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Schiller Institute/ICLC Conference
"The Palmerston Zoo"

Solving the Paradox of Current World History

by Nancy Spannaus
Presidents Day, 1994

Videos of all the panel presentations

Solving the Paradox of Current World History - Nancy Spannaus, Panel Chair (below)


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This report is adapted from presentations delivered to the Conference of the Schiller Institute/ICLC Conference in suburban Washington, DC., on President's Day weekend, 1994. It was published as a special report by EIR, and is available in photocopy. Contact the Schiller Institute at the email or phone numbers listed below.

Solving the Paradox of Current World History

Lord Palmerston's Multi Cultral Zoo

What you have before you, in the following pages, is what can correctly be described as a lesson in the method of strategic intelligence. This lesson was presented in far more dramatic fashion, including sections of videos and a multitude of other visual aids, during a three-hour session of the Feb. 19-20, 1994 conference of the Schiller Institute and the International Caucus of Labor Committees in Washington, D.C. which was entitled "Lord Palmerston's Multicultural Human Zoo." While it is impossible to fully replicate the impact of such a multi-media panel in written form, a proper approach to reading these transcripts should provide invaluable insight into how current history is being determined.

You note that I do not say that you will find invaluable "information," but rather an understanding of method. It is one of the major methodological pitfalls of intelligence work today, that it seeks to overload the reader with its selection of "facts," while obscuring the methodological assumptions and approach which actually determine the truth or falsehood of what is being conveyed. To convey the truth about how current history is being determined, we were forced to present the entire multi-faceted panel as a unit, so that you can think about it—and behind it—as a unit.

Thus we urge you: Please read this feature story in one sitting, as a totality. The panel was conceived by economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche as a totality, much as a classical drama by Shakespeare or Schiller is conceived as a totality. The subject of the drama is not represented by any of the historical vignettes presented, nor can it be adequately summarized in an essay. In other words, any fixation on one particular part of the historical presentation will result in a false understanding of the historical puzzle being unraveled.

As in a drama, the "Palmerston Zoo" panel was broken up into scenes, which were connected by the voice of a chorus-commentator. The chorus's purpose is to activate the self-consciousness of the audience, directing its attention to the subject which lies behind the particular stories being told. (In this Feature, the chorus's comments are given in italics at the beginning or end of the presentations.)

The method of paradox

One way of describing the problem being addressed in this panel is this: How did it come about, and how is it perpetuated, that the enemies of humanity—of human creativity—control the course of current history? Just who or what is the enemy? What are the common axioms behind the various ideologies which have served to obstruct mankind's development of civilization over the past 500 years?

To answer this question, the following paradox must be addressed. An analysis of any particular turning point in history, or any national history, must turn out to be wrong. From a consistent analysis of even several particular periods of history, it can only be shown that such an analysis is consistently wrong. Why? Because history itself exemplifies the Parmenides paradox, the paradox of the relationship between the "one" and the "many" presented in Plato's famous dialogue on the Eleatic philosopher Parmenides.

What Plato's Parmenides dialogue demonstrates, through ruling out other alternatives (i.e., in a negative fashion), is that the causal reality behind a phenomenon, or historical period, lies outside that period, in what bounds the particulars.

A particular example may make the paradoxical nature of the problem clearer. From one period of history, it may look as though the enemy of civilization is a movement to destroy the monarchy of a country, whereas in other periods, the enemies of civilization may appear to be those defending the monarchy. To comprehend the actual nature of the enemy, one must understand the anti-human axioms which transcend the question of monarchy versus revolution. Another way to pose the problem is very common in our experience: How can you say that the British, who have no ostensible material power over the world, are dominating the United States, much less world history?

According to this Platonic method, which has been the conscious method of LaRouche and EIR from the start, the only productive approach to intelligence work is to address these "contradictions," or discontinuities in the process. Those who limit themselves to looking for good guys and bad guys in the historical process, will easily find themselves being led down the garden path by intelligence masters of the Venetian or British ilk. It is the system of discontinuities which must become the focus of those who wish to determine history, rather than be led by the nose.

Had there been more time, the panel would have presented more facets of the story, in order to make clear the overall conception of British intelligence. In particular, this would have included a presentation on the Leibnizian philosophical current that served as a foil to the British during the last 300 years. But you will find that it is not information that you lack, in order to get the conception of Lord Palmerston's multicultural human zoo.

And as in all true learning, you're going to have fun.


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