Aquinas's Commentary On The Metaphysics

#129- On OGB Seminar Standards

Scott and Karl break with tradition to talk about the OGB seminar standard of conduct.

As our members know, the seminar experience is really the backbone of the program. Written by Karl, these ground rules have been a great help in setting boundaries that lead to better discussions.

The duo also dives into the role of dialectic as aided discovery and how this mode of learning is crucial. Scott says, “Dialectic won’t work if you don’t believe in capital-T Truth. We don’t have to agree on what it is, but we have to agree it is there.”

Tune in to learn more about the overwhelming benefits of the type of discussions had in OGB seminars. Brought to you by


Scott Hambrick 0:09
Welcome to the Online Great Books Podcast brought to you by where we talk about the good life, the great books, a great conversation, and great ideas.

Brett Veinotte 0:30
Hello, dear listeners, this is Brett, welcome back to the online great books podcast. At the very beginning of today’s conversation, you’re going to hear Scott and Karl, setting up what seems like it’s going to be an underwhelming discussion of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. But that never happens. Instead, Scott and Karl engage in what I think I’ve told you before about my expert opinion, what I think is one of the most thought-provoking and important discussions of the online great books seminar that I have ever heard on the online great books podcast. So whether you’re already involved in Seminar you’re thinking about getting involved in seminar or you’ve never even considered it you are going to benefit I believe from this very worth your while intermission in the online, great books conversation. Thank you for taking the time to listen. Stay tuned next week for Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

Scott Hambrick 1:34
I’m Scott Hambrick. I’m Karl Schudt. And today on the Online Great Books podcast, we are going to stumble our way through a show on Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. Carla and I both read this when we got too far ahead in our reading.

And we finished this book, I don’t know probably three weeks ago. So our discussion is past its best if consumed by date.

Karl Schudt 1:59
I remember there’s a book called Murder on the Orient Express. Yes. And some stuff happens in it. And I remember who the murderer is. You do? Yeah.

Scott Hambrick 2:10
All right. I forgotten. Now I haven’t forgotten but I had read this book a long, long time ago, I was probably in junior high and I hadn’t read it since. I also watched the Peter Ustinov movie by the same name. Around that same time probably forgot everything about it.

Karl Schudt 2:30
Let’s get to it. You can do that for a mystery. So you can reread it. I can reread Dorothy Sayers mysteries and I can’t remember who did it.

Scott Hambrick 2:38
So listener, you need to go to get on our mailing list in preparation for the great cancellation you need to get on our mailing list so we can email you go follow the music and ideas podcast. That one’s a good one. This show has a much larger listenership than the music and ideas show but we talk about music and much the same way. It’s Karl, me and Trent. Producer Trent you guys know him from he used to do this show. Producers are actually engineering this show and the barbell logic show and he’s a member of Online Great Books and a super smart guy. And I think he adds to the show. I don’t think he makes it worse. I think he makes it better.

Karl Schudt 3:22
Of that show? Yeah. You accept he’s always playing his guitar. Well, guitar players can’t help but do that. Gotta have it in his hands.

Scott Hambrick 3:30
They’re a real pain in the ass. Guitar players but yeah, he’s in there and helps make the show a whole lot better. So if you don’t if you like this show, go listen to that one. You’ll hear us talk about stuff like Pink Floyd and Depeche Mode and Beethoven and outlaw country. And Jimmy Rogers and Miles Davis. And Art Blakey, the Jazz Messengers. What else have we done?

Karl Schudt 3:54
We’ve done based on a few times, coming to Bach, a long time ago, Louis Armstrong, you dear listener have at this time? Basically, all the music in the world at your disposal through who knows what it would be in a month through streaming? What are you doing with it? So you may and you have pretty good sound quality is pretty easy to get. Well, what are you going to listen to? Well, we’ve got some ideas.

Scott Hambrick 4:26
Yeah. For crying out loud. We listened to Depeche Mode.

Karl Schudt 4:32
It’s not that bad, Scott.

Scott Hambrick 4:34
I didn’t say it’s bad but this just shows the range curl the range you go outlaw country then violator like if that didn’t give you whiplash? You know, since we’re gonna limp through Agatha Christie here, I thought it might be interesting actually won’t be interesting, but I don’t care. It’s our show. I just dropped a copy of our handbook Karl in the chat as a PDF. I thought we might talk a little bit about our session. Our standards of conduct that you wrote? Sure. Would you be willing to do that?

Karl Schudt 5:05
Well, I think the rules are probably relevant. I’ve been thinking about him a bit.

Scott Hambrick 5:10
They’re important to me.

Karl Schudt 5:11
We try to keep politics out. We try to keep politics out of our discussions. And I think it’s the most brilliant thing I ever did was to do that. I think it’s—

Scott Hambrick 5:22
one of your kids is the most brilliant thing you’ve ever created.

Karl Schudt 5:27
Well, that wasn’t a work of intellect, though.

Scott Hambrick 5:29
Oh, okay. Before we do that kind of little background. I said, Hey, Coach Karl Schudt, I hear you like books. I do, too. I’ve got this idea about this online book thing I’d like to do. And I explained it to him, to you. And you said on the internet, and I said, Yeah, on the internet, he said, Maybe I said, somehow, when it came out, we’re like, the internet’s terrible. And I think that you said, you would have to do something to make sure it didn’t turn into YouTube comments, I think is what you said, because we were worried about that. And I said, Well, the only thing I know to write is just don’t be an asshole. And he said that, that that won’t be good enough. And I said, Well, would you please write some standards of conduct for seminars? So Karl, did, we were really worried that it would be the dark, like the rest of the internet. And it hasn’t been. And in Karl, I don’t think I’ve told you this, but I tell people in orientation and Online Great Books. So if you join, you’ll just hear me say this, again, that the standards of conduct have now become concerning to new members, like they get our handbook and they see these standards of conduct. And I’m like, oh, no, they must need these. You know what I’m saying? They’re like, Oh, gosh, this exists, they must have needed these. And our seminars have actually been wonderful, wonderful. There’s only one of these standards that we’ve ever had to really do anything about it only slightly, and we’ll get to that. But But that’s where these came from. And so now in Seminar, in orientations, and when I talk to new customers, I have to tell them, hey, listen, we’ve got these, but I don’t want it to spook you, we’ve never needed it.

Karl Schudt 7:13
We’ve never needed it, because we’ve had it. I think, you know, what the internet is like, dear listener, you know, that if you express an opinion, about current events, about things that are happening out there, that you risk cancellation. It doesn’t matter where you are in the political spectrum, you’re not far enough on the winning side to avoid cancellation. So we want to avoid that sort of anger, where people see what somebody else says, and say, Aha, you are, and then they label you some kind of bad thing. And then it breaks into factions. And it’s not a good conversation anymore. And it’s it could be destructive to the whole enterprise. Right. So my role what I said is No, we only talk about dead politicians. Okay, so if you have a point that you think you need to make from Aristotle about current events, don’t do it about current events. Do it about Woodrow Wilson. Yeah. Cuz he’s safely dead. And there are no Woodrow Wilson partisans anymore.

Scott Hambrick 8:25
Oh contraire. I have strong feelings about that guy.

Karl Schudt 8:30
Well, so then Hillary or Donald or Joe or Kamala, or

Scott Hambrick 8:35
whoever’s there, all his fault.

Karl Schudt 8:41
So we want to keep it about dead politicians. Look, we’re all on teams. Everybody’s got a political nowadays, it’s very hard not to be on a team. Emerson says something about I hear your words, I know your tribe. You know, so we say what our tribe says. Well, that’s not what’s supposed to happen in a seminar. The seminar is an encounter between you and the ideas and sharing it with other people to try to get at them. It’s not, let me tell you what I think, which isn’t really what you think, let me tell you what my my identity group butters. And I would rather not have that happen. And I think keeping the politics out, for the most part, is very helpful to do that. And in fact, that if I’m in a seminar, I’m much more interested in what you think. Then what your I don’t know, whatever identity group you’re in, says, that’s not interesting. I can hear that anyplace. So I think it’s done pretty well. So we say politics is not off limits. We keep it polite. We prefer only to talk about dead politicians. If you want to compare something to Hillary or Donald May I suggest Queen Victoria and Bismarck instead. Wherever it goes up to you. You’re all very intelligent and experienced people in whose company we are honored to be You have interesting things to say about life, the universe and everything. So Douglas Adams shout out, we look forward to learning with you. It’s not we’re not teaching you, you’re not teaching us we’re learning with you.

Scott Hambrick 10:14
You know, when people quit our program, we asked them to fill out a one question survey. And I don’t remember what the question is. It’s, it’s, it’s something like what should we what can we do better? Or something like that? You know, most of the time we get comments like you’re doing great. Life caught up with me and I have to stop for a while. But I think one of the main ones not think the main comment that isn’t that the most main complaint about our program that isn’t that is my seminar host wasn’t knowledgeable, didn’t give us context for the text. And those people are in the wrong place. Because we don’t teach. You said learning with you. We don’t teach the seminar host don’t hold forth on the thing. They’re supposed to ask questions, investigate with you do share it inquiry, there is no lecture there. There are no notes, there is no agenda there is no whatever. And that that doing with you thing is really important. Most of the people that leave dissatisfied, and there really aren’t a lot. That’s their dissatisfaction. And I tell them what you signed up, they’re wrong for the wrong thing. You know, they got the great courses deal, you can download that and listen to it. That’s cool. We don’t do that.

Karl Schudt 11:32
Okay, so this gets back to Socrates, as everything does. Tell me Socrates, can virtue be taught? Well, okay, what is teaching? Can anything be taught? And we get in that dialogue, an example of the boy being taught geometry, but he’s not taught geometry, he comes up with it himself, and is able to recognize the truth of what he figures out. I think you said this on that other podcast. You don’t think anybody? You don’t think anybody can teach?

Scott Hambrick 12:07
Yeah, I say, people cannot be taught they only learn.

Karl Schudt 12:11
Yeah, you may learn something, and I might be near you when that happens. But I didn’t teach it to you. I said words that caused you to think and to come up with the truth. That’s different than getting a fact. Okay, maybe I could teach you the population of Cook County, Illinois, I could look it up and tell you the number I guess that’s teaching.

Scott Hambrick 12:34
Maybe I don’t know.

Karl Schudt 12:36
But I can’t teach you what the first principles are of moral thinking. You could memorize them, but you need to grasp them on your own or they’re not principles of moral thinking.

Scott Hambrick 12:49
Adler says that we learn by a process of discovery. A teacher doesn’t really teach what they’re doing is participating in aided discovery. Mm hmm. And I think that’s right. So we tried, we tried to do that, you know, when people want it to be spoon-fed to him or put on an outline and projected on the wall or whatever, that we don’t do it. And then they’re irritated. Yeah, whatever, man.

Karl Schudt 13:17
Yeah, so the seminar is supposed to be a place where this kind of thing can happen. So friendship, it needs friendship. So I’m just going to read what I think I wrote. Not sure if you wrote it, or I read it. Dialectic requires goodwill from all participants. The goal is truth. But the means is the discussion. We attack ideas, not persons. So you might attack something, but it’s gonna be an idea, not the person next to you or the person in the chat that said it.

Scott Hambrick 13:47
Yeah, in the seminar, isn’t this podcast, or the other podcast? Or my Instagram account? It’s the seminar. And you know what the seminar is at our slack at Online Great Books either. Everything that we do is more vituperative than the seminar. Yes,

Karl Schudt 14:03
That’s true. That’s true. And I’m pretty tame on these podcasts. But you and so you can say whatever you want in a seminar, you can run anything up the flagpole and see if it can withstand the light of day. So that gets to the second thing that I wrote a seminar is a safe place for unsafe ideas. If it makes you uncomfortable, it’s probably something you ought to talk about. So if you’re reading Aristotle, for example, and he starts talking about natural slavery, and you are freaking out about that, probably going to talk about it. It’s an important idea. You know, are you reading the Republican you don’t like, what he says about, oh, common property and all of that. That’s what you talk about. There’s no ideas that you dare not say, because how are you going to know if something’s right or wrong if you can only say certain things. So that’s important, but the next one is related to that. So no living politicians because if we attack I mean, if we attach ideas to people, and you start talking about whoever’s running for office in this upcoming election, I’m not sure I’m gonna pay attention, but you start talking about them. Instead of talking about the ideas, well, people have opinions about them, and they’re on their team. And they’re either, you know, they’re red or blue or whatever. So what I wrote is this. So politics can cause people to hate each other. Please talk about ideas, not about politicians, if you must make sure that the politicians mentioned are dead. You know, I might talk about Lincoln or, or Ulysses Grant, or I might talk about Woodrow Wilson or Calvin Coolidge. That’s probably pretty safe. If I have to,

Scott Hambrick 15:41
unless I’m there.

Karl Schudt 15:43
Unless God is there.

Scott Hambrick 15:44
That’s really the only rule that we’ve ever had to say any even mentioned in a seminar. Somebody will say something about Angular Merkel, like, hey, you know, Bismarck. It’s not been a big deal of these rules. These are really the only ones that we’ve had to do any. That’s really the only one we’ve had to do anything about, I think.

Karl Schudt 16:05
But I can see what can happen. Because I’ve had it in classrooms. If we didn’t have this sort of rule, then you have somebody, somebody in the class or somebody in the seminar who will start using it as a platform. Yeah, if this just goes to show what I saw on MSNBC last night, no, no, no, turn your dial go 100 years in the past. Don’t talk about MSNBC.

Scott Hambrick 16:28
MSNBC is not Lindy bro.

Karl Schudt 16:31
I don’t know what Lindy means.

Scott Hambrick 16:33
Oh, you’ve heard of the Lindy effect.

Karl Schudt 16:36
What is the Lindy effect. So many effects?

Scott Hambrick 16:39
It says something like the older something is, the more likely it is to get older. Okay. So old, old old ideas are more likely, like the Pythagorean Theorem are likely to get a whole lot older. I mean, a vase is going to last longer than the Coca-Cola can last you. So it goes for ideas, optics of utility. So on.

Karl Schudt 17:04
We say no discussion of current events, current events are divisive. And they kind of just are by nature.

Scott Hambrick 17:10
They’re also really boring. I mean, they are they really are, you know, my home. But group. While it’s not an echo chamber, we’re mostly we mostly are outraged by the same thing.

Karl Schudt 17:25
We might want better basis for friendship than right.

Scott Hambrick 17:29
We certainly don’t agree with how to fix those things. But we’re mostly like minded people. And we don’t have a lot of arguments about politics. But if you allow it discussion of current events, we’re living politicians into the seminar that just ends up being the only thing it’s about even if it’s not divisive, and even if it doesn’t cause you to hate each other. It just hijacks the damn thing. It’s supposed to be about the text and the ideas in the text and your reaction to those.

Karl Schudt 17:55
Yeah, so Aristotle becomes a tool for you to understand Zuckerberg or something rather than a tool for you to understand Aristotle, and maybe yourself and capital T truth. Oh, which is kind of a prerequisite.

Scott Hambrick 18:11
We need to add that in here. That’s one of the things I want to talk about, Carl. Yeah, your first sentence in this I’m pretty sure that everything on page 21 You wrote I don’t think I changed anything. We could go back and look in our notes. I need to attribute this to you. You know, in case somebody hates it, I can tell you the best. Now you said friendship. dialectic requires goodwill from all participants. The goal is truth. But the means is the discussion we attack ideas not persons. dialectic requires goodwill from all pairs, participants. dialectic, check my math here, girl. dialectic is a method that Socrates taught us about. And we’ve learned more about it since Socrates that is used to check truth claims. So you got we’ve got all kinds of ways to check. truth claims like you can make a syllogism. All men are mortals. Karl is a mortal. I’m sorry, Karl is a man. Therefore Karl is a mortal. It’s a deadlock if all the terms are right, and they fit together the right way. The conclusion is a deadlock certainty. But we have trouble dealing with abstractions like what is love? What is virtue? What is romance? What is the good life? Well, you can use dialectic where two people of goodwill ask each other. If you do it strictly, yes, each of these splitting questions these yes or no questions that causes us to choose and take sides between polar opposites. We can’t necessarily prove our truth claim, but we can exclude into huge realms of ideas and things from what the truth may be. Right? You buy that? Yeah. So if you and I are doing dialectic, and I say, how was your day to day Karl?

Karl Schudt 19:57
Are you asking me yes So far, so good, good midway through a second podcast. But pretty good,

Scott Hambrick 20:07
good. Well, what has made that good? intellectual activity? So intellectual activity? makes your day Good?

Karl Schudt 20:18
Yes. And when we can figure out is it the only thing that makes it good?

Scott Hambrick 20:23
Well, if you all along at every juncture in our little investigation said it depends. Now we can often say it depends when we’re asked a question. But as long as we’re eventually able to get to the conditions, it depends upon, right? Because sometimes questions, the answers to question do swing on variables. But if you’re a relativist, and it’s depends all the way down. We can’t have a seminar. And I’m not saying we can’t have a seminar because we’re not friends. dialectic won’t work. If you don’t believe that there’s an absolute truth that is not dependent on your emotional state, you know, whatever, right? Yep, you have to believe in a capital T truth. We don’t have to agree on what it is. But you have to believe it’s there in you and me have to be cohorts in the search for whatever that is.

Karl Schudt 21:22
You have to believe that there is capital T truth, you don’t have to believe that anybody’s got it. Right. It might just be a regulative. Ideal for you.

Scott Hambrick 21:33
Yeah, it’s like The X Files. The truth is out there. We don’t have to. Nobody needs to know what it is. But we just have to all agree that it’s out there.

Karl Schudt 21:42
Mm hmm. So if you go into a seminar and say, Well, I think happiness is whatever you make it to be? Well, then happiness doesn’t have any meaning. And we can’t really discuss it, right. So those seminars don’t go very well. And then it would just become like a knitting club or something where you just talk about whatever you want to talk about with no expectation that the conversation is going to tend anywhere,

Scott Hambrick 22:06
you just chase your tail. You know, and by the way, you know, if you say, hey, there’s no such thing as truth. I mean, this is just logic, one on one, you just made a truth claim. So you’re, there’s such a thing as true, you know, so we can’t do that.

Karl Schudt 22:21
You can’t consistently say, without what I mean, is you can’t say without self contradiction, that there is no such thing as truth.

Scott Hambrick 22:29
And if you said happiness is what you make it. What do you say?

Karl Schudt 22:36
Happiness, something like that happiness is whatever you want it to be.

Scott Hambrick 22:39
Yeah. Well, I think that with, a nonrelativist person who believes in a capital T truth could actually say that in a seminar, and through careful questioning, we might find that that person has a stoic outlook on life, and believes that, that happiness is a state internal to the person that they actually have control over, like Rational control over and who’s actually a choice in a way of being, let’s say, that’s not relativist. Yeah.

Karl Schudt 23:10
But that’s a great example. So if somebody comes into a seminar, and says something like that, especially if it’s one of the older seminars that have been around for I don’t mean, older as an age, but a more mature seminar that we’ve had that’s been around for three years. As soon as somebody says something like that, it’s great, because I don’t have to do anything. They get attacked. I can be lazy. But somebody will make a claim like that. And then everyone else says, What do you mean by that? Yeah. Rather than you’re an idiot, that’s wrong. What do you mean? Can you flesh that out? Can you say in a different way? Let’s and the whole point of that is to find the truth in the statement that this person who is our friend has said, there’s something that’s true. Aristotle says, well, he says it about the multitude, but what the multitude thinks it can’t be incomplete. It can’t be completely wrong. Or they wouldn’t say it. So well, let’s find out what’s the core of truth in there.

Scott Hambrick 24:16
So people will make claims like what happiness is what you make of it. And then some questioning gets to some deeper truth about what they think the state of the soul is, and people’s ability to choose in, in their way of being you know, I don’t know, right? But there’s something there can be something more behind it, but sometimes, they’re just like, oh, well, what’s happiness anyway? I mean, it just gets really slippery in the in the seminar comes to a halt. When we just can’t have it, so you have to believe there’s such a thing as a capital T truth. Hmm, yeah. Ah, yeah. Good. It’s

great to skeptics have seminars, not good ones. You know what else I think needs to be in there? What’s that?

I think we need to put something in there that says seminar requires a belief that holds the truth is accessible as accessible through our rationality.

Karl Schudt 25:14
Sure, otherwise, what’s the point?

Scott Hambrick 25:18
Well, there’s some stuff out there. That doesn’t necessarily agree with that. You know, there’s some stuff out there that says, Well, you need a purple person, and a cat, and a brown person. And then a pink purse.

Karl Schudt 25:37
Oh I see. Yeah. See, in order to argue against having politics in the seminar. I need to mention politics. And this seminar, you’re in luck. Right? So identity politics is poisonous to what we’re doing. Speaking as a middle-aged person of European descent, yeah. Who cares what I am. Okay, speaking as a Pacific Islander from

Scott Hambrick 26:07
a Pacific Island.

Karl Schudt 26:09
Yeah. So when you add that, when you add that little phrase, describing your position in the social hierarchy, then we’re not talking about truth anymore? Because I’m supposed to pay attention to what you say because of who you are.

Scott Hambrick 26:26
Is the truth accessible to all people through either rationality? Or does it require a special cake mix of identities to access? No, it’s accessible to all people, all people of goodwill, who seek the truth and have rationality, I think have the antenna necessary to get it? You know, early on, well, not really early on about a year and a half into running this program. In slack, a gentleman was writing some comments about Euripides’ play Medea. And a lady who was a member. I can’t remember exactly how when. But she said, Well, you can’t speak to that you’re a man. You can’t have a seminar, if there are things that certain people cannot make observations about, and then share the contents of their mind about like, we can’t, you can’t really do anything, if that’s the case. So you can’t have a seminar if you if you hold that kind of a view. So if you’re going to be rational, and you’re going to be honest, I think you can have a seminar. And by the way, my line there about in order to have seminar, we must believe that the truth is acceptable through our rationality doesn’t just, you know, it’s not just about keeping identity politics out, or critical race theory. It’s not just about that dialectic in similar requires that, yeah, so you know, there’s a whole lot baked in there, you know, that you’re gonna use your rationality and that language maps onto universals and the weekend, you know, we can convey key thoughts to each other, you know, so on, but we require that you wait a minute, no, we don’t require that. Good seminars, these dialectic required, it has actually has nothing to do with me.

Karl Schudt 28:21
Yeah. And if you’re, if you’re going to join us, then I mean, it’s not that we’re requiring it if you’re going to join us. And if if you don’t believe these things, you’re not going to have a good time.

Scott Hambrick 28:33
Well, actually, I do require a quarrel. Not because I’ve been mean, there are other people in the seminars are there to have a good seminar experience, to learn about themselves to learn about these ideas. And if you deny their thoughts and ideas because of who they are, if you don’t think they have access to the truth, because there is no such thing as a truth. If you don’t think that their rationality and facts faculties map on the reality and that that has some bearing on these ideas. Then you end up torpedoing the thing for these other people. Yep. Hey, hey, and you know what? You might even be right. You’re not, but you might even be right, but we can’t have seminar with that stuff.

Karl Schudt 29:15
Yeah, I’ve given you this quote a few times from Thomas Aquinas. It the beginning of the Summa contra gentiles is the other Summa. It’s the one that that is written strictly from reason he says. Set since I’m writing this book for people who do not share our scriptures, I can’t use them. So, what we will do we will appeal to human reason to which all must give a cent it’s a big ask. It’s kind of hopeful, but that’s what we’re we’re hopeful group of people here at OGB. You have a reason you have human reason that has some possibility of encountering the truth, and that you can use it to figure it out. And furthermore, that is probably going to work best in a group. And that’s why we have them. So it’s not a book club. It’s a seminar club. Yeah.

Scott Hambrick 30:15
So our club I like that. Yeah. So this isn’t an ad for us. Yeah, it is. But it’s not solely that, you know, if you’re going to do one of these groups at home, or maybe you already are, I think these are some ideas or some ground rules that maybe you should think about, and talk about with your fellow seminarians. And maybe adopt, you know, or change them, you know, massage them, tweak it up, whatever. But, but having these having these kinds of boundaries and ground rules, has been a great help to us.

Karl Schudt 30:50
I’m pleased with the way it works. I just did a seminar two nights ago. Oh, yeah, it was about Escalus. It was so much fun. Just to let them talk about it. And they were going off in directions that I didn’t usually go somebody was comparing Prometheus to job. Oh, yeah. Which kind of works and kind of doesn’t. And so we were teasing out where it works. And where it doesn’t. It was it was so much fun. Which is a part of this, this experience is fun. If you are a human with a mind that works. Your mind is begging to work. It wants to do something. Well, you can give it something to do. Or you can do them scroll through the internet. And feed it gossip and rumors and yeah, my dream, I don’t know if we’re going to do this. I think we should though, I want to have a house with a Faraday cage, ya know. And all the gadgets go in there. And if you need to use the internet, you have to go into that room. And maybe you need the key like the Nazis to have in the Grade School for the bathroom. And to be the key on this big plunger or something or this big piece of wood, you’d have to drag with you so you can see it. So I need the key to the internet. Okay. And then you would go in there, and then you could do scroll, and then you could do all that bad stuff. You know, Doom scrolling is? Oh, yeah. Yeah, you got an Instagram, you just keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. I’m gonna name it keep name dropping. Augustine calls, curiosity advice. It’s a sin. And he’s a church father with a big brain. So he might be right. Why would it be a sin? Don’t you want to seek knowledge? Are you saying Carl, that seeking knowledge is not good? No, obviously, because we seek knowledge in seminars. What I’m saying is seeking novelty. And distraction is not good. Seeking outrage, and it’s just it’s not good.

Scott Hambrick 33:02
Yes, I agree with that. But also think and I think I recognize this in my self, that this curiosity can have a covetousness in it. Mm hmm. Yeah. You always want more,

Karl Schudt 33:15
it can lead to actual covetousness. Yep, you find out that you want things that you didn’t even know you wanted. Until you saw it. I think you’re safer with Aristotle. Honestly. He’s not selling you anything.

Scott Hambrick 33:33
Aristotle, Socrates and Aristotle, and later Aquinas, and others, but those are the big three for me, teach us to think from our priori, you know, from the ground up, based on things that are accessible to everybody with the tools that are accessible to everybody. So what happens in Seminar specifically, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you do the thing. And you get in the habit of thinking from the our priori thinking, using your rationality, to draw conclusions. And we practice that in Seminar.

Karl Schudt 34:12
I’ll say that there was a conversation my, one of my kids was having with it, or the young man at will at church, and they were talking about media and in journalism, and news. And I just popped my head in and I said, What counts is news. So they were having an interesting discussion, but they’re talking about things but like journalism and news, what what’s journalism? What’s news? What’s the point of news?

Scott Hambrick 34:43
Socrates is such a jerk.

Karl Schudt 34:45
He is. We have this word news that we think is a thing. Well, it’s not it’s an hour’s worth of stuff that pops up on your television that’s packaged. Yeah, so nobody’s picked what’s going to be in it.

Scott Hambrick 35:01
That’s not who we are Carl, like, Who’s this week? Lone Ranger? Like, what are you talking about? Well, in the past society, what? We’re a society point to it.

Karl Schudt 35:16
It’s in my heart.

Scott Hambrick 35:18
Yeah, so do doing seminar. So that you get in, you’ve done it so much that your first instinct is always to say, well, what is that? Like? That’s a good question we got to get to fit, we got to figure out what news is first? Is, is what it’s all about. Yeah. Oh, why don’t you give us context on the plays of Escalus? Shut up. That doesn’t matter. It’s doing. It’s doing? You know, I did a question and answer thing on telegram this morning about strength training. And people always have a lot of questions about about programming, and, and rightly so I get it. But it doesn’t matter that much. As long as you train regularly, if you train two to four times a week, and you put a little more weight on the bar, when you can, you’re going to get really, really, really strong. And the details of how you put more weight on the bar really doesn’t matter that much. I mean, it kind of does. But it damn sure doesn’t, it actually doesn’t matter at all. If you don’t train consistently, you’re just you’re just messing around. It only matters. It only matters. Once you string together, I don’t six months of unbroken training, you know, that’s really it, programming is window dressing at that point. And anyway, doing the seminar is what matters. It’s not the the text doesn’t even really matter that much. It doesn’t really matter that much. You know, we try to pick texts that have the best ideas that are presented in the best ways or the most interesting ways of all time. But you know, you can do it over the jayber crow, you could do it over Agatha Christie. You mean you can it doesn’t matter the process. It’s the doing.

Karl Schudt 37:07
It’s a bit better with better books. It’s better with better books. It’s a two hour seminar. So you have to figure out what’s going to happen. If we’re a class. There’s no way to do it. So I did a seminar on the first volume of living early history room live. He’s a wonderful Roman historian. He’s funny, he’s a good writer. But that books, 450 pages, right? of small type. There was no way we could possibly cover the book in two hours. And if something is impossible, you shouldn’t try to do it. So we don’t we talk about highlights we talk about general themes. We’ll talk about what’s living points in writing this book. Do you think he’s being truthful or the Romans truth when they talk about their history? What’s the importance of like their king, there’s a legend that their king you know, the king was raised by wolves, Romulus and Remus. Except that wolf might be Latin for prostitute, which live he points out, right? Well, what does it tell you about the character of Romans that they might think this about their divinized founding King? Well, that’s up for grabs, and people can bring up what they want that these are occasions these are thoughts that rise to my mind from reading the book. And I go talk about it to other people who have read the book. And we really don’t know where it’s gonna go. But it’s not going to be a class where you say in in chapter three Livi talks about NUMA population, it’s not going to be that doesn’t that’s boring.

Scott Hambrick 38:51
That’s Plutarch. Anyway. Yeah, the RSR seminars and your seminar if you do them yourselves, they can’t be exhaustive. You could read Aristotle’s metaphysics every day for the rest of your life and never exhausted, but so they’re not meant to be exhausted. It’s the doing doc on it. Hey, Karl, are there any intrinsically bad ideas?

Karl Schudt 39:18
never gotten a land war in Asia?

Scott Hambrick 39:21
No, that’s a good idea about

Karl Schudt 39:24
bad ideas. It’s the negation of a bad idea.

Scott Hambrick 39:27
So maybe this is what I mean. Are there any ideas that are so awful, that they should not be uttered?

Karl Schudt 39:39
No, I do not think so. If it’s true, people ought to know about it. If there was a truth that if people knew it would be destructive of society, is that what you’re saying?

Scott Hambrick 39:50
No. That yes, and yes, and there are ideas that I think are absolutely 1,000% true and I don’t think I don’t think are destructive for society. But you’re not allowed to say. For example, well

Karl Schudt 40:08
in our seminars you are,

Scott Hambrick 40:10
right. But I will give an example. I said that promiscuity was shameful. On Instagram the other day and a woman accused me of slut shaming. And I said, That’s right, you’re banned sweat and I blocked her. Well, she says I shouldn’t be able to say she thinks I shouldn’t be able to say that. That’s an that’s an unutterable thing. Just say that promiscuity is shameful. What I would have asked is, well, you’re more generous than me.

Karl Schudt 40:43
If this were a seminar. Is Is it true? What or Let’s go further back than this, rather than I would say, well, it’s probably pretty clear what promiscuity is we can probably define that pretty easily. Okay, what is shamefulness? Are there any actions which are shameful? Or none? If there are some does this count as one that is? So in other words, we’re focusing not on yelling at each other for saying things that we don’t want to hear. It might be that things that you like are shameful. It might be true.

Scott Hambrick 41:23
Oh, it’s true. Oh, it is what do you say? Bush light, shameful.

Karl Schudt 41:30
So I mean, that was a bit of an Instagram fight. And I

Scott Hambrick 41:33
was not generous in my response. I take full responsibility for that. But I don’t believe that you should put lease people’s speech or their ideas in that way. The way that the way that that lady attempted to police mine, because I don’t think I don’t think that any of these ideas are unutterable, and you’re in your approach is a healthy way, I think to deal with that. If somebody says, Oh, well, these slots are shameful. You know, it’s, you would you would then dig into like, well, you know, what shame? Where does it reside with the shame or the Shamy? Are there anything? Is there anything? In fact, that is shameful? Then if you deny this kind of shame, you know, yeah, he would do didn’t do an investigation. And we would end up knowing more about it when we got done.

Karl Schudt 42:21
Well, and what it might do, which is why I like the seminar, NSA, you come in cash, everybody’s, everybody’s got least I hope you do, I hope you have things that you believe very strongly are true. If you come into seminar and talk, you know, party talking points. You probably won’t convince anybody

Scott Hambrick 42:46

Karl Schudt 42:48
Yeah, and it’s boring. If you talk big picture stuff, two things might happen. The people you’re talking to might be moved by the truth of your big picture stuff. Or you might move when you see that some of your big picture stuff is unsupported. And so both of you move, hopefully closer to the truth, which is out there. Rather than I would say, what happened on Instagram was probably a Ristic. Rather than dialectic.

Scott Hambrick 43:27
Yeah. And it’s Instagram. Like, that’s not where you do dialectic. And it wasn’t one of our seminars, and you know, whatever. But that’s an example. You know, yeah, but

Karl Schudt 43:36
eristic is dialectic. The goal is a truth eristic. The goal is victory, right? So I’m going to squash you, however, I can squash you. And if I can use identity group politics to to hit you over the head. I’m going to do it because the point is winning.

Scott Hambrick 43:53
Right? That will never win with me. I don’t think

Karl Schudt 43:57
that’s the best way to go.

Scott Hambrick 43:59
Clearly not.

Karl Schudt 44:02
So in conclusion, you should read Agatha Christie.

Scott Hambrick 44:06
Not until you’ve read Aristotle. Yeah. So do you approve of those additions? One, Carl, let’s do this right now. One. Sure that one, you must believe that there is such thing as an objective truth that is accessible to all? Yes. To

Karl Schudt 44:22
Well, potentially accessible to all. Okay, well, you can write it how you like,

Scott Hambrick 44:28
I like potentially. That’s cool.

Karl Schudt 44:30
It does not require you to think that anybody in particular has it?

Scott Hambrick 44:34
Right. Yeah, and the fact that no one has it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Yep. And that this truth is accessible to all through their faculties and rationality.

Karl Schudt 44:48
Yeah. Potentially accessible, not everybody’s gonna be able to get it.

Scott Hambrick 44:53
Yeah, potentially as important there. My IQ is not high enough to access all of the truths that Aristotle I was pointing out

Karl Schudt 45:03
well, who says

Scott Hambrick 45:04
that guy was a lizard person? was Aristotle one dude? I wonder what he was like and personality? Was he one person, you know, all these things that we have are supposedly lecture notes and and you know aren’t aren’t actually his quote unquote writings Do you think that what we have of Aristotle, Aristotle was, I believe that Aristotle was probably one person. Do you believe that these writings that we have that are attributed to Aristotle? Or the work of that or our notes based on the work of that one person? Or do you think that these have been worked on over the years? For the most part,

Karl Schudt 45:37
yes, there are some bits and pieces in the that big blue set that we have, we give you or as part of your membership, you get the complete works of Aristotle Oxford edition, which is two big blue books. There are some things in there that strike me as less Aristotle ish. Yeah. On marvelous things heard. You know, some of this seems like Bartok, right. But substantively, it all sounds like the same person to me.

Scott Hambrick 46:06
Yeah. What a monster that guy with. Yeah, yeah. Well, anyway, there’s some there’s some stuff to think about. And whether you do seminar or not, I think that those kinds of rules are probably good to stick to in conversation with people you care about every day. Fortunately, I don’t care about a lot of people in the specific so I don’t have to apply that to people in my Instagram mentions. Yeah, the internet. Stupid thing. I wish I could just snap my fingers and make it go away.

Karl Schudt 46:37
Yeah, I would do that.


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