“Too much freedom seems to change into nothing but too much slavery, both for private men and the city.” (Plato, The Republic, 564a)
C.S. Lewis loved the medieval cosmos. It was one of his great moral and imaginative inspirations and delights. The ancient cosmology appears in his popular Chronicles of Narnia and Ransom Trilogy.
In this episode of Handmade Humanity, Austin Hoffman explains what was lost when we shifted away from the medieval cosmology and how we can recover their vision of the heavens while not rejecting modern scientific discovery.
“These take as your model and, judging happiness to be the fruit of freedom and freedom of valor, never decline from the dangers of war.” (Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, II.43)
On this episode of Handmade Humanity, Austin and Max discuss how these liberal arts might apply to the classroom. As humanities teachers, they primarily discuss grammar, logic, and rhetoric, but then lean out on the tree branch and discuss music and astronomy. These seven arts are endlessly informative and practical. They are the fundamental means of perceiving truth in any age.
“What we have in mind is education from childhood in virtue, a training which produces a keen desire to become a perfect citizen who knows how to rule and be ruled as justice demands. I suppose we should want to mark off this sort of training from others and reserve the title ‘education’ for it alone. A training directed to acquiring money or a robust physique or even to some intellectual facility not guided by reason and justice, we should want to call coarse and illiberal, and say that it had no claim whatever to be called education.” (Plato, Laws, 644a)
“Education leads to victory; but victory on occasions results in the loss of education, because men often swell with pride when they have won a victory in war, and this pride fills them with a million other vices.” (Plato, Laws, 641c).
The Consolation of Philosophy is an often overlooked book of the western tradition. For nearly 1000 years, Boethius’s short meditation was consistently the third most translated and read work after the Bible and the Aeneid. After Aristotle and Augustine, he was the most frequently quoted ancient author. Yet, he is almost entirely forgotten today.
Boethius writes from his prison cell and offers philosophical reflections on the nature of suffering, fortune, happiness, virtue, and providence. On the latest episode of Handmade Humanity, Austin Hoffman explores the riches this book has to offer and provides a guide for prospective readers of this great work.
Max Pointner joins Austin Hoffman to discuss classical education and the liberal arts. In a far-ranging conversation, they consider how the ancient liberal arts might be translated into a modern context and why the liberal arts are for everyone. The latest podcast episode dwells on these seven powerful arts.
One of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Henry V encapsulates the perils and promise of leadership and demonstrates the power of the word to conquer strongholds. Join Austin Hoffman for this episode of Handmade Humanity as he considers the character of Henry V, whether Henry is a Christian king or a tyrant, and suggestions for teaching the play to students. Find it on Apple Podcasts here.
Join Austin Hoffman on the introductory episode to the show. Taking inspiration from furniture maker David Pye, Austin considers questions such as, “Why is education inherently risky, requiring the skill, dexterity, and care of the teacher?” Who is this show for?” and “What is its purpose?” Listen on Apple Podcasts here.
You can read more about the education of risk and why humanity is always handmade at Austin’s post at the Circe Institute.