Which road will you take?

“The road to vice is smooth and can be travelled without sweating, because it is very short; but ‘as the price of virtue’, [Hesiod] says,

‘The gods have imposed the sweat of our brows

And long and steep is the ascent that you have to make

And rough at first, but when you get to the top

Then the rugged road is easy to endure.’

(Plato, Laws, 718e-719a)

The real cost of wickedness

“You see, practically no one takes into account the greatest ‘judgment,’ as it is called, on wrongdoing. This is to grow to resemble men who are evil, and as the resemblance increases, to shun good men and their wholesome conversation and to cut oneself off from them, while seeking to attack oneself to the other kind and keep their company.” (Plato, Laws, 728b-c)

Give me books

“You may perhaps be brought to acknowledge that is is very worthwhile to be tormented for two or three years of one’s life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it.” Jane Austen

An obscurity of both sin and ignorance

“Above all it is thus that we can acquire the virtue of humility, and that is a far more precious treasure than all academic progress. From this point of view it is perhaps even more useful to contemplate our stupidity than our sin. Consciousness of sin gives us the feeling that we are evil, and a kind of pride sometimes finds a place in it.” Simone Weil, Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a view to the Love of God.

Ep 12: The Fault is in our Stars

There are four main schools of philosophy in the classical world: Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, and Epicureanism. The first two schools have had an outsized influence on the Christian tradition, and the last school is the culture of our modern age, but the Stoic school has also infiltrated our culture in a number of ways.

Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a perennial question that numerous authors of antiquity have sought to answer. We all experience pain and suffering in our life. Is there a point? The Stoics thought that disaster is merely an opportunity to exercise virtue. What we see as evil are actually goods for they train us in discipline and excellence. Nothing evil can actually befall a good man. God does not give trials to those he hates, but to his favorite soldiers. In this episode, Austin Hoffman explores the Stoic philosophy of Seneca in his De Providentia. What can we learn about how to bear under trials from this Stoic author.

Sources:

Seneca, Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters

Ep. 12: The Fault is in our Stars Handmade Humanity

Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a perennial question that numerous authors of antiquity have sought to answer. We all experience pain and suffering in our life. Is there a point? The Stoics thought that disaster is merely an opportunity to exercise virtue. What we see as evil are actually goods for they train us in discipline and excellence. Nothing evil can actually befall a good man. God does not give trials to those he hates, but to his favorite soldiers. In this episode, Austin Hoffman explores the Stoic philosophy of Seneca in his De Providentia. What can we learn about how to bear under trials from this Stoic author. Sources: Seneca, Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/handmadehumanity/support

Failure is the best teacher

“The second condition is to take great pains to examine squarely and to contemplate attentively and slowly each school task in which we have failed, seeing how unpleasing and second rate it is, without seeking any excuse or overlooking any mistake or any of our tutor’s corrections, trying to get down to the origin of each fault.” Simone Weil, Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a view to the Love of God.

What do you really want?

Most people define freedom as the power to do whatever they desire, yet a quick survey of classical authors reveals nothing could be further from the truth. The utmost freedom of this sort turns out to be the worst form of slavery. If we do not desire rightly, getting what we want is hell. You can find my latest essay exploring this idea at The Imaginative Conservative.

Faith is the essence things hoped for

“If we do not regulate our conduct by it before having proved it, if we do not hold on to it for a long time by faith alone, a faith at first stormy and without light, we shall never transform it into certainty. Faith is the indispensable condition.” Simone Weil, Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God.

Handmade Humanity Ep. 11: Rhetoric for Dummies

In this episode, Austin and Max discuss The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle’s handbook on speaking. Rhetoric is something that everyone uses whether they know it or not. Some use it well and some use it poorly, but everybody uses rhetoric. Allow Aristotle’s teaching to help you use rhetoric both offensively and defensively as you deliberate about what is expedient, judge what is just, and praise what is good. You can find this episode on Apple Podcasts.

Resources:

Raphael, The School of Athens

Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric

Ep 11: Rhetoric for Dummies Handmade Humanity

In this episode, Austin and Max discuss The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle's handbook on speaking. Rhetoric is something that everyone uses whether they know it or not. Some use it well and some use it poorly, but everybody uses rhetoric. Allow Aristotle's teaching to help you use rhetoric both offensively and defensively as you deliberate about what is expedient, judge what is just, and praise what is good. Resources: Raphael, The School of Athens Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/handmadehumanity/support

Key to studies

“The key to a Christian conception of studies is the realization that prayer consists of attention. It is the orientation of all the attention of which the soul is capable toward God. The quality of the attention counts for much in the quality of the prayer. Warmth of heart cannot make up for it.” Simone Weil, Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God.