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Between 1918 and 1945 the world discovered what people with power are willing to do with it. When we think of that era, we think of victims in concentration camps and bombs dropped on cities, but for power to be abused on such a scale it had first to be abused personally. It had to begin in the schools.
Conventional education no longer even pretends to be about wisdom and virtue, which it finds cute and a little embarrassing. Rather, it concerns itself with knowledge and power – or, at least, power. As a result, never have so many had so much power over so little, and never have so few had so much power over so much.
Christians can feel helpless in such a context, like the 10 spies who admitted that Canaan offered a land flowing with milk and honey, but were frightened because there were giants in the land. And what, after all, is a giant but a man of unimaginable and deeply threatening power?
The 2023 CiRCE conference is a contemplation of power:
What is power? What is its nature? Its purpose? Its place? What kinds of power are there? Should we seek it? When and why?
Power is always present. It permeates existence. Without it, we are weak and useless. With it we are mighty and dangerous.
A multitude of questions arise:
Is God power? What is the relation between His love and His power? What does God use His power to do? What should we do with ours?
What about education? What does education have the power to do? Is its power only good? Should we seek to teach with power? What kind? If so, how do we get it?
To think carefully about power is to risk falling with Alice down the rabbit hole.
To acquire wisdom, we need to contemplate power in the light of Christ the Logos. Only He can bring order to the chaos and understanding to the confusion over power that permeates our age.
When He ascended into heaven, Our Lord said, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.”
Here is the perfect blending of the theological and the practical! Clearly, power is a theological matter. If we misunderstand power, we misunderstand God and vice versa. When we misunderstand God, we misunderstand everything.
Metaphysics, concerned with first principles of being and change, is a study in power. Politics concerns itself with power in human society. Can we discover a wise use of politics? Must we see power in opposition to sound ethics, as the claim that power corrupts would seem to imply? Do the natural sciences concern themselves with anything other than power? If so, what and why? What does language empower us to do? When we teach and when we learn, can we embody sound principles of power?
We argue that Christ the Logos empowers us to think wisely about philosophy, politics, ethics, science, thought, teaching, and learning.
Will you contemplate with us?
The 2023 Pre-conference has a brand new format. For the first time you can pick a pre-conference track!
Mimetic Teaching with Andrea Lipinski
Mimetic instruction, along with Socratic instruction, is one of the two modes of classical teaching that every classical educator should strive to master. Mimetic instruction guides students to contemplate types in order to understand ideas in concrete (embodied) form. This enables students to understand an idea or truth and then to apply it.
Socratic Teaching with Dr. Matthew Bianco
Socratic teaching is one of the hallmarks of classical education. The classical teacher teaches Socratically. We read books and attend workshops on Socratic teaching as part of our training to make that happen. What is Socratic teaching, though? How do you do it? How do you do it well? How do you assess it? Does it look different between a single teacher and a single student than it does between a teacher and a classroom of students?
“How to Build a Classical . . . ” with Andrew Kern
As the classical renewal has grown, many homes and schools are starting or thinking about starting a classical school, home school, or co-op. Others are contemplating or attempting to transition from other modes to a classical mode. Still more are striving to mature into ever more pure expressions of classical education.
Latin with Buck Holler
Next year’s pre-conference Latin workshop will be a full day of reading, discussing, and singing Latin stories and poetry in Latin. We will direct our focus to understanding and using words-in-context in order to build vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension through the use of all four language arts: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Register for the Pre-Conference
The 2023 Paideia Prize Winner: Dr. Andrew Seeley
After 30 years as a Tutor at Thomas Aquinas College in California, Dr. Andrew Seeley is devoting himself to promoting the renewal of liberal arts education through the work of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and the St. Ambrose Center for Catholic Liberal Education and Culture. Dr. Seeley received a Licentiate from the Pontifical Institute in Medieval Studies (Toronto) and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto (1995). He has taught joyfully and extensively in all the areas of a Great Books curriculum. Desiring to share his love of liberal learning, Dr. Seeley helped found ICLE in 2005. He is currently Director of the Arts of Liberty Project at the University of Dallas and teaches in UD's Masters of Classical Education program. He and his wife, Lisa, have six children and seven grandchildren.