Not Party, But the Ten Principles: A Cusan Political Organizing StrategyBy Dennis Speed
Jan. 8—After being given friendly advice as to why she should not be running for the United States Senate in New York, but a smaller, more winnable office, Diane Sare responded that the only office other than the United States Senate for which she would have considered running, would have been that of President of the United States. The reason for this had actually been stated earlier by Schiller Institute founder and head, Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Referring to her singular solution-proposal for a new security and development architecture, intended to catalyze the convening of a world conference to avert the impending danger of thermonuclear war, Zepp-LaRouche said:
“I have written Ten Principles for this to be discussed. The Tenth Principle, I think, is the most important. It is the idea that Man is good, his nature is good, and that all evil in the world comes from a lack of development, and therefore can be overcome. I would encourage everybody to join in a discussion as to how to get out of this, because to stop the war is the first step, but are we creative human beings who can decide how we can live together in the 21st Century, and hopefully the many millennia beyond? So, I would like you to join this movement. We are going to try to build up more resistance to this war, and therefore I’m very happy that Diane is announcing her campaign.”
What Sare and Zepp-LaRouche are proposing is to end the age of political parties, and to usher in the age of principle over party. This should begin, not only a new year, but a new era called “Politics As Art.” The noblest aspirations of mankind must become the vantage point, and starting point, for even the simplest of “political” acts, including resistance to evil. An example is what took place in the candlelight demonstrations of Germany in 1989 leading up to the Fall of the Berlin Wall in November of that year. Political campaigns, including campaigns for elected office, can change and be morally uplifting when liberated from narrow, “single issue” orientations.
To arrive at the urgently required caliber of thinking among qualified policy circles, many of whose members are not presently in the official governments of the trans-Atlantic world, there must be a re-establishment of the sort of international academy that Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) headed at the end of the 15th century during the Renaissance. The Schiller Institute and Sare policy conferences and weekly symposia are initiating that. A set of continuous conferences, open to all, combining scholars, scientists and policy experts with thinkers drawn from real life, especially from the productive sector, such as family farmers, machinists, etc. will have to become the bread and butter of today’s contemporary political scene, if humanity is to survive. Independent candidacies for political office, particularly in the Americas, South and North, with no particular wealth or social prestige, can, in this way, arise in the present, dying trans-Atlantic order. These candidates and their campaigns must be integrated into an informal but increasingly capable and resourceful policy-structure, much in the way that the American Revolution’s Benjamin Franklin formed and developed his transcontinental network of revolutionary co-thinkers as an extension and continuation of earlier work accomplished by the founder of physical economy, Gottfried Leibniz.
During the Sunday, Jan. 8 Policy Discussion hosted by Independent United States candidate Diane Sare, and featuring Helga Zepp-LaRouche, weapons analyst Scott Ritter, Col. Richard Black (ret.) and nuclear weapons expert Steve Starr, the necessary dialogue about whether the “idea” of the Ten Principles for a new international Security and Development Architecture proposed by LaRouche could in fact change the “reality” of the geopolitical (i.e., Malthusian) situation came sharply into focus. Importantly, Scott Ritter, after his presentation/report on the state of the conflict, seemed to refute the idea that the Vatican initiative for a “pre-conditions-free” conference to stop the war in Ukraine could ever possibly work, strongly pleaded, and even insisted, to be “proven wrong.” Zepp-LaRouche heartily agreed that she would do everything in her power to oblige.
Learned Ignorance: The Antidote to Pessimism
Helga Zepp-LaRouche has for decades called attention to the figure of Nicholas of Cusa, not only as the greatest influence on the creation of “the America project,” including the 15th-century explorations. She has also formed the “Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites,” a grouping intentionally made up of people with differing views, but with an identical purpose—that humanity must now, before it is too late, supplant the adolescent methods of lethal war in favor of jointly defeating the actual enemies of the human race: “poverty, famine, disease, and war itself.”
Why was Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464), who organized the 1439 Council of Florence unity of the Eastern and Western churches, also one of the world’s greatest intelligence specialists? It was Cusa who understood that the “Coincidence of Opposites” was not just a logical trick, but a principle by means of which it was possible to understand how physical change occurs in the universe, and, therefore, in all human social practice. Cusa was the inventor of modern scientific method, as demonstrated in his 1440 De Docta Ignorantia (“On Learned Ignorance.”) Far from employing numbers in a Newtonian cabbalistic pseudo-calculus, Cusa’s work introduced his theological and political co-thinkers to the idea of the incommensurable. For example, Cusa uses the paradox that, by adding sides to a polygon—a triangle’s 3 sides, a square’s 4, a pentagon’s 5, and so on—it appears that we get closer, with each added side, to the figure of a circle. Actually, however, we are getting further away with each “closer” step. Why? Every new side we add makes the new polygon more different than the circle, because a circle has no sides, or angles, or edges. The more sides we add, the less like a circle the figure will be. A circle is incommensurable (cannot be measured) with a polygon. It is a higher order figure.
The “incommensurable” can clean up many mysteries, including in politics. When “sophisticates,” that is, sophists of various stripes and in various countries, institutions and confessions, recently wrote and talked about the “geopolitical,” “military,” “psychological warfare” implications of Vladimir Putin’s Christmas truce, or simply denounced it outright, there was one possibility they never addressed. They did not do so, because that possibility was incommensurate with their “axiom lattice”—their presumed knowledge of warfare, diplomacy, espionage, and Putin. That possibility was that perhaps Putin declared the truce, after the request by Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, because it was the right thing to do. It was right, not as a mere “holiday commemoration,” but as the invocation of a higher principle—“Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men.” Perhaps this is a principle deployed on a higher battlefield, a principle which, to be implemented, requires warriors more of the type of Joan of Arc, warriors fighting to be instruments of a miracle that can be brought about only through intention.
Former IAEA weapons analyst Scott Ritter and a Russian member of a prominent scientific institution found themselves to be in agreement on the inapplicability of the Pope’s proposal for negotiations without precondition for an end to the Third World War in Europe. “I completely agree with Scott Ritter that in the present moment it’s impossible to stop the war by negotiation proposed by the Pope … the only way to stop the war is to stop providing money and weapons to Ukraine. In three days the war will stop. This is the only way,” the Russian scientist said. Scott Ritter said, “Helga, I wish you the best of luck with the Vatican. I really do, and I hope you prove me wrong. I want you to prove me wrong! I want you to come up with an adequate negotiating forum that actually works, but I’m here to tell you right now, Russia will never, ever, ever negotiate with anyone about Ukraine.”
Is this correct? Zepp-LaRouche, in a dialogue with both speakers, advised them and the audience to examine the presently stated military postures of Russia and NATO. She pointed out that this posed an apparently insoluble paradox. The bureaucracies of the NATO countries—the “Anglosphere”—have said that “war is the way to peace,” that nothing short of the total defeat of Russia, including their removal of troops from Crimea and the Donbass region, is acceptable. Both sides, however, cannot both “get what they want.” Each cannot win “total victory,” and neither side can “back down” from preventing the total victory of the other. NATO and Russia have world-destroying thermonuclear arsenals. These doomsday weapons are the only means, conceivable within the constraints of geopolitics, to surely prevent a “total victory for you/total defeat for me” outcome for each. The alternative to the zero-sum game is total defeat for everyone—zero-zero, or lose-lose.
An additional problem: There have been several near-launches of nuclear weapons in the past. Now, there is a far greater chance than at any other time that the weapons would be used. How do we know? Because neither side can, as of now, trust the other. That must immediately change. How? An idea that lives above the domain inhabited by the “war-gamers” with their Satanic, infernal calculus, good only for counting “how many people will survive a full-scale thermonuclear attack,” must be introduced. Geopolitical axioms must be overturned.
We must introduce a higher-order policy concept, incommensurable with geopolitics, that starts from the standpoint that the human race is essentially good. That was Cusa’s method at the Council of Florence, and must be ours today. We must all take up the challenge to counterpose to the idea “we are doomed to suffer thermonuclear hell due to the banality and bestiality of geopolitics,” another idea, from the poet Percy Shelley—that men, “even whilst they deny and abjure, are yet compelled to serve, that power which is seated on the throne of their own soul…”
Scott Ritter’s challenge—“I want you to prove me wrong!” should be taken up. That is the path of “learned ignorance” approaching the realm of truth, for everyone. And if we succeed in this effort, Ritter insists he won’t mind. “Let me just say this Helga. I say this with sincerity and a little humor…. I walked away from organized religion a long time ago … I’ve just lost faith. You get the Pope to successfully negotiate an end to this conflict, he can baptize me in [Rome’s famous] Trevi Fountain.”