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The Principle of Brunelleschi

by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
December 2015

A PDF of this article, published in the December 11, 2015 issue of Executive Intelligence Review, is re-published here with permission.

December 8, 2015 —A participant in Lyndon LaRouche’s nationwide Fireside Chat conference call of Thursday, Dec. 2, asked him, “What is the relationship between the mind of an individual human being and the collective human mind? The individual mind is associated with an individual body. When the body dies, so does some part of the individual mind that may be called the personality. The collective human mind does not die, but rather progresses to higher and higher levels of comprehension. Each individual that is born may be said to begin at the level of comprehension that the human mind has reached up to that time. But how does the human mind progress,—that is advance beyond the past, beyond what is known into the unknown?”

LaRouche answered, “Okay, I’ve got an answer for this boy which I think is quite appropriate in particular. It’s something I just did in reporting and putting into print on Tuesday. And what I did, is I went through the history of a famous man of his time, Brunelleschi. And Brunelleschi was one of the great geniuses in the whole history of mankind, who created the understanding of how mankind creates the future.

“And what had happened, is that idea, the principle of Brunelleschi, who is the greatest educator in terms of scientific method on record so far,—other people were great physicists and so forth, but he was very special. He really created the launching of the physical-economic features of the Renaissance. Without that, it would not have occurred. And you have to understand that, because the issue is that you don’t inherit from one generation or one period of culture to another. That is not the way that mankind actually progresses, and the history has shown that repeatedly.

“What there is, is that there are fresh discussions, or a fresh view of what mankind is capable of doing, and Brunelleschi did that. He was absolutely a genius in this matter. I think there was no one like him in that time, in quality of action. And so I think perhaps a careful attention to the case of Brunelleschi would be a very powerful influence.

“See, mankind does not go by inheritances as such; it does not work that way. Think: inheritances come and go. Whole regimes come and go. And it seems to be the case that they’re interrupted, totally,—that they’re not continuous. And that’s true!

Perspective drawing for the Church of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito by Filippo Brunelleschi.

“So therefore, there is a time where mankind acts to create these kinds of forces, and it seems to come from a mystery. But the idea that you ‘learn from experience,’ that you are informed by being stimulated by experience, is not true. I mean, the collapse of whole systems of government in the history of mankind as we’ve known it, is full of complete breakdowns. But mankind has recovered. And it is people who became creative forces in their own right who made this kind of thing possible.

“And that’s what we have to look at. That’s the idea you have to see. Forget the idea about being ‘practical!’ The idea of being practical in terms of generations, and generations,—we have to be practical,—nonsense! I can tell you one thing, that the generation of the people of the United States, since the beginning of the Twentieth Century to the present time, has been one of degeneration!

“Now, what we’ve got to do, is we’ve got to reverse that problem. We’ve got to eliminate the factor of degeneration which is the characteristic of the Twentieth Century and beyond. And Bertrand Russell, of course, is the typical agent who typifies that degeneracy. We are living in the United States under a degenerate culture. Now we have to end that degenerate culture, by replacing it with a higher, a proper generation of culture,—as Brunelleschi did in his lifetime. Brunelleschi did things that nobody else was able to do, among all the people around him. He’s a remarkable genius,—and it’s the remarkable factor of genius among great minds,—and his accomplishments were immense. And that’s the way you have to look at it.

“We have to take our children, we have to take those we’re educating, and we have to get them to see what they can do, the miracles that they can develop and create as a result of their passion for the progress of mankind.

“There is no such thing as an evolutionary process of development of human culture. There are effects which occur at certain times. But then, suddenly, the whole culture collapses, vanishes, it’s slaughtered. Then later, somebody else arrives, stimulates something new, and gives mankind another chance at progress.

“And our job is to understand this question of progress, and progress is not an evolutionary process. It’s always a revolutionary process, it is never evolutionary! And everybody who’s sitting around waiting for a revolutionary process is just kidding themselves. A revolution of that type has to be an act of genius, which comes as if from nowhere. But that’s the way mankind succeeds. And I’m looking for people who will do that kind of work, and become the geniuses who cause the future to be reborn again.