The Immortality of Wilhelm Furtwängler by Matthew Ogden

Wilhelm Furtwängler died on November 30, 1954. The epitaph which Furtwängler chose for his own tombstone were the words of Saint Paul:

“Meanwhile, these three: Faith, Hope and Love abide with us, but the greatest of these is Love.”
Wilhelm Furtwängler’s grave, in the Bergfriedhof cemetery outside of Heidelberg, Germany. Inscribed on the tombstone are the words of St. Paul: “Meanwhile, these three: Faith, Hope and Love abide with us, but the greatest of these is Love.”

Not coincidentally, these are also the last words of Johannes Brahms’ final vocal composition, Die Vier Ernste Gesänge (Four Serious Songs). Brahms’ lifelong friend Clara Schumann had suffered a massive stroke in March of 1896, shortly after playing her last public concert at which she performed Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn. Brahms, anticipating that Clara Schumann would soon die, composed this series of four songs based on biblical text. Brahms himself would die the following year.

Brahms asks us, what is the meaning of our lives? Is man nothing more than a beast? Do our lives amount to anything more than the dust which we become? As animals die, so our bodies do as well. Are all of our pleasures, sufferings, trials, aspirations, our experiences between birth and death nothing greater than mere idle vanities, ephemeral and lost in time? A breath in the wind? A droplet in the rushing flood?

Or can we see beyond our deaths, as “through a glass, darkly,” to something which abides after our flesh is gone? To the future, into which the meaning of our lives will persist? As the poet Percy Shelley wrote in verses composed shortly before his own death:

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory…
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.

As Wilhelm Furtwängler said of Johannes Brahms in a speech commemorating the centenary of his birth: “Particularly in the last years of his life, he lived with the future, with eternity, in mind.”1

Unheard Melodies

Immortality is not merely the unceasing extension of mortality. It is not a never-ending longevity of the flesh. Rather, just as infinity is not the sum of an unlimited number of finites, eternity exists above time, outside of time. The eternal is not contained within and cannot be attained through the additive aggregate sum of temporals. The sequential chronology of what we call elapsed time is merely the unfolding shadows of something higher – the meaning of each moment cannot be located within the moment itself, but only from the standpoint of the greater flow of which it is a passing part. And without the prior existence of the whole, there could be no possibility for the existence of the parts.

How can we transcend the experience of the moment to participate in the eternal, the universal which created it? How can we be living participants within that whole which supersedes the existence of its subordinate parts?

Just as he said of Brahms, Wilhelm Furtwängler himself lived always “with the future, with eternity, in mind.” In fact, the capacity to live in the future – to participate in the eternal – is, in a very real way, the secret that lies behind the almost timeless quality of the experience of a performance by Furtwängler.

The absolutely distinct quality of Furtwängler’s performance will immediately grip any sentient listener, and is instantly recognizable. The relentless quality of suspension, a tension always pulling the listener forward from the very beginning through to the very end, an absolute coherence, an unbroken unity – all of these words describe the effect of the almost magical power that Furtwängler commanded over his music and his audiences. The conductor Claudio Abbado describes the effect that even the presence of Furtwängler exerted over his orchestra:

“Even when Furtwängler walked into the pit, there was tension around him – like electricity… And slowly, this wonderful warm sound came out of the orchestra, and the tension, always this wonderful tension from beginning to end. He was one of the few musicians who could create tension even in the pauses when there was nothing but silence.”— C. Abbado 2

A seemingly paradoxical idea: a musical tension which exists even in the moments when there is no audible sound. How can there be something in what seems like nothing? For Furtwängler, the notes were not the music, but were merely shadows dancing to a higher music, one which lurks silently but powerfully behind the sensual sounds. As the poet John Keats famously wrote in his Ode on a Grecian Urn:

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone.

This “silent form,” which lives outside of time, “dost tease us out of thought as doth eternity.” The eerie presence of a ghostly something visiting our present time from beyond time itself is the effect we experience through the music of Furtwängler. We are transported beyond the momentary experience of the part to an apprehension of the existence of a greater, superior whole, which is constantly exerting its power and control over each passing present moment in time.

Perhaps the most readily available example of this are Furtwängler’s recorded performances of Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C Major, the so-called “Great” Symphony. Furtwängler’s rendering of this masterpiece remains the standard which no other performance of the work has since achieved. Furtwängler’s performance of this Schubert symphony was described by the great Russian conductor Valeri Gergiev in a recent interview3, in which he described Furtwängler as a giant, unequaled among all others, the conductor whom he admired most:

“The most difficult thing in conducting is not to slip into mechanical beating. So this restless search for a real tempo, a real pulse, of practically each bar of music, rather than just one tempo for one movement, is something what very few conductors could ever master. Not many conductors will confess, maybe, that it will be something difficult for them to do, but then they will go and compete with Furtwängler, and most probably lose. Because it’s a kind of God-given gift, a genius quality, which one conductor contributes to the playing of the orchestra — I describe it in the following: You can’t possibly imagine this same orchestra play the way they play with Furtwängler if you just remove him from the podium. It is just not possible to imagine they will do the same thing. They will be even maybe more organized, they’ll be very focused in a certain ensemble, but they will never deliver this kind of incredible expression which he is able to bring to life once being in front of an orchestra…”Take the example of his performance of the “Great” Symphony of Franz Schubert… The quality of symphony and the quality of interpretation. Amazing. I believe in every movement there are so many changes of tempo. First, fantastic theme with horns are playing, and then, in the Second Movement – it seems to be very settled but then it becomes so desperately dramatic. And again, the Third Movement, it’s not just going like a clock, you know, da-da-da-da-DA-da-da-da-DA – it has a bite, it has a freedom, it has a fire.”

 

Recording of Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in a 1953 performance of Franz Schubert’s Symphony n°9 in C-Major, D 944.

The constant change in tempo so characteristic of Furtwängler’s music indicates the presence of a higher law, a higher time, dictating the unfolding of each moment in time. These are not arbitrary changes, not precalculated mathematical values, but the pulse of a living, breathing organism united by a single all-embracing coherent process of development, proceeding always into the future, residing in what is yet to come. The performer subordinates himself to that power, that higher law, striving always towards the apprehension of the unity which brings coherence to the multiplicity of the parts – an almost religious quality of devotion.

Listening to the Future

“Let us consider the activity of artistic creation… When we look closely at this process, we find we can distinguish two levels. On the first, each individual element combines with those adjacent to it to form larger elements, these larger elements then combining with others and so on, a logical outwards growth from the part to the whole. On the other level, the situation is the reverse: the given unity of the whole controls the behavior of the individual elements within it, down to the smallest detail. The essential thing to observe is that in any genuine work of art these two levels complement each other, so that the one only becomes effective when put together with the other…”The artistic process that has as its starting point the unity of the whole, rests on the concept of a more-or-less complete vision of that whole. For the artist at work, this vision is the goal he seeks to attain; the star that, unbeknownst to him, guides his steps through the maze of obstacles and temptations that beset his path and shows him how to unite the forces at his command. Only at the end of the journey, therefore, will the vision emerge in its totality, not only for the listener, the receiver of the work of art, but also – and this is a vital point – for the composer, the creative artist himself. The total vision only achieves its full radiance when it merges with all the individual sources of light from within the work, the over-alland the particular interacting and stimulating each other. It is not that the vision is present, ready-made, from the beginning and is only waiting to be filled with artistic substance. On the contrary: the joy that the artist feels comes not from possessing the vision but from the activity of turning it into reality.”— W. FurtwänglerThoughts for All Seasons4

The forgoing typifies Furtwängler’s insight into an actually ontological principle, one which extends far beyond music per se, which is as true in science as it is in art. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Furtwängler’s contemporaries Max Planck and Albert Einstein were themselves devoted musicians as much as they were scientists. In fact, Furtwängler’s composition teacher when he was a young man, Joseph Rheinberger (who was himself a friend and collaborator of Johannes Brahms), had also taught composition to the young Max Planck.

Einstein asserted that the paradoxes pertaining to time and causality presented by Planck’s discovery of the quantum would actually be resolved from the standpoint of a higher understanding of music. In an interview published as an appendix to the book Where Is Science Going?5, Einstein asserted:

“Our present rough way of applying the causal principle is quite superficial… We are like a juvenile learner at the piano, just relating one note to that which immediately proceed or follows. To an extent this may be very well when one is dealing with very simple and primitive compositions; but it will not do for an interpretation of a Bach Fugue. Quantum physics has presented us with very complex processes and to meet then we must further enlarge and refine our concept of causality.”— A. Einstein
Albert Einstein, like his friend Max Planck, was a passionate musician. Einstein said of himself: “Artistic premonition plays a not insignificant role in my life… If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my day dreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” Elsewhere, he said of his discovery of relativity: “The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception.”

The implications of Einstein’s allusion to Bach’s fugues are very revealing when considered in light of his contemporary Furtwängler’s insights as quoted above. When we consider the necessary existence of a unified whole in music, which as Furtwängler says “controls the behavior of the individual elements within it, down to the smallest detail,” we must ask: where does that whole exist? If the whole cannot exist in any part, nor in the aggregate of all the parts, where and when can we locate the existence of this unifying whole?

Only by listening to the future, to that totality which can never exist in the sequential temporal experiences of the ear, but only in the imagination which can consider the entire composition as a one, existing as a unity outsideof time. By hearing that single unified Being and following it as it guides us through the inexorable evolution of its own Becoming. By allowing the inaudible echo of that yet-to-be-experienced future to resonate within the audible sounds of the present, each meeting and mutually interacting with one another at each unfolding moment in time. At no one moment of the sensed experience in time can this whole perceived, however it is present at all times, above time, guiding the behavior of each moment of the unfolding experience of time.

Furtwängler expresses this as the intersection between the Nah-Erleben and the Fernhören, the interaction between “near-experience” with the “distance-hearing,” also citing the fugues of Bach as exemplary of the most perfect expression of this principle:

“Bach remains today what he has always been – the divine creator on his throne above the clouds, beyond the reach of others… Here we find concentration on the moment in time united with the unheard expanse; the immediate realization of the part paired with the truly sovereign overall vision of the whole. With its ever-conscious feeling for the near and the far at the same time; with its unconstrained fulfillment of the here-and-now joined with an ever-present subconscious feeling for the structure, the current of the whole; its ‘near-experience’ (Nah-Erleben) with its ‘distance-hearing’ (Fernhören), Bach’s music is a greater example of biological certainty of purpose and natural power than we will find anywhere else in Music. Precisely this is what makes Bach’s music so truly unique… Bach, the creator of these choruses and these fugues, seems to be not a human being, but the spirit that rules the world, the very architect of the universe… It is this that makes him for us the greatest of all composers, the Homer of music, whose light still shines out across our musical firmament, and whom, in a very special sense, we have never surpassed.”— W. FurtwänglerBach

In Bach, we experience at every moment this intersection of the near with the far, the part with the whole, the microcosm with the macrocosm, the temporal with the eternal. As Furtwängler describes elsewhere, the mission of the artist is always to seek “the fulfillment of the moment within a larger process. Each individual thing has its own function and this within the development of the whole. The two meet and intersect at each moment. It is not always easy at first to grasp the fact that every detail has its function within the whole, and is not only ‘arranged’ within this whole, but often has an effect on the whole that goes far beyond its individual importance… This single-mindedness of purpose, this clear and unmistakable cohesion of the whole can only be created through real laws, based in nature.” – W. Furtwängler, Notebooks, 19466

“If I Have Not Love, I Am Nothing”

“Love – love that is forever being seized and shaken by the work – can never be replaced. Love alone creates the preconditions for the visionary and correct understanding of ‘the whole’ in the work of art, for this whole is nothing but love. Each individual part can be more or less understood intellectually, but the whole can only ever be grasped by the living feeling of love. It is the only thing which is appropriate and fitting to the whole work of art as an image of the active and living world. Everything else, however skillful it may be, is limited, and therefore profoundly boring to me.”— W. FurtwänglerNotebooks, 19367

As the 19th Century drew to a close, Johannes Brahms’ setting in his Four Serious Songs of the words of St. Paul speaks almost as a prophesy, a warning to musicians, a eulogy for art in the century to come:

“Though I may speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I have not love, so am I become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”

Furtwängler insisted, without the dedication to the “the living feeling of love” which is required to grasp the understanding of a work of art in its wholeness, music dies, and becomes nothing more than the intellectualized assembly of individual separate parts rather than a single, living, organic whole. In the essay cited previously8, Furtwängler asks the question: what is the emotion which is required by the artist to grasp this fundamental unity of the whole?

“Corresponding to the power that works inwards, from the whole to the parts, a power which proceeds from a more or less complete vision of the whole, is an emotion that springs from the artist’s relationship to the world at its most profound and most meaningful – an emotion one may call love, humility, reverence, worship, awe, and many other things… a love of the world, which comes to us as the eternal gift of God. If only modern man would grasp that it is impossible to understand and shape the world as it confronts us without loving it! And that it is equally impossible to love it without seeking, in the context of this love, to understand it!”
Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven, of whose music Furtwängler wrote: “In the form of Being, a constant Becoming is at work… to experience Becoming in Being, and to let others experience it — to grasp the fleeting life of the moment in the solid form — that is true reproduction.”

For Furtwängler, the late compositions of Beethoven represented the high-point in this ideal of cohesive artistic unity in which the parts became absolutely subordinated and inseparable from the whole – an ideal which, however, was increasingly abandoned following Beethoven’s death.

“With Beethoven, the parts increasingly lost their independence, to the point where they were incomprehensible without reference to the whole; no part made sense without reference to that which preceded it and that which followed. Up to the time of Beethoven, musical development had taken place with the tacit assumption that the work of art emerged like an organism… Whereas Beethoven sought to bring out the whole with ever greater clarity and power, his contemporaries but even more his successors turned away from this approach, and the concept of the work of art as an organic whole crumbled in their hands…”

The irony, however, of the rejection of the concept of the organic whole, is that since the very existence of the parts depends upon the existence of the whole, in the absence of this whole there also ceases to be the possibility of the parts!

“Today the concept of overall form has lost its central, dominant position. No longer does it appear to be able to assert itself over the material. No longer is it the whole that controls the behavior of the parts. …The whole has been consumed by the parts, with the result that, not only is there no longer a whole, but there are also no longer any parts, because these can only exist so long as there is a whole to which they can refer! Everything exhausts itself in the individual moment, no heed being paid either to what has gone before or to what follows. The consequence is a concentration on the effect of the moment, effect for its own sake, in harmony, in rhythm, in orchestration, and through numerous little titillating details.”

Thus, quite literally: “Though I may speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I have not love, so am I become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Furtwängler clearly identified what he saw as the tragedy of music’s decline as being fundamentally rooted in the loss among his contemporaries of the capacity for love.

“Our only hope of salvation, a return to the inspiration that comes from the living masterpieces of music, is all too often stultified by bad performances. The inability to feel the fundamental emotional content of a work through its entire course, from beginning to end, is at its most glaringly obvious in those works of whose living example we stand in greatest need today. It is those works that receive the worst performances because they are the very ones that make the greatest spiritual demands on the performer.”

 

The Music of Our Soul

Pope Francis recently stated in an interview, that for him, the most “Promethean” of all conductors is Wilhelm Furtwängler, citing Furtwängler’s performances of Beethoven and especially Bach, specifically his St. Matthew Passion, saying: “The piece by Bach that I love so much is the Erbarme Dich, the tears of Peter in the St. Matthew Passion. Sublime.”9

And indeed, Furtwängler’s music has a reverential, devout, almost religious quality to it. The orchestra under Furtwängler, becomes fused into a single instrument, a single organism, and becomes in his words “a point of entry of the divine.”

“The sense of the orchestra as an artistic medium is that this body, constituting of 90-100 different people, different heads and hands, becomes one instrument through which a soul, a feeling, an intuition is communicated to the listener in its tiniest details. The more it achieves this, the more it loses its vanity of wanting to be something itself, the more it becomes the mediator, the communicator, the vessel and point of entry of the divine, speaking through the great masters.”— W. FurtwänglerNotebooks, 192910

Furtwängler sought to transport his audiences from the mere temporal experience of the passing moment and into the universal, the eternal, the whole. This becomes the almost sacred devotion of the true artist and the true scientist alike. As Albert Einstein wrote in 1930 in an article published in the New York Times Magazine11, describing the what he called the “cosmic religious feeling” which motivates the great scientist:

“The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims, and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole.”How can this cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another…? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.”— A. Einstein

Furtwängler’s music allows us to do just that. Furtwängler enables his audiences to escape that prison of shadows and sense-experience, and to experience instead the unheard music which lies beyond the notes. Each sound may quickly die, but the music which created it is eternal.

As Furtwängler’s great friend and collaborator, the violinist Yehudi Menuhin said:

“There are many conductors, but very few of them seem to reveal that secret chapel that lies at the very heart of all masterpieces. Beyond the notes, there are visions, and beyond those visions, there is this invisible and silent chapel, where an inner music plays, the music of our soul, whose echoes are but pale shadows. That was the genius of Furtwängler because he approached every work like a pilgrim who strives to experience this state of being that reminds us of Creation, the mystery which is at the heart of every cell. With his fluid hand movements, so full of meaning, he took his orchestras and his soloists to this sacred place.”— Y. Menuhin12

 

Recording of Yehudi Menuhin performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 with Wilhelm Furtwängler in 1953, one year prior to Furtwängler’s death.

 

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LaRouche’s Mission to Restore the American Presidency, What is Yours?

O

Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., had arrived in India with a group of U.S. forces, when word arrived in April, 1945, that President Franklin Roosevelt had died. A group of soldiers asked to have an evening meeting with LaRouche. He simply told them: the President is dead, and we have to, ourselves, all the more, assemble ourselves, and devote ourselves to the mission of President Roosevelt.

That was the beginning of Lyndon LaRouche’s mission, now almost exactly seventy years old, which still today is not over,— although it has now come to a critical fork in the road over the past roughly two weeks.

“We were coming towards the end of the actual conflict in Europe, and then beyond,” LaRouche remembered today. “And so, what I was left with, was the Southeast Asia area. I got more or less tied to that region, plus Russia. And what I otherwise had gotten into.”

LaRouche wrote to General Dwight Eisenhower in 1948, asking him to run for President, which would have denied the wretched Harry Truman a second term, and replaced him with someone who aspired to what Franklin Roosevelt had represented. At that time, Eisenhower was being brought in as the new president of Columbia University in New York. “Eisenhower was the one person I had access to,” LaRouche said today. “He was then going into his position at Columbia; that was my access to him.”

We now know that all four of Franklin Roosevelt’s surviving sons, were themselves also writing just such letters to Eisenhower at the same time. Nevertheless, he waited out Truman’s term before running, and winning, in 1952.

What some regard as LaRouche’s excursion into the socialist movement during the 1950s and early 1960s, was actually much more specific. He supported and then joined the Socialist Workers Party, an American Trotskyist party, because it was fighting McCarthyism (better called Trumanism), as LaRouche was also doing on his own. No other such national organization was doing this, including the Communist Party.

Later, LaRouche intervened into the “New Left,” such as the Students for a Democratic Society, in the interests of bringing forth something productive in the wake of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “My commitment was very, very clear,” he remembered today, “but the times were changing. And therefore, the things that you dealt with at an earlier time, no longer fit the situation.”

His crushing defeat of the leading British Keynesian Abba Lerner, who had been flown direct from London into a Queens College debate with LaRouche in 1971, prevented a British takeover of the US and its economy at that time. “It was the birth of the time when people began to congeal themselves around me,” LaRouche said today. “It was an easy fight for me; Abba Lerner was just a damn fool. A self-important damn fool. But the whole crew of Keynesians was really freaked out at the fact that I had defeated them.”

LaRouche’s Strategic Defense Initiative proposal of 1977 and thereafter, was publicly adopted by President Reagan, and also unofficially supported by the then-existing Russian government, nominally under Leonid Brezhnev. This was the highest point of success ever achieved to that point, of LaRouche’s mission to reshape the U.S. Presidency to that which Alexander Hamilton had originally intended, which included what later President John Quincy Adams had termed a “community of principle” among republican nations girdling the globe. Not only did the SDI include an agreement between the US and the Soviets for development of devices based on “new physical principles” to overcome thermonuclear missiles. It also included the joint US-Soviet use of these technologies for economic development of Africa, Asia, and Ibero-America.

President Reagan suffered an assassination attempt by Bush-linked forces, two months after his inauguration. Although he survived, he was severely wounded, and he loosened or dropped the reins of government, which were taken over by the Bush family, which killed the SDI and railroaded LaRouche to jail.

LaRouche’s arrest (before his frameup trial and five-year incarceration in Federal prison), was actually intended to have been an assassination, which was only prevented by an intervention from the White House. The intention was also to kill LaRouche in prison, but patriotic forces kept him safe there.

The way LaRouche got to Russia, was that he got permission to go into Germany, to be with Helga. And she had already adopted a course of action, which was the same as his.

“I was in Europe,” he said today, “and then, in the process, because of Helga’s Russian connections, I found myself flying into Moscow with Helga. I found myself parked there.

“At the special meeting with the leaders of Russia at that time, they asked me for my decision. What should they do? We agreed on that. Then, Bill Clinton did not oppose it,— in fact, he agreed with it, in principle. But he was not going to act so as to put me, directly, in front of this stuff. But Bill actually did do a lot, in order to coordinate his views with me.

“Also up to that point, we had a friend in the Papacy. That Pope was also wounded in an assassination attempt. What happened is, the other party, shall we say the radical, left-wing party of the clergy, took advantage of the fact that the Pope had an impairment in his functioning, and they came in like gang-busters. Therefore, the whole Catholic operation disintegrated, and, interestingly, the disintegration of the Catholic Church from that point on, meant that the whole church kind of faded because of this kind of disintegration.

“The new Pope Francis is trying to make sure that that’s not going to be repeated.”

Out of the bankruptcy of Russia, which also involved the bankruptcy of the whole world financial system, LaRouche brought back a proposal of his from Russia, which was eventually adopted by President Clinton.

“I came back again,” he said today, “at the same time that Putin was rising in power, and dealing with the Chechens. I was also without any direct connection to Putin at that time. I didn’t really know him much, but I just knew about him. But the Chechen issue was the same issue I was working on. And that’s the whole racket we’re dealing with right now.”

Clinton went with the proposal; then he was sex-gated and impeached in a phony process.

“It was simply an operation done by a bunch of Republican whores on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II herself,” LaRouche said today. “Agents of the Queen [like Ambrose Evans-Pritchard] directed and controlled the Republican Party. It’s probably still true today. What you can say, is what’s the difference between the Republican Party,— well, most of them are queens.”

The hounding of Bill Clinton out of office entailed the loss of Glass-Steagall, followed by two terms of George W. Bush and almost two of Obama. It gave us a world economic catastrophe, and a series of U.S. wars of aggression, leaving us now on the brink of thermonuclear World War III.

Now, we’re come back to where we were, only again it’s different. But Obama can be out at any day of this week or next week; his crimes have been exposed, and he can’t recover.

“He could not have won the so-called election, nor could he have maintained his influence in the United States now, except for the British monarchy,” LaRouche says. “He’s just the Queen’s tool. You need to know what his gender is; because you look at the women that work around him,— you wonder what his gender is.”

Now with O’Malley doing what he’s doing, we’re at the position where we can win the Presidency; the real American Presidency, as Lyndon LaRouche has been fighting for, for all these seventy years.

“There’s a good way of looking at that,” LaRouche said today, “because O’Malley had not, on a formal basis, had not seemed to be, what he has become now. But, really he hasn’t changed. What happened is, is that he, like most politicians,— even good ones,— he will always try to wear the costume which fits the constituency. And that was the case with him, at an earlier stage.

“When he ran up against this Obama problem and what went with it, then, he un-masked himself, and what he did, was not something he had intended to do earlier; even though his actual feelings about the matter, had not been much different from what they are now. But, it didn’t show that way under the earlier conditions. Now, he gets to the point where he’s at the period of his life where he’s saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got to get back into the fight here.’

“And that’s exactly what has happened.”

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Friday Webcast 22 May 2015

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Léargas by Gerry Adams —- Reaching Out

A few years ago I visited NUI Galway to address the students on the peace process. The hall was packed and for reasons I still don’t quite understand there were very few chairs put out for the hundreds of students who turned up. Most sat on the floor and the craic was great.
I was back there again on Tuesday. The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, was in Ireland with his wife Camilla for a four day visit. At the weekend the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle met and discussed the party’s approach. On her recent visits to Ireland the British Queen Elizabeth had made clear her desire to be part of a process of reconciliation and healing. The meeting between Martin McGuinness and Queen Elizabeth in Belfast and then subsequently during a state visit by President Michael D, were widely acknowledged as historic and a boost to reconciliation efforts.
It was in this context, of peace building, that I raised the possibility of Sinn Féin leaders meeting with Charles during his visit.  I believed that such a meeting could be very helpful as we seek to heal the hurt of decades of conflict. Following several conversations it was agreed. On Tuesday morning Senator Trevor O Clochartaigh and I arrived at NUI Galway.
We were to be joined later by Martin McGuinness for a private meeting when the formal NUIG business was over. By the time Trevor and I arrived most of the guests were already assembled. They included school children from Connemara. At Trevor’s prompting they gave us a rousing rendition of Peigín Ligir Móir. I was delighted especially to meet Colm Seoighe a wonderful young guitarist and his fellow students and singers and their teachers. Colm’s guitar is autographed by Christy Moore.
‘Ride On ‘ dúirt mé leis.
In the meantime it rained. Then the sun shone warmly. Then it rained again. Luckily the meeting with Charles was indoors. We were introduced at the reception by Gearoid O Conluain on behalf of NUIG and shook hands.
I welcomed him in Irish and English. “Cead Mile Fáilte. Tá mé sasta go bhfuil tú arais agus tú ag dul go Mullach Mór”
“Welcome. It’s good that you are back and going to Mullach Mór”.
We spoke briefly before I introduced him to Trevor.
Later Trevor joined Martin and me for a private meeting with Charles. This engagement lasted about 20 minutes or so upstairs in an office. It was a cordial and relaxed discussion. Despite some of the difficult issues we each spoke of it was a positive conversation. We acknowledged that he and his family had been hurt and suffered great loss at Mullaghmore by the actions of Irish republicans. Martin and I said we were very conscious of this and of the sad loss of the Maxwell family whose son Paul was also killed.
We spoke also of the hurt inflicted on our friends and neighbours and on our own communities in Derry and Ballymurphy and Springhill by the actions of the Parachute Regiment and other British regiments. In 1971 and 1972 in Ballymurphy and Springhill sixteen local citizens, including three children, a mother of eight, two Catholic priests and ten unarmed men were killed by the Paras.
I also told him of the campaign by victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings to get the British Government to hand over its files about these events – believed to involve its agents – to Irish authorities.
He shared his own memories of the conflict starting in the 60s. It is obvious that he wants to play a positive role in making conflict a thing of the past. That is the Sinn Fein view also.
Thankfully the conflict is now over. Tuesday’s meeting is part of the necessary process which must now address in a more substantial way than ever before the issue of reconciliation and healing. That must mean that all victims and survivors of the conflict, who are still seeking justice and truth are given the strongest support.
Whether they were bereaved by the IRA, or by the myriad British state agencies, or through state sponsored collusion, the victims and their families and communities deserve justice. In this context it is crucial that the process of healing and of reconciliation is enhanced and strengthened.
Tuesday’s meeting in itself is a significant symbolic and practical step forward in the process of healing and reconciliation. But for substantial progress to be made the Governments and the political parties will have to build on this opportunity.
Reconciliation is an enormous challenge for all of us. It is a personal process of dialogue, engagement, and compromise. It’s about healing the past and building a new, better and fairer future based on equality.
There is now a peaceful way to end partition and the union. All who want a United Ireland have a duty to embrace this and to make friends with our neighbours.
The participation of myself and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Seanadóir Trevor O Clochartaigh and other Sinn Féin leaders in the visit by Prince Charles is a measure of our commitment to resolving outstanding legacy issues and to be part of an inclusive healing and reconciliation process and a new political dispensation between the people of this island.
I have no doubt that some people will be upset at the Galway meeting. That is their right if they are victims or survivors. Others may be upset because of their politics or because they have a narrow view of the past and no real strategy for the future. That also is their right.
But our resolve and responsibility is to ensure that no else suffers as a result of conflict; that no other family is bereaved; that the experience of war and of loss and injury is never repeated.This means all of us working together. That requires generosity and respect from all and for all.
We are all living in a time of transition for the people of the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.  I don’t have a lot in common with a member of the British royal family. But we are of the same age. We have some interests in common. These also were touched upon in our conversation. We have both been bereaved in conflict. This week’s engagements are part of the process of building relationships, breaking down barriers to understanding and creating the space – as Seamus Heaney defined it – ‘in which hope can grow.’
There are many challenges facing the political Institutions established by the Good Friday Agreement and by the popular will of the people of the island of Ireland. These challenges, which are multiple and immediate, must be overcome.
Leaders have a responsibility to lead. That is what we are trying to do. As we face into the future let all our steps be forward steps.

 

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Lyndon LaRouche: Reverse the Tsarnaev Death Sentence Before It Becomes a Hitler Phenomenon

Speaking on Saturday, May 16, and again on Sunday, May 17, Lyndon LaRouche said that higher courts should prevent the death sentence imposed in Boston on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from being carried out and the population of Boston and Massachusetts will be a crucial factor in achieving that result.

LaRouche said: We don’t want human executions. In the Boston case you have a minor who committed a crime. He could have been sentenced to life in prison instead of being sentenced to death.

The people of the U.S. are not inclined to lynch people. Most people in the U.S. will not want that to happen. Prison for life, yes. But the death penalty for a minor, no. LaRouche identified the opposition in Boston and Massachusetts to the decision to sentence Tsarnaev to death as a crucial factor, which reflects values going all the way back to the founding of New England. A New York Times article, for example, quotes a former Bostonian, who said the death sentence violated the sense of “exceptionalism that has pervaded Boston since 1630, when the Puritan John Winthrop said this spot in the New World would be as a city upon a hill – the eyes of all people are upon us.” The Boston Globe reports that only 15% of Bostonians agree with the death sentence handed down to Tsarnaev and only 19% of the residents of Massachusetts.

LaRouche said, as a result of the fact that the population of Massachusetts does not like the death penalty, this could create an uproar, and produce a revolt. And this revolt has broader implications.

LaRouche pointed to the recent Baltimore riots. Baltimore formerly had a successful economy with shipyards and a steel mill at Sparrows Point. But as a result of the shift in the U.S. economy from production to gambling and drugs, the Baltimore economy has collapsed. Baltimore was turned into a death zone.

Now take the situation in California. In the past, officials in California would never have said, cut the water supply and let the population die, as the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, has now effectively done. That would not have been acceptable. People would have said, instead: Something must be done about it.

Ask yourself how many people have died in this country and around the world as a result of the genocidal austerity policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the speculative policies of Wall Street, especially once Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Glass Steagall Act was repealed in the late 1990s. And yet how many bankers have even gone to jail, let alone been executed?

How many migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea fleeing from the terrorists unleashed in Northern Africa and the Middle East as a result of the illegal wars launched by successive U.S. Presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

How many people have been prosecuted and gone to prison for torture, drone assassinations, and spying on Americans in violation of the U.S. Constitution, let alone been executed?

While these crimes go unpunished and, at best, result in fines which are written off as business expenses by the criminal banks, it is not just Tsarnaev who is being given a death sentence.

As LaRouche stressed today we are facing a situation like the European Dark Ages where mass death reigned. People were just grabbed up and fried! And burned to death. Tortured and then burned to death. And this was happening all throughout parts of Europe. And it persisted for a long period of time.

And we are looking at something like that happening here, now. “Why? Because you’re looking at people saying, ‘Well, look, buddy – we got too many people; you know that, don’t you? We’re overpopulated, we can’t support this population.”

As LaRouche stated: “There’s no reason to kill people. The point is if you’ve got somebody who’s guilty and they’re convicted, and kept under restraint, that’s as far as you want to go.”

LaRouche stressed that once the killing starts, it is a Hitler phenomenon. The danger is that someone will try to push through the execution and use it to get a national push to spread this action against the population as a whole.

Look, for example, at what is being done to the Greek population. If the Greeks want to leave the Eurozone, they should do so. They are not being offered an alternative that is tolerable. They are being told by the banks that money is more important than human life.

Therefore, the fire must be put out before it burns the house down. This death sentence must be reversed!

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A Vernadskian Reconsideration of Galactic Cycles and Evolution by Benjamin Deniston

As has been emphasized recently by Lyndon LaRouche and his Executive Intelligence Review magazine and LaRouche Political Action Committee, to understand climate, weather, and the behavior of water on our planet we must start by understanding the role of our galaxy.1

Records of the largest climate variations over the past half billion years correspond to changes in the galactic environment experienced by our Solar System—indicating that the galaxy has the strongest role in determining the climate variations on Earth.2

The implications of this can be looked at in two ways.

On the one side, an adherent to the modern school of scientific reductionism may see this as, perhaps, an interesting phenomenon, but one with no general impact on our understanding of the nature and ordering of causality in the universe.

On the other side, a mind which is not suffering from the debilitating effects of the destruction of science led by David Hilbert and Bertrand Russell3 (mathematical reductionism) will see this as a clue to defining a new understanding of the hierarchical nature of causality in the universe—pursuing the conception of science defined by Nicolas of Cusa (as in his 1440 De Docta Ignorantia) and his follower Johannes Kepler.

Here we will take the opportunity of the publication of the first English translation of Vladimir Vernadsky’s 1930 report, “The Study of Life and the New Physics,” to examine another clue, again pointing us towards the need for a higher understanding of our galaxy.4

Studies have shown that there are cycles in the evolutionary development of animal life over the past 540 million years on Earth—cycles which correspond in period and in phase to cyclical aspects of the motion of our Solar System through our galaxy.

This can also be looked at in two ways.

In the modern domination of Russellian reductionism, a “kill mechanism” is sought to explain how different galactic environments can accelerate the extinction rate of species and, thereby, imprint records of these cosmic fluctuations in the evolutionary record.

For an approach freed from the disease of reductionism, we can instead look to the views of Vernadsky, as presented in his 1930 report, “The Study of Life and The New Physics.”

A student of Dmitri Mendeleev, and an avid opponent to the influence of Bertrand Russell on Russian and Soviet science, Vernadsky’s hypotheses about life in the cosmos provide an important basis to investigate the relation between the changing expression of life on Earth and the subsuming galactic system.

This provides another avenue for understanding that which subsumes our Solar System, our Earth, and the processes therein.

One of the European Southern Observatory’s telescopes in their Very Large Telescope array uses a laser beam to create an artificial star high in the Earth’s atmosphere, allowing the astronomers to correct for atmospheric distortion (utilizing adaptive optics) as they study the central regions of our Milky Way Galaxy. The picture was taken in August of 2010 picture by Yuri Beletsky.

Identifying the Important Evidence

Fossil records leave a map of the evolutionary development of complex life on Earth, showing an overall increase in the number of distinct animal species (and more clearly in measures of genera) on the plant over the past 540 million years (as is best recorded in records of ocean life). However, upon this overall increase is imprinted a smaller periodic rise and fall in the number of genera at any given time. Early indication of this go back to the 1980s,5 but more recent analysis (with a more complete fossil record) has solidified the evidence for a cycle in the decline and increase in the number of genera over time.6 Perhaps most interestingly, this cycle corresponds with the period and phase of cyclical aspects of the motion of our Solar System through the Milky Way Galaxy.

Existing attempts to explain this correlation between galactic activity and evolution of life rely upon a sequence of domino like effects resulting from the introduction of a “kill mechanism.” They look for ways that cosmic processes might kill off large enough numbers of individual animals (either directly, or by creating certain environmental effects which will do so), which in turn could then lead to extinctions of entire species, and, if the killing rate was powerful enough and sustained, then to the extinctions of large numbers of different species, resulting in the extinctions of entire genera, and then families, culminating in a “mass extinction”7

The belief that increased extinction rates, or even mass extinctions can be explained by this type of a bottom-up causality is not a demonstrated generalization based on evidence, but, rather, the product of certain reductionist beliefs and assumptions. In reality the phenomena of mass extinctions are still poorly understood.8 What we know from the fossil record is that there can be relatively rapid (in geological terms) transitions where many species, genera, and families disappear from the records and are replaced by new forms (though these more dramatic (and rapid) shifts exist within the context of an already ongoing slower turnover rate). How and why this occurred the way it did is still not well understood.

So, rather than assuming we must accept a reductionist framework, here we will take a different approach.

Perhaps most important for this shift in approach is to recognize that it isn’t simply extinctions which define these cycles, but extinctions and originations (the generation of new species, genera, and families).

As stated in a 2013 paper on the subject, the evidence for a cycle in the process of the evolutionary development of life on Earth “results from the coherent interaction of both extinction and origination fluctuations, producing a stronger signal than either would or could alone”.9

So we must also ask why there exist periodic phases characterized by the origination of new genera.

Put simply, we’re looking for more than a kill mechanism, we’re examining, on the one side, the anti-entropic development of life on Earth, and, on the other, the relation of our Solar System to our galactic system—and we’re asking why cycles in both processes correlate so well. The work of Vernadsky provides a new basis to investigate this relation, in these top-down terms.

Vernadsky’s “The Study of Life and the New Physics”

We don’t know what life is.

Vernadsky’s work provides an important distinction between the study of living processes and life per se. We can study living processes as effects of life, as particular expressions of life, without assuming that these specific expressions, alone, define life per se. This important distinction provides the needed framework to properly pursue the properties and characteristics of life, per se—investigating that which underlies certain particular expressions and manifestations.

Vernadsky took up exactly this approach in his 1930 report, “The Study of Life and the New Physics.” Examining the identifiable properties of living processes—as they can be studied in the context of their existence in the biogeochemical medium of the Earth’s biosphere—he separated the properties into two lists: first, those properties which are associated with the planetary (biogeochemical) medium within which living processes are manifested on Earth; second, those properties displayed by living processes which can not be attributed to the characteristics and properties of this planetary context, and, thus, might express something more universal about life, per se.10

Vernadsky immediately follows this second list with a conclusion which will be upsetting to today’s reductionists: “This list is not complete, but it indicates, with evidence, that life manifests itself in the Cosmos in other forms than those which biology normally displays.”

Since living processes are not merely a phenomenon of geochemistry11—but are an expression of a principle of life, per se, manifested in the context of a geochemical medium—we should be willing to seek out in the cosmos other expressions of these non-planetary properties of life.

Vernadsky then dedicates the entire latter half of his report to the two non-planetary properties of life which he thinks could be the most fruitful in investigating how “life manifests itself in the Cosmos in other forms than those which biology normally displays.”

Here I will dwell upon two phenomena which will allow for the clarification of the important role which the investigation of life plays in the scientific picture of the Universe, created by the new physics, notably upon the dissymmetry of the space of living organisms and on biological time. In the first case, this is a matter of new properties (a particular state of physical space), observed in living organisms, and in the second, new properties of physical time.12

Of his 18 section report, Vernadsky focuses most of the latter half to the first of these two, “the dissymmetry of the space of living organisms” (sections 11 to 16), followed by one section on biological time (section 17).

Vernadsky’s work—both distinguishing a principle of life, per se, from the particular expressions of living processes we’re familiar with on Earth, and positing the need to investigate other potential expressions of this principle in the cosmos—provides a critical, non-reductionist basis for investigating the correlation of cycles of extinction and origination in the fossil record with the cycles of our Solar System’s motion through our galaxy—that is, to investigate the potential relationship between the process of the anti-entropic development of living processes on Earth and the processes of the cosmic system of our galaxy.

As we will see, Vernadsky’s conception of dissymmetrical states of space will be key.

Cosmic Dissymmetry

In a different address (delivered one year later), Vernadsky made some rather interesting remarks regarding galactic systems specifically. Citing early studies examining the distribution of “spiral nebulae” (as spiral galaxies used to be called), Vernadsky hypothesized their orientations could be an expression of a “dissymmetrical” characteristic of the cosmos.

The spiral form of nebulae and of some stellar agglomerations indicates the probable presence of analogous dissymmetrical phenomena in the Cosmos. If the right spirals predominate in effect, clearly, among the spiral nebulae, as numerous photographs attest, or in certain parts of the universe right spiral nebulae are concentrated and in others left spiral nebulae, the existence of dissymmetric spaces in the Cosmos would become more than probable. This dissymmetry would seem to be analogous to that which we observe in the space penetrated by life, that is to say, that it possesses enantiomorphic vectors and both of the vectors—left and right—could exist there at the same time, but not in equal number; the right-handed vectors most often predominate there.13

While recent studies indicate Vernadsky may have been onto something interesting regarding the large-scale distribution of galaxies,14 here we’re interested in the potential dissymmetrical characteristics of a single galaxy—our own.

For a single spiral galaxy to express and inherent dissymmetry—i.e. to have an inherent handedness – there has to be a physical distinction between the top and bottom (north and south),15 a distinction expressing the global characteristics of the galactic system as a whole.

Most importantly, if we are working from Vernadsky’s conception of potential cosmic expressions of a quality of dissymmetrical space which we see expressed in living organisms, then perhaps the top-bottom (north-south) distinction which defines the dissymmetry of a spiral galaxy should be expressed in the response of living processes most strongly. That is, it would make sense that the most important evidence for defining an inherently dissymmetrical space of a galaxy would be the reaction of living processes to the influence of that dissymmetrical space.

Holding that thought, let’s return to what we know about the relationship of our Solar System to the galaxy.

As we orbit around the center of our galaxy, the Solar System also passes above and below the galactic plane, in a bobbing-type motion. Based on current measurements and analysis, the cycles of this up and down motion are roughly 30 (26-37) million years from mid-plane, through a peak, back to mid-plane, or 30 million years from one peak to the opposite peak, or 60 million years from one peak, through the opposite, and back to the same side.

Most researchers think that the conditions on either side of the galactic plane (north or south) should be generally similar, and, therefore, any imprint of this changing galactic environment recorded in the Earth’s history should express a 30 million year periodicity.

In fact this is true for at least one abiotic process, the climate, where a 30 million year cycle has been found.16

However, records of the evolutionary development of life on Earth display a ~62 million year fluctuation.17 As mentioned above, this biodiversity cycle is strongest when not only Thus, the evidence for a relationship between processes of our galactic system and the evolutionary development of life on Earth is not simply associated with being either above or below the galactic plane, but with the characteristics of one side vs the other. From within the reductionist camp this is taken as evidence to doubt the existence of a connection between this galactic process and the evolution of living processes on Earth (despite the clear correlation), because they have no reason to hypothesize a distinction between the north and south sides.18 But when viewed from the conceptions of Vernadsky, the distinction which serves as their basis for doubt becomes our point of interest.

A physical distinction between one side of the galaxy from the other is required for our Vernadskian hypothesis of a dissymmetrical characteristic governing the physical space of the galactic system – providing the critical evidence needed to define a distinct, intrinsic handedness of the system (irrespective of one’s vantage point).

The evolutionary cycle being 60 million years, rather than 30 (and matching the proper phase), provides the needed evidence for a distinction, indicating the potential for an inherent difference in the north vs south sides of our galaxy, and, thereby, its inherent dissymmetry. It is most appropriate that fluctuations in the history of the evolutionary development of living processes on Earth are what provides the critical evidence for defining an intrinsic dissymmetry of our galactic system—indicating galactic manifestation of dissymmetrical space, to which living processes on Earth are responsive.19

Spacetime of Anti-Entropy

In the terminology and framework pursued by Vernadsky, this could be an expression of a dissymmetrical spacetime characteristics of our galactic system.20

This is not the first indication that the study of galactic systems could require a new conception of a self-bounded spacetime intrinsic to that galactic system.21 However, Vernadsky’s direction of work indicates that we should open our minds to the qualities of the spacetime characteristics of living processes (rather than simply abiotic physics), if we are to truly attempt to understand the cosmos as containing a principle of life, per se, and galactic systems therein.

With this evidence for a relation between the evolutionary development of life on Earth and the processes of our galactic system, we see the option to invert the investigation—to examine the characteristics expressed by evolution as informing us about the nature of our galactic system as a whole.

As Vernadsky correctly identified in his 1926 address on evolution,22 there is an intrinsic direction in the evolutionary development of life on Earth—the increasing energy flux density of the biosphere system—which Vernadsky called his “second biogeochemical principle.”

This biogeochemical principle which I will call the second biogeochemical principle can be formulated thus: The evolution of species, leading to the creation of new, stable, living forms, must move in the direction of an increasing of the biogenic migration of atoms in the biosphere…

[This second biogeochemical principle] indicates, in my opinion, with an infallible logic, the existence of a determined direction, in the sense of how the processes of evolution must necessarily take place… All theories of evolution must take into consideration the existence of this determined direction of the process of evolution, which, with the subsequent developments in science, will be able to be numerically evaluated. It seems impossible to me, for several reasons, to speak of evolutionary theories without taking into account the fundamental question of the existence of a determined direction, invariable in the processes of evolution, in the course of all the geological epochs. Taken together, the annals of paleontology do not show the character of a chaotic upheaval, sometimes in one direction, sometimes in another, but of phenomena, for which the development is carried out in a determined manner, always in the same direction, in that of the increasing of consciousness, of thought, and of the creation of forms augmenting the action of life on the ambient environment.23

Since Vernadsky’s time, we’ve accumulated a much larger and more detailed map of the evolutionary development of life. While the new evidence strongly conforms to Vernadsky’s second biogeochemical principle,24 we are still far from understanding the principle which has composed that map.

In pursuit of this, we’ve been pointed to the processes of our own galactic system—as the macroevolutionary pulsations associated with the anti-entropic development of living processes on Earth beat in harmony with our Solar System’s experience of the dissymmetrical characteristics of our galaxy.

Rather than simply an Earth-based phenomenon, the development of life on Earth could be an expression of an anti-entropic character of our galaxy, returning us to the opening challenge: understanding the causal role of our galactic system in the hierarchical ordering of the Universe.

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New Paradigm Show — Mankind is Not an Animal 20 May 2015

Over the past weeks, an emerging discussion has occurred between Lyndon LaRouche and associates on the significance and implications of the turn of the 20th Century. Here, with Jason Ross as host,Megan Beets, Matthew Ogden and My-Hos Steger elaborate  some of the cultural expressions and reigning ideologies of that period, and contrast that with what must happen in order for us to bring to bear a human-based galactic renaissance, centered on the commitment to scientific and cultural progress

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