them in any part of the world, opens the gates on something which never was possible up to this time. We are nowthis is the crossover into generalized nuclear warfare, at a time that many countries have nuclear weapons capabilities, and under the pressure, the threat, of mini-nukes, will be developing those weapons systems in response to the fact that they're proliferating in many parts of the world!
So, we're now entering into that. We're entering into a period of incalculable effects: For example, we're seeing the breakup of what was civilization in Central Asia. This goes back to the 1970s, when Zbigniew Brzezinski and his friends unloaded this policy of the soft underbelly of the Soviet Union, where they moved in people who later came to include Osama bin Laden; and moved them into the Afghanistan War with the Soviet system! This destroyed Afghanistan, and gave us this al-Qaeda phenomenon in its present formin the present form of the Muslim Brotherhood; was organized by the British and by Vice President George Bush, back in the 1980s, as part of what became known as "Iran-Contra"!
This drug operation in Afghanistan expanded, is a dominant feature of politics in parts of Central Asia; is the pivot for the operations of destabilization in Ukraine, in Transcaucasia, and in Central Asia, as, for example, the southern part of Kyrgyzstan, the southern part of Uzbekistan. These are spillovers of the drug war! Also, Xinjiang province of China, is also in the target-area of this old Brzezinski operation, which is still running around today.
Lynne Cheney, on the other hand, and her puppy-dog therenasty puppy-dogin threatening North Korea, are intentionally sending a signal to China, that China's under nuclear threat.
So, this is the kind of world we're living in: A world in which the economic systems are collapsing; in which a threat of warfare is increasing; in which the President of the United States is clinically insane; in which Cheney is a sociopath, a stupid sociopath, run by his wife, and whatever's behind herand we're headed for the greatest economic-financial crisis in modern history, with threats of warfare all over the place: Syria, Iran, a new degree of intensification of the crisis of the Israel/Palestinian crisis, which, if Sharon does what he apparently is going to do, will raise thisit will not be a solution, it will be a worsening of the situation.
So, this is the situation around the world. We're entering into the verge of a dark age. And our job, is to be a catalyst, in giving people first of all the confidence to face the reality, of the sheer awfulness of what is now threatening us, and which is coming on down; and at the same time, to give them a conception of the positive, of what the solutions are.
The positive, of course, as I've indicated, depends upon getting people to become conscious of the fact that the world system, the system in which living beings and human beings are dominant, is a dynamic form of organization, not a mechanistic one. And that's what you guys, are going to do! You are going to exemplify, in your activities, the communication of this dynamic concept.
One of the ways this is going to be made manifest, is by our upgrading a changewhich I've been pushing for alreadybut a change in the way we deal with economic reporting and its applications. Now, a number of you have been running into the offices of Congressmen, Senators, and others, and other institutions, with your portable computers, your laptops, into which you have inserted some of the animations we've produced. And those of you, who've done that, or who have been part of that process, realize the increased pedagogical power of getting concepts across to intelligent peoplethat is, people who are experienced in government, members of government staffs, Congressional staffs for exampleand actually enable them to understand some important concepts of what the history of problems in the economy and what they are, and what the solutions might be.
Now, I've been moving for some time, to cut down on the number of articles we produce which tend to explain things, or which try to explain things, in the conventional way in which economic argument is made in literary forms. To get more and more emphasis upon this use of animations, as a way of communicating ideas. And we have the basis for this, in what John Hoefle has been sitting on top of, in terms of our county-by-county census of the United States. And we keep plugging new elements into these censuses, and compare historically, over the past 20, 30, 40 years, whateverof what the process has been of changes in the economy. And in this form, we put it in the form of animations, as we did, of course, during the election campaign, last year's election campaign, people begin to understand things that, otherwise, mystify them.
You find, that when people try to explain things in terms of written reports on the economy, they often tend to mystify the thing, because they don't present a dynamic picturethey present a mechanical picture, a mechanistic picture, an interpretation of a mechanistic portrayal.
So, we're going to do things in that direction, which will increase the power of the Youth Movement to effect things, change people's minds.
So, now, we're going to be very serious, as I've indicated, and we're going to realize how serious this world situation is. We're going to short-circuit some things we got ourselves drawn into, which are not really much use to us, or to anybody else; and to focus our energies on these kinds of things which fit the age which is now emerging.
It's possible that we can save civilization: There are no guarantees. We could go to a dark age. I can't guarantee we won't. Nobody else could guarantee we won't. It could happen. There are, however, solutions, which, if applied, would prevent that. And that's what we're going to be doing!
So, I throw it back to you.