December 19th, 2011 • 12:18 AM
What is Sanity?

by Jason Ross

To stir up some discussion about Lyndon LaRouche's upcoming paper, The Strategic Situation Now, I'd like to offer some thoughts.

II. What is Sanity?

In the section “Science? What is Truth?” LaRouche writes:
Imagine a being whose entire world-outlook is that of a creature committed to a self-induced state of its inherent mental health. Think of a “healthy mind” which has no criteria other than its actual coherence based solely on a mentally healthful promotion of the qualitative self-development of itself.

This gives us an image of the universe as finite, but unbounded (or self-bounded). Let me ask a question: when we make a creative leap to include a new physical principle into our practice, where is it created? It lay outside our previous system of thought, but it lay outside in such a way that it was not within an already-existing external space. That is, it was not already there, waiting for our domain of thought to grow and encompass it. Instead, it is created, and the germ of its creation already existed in our previously current state of development. This means that to understand what we are at any moment, we must include the germ of the future, which already lies within the present.

This notion of sanity, as one of constant discovery (rather than normalcy, or an absence of identifiable neuroses) gives us a more strict notion of insanity. Mr. LaRouche took up this theme explicitly in his excellent paper from 2003, Insanity as Geometry: Rumsfeld as “Strangelove II”. Here are short excerpts:

My first-approximation definition of sanity, is dedication to discovering and acting according to a principle of discoverable truth, as Plato's dialogues define truthfulness, contrary to the schizophrenic word-play of Strauss and Bloom.


Thus, in those terms, the empiricists Galileo, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, the notorious Adam Smith, and the famous René Descartes, were, like Bertrand Russell and his devotees, systemically insane, in the strictest formal use of the term "insane." That is to say, that Descartes' way of thinking about the physical universe, was based on subordination of the physical evidence to included axiomatic presumptions which, in fact, can be found only in a non-existent, "ivory tower" universe. President George W. Bush, Jr.'s and former Vice-President Al Gore's opinions on economic and military matters, express, systemically, more or less extreme versions of the insanity of that same general ("ivory tower," utopian) type.
In mathematical physics, this same clinical type of systemic insanity encountered in the follies of Descartes, is echoed by Euler and Lagrange, as the latter cases were exposed by Carl Gauss's 1799, correct statement of the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra. The same pathological element typical of Galileo, Descartes, Euler, and Lagrange, is pervasive in classrooms and textbooks still today. Thus, I chose the case of that short, but crucial paper by Gauss, as the pivot on which to premise the program of higher education for the participants in the new youth movement I was sponsoring. My principle was, and is, that, for reasons I shall explain here, no youth movement among the 18-25 university-age population could succeed in leading society out of the kind of cultural disorientation which grips most of globally extended European civilization today, unless the participants in that movement were to proceed from discovery and mastery of an "ivory tower"-free, empiricism-free, elementary proof of the existence of knowable truthfulness.

Indeed, as soon as you look for a closed system to end your search for truthfulness, you have replaced a legitimate method of growth with a fixed, wrong viewpoint. Since nothing can be known so perfectly that it couldn't be known yet better, discovery, via metaphor, is existence. Standing still is insanity. See also the final question of the recent Dec 17th Basement Webcast, in particular Sky Shields' discussion regarding Schiller.

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The Basement Project began in 2006 as a core team of individuals tasked with the study of Kepler's New Astronomy, laying the scientific foundations for an expanded study of the LaRouche-Riemann Science of Physical Economics. Now, that team has expanded both in number, and in areas of research, probing various elements and aspects of the Science of Physical Economy, and delivering in depth reports, videos, and writings for the shaping of economic policy.