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St. John's College

Thomas Jefferson is a kind of incarnate compendium of the Enlightenment. His remarkable openness to its spirit is the philosophical counterpart to his political sensitivity in making himself "a passive auditor of the opinions of others," so as to catch the "harmonizing sentiments of the day" and...

Music pervades our lives and always has. It has taken you outside of yourselves and taken you deep within. It has been associated with things divine... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Christopher Nelson as he explores the...
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Tradition, philosophy, and religion long ago succumbed to science as the sole arbiter of truth, but now science too has been dethroned. What rules today is a different form of ideology—ideas and images replace concrete experience. Can we escape the Screen with its hollow images and counterfeit emotions...
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An odyssey is an adventurous and searching journey, or an intellectual or spiritual quest. It is the proper name for the life of learning. One can shape one's own odyssey into a journey that lacks neither enchantment nor definition... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series...
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The narratives of science and Christianity are obviously not novels, nor works of fiction, for both claim to tell the true story of humankind—where we came from, what we are, and where we are going. To determine if either of these narratives is true, we must assess...
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What is interesting is the ultimate human predicament, when serious principles, serious commitments are at odds, and there is no apparent way to compose them in sight, except for giving something up, or giving in—that will be a surrender of self. Why are we in these predicaments...
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Over the course of several hundred years, Americans, as well as Europeans, freed themselves from the past, transformed nature into a commodity, centralized political power, and instituted bureaucracies, all with the aim of making themselves happy in this world...
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In the last few years, accounts of the growing politicization of academic discourse have made their way from colleges and universities onto conversations on a public, and perhaps national, scale. What is the essence behind such rancor?... There are two ways of getting home; and one...
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The characteristic frame of mind befitting liberal education is reverent radicality—deep respect and penetrating questions. It is a serious mistake to present liberal education as preoccupied with “questioning,” a surreptitiously skewering aggression on the way things are... Editor’s Note: St. John’s College and Zaytuna College both describe...
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Although the potential range of emotional experience is essentially the same in all human beings, each culture exhibits its own patterns, inculcating certain feelings while discouraging others, promoting either expression or restraint, and defining variously the place of the emotions in everyday life...
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Is memory deceptively transformative? Is the original imagination an organ for lying fictions, for deception, or a conduit for revelatory illumination? And so, more generally, how do we explain those images that are apparently not imitations, don’t have an origin in verifiable originals, be they stored in...
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In the modern world of American politics, special-interest money is displacing voters. Wealth is highly concentrated in a few hands, with corporations wielding enormous power. More and more families patch together two or more paychecks to meet the widening income, healthcare, and pension gaps that are threatening...
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"That brings me to the protection of the exchanges that are the life of learning from dangers both within and without the classroom. Of these there are many, of which I’ll mention only one: the corruption of conversation...

God unequally bestows gifts to us that are to be used for the common good. The wise can guide others; the well-organized can administer businesses that provide employment; the strong can protect the weak. With such an understanding, equality and a hierarchical social structure are not incompatible,...