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St. John's College Archives - The Imaginative Conservative
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St. John's College

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Great books introduce us to ideas and to ways of looking at the world that are new to us. They provide a refreshing distance from the trends, fashions, tastes, opinions, and political correctness of our current culture. Great books invite us to put aside for a while...
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If scientists were to look inward with the same seriousness with which they look outward, they would be forced to reflect upon the interior life, upon the creature who seeks truth, desires to know everything, delights in beauty, experiences joy when the truth is encountered, and wonders...
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Each great teacher locates the fundamental problem of human living differently: The Buddha cites suffering; Socrates points to ignorance; and Jesus identifies faulty love. In addition, all three Masters teach that the task set for each human soul is to travel from illusion to reality...
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Intellectual life provides an escape in that it is beyond “straitened circumstances,” but the escape is again a flight into realities beyond oneself: animal behavior, astronomy, and the mechanics of the inner life. The intellect has no limit to its subject matter: It reaches greedily for the...

Abraham Lincoln did all that he could to preserve constitutional rule by trying to teach his fellow citizens what it means to be an American... The paradox of Abraham Lincoln’s appearance in the United States’ sectional conflict...

Join The Imaginative Conservative's Winston Elliott as he talks with Christopher Nelson, president of St. John's College, about his service at St John’s, and about the unique kind of liberal arts education offered there. President Nelson discusses the mission of St. John's College, the role of the...
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Jacob Klein was, first and last, every inch a teacher, a teacher who stymied discipleship in the very effort to induce learning. He did, indeed, have some teachings to convey—a few, though those were powerful and of large consequence... Editor's Note: This essay was read as...
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Please join Peter Kalkavage as he discusses the metaphysics of music: music's role in the liberal arts, the paradox in the union of rational and irrational, order and feeling in its composition, and music's connection and reflection of the deeper order of the natural...
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In Modernity, the capacity for effortless knowing is denied, ignored, or misunderstood. As a result, the origin of all knowledge is taken as unaided human effort and activity... The Two Modes of the Mind
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Liberal arts, taught correctly, are essential in a liberal democratic republic. A liberal arts education can prepare citizens for life in a republic that cherishes its liberty... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Miguel Monjardino as he explores the necessity of...
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In the St. Matthew Passion, Bach indulges his gypsy soul. It is as though Bach, in his broad and deep humanity, his capacity for feeling all kinds and degrees of sorrow and joy, was reaching out to all his fellow human beings, believers and non-believers alike, and...
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We find joy when we lose the self in activity, in those good things that are outside ourselves: making art, doing science, playing sports, educating the young, or caring for the old and disabled. Joy is nature's way of telling us that we are fulfilling our nature...
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Your world needs you; it needs your desire to understand it, your openness to what it has to teach you, your acceptance of its imperfections, and your sincere wish and best efforts to be useful to it because you care for it as it has cared for you, however...
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At St. John’s I learned how to struggle with fate—before I was even capable of truly grasping what fate might possibly be—as I viewed what it meant to be human through the eyes of war-like Achilleus and as I wandered with crafty Odysseus, searching for my own...