#154- Hutchins’ “The Great Conversation” Part 2
Scott and Karl finish their two-part discussion of Robert Maynard Hutchins’ 1952 essay “The Great Conversation: Substance of a Liberal Education.”
The Great Conversation is the ongoing process of the best writers and thinkers of Western Civilization referencing, building on, and refining the work of their predecessors. According to Hutchins, “The tradition of the West is embodied in the Great Conversation that began in the dawn of history and that continues to the present day.”
Tune in to hear Scott and Karl’s hot takes surrounding this essay. Brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com.
Scott Hambrick 0:09
Welcome to the online great books podcast brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com where we talk about the good life, the great books, great conversation, and great ideas
Brett Veinotte 0:30
Hello, dear listener, this is Brett and welcome back to the online great books Podcast. Today, Scott and Karl continue their discussion of the 1952 essay “The Great Conversation” by Robert Maynard Hutchins, we will pick up not quite where we left off, I rounded back a little over a minute. So you can hear that exploration of the aesthetics of books. And the conversation progresses all the way into the question of whether or not we should have a one world government. Will Hutchins convince Scott and Karl that this is the way to go? You have no idea what’s going to happen in the next hour. Please remember to visit online great books.com to get on the mailing list. And also, please don’t forget about all the small things you can do to help the online great books podcasts like leaving a rating and a review on iTunes. That’s always greatly appreciated. Alright, thank you again, for listening. Here we go.
Karl Schudt 1:32
Books need to look good. And I have definite ideas on how they should look,
Scott Hambrick 1:36
they need to have more margin on the page than print.
Karl Schudt 1:41
Yep. And you don’t want to have any space between the lines. And there’s an optimal width, which is probably three and a half inches. That your eye can easily scan over the one line and back to the next without having to go all the way across the page. So the way you could figure this out, so go get yourself a book published say in 1907 Harriet Beecher store some I don’t know just some book, grab it, you don’t have to read it, is to have to grab it. Okay, and open it up and look at how beautiful the typesetting is. When a craftsmen who could read backwards right? Set those letters. As an artist to make a beautiful book. That’s what books ought to look like. Yeah. Needs a serif font sans serif is no good. That’s weird to me. So serifs I’m sorry, we’re going to take a little tangent here. Audience this Sara saw those little bends on the ends of the letter. So if you look at Times New Roman, which is an imitation of the capital letters that were used on the monuments in Rome. So if you go to Rome, if you go to the the Pantheon, and it says Augustus built this or whoever built it, that’s in times old Roman. Well, you need to carve that out of the stone and you need to get your chisel into the stone before you can go across and make the cross line the Saraf marks of the chisels entry points. It’s an artifact of having to carve letters out of stone but it seems to make it more readable Arial Sans Serif fonts just they’re not as good it gives
Scott Hambrick 3:32
us information you know, the serifs let you know that’s a lowercase L and not an uppercase i It tells us stuff it tells us stuff and it’s important yeah so the great books of the Western world the font is fine the font is fine but the this the setting and binding is not my not my favorite
Karl Schudt 3:55
well and you’re probably not going to take it to the beach. For me is a great place to get reading done is to go sit by the water and my kids go play and I read a portable book
Scott Hambrick 4:06
Karl, page 22x x i is going on about their inclusion of scientific works that have supposedly been shown to be outdated This is an interesting problem. We don’t read hardly any scientific works at online great books not the main program we do have people that work on arithmetic calculus geometry. We’ve had some folks who have worked on Hippocrates and some others we don’t do it because frankly I I believe I don’t know this offer this to you and you let me know what you think or I think that leading a seminar on those works would be a different skill then leading a seminar on the philosophical or imaginative works and it seems to me like staffing those seminars would be quite a bit more difficult. A staffing them with you know seminar leaders
Karl Schudt 5:00
Yeah, I’m not quite sure how to how we would do it. Yeah, I haven’t done the geometry one I need to but you know, infinity pile. When I sat in at a seminar at Thomas Aquinas College and saw them doing geometry, the tutor would just sit there and he would say, all right, Sally, go do proof 14 on the board straight. Yeah, and she would go and do it. And then she didn’t bring the book up, she had to reproduce it. And then the students would, would help her out or comment and she had to reproduce it, that’s kind of hard to do in a Zoom meeting.
Scott Hambrick 5:40
And that runs our Euclid sessions and does a good job of it. But having to go up there and reproduce the demonstration by memory. You really can’t memorize it. I mean, you could miss certain people have certain kinds of minds that would allow them to memorize those things. But what you really have to do is learn how he came upon it. You have to conform your mind to his method, which is a glorious thing. And and I think that’s the point of reading these scientific things. It’s not like, oh, Galen is wrong about the humors. And circulation, it doesn’t really work that way. It’s about his it’s about learning about his ways of looking at the world and his investigative methods and His ways of communicating his findings. There’s a huge amount of value in that. And also, hot take. Most of these guys weren’t wrong. Qualitative qualitatively and qualitatively.
Karl Schudt 6:34
Yeah, I think there’s real value in it, I just don’t know that we can. Just managing it with what we do is an online service in the main trunk that we have people go through, it would be tricky to do I have, I have read, I think five pages of the Principia. I have a copy. One of these days, I don’t read that thing. But even the five pages that I read, was glorious to me. So just knowing that the way Newton thought of momentum, just three words changed everything. For me, it’s the quantity of motion. Mass times velocity is the quantity of motion. And then, and then Newton’s laws make more sense. So force is that which adds to the quantity of motion. Or changes it Yeah, it’s
Scott Hambrick 7:20
pretty glorious. Yeah, reading Newton, in that way is good. But if you’re like, I’m gonna learn calculus from Newton. Boy, it’s tough. You get to his flexions. Like, the notations that he used, were not the ones that we use it. Could you take calculus calculation into your local college or whatever. It’s not the same notations. And frankly, I don’t think they’re very good yet. Like, he’s clearly a genius, but the notations aren’t as intuitive and then I have to unlearn the ones I learned before it’s really tough. But But yeah, it is valuable. Well, calculus isn’t real anyway. No, it’s not infinities. bool and functions are garbage. It’s good. I welcome the great the weird inning in the great simplification. Point out some more good good tidbits Carl.
Karl Schudt 8:10
So he says the page one we’re now in Roman numerals, about Western civilization, no other civilization can claim that its defining characteristic is a dialogue of this sort. A dialogue with itself is what he means. I think that’s right. I think that is maybe the great benefit and also the great flaw of Western civilization that it keeps eating itself. It’s the serpent eating its own tail. And contradicting itself, even in the Iliad, you know, when Achilles and prime are meeting at the end, spoiler, they’re weeping together. Achilles has killed his son and prime and Achilles. It’s a great moment you should read it. But Achilles says the gods deal out was to us humans, some good, some bad, they never suffer themselves. He’s mad at the gods. And if you read the book, you’re kind of mad at the gods too. So even from the beginning and in the homers, pretty much the beginning. There’s some older stuff, but Homer is pretty much the beginning. He’s the beginning. Well, there’s Gilgamesh which is fantastic, right? Nobody read it.
Scott Hambrick 9:22
There’s Yeah, nobody, nobody read it. And I mean, I could go on, but it’s one of those arguments about the canon. Homer is the one Plato’s not talking about Gilgamesh.
Karl Schudt 9:34
And so it starts. Yeah, it starts with self correction. I think that’s right. I don’t know. I don’t know Chinese culture from the inside. I don’t think they do that. As much
Scott Hambrick 9:50
know, the problem with self correction. I don’t know that it’s actually wait a minute. It was self corrective to up to a point. And then it just became Name, a pursuit of intellectual novelty. What more are you going to say about metaphysics than what Aristotle says? In my opinion, unless you want to just get crazy and get novel and just write something and make something up to get published, there’s not a whole lot more to say about it. Well, you can reject it, you can reject it. But why would you do that? I mean, I’ve heard some rational quote unquote, rational rejections, you know, there are people that reject the law of identity, say it’s a tautological and can’t be true. Well, what else? Are you going to tell me about the thing Enos of things that’s not talked about, like, you know, axioms are often tautological, like, what are you going to do about that? So they, what they end up doing is they reject axioms altogether. And yatse. Now you’re postmodern, you know, so, you know, you may reject Him. But it leaves you with nothing. And people, people, you know, go hand licks, sometimes that’s a cool hand, I guess, I don’t know,
Karl Schudt 11:10
the best way to do this, as found in Nietzsche and vitalism. If you’re going to reject metaphysics, you’re going to end up out out in the void. Now, what are you going to do?
Scott Hambrick 11:20
It’s all well to power, you know, at that point, which is fine, which is fine. Yeah, that’s actually valid, as opposed to just being completely postmodern about it.
Karl Schudt 11:31
Well, you know, my affection for him, he at least knows what he’s doing. Somebody like him, maybe not.
Scott Hambrick 11:38
I spent some time with him in the late fall. I mean, not the fall of the end of the Americas, but like, like, the autumn of last year. And I was just stunned by how fucking stupid it was. I couldn’t be generous. I’m like, why, how? Why is this getting published? You know, so it really bothered me. This great conversation. It did fall
Karl Schudt 12:05
stillborn from the from the press. He said, good, it should have I kind of like him. I think he’s funny. He rejects
Scott Hambrick 12:11
causing effect, he should be composted. It’s the end of it.
Karl Schudt 12:19
Or he points out that you do not perceive cause and effect. And that that’s true of you infer it. It’s, it’s an induction that Eris,
Scott Hambrick 12:27
Aristotle treats have that problem, though.
Karl Schudt 12:32
Well, he waves his hand at it and says somehow we are so construct humans are such that we do that
Scott Hambrick 12:37
that’s the only thing that can properly be said around it. Everything else is is rubbish.
Karl Schudt 12:42
Yeah. I still kind of like him. But I like religion or are interesting. I think it’s funny that he tried to, he was a kind demand personally, and he tried to take care of Rousseau, but he couldn’t stand them and eventually had to kick them out. I like that he’s self aware enough to say things like, this is all perfectly fine when we’re in the billiard room playing philosopher, but when you step out your door, there’s cause and effect. I like his personality. Well, you know, and I think that that distinction between is an art is an important thing. To realize that mere facts don’t tell you what to do. Anybody who says the science tells us this is what to do. Is it that stupid, you need to go read that bit of Hume and realize that the science does not tell you anything about how to live
Scott Hambrick 13:30
Aristotle tells us about a single thing, since data doesn’t tell you what to do. So everything good as from Aristotle,
Karl Schudt 13:37
that’s what I get, right? You’re so wrong. Everything good is from Plato and
Scott Hambrick 13:41
Plato. Hey, listen. We need to do a show about Plato not even talk about the books just talk about him. But you know, you said that this is this western tradition to self correcting thing, and I think it was for a time and I don’t think it is any longer I think it’s become, you know, a several 100 years ago, it became destruction destructive of itself. I like the him his distinction. I like his his funny lines about what what does it tell us? You know, does it tell us what to do on Tuesday at 4pm? You know, I like those kinds of things that he would bring up but Well, that’s cuter card, but well the billiard saying made me think of that the philosophy and the billiard room, but it’s mostly destructive, in my opinion, if we’re going to have a Aquinas in the can and and Hume, what are we doing? Like if there’s such a thing as true, one of them is more truthy er than the other. Why are we reading the less truthy one What are we doing with this? Like is, does Hutchins does the quote unquote crude conversation actually hold that there’s such a thing as a capital T truth? Or is it all performative? Hmm,
Karl Schudt 14:50
see how we’re self correcting our ourselves right here. I think he’s right about the reflexive self corrective nature of the Western Culture, he doesn’t quite see that it’s a worm in the apple. And he says somewhere, it’s our love of truth that destroyed us. Or that destroys well, he thought Christianity destroys itself by its adhesion to the truth. What is this thing? The West? What does it believe? I don’t know that I could. Since the fall of Christendom, I don’t know that you can really say it. Oh, after 1600 Or so it starts to become more and more skeptical. And the reason you would read Hume, and these later people, and the best of the later people, I think, are seeing the evacuation of meaning and attempting to put something back there. And so you can do it creatively. Or you can do it in a reactionary way. So the best, the best modern philosophers are either creative or reactionary, you know, let’s go back to Thomas Aquinas or let’s find a new way. Heidegger says, Only a God can save us. If only he could find one. He knows needs one. It is a problem. It is a problem. And you would read the new stuff to see where you’ve gone wrong. Maybe you’ve done it, you’ve read all the new stuff. And your reaction to it is I’m going to stick with Aquinas. Well, maybe other people need to go down the road and see that they’re not leading to good places in order to realize where they need to go back to.
Scott Hambrick 16:29
Well, I understand that like to, you know, to censor or withhold the bad ideas. I mean, this is a Western thing, or used to be, it’s probably not a good idea. People need to be able to look at those things to consider them and choose the good and the true on their own. Right. Well, yeah, maybe you need to read some Hume to fall more deeply in love with Aristotle’s metaphysics Carl. But Hutchins thinks that the truth is to be had in seeing the conversation, like the truth for Hutchins, I think, is the process, not the context, not the current tense of the books. It’s the process.
Karl Schudt 17:11
Let me read from page five, see where it is an hour and a half in, we’re on page five, if we can make this eight parts. This is why it’s an infinity pile.
Scott Hambrick 17:19
Let’s see if we can make this eight parts I may get to Silmarillion done.
Karl Schudt 17:26
I learned something new by the way, that noumenon is real. We just call it Atlantis. So it’s true history that you’re reading when you read the solar and I think that’s probably right. What is history, Carl, it the original word means the researches. I know stuff you ought to believe. Page five, this western devotion to the liberal arts and liberal education must have been a lot hidden in there must have been largely responsible for the emergence of democracy as an ideal, the democratic ideal is equal opportunity for full human development. And since the liberal arts are the basic means of such development, devotion to democracy naturally results from devotion to them. I wrote my note, this is a historical, which is not to say democracy is a bad thing. Reader, you figure it out or listener, you figure it out for yourself. But the idea that reading that studying the liberal arts is going to make you into a Democrat. I don’t see it happening.
Scott Hambrick 18:30
Historically, the people that did this were aristocratic. This is an aristocratic activity. It’s an elitist activity. Just so happens that the books are like dirt cheap, and you can get them at archive dot o RG for free. Almost everybody knows phonics like we can get on it. But I’m not saying you can’t do it. But historically, this was an elitist in an aristocratic activity.
Karl Schudt 18:58
And he’s writing in a non democracy. In fact, he’s writing in the United States, which is theoretically not a democracy. And the reason it’s not a democracy originally go read your constitution. That old thing. Originally, you did not vote for the president. That was on purpose from people who had a pretty good liberal arts education. Probably heavier on the Romans than we do,
Scott Hambrick 19:26
but some aristocrats. Yeah, so
Karl Schudt 19:29
the founding fathers of this nation did not see democracy as an ideal. He’s making something up there or he’s just not seeing it.
Scott Hambrick 19:39
Well, democracy doesn’t even mean what it used to mean. People mess with these words to like, what does it even mean now? You know, our democracy. It’s not who we are, Carl, what are they even talking about? What does that even mean? What is all that slippery shit?
Karl Schudt 19:55
No. It means democracy means the dice dominant party gets what it wants. And then that’s democracy and when they don’t get what they want, then that’s fascism. Oh,
Scott Hambrick 20:07
I see. Let’s see, which one is that we are, I forget sometimes.
Karl Schudt 20:14
Scott Hambrick 20:15
Okay. So, so I was saying know what I am, I was saying that this activity was an it was an aristocratic activity which comes first. The aristocrat has the leisure in a pre industrial society to do this, and then they do it or something like that, or do they become an aristocratic because they’ve read the Republic, they start to understand things that other people don’t understand. And then that gives them a fulcrum upon which to build do great aristocratic things. Does it make them Noble or in spirit?
Karl Schudt 20:49
I believe so. Yes. Yeah, I think so. And here are aristocracy is kind of a bad word. It’s like oligarchy? in English. I don’t mean snooty British aristocrat. I mean, a resource means the best.
Scott Hambrick 21:10
Like a risk docile. Sure. I think that’s great for the best dude, right?
Karl Schudt 21:16
Yeah, he’s one of the best. He’s so good. But you dear listener. I’m just gonna, I’m not blowing smoke, you are of the Restore. Because you listened to us. And you desire to be better. If there are great thoughts to be thank, you’re going to do it.
Scott Hambrick 21:38
Oh, cool. Shoot on the podcast, just said that. Listening to their podcast will make you an aristocrat?
Karl Schudt 21:48
No, I said, if you listened to it, you’re already an aristocratic Yeah, I think that’s true. No, you’re not an aristocrat until you rule but you can be restored, you can be of the best. You might never gain power,
Scott Hambrick 21:59
or the colonial. I’m going to call them aristocrats. With Jefferson, Monroe, Adams, Franklin, were these people ruling aristocrats or just noble by nature in aristocratic by nature without having the rule?
Karl Schudt 22:21
I think they would not have gotten the the rulership such as they had had they not been the sorts of people they were. Franklin is a great example. He was dirt poor, and educated himself. Because he thought that there were great things to be done great things to be thought, and he did it.
Scott Hambrick 22:41
Yeah, he’s glorious. I think they were ruling an aristocracy. You can go see how many people actually back to the revolutions of you know, 1012 13% of people, the number of people that had the voting franchise, so on, you know, that they were ruling aristocracy.
Karl Schudt 22:58
Let’s see more tasty chunks. Well, there’s one that I want to get, but I’m not gonna be able to find I have to go to our slack because I posted it there. I was muckraking. And it got the people I thought it would get. Whereas it’s in our favorite quote section where people post favorite quotes. People are posting Aristotle and John Adams and me, Robert Hutchins. I don’t know what page this is on. If the people are incapable of achieving the education that responsible democratic citizenship demands, then democracy is doomed. Aristotle rightly condemned the mass of mankind to natural slavery, and the sooner we set about reversing the trend toward democracy, the better it will be for the world. That’s what Hutchins said. So he thinks the stakes are high, that if this Great Books project fails, if we cannot educate the people, to the extent that they need to be educated in order to be responsible citizens in a democracy, then democracy is doomed.
Scott Hambrick 24:07
Yeah, that’s not the conclusion he wants you to reach. I’ve read my Plato, and gosh, she’s wonderful, you know. So I don’t know, maybe 2015 2016 we see the rise of the social justice warrior. And they’re marching and have their signs where they’re calling for social justice, and I’ve read my Plato. And the only thing I can say is, what is justice? These people haven’t asked that question. Now, if I asked it, they would have an answer. Almost everybody. Socrates asks a question has an answer. And then he just tears it to pieces, that stuff set up their nose. I mean, so you could tell one of these people you could ask one of these people what, okay, social justice warrior. See Justice. Okay, so what is justice? And they would tell you equality, maybe equity, maybe something I don’t know, they would have an answer. But it’s not a real answer. It’s not an answer that bears scrutiny.
Karl Schudt 25:13
No, they have learned, they have learned from from Plato that this is the wrong approach. When Socrates approaches you, you do not answer the question, throw a brick at their head, get your people together, you throw a brick at him, or you just shout him down. But you don’t give them a place to talk.
Scott Hambrick 25:29
Okay, so if the girl with the red hair in the irony glasses does that when you ask her? Well, we can still I mean, this is where the great conversation thing works. Like if you participate in it, and you see it modeled in you see cell phone footage? Is it footage now since there’s no film? If you see cell phone video, digit on on Twitter of these people, then the first thing you should say is, wait a minute. Social justice, like what is justice? You don’t even have to ask it if that person, you know. So participating in this great conversation thing or watching it gets gives us that BS detector. And it would be nice if more people who voted had that BS detector, you know, having this kind of an education gives, you know, any kind of government a better chance. And the idea that democracy is the one is just ridiculous. I mean, it’s just he doesn’t show his work? Probably can’t. It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Right? But what kind of government would suffer with a liberally educated proletariat? None. It would be for the good of every single kind of government that there could possibly be even even a malicious tyranny would benefit from it.
Karl Schudt 26:58
Yeah. Well, and the whoever the people are in charge in whatever form of government, for them to have considered what exactly they mean by justice. This is a good thing. Yeah. It’s a good thing. But Hutchins is faith, religious faith, that putting great books in the hands of the many. Well, that it’s a precondition for democracy, and that it’s actually possible. You know, good luck. He didn’t learn from the example of Socrates was made to drink poison, which is one of my favorite lines. MacIntyre said somewhere that we know that people don’t care about philosophers anymore, because they don’t make us drink poison. Let’s see, he thinks mechanization is going to make us able to be greater than the Greeks that’s on page 23. We’re never going to get through this thing wrecks the Greeks. Yeah. I can go to the end. Let’s do it. Screw it, go to the the World Government stuff. There’s much in this essay that is of use. That is probably true and good, for sure. But then there’s that thing that he’s got that blind spot that it all has to serve his progressive liberal democracy, which maybe it does. I don’t think it does, but maybe it does. But that’s not a reason to read it. You know what? I’m gonna echo Soloviev here. What do I care for a liberal progressive democracy?
Scott Hambrick 28:33
Karl Schudt 28:34
should I care? But I might care about reading glorious things that bring me closer to the divine. You know, and even if you don’t think there is a divine, you can still get closer to it. By ascending in your intellectual activity, you’re getting closer to whatever. Okay,
Scott Hambrick 28:54
page 23? What yummy bit on there? Do you have the substitution of machines for so I have something on 23 I went to 34. Well, I still like this. This is just the mid century mindset here, page 23. The substitution of machines for slaves gives us an opportunity to build a civilization as glorious as that of the Greeks and far more lasting because far more just I do not concede that torpor of mind is the natural normal condition of the mass of mankind, or that these people are not necessarily incapable of relishing or breaking apart in any rational conversation or conceiving generous, noble and tender sentiments or forming just judgments concerning the affairs of private and public life. I agree with the last piece of that. I don’t believe that people are largely incapable of rational conversation or relishing or bearing any part of that or, you know, whatever but torpor of mind is, in fact, the natural state of man.
Karl Schudt 29:52
Yeah, we there’s an over estimate here. I think of the power of rationality. I wish it were more well, maybe I wish it were more, more powerful. than it is, but people are not moved very much. By Socratic dialogue and appeals to reason they’re moved by slogans, of course, and naming an enemy, demonizing the enemy. Go read Rules for Radicals,
Scott Hambrick 30:18
idiot, Ben Shapiro’s like facts don’t care about your feelings. Feelings. Don’t give a fuck about your facts, then your little hat like it doesn’t matter. You can’t convince what 3% Of the people in the world with the facts, they don’t care.
Karl Schudt 30:34
Yeah, all those videos back in 2016 when internet was still a little bit fun of, you know, so and so owning the libs. They don’t care. In a debate, Okay, you win a debate, you lose the the person. Nerds believe in the power of debate. I like debate. I can win debates, I have won debates. And I have won debates where I have completely established my position. And it was conceded to me that I completely establish my position and destroy the opponent. And the opponent says, Well, I still don’t believe you.
Scott Hambrick 31:06
I’ve had the same thing happen. I had it happened in my home Book Group. Last fall, I think I’ve told the story on here. Talk about Aquinas and bow atheist is proof for the nature of evil. The guy conceded that every premise was true that they all fit together properly, that he agreed with, with the conclusion. And he said, Yeah, but still, I ain’t buying it. Right. What do you do with that
Karl Schudt 31:30
there’s something else going on, the will is more important than the intellect, if your will is defective, but doesn’t matter what the intellect says. And the will, is what aims you at the good.
Scott Hambrick 31:45
And these machines that he mentions on 23, which now aren’t necessarily gears and sprockets, but are often algorithms and software’s and color palettes and flashing lights, when those machines are aimed at changing your will. by screwing with your dopamine and you’re so on. You can’t trust that you can even manipulate the will of these people with your rhetoric. You know, the rationality won’t work, the appeal to rationality won’t work. And then one man’s appeal to their will probably won’t work either.
Karl Schudt 32:21
Yeah, that’s a good point. So what about you, our listener? Are you actually rational? Or how can you become more? So how are rabid? Let’s, let’s put it a different way, how can you purify the will so that you can be more rational?
Scott Hambrick 32:39
Well, is rationality even a good tool? Like you’ve got a baby in front of shore?
Karl Schudt 32:44
I’ll give you an example. It might be in fact that bad things are coming down the pike for us, civilization Lee, okay. It might be that the great mass of human beings are not able to see it. Because they don’t want to see it. Because it’s unthinkable because it’s uncomfortable, because it makes them feel icky, that they might not actually be able to get food in the future. Or spend money freely, because all money’s digital, or whatever they don’t, they don’t want to see the danger, and so they don’t see it. And so they’re not being rational. And perhaps that’s also the case for me. So how do you, I think the thing that causes that are defects of the will. So how do you purify the will so that you can think better about the good? How’s that?
Scott Hambrick 33:37
Sure. Yes, but rationality is just not the tool for everything, though. You’ve got a baby in front of you that has a problem. No, no.
Karl Schudt 33:48
You have to love the right things.
Scott Hambrick 33:50
If the baby is has an earache, you might use your rationality to diagnose the ear infection or whatever. But that’s not the only thing the baby needs. You know, I think in most interactions, their small scale in rationality is secondary. You know, dealing with friends and family. And then and then there’s the whole spiritual thing. You know, I think it’s like book four of Summa contra Gentiles. He’s like, you know, rationality to get you so far. But there are these other matters that are real and are inaccessible, the rationality
Karl Schudt 34:24
well, and if your will is wrong, you’re going to use a reason for bad things anyway,
Scott Hambrick 34:30
to deny all extra rational things. Deny all of them.
Karl Schudt 34:33
Yeah, so I haven’t done this. I am. I haven’t done this to the degree that No, I have done it. disengaging from those things in the world that are manipulating your your emotions and your will is is a necessary thing to do I think. I’m embarrassed to tell you, dear listener, of the amount of time I spent on professional and college football in my life, and allowing them to manipulate me and make me care about people that don’t care about me, and having my disposition ruined because the Chicago Bears couldn’t win a game. Stupid, ridiculous. My Will was enslaved. Yeah, by propaganda designed to enslave me,
Scott Hambrick 35:30
these machines he talks about on 23 have removed a lot of cares from us. And that seems very good. But we’re designed to have cares. And if you’re not worried about the things that machines take care of, you’ll invent something to worry about, like the win loss record of the bears. I have made radical change or to in my life in the last four or five years. And I can see that my cares or often trivial, and of manufacture. I’m sure that’s still that’s I’m sure that’s still true, at least to some degree, but less so now than it was five years ago. We’re just far removed from reality. So that such that our cares have to be unreal as well. But, you know, the weird ending, and the simplification is underway. And we will have more metaphysical certainty among those of us who make it. I hope
Karl Schudt 36:29
so. Should we go to the One World Government stuff? Yeah. At the very end,
Scott Hambrick 36:39
He does do some experimental science quite a bit, which I always enjoy. Never forget that piece. Let’s good. He says on 57 We know that there is no defense against the most destructive of modern weapons, but the Victor and the defeated will lose the next war. All the factors that formerly protected this country and geographical isolation, industrial strength and military power are now obsolete. We know that the anarchy of competing sovereign states see that that’s not true. We know that the anarchy of competing sovereign states must lead to war sooner or later. Therefore, we must have a world law enforced by a World Organization which must be attained through World cooperation and community today.
Karl Schudt 37:29
I don’t think the conclusion follows the hidden premises. Well. We know the anarchy of competing sovereign states must lead to war sooner or later. Yeah, it does. And it will. Therefore, we must have role law enforced by a world enforced see that’s the word he does that. Who does the enforcing it Pope Francis says a similar things and his loud Dotto, see his document on the environment, you know, says nice pretty things about plants and trees and stuff. And then it says and the way to save it is World Government. Who’s going to be in charge of this? How is it going? How do you get World Government especially in a book, Robert, where you’re talking about the glories of democracy? How will this happen?
Scott Hambrick 38:22
Just crazy man.
Karl Schudt 38:25
It will happen if somebody imposes enough force to create a worldwide empire, but it will be done through force it will not be done through selling great books.
Scott Hambrick 38:35
No. It will not be through cooperation and community. There cannot be cooperation and community among nations can’t be it’s impossible. It’s a historical Carl would say.
Karl Schudt 38:48
Yeah, there’s a lot less that’s a historical. Furthermore, the idea that it would come as a consequence of liberal arts study. Well, that’s not the reason I read the books anyway. But that’s not what happens. You get people who are motivated by ideas of liberal democracy. Sure, from reading these books. You also get guys that are not that reject it completely and go absolutely the other way. And they all had the same books.
Scott Hambrick 39:12
Because of the current political environments. I see more tater pilled. monarchists come out of it than anything else.
Karl Schudt 39:19
Well, they’re all monarchist until they get a monarch, right. And then we’ll see
Scott Hambrick 39:24
but that’s why you had to keep reading the books.
Karl Schudt 39:26
Yeah, I don’t like tater
Scott Hambrick 39:28
pill. I like potato pill. You would,
Karl Schudt 39:31
because it has to put sounds in it. It’s alliterative, it’s more poetic tater pill. It’s a barbarism. Like in potato pill.
Scott Hambrick 39:45
We’ll see which takes
Karl Schudt 39:47
I know which took it was the wrong one.
Go to page 64 is kind of the middle of page Model skew said, I’ve never read model skew. Monetary skew said that as the principle of an aristocracy was honor the principle of attorney was fear the principle of a democracy was education. Thomas Jefferson took him seriously. Now we discover that a little learning is a dangerous thing we see now that we need more learning more real learning for everybody. The Republic of learning. That’s a nice phrase is that Republic toward which all mere political state Republic’s gravitate, and which they must serve if they are to be true to themselves. No one saw this before yesterday, and we only today are able to begin to measure what we should do about it tomorrow. No one saw this before yesterday. He says,
Scott Hambrick 40:43
as he read the Republic as he read Aristotle’s Politics. What the fuck? What is he talking about? Gosh,
Karl Schudt 40:53
he is he’s mostly a progressive, who got hooked up into great books, I think and use them as a tool for his aggressiveness. And he can’t, can’t quite see that there might be problems with his starting points. I wrote that literally, I said, in, in my note on this page, did he read Plato,
Scott Hambrick 41:13
Plato in the Republic, he just he just lays it all out. The Politics does an even better job. And you know, Aristotle’s Politics,
Karl Schudt 41:20
he thinks learning leads to peace. And I wrote down my examples, not so sure. Alcibiades, Alexander Caesar, who’s more educated than Caesar Barbarossa. It’s, it’s not necessarily so
Scott Hambrick 41:34
war in political upheaval has is not doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with ignorance,
Karl Schudt 41:41
right? The way to peace isn’t education. I don’t know what it is. But it’s not
Scott Hambrick 41:47
that these progressive people are just all blank slate types, you know, that all these humans, they’re all putty. And if we can just put the right, you know, squeeze that Petey just right, then they’ll be they’ll all be fine together. And I am not a blank slate guy, I just don’t buy it. You know, they’re they’re groups of people have their own interest. And they will work with other groups, in order to further or to protect those interests, period. That’s all there is to it. If you have a one world government, it’s going to be it’s going to be full time 810 12 fronts all over the globe, trying to suppress brush wars. It’ll never stop. And it will end up consuming the entire GDP of the world, the entire economic output of the world to try to squelch to quell those rush hours. You’re going to fail. Yeah, Dom and then us that have taken the tater pill, we will rise up.
Karl Schudt 42:51
And those of us who have taken up the potato pill, will war with those who have taken up the potato pill?
Scott Hambrick 42:57
Well, we’ll be ahead of the crucial matter one syllable.
Karl Schudt 43:04
Yes, but our aesthetic will be better. I don’t know it’s worth reading the essay. He says a whole lot. Like I chuckled a bit in it, because I’ve seen it happen. The bit on east and west, proposing that we have an Eastern list of great books and add them in Well, sure. But who’s gonna do it? And I was present in some on in some colleges when they were attempting to internationalize the curriculum. You can’t find anybody to do it. You know why? Scott has stepped away from his microphone. He shouting at me. Do you know why? Why?
Scott Hambrick 43:37
Because there aren’t anything like these great books in the East? They just don’t exist.
Karl Schudt 43:44
Yeah, I don’t think they quite do the same thing we do. But even if there were and and so I had a friend who was a scholar of Buddhism, and he was telling me that there is such a thing as Buddhist scholasticism that he had gone to learn. Well, he’s went and learned Japanese to try to study it. But you know, what am I going to do? Am I going to pull up a compendium of selections from books of the east and suddenly be expert enough to, you know, few persons are less helpful to the world than those educators infatuated with the magic of curriculum changes, you think that the teacher is on or the teachability of any subject they dream of can spring into existence by curricular decree? You can’t just say we’re going to do it. And I’ll tell you something more. This might be a delicate topic. So this was it. This was after that thing happened that those people did, or maybe did in 2001. And so there was a great push to incorporate Muslim sources. Alright, and I was at a curriculum meeting, because we would read the Bible in our core curriculum. Well, why don’t we read the Quran at my friends They don’t want us to read the Quran the way we read the Bible. Because you read the Bible, what are you going to talk? You’re going to read Genesis, and you’re talking about the three sources, the priestly source, and the ELA has source and the Yahwist source and you’re going to chop it up and in our typical 19th century German skeptical way. No, you’re not gonna do that with that other book. I
Scott Hambrick 45:19
mean, people don’t do exegesis on the Korean,
Karl Schudt 45:23
not like, degenerate Christians do on the Bible.
Scott Hambrick 45:27
Well, on top of that, we’re not Muslim. Like, why would you do that? It doesn’t even make sense. Oh, you need to know about No, I don’t need to Noah. I don’t need to know about it.
Karl Schudt 45:38
You would do it. If you. Yeah, you wouldn’t be true to the way that the people who read that book, read that book, if you were to read it in a Western way.
Scott Hambrick 45:47
Yeah, there are people that have heard being either like, Oh, what about Confucius? What about the pillow book? What about? Listen, who cares? It’s not that this stuff. Those things aren’t good. But they don’t fit together with this. You know, they don’t fit. It’s just you being a voyeur. And it’s not your stuff. You know, it’s not your stuff. Don’t read it? Well, it’s not. It’s not?
Karl Schudt 46:11
Well, I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t necessarily say don’t read it. But go ahead and read it if you want.
Scott Hambrick 46:16
If you haven’t read Plato, Aristotle and Hobbes, don’t read it. You got no business reading it. You don’t even know your stuff. Fair enough. You don’t and most people haven’t. And they’re like, Oh, what about this is what always happens, I get these emails from people who do what are from the eastern canon deireadh. And I just emailed back, emailing back, nothing absolutely zero of
Karl Schudt 46:33
it. There isn’t an Eastern canon. Well, there’s not
Scott Hambrick 46:37
an Eastern canon, it’s not to say there aren’t important books that Japanese it’s the Book of the Dead. I don’t know Confucius, the pillow book, Tale of Genji, whatever. But we don’t read,
Karl Schudt 46:50
there wouldn’t be an Eastern canon, there might be a Chinese canon, maybe there might be a Japanese canon, you go ask him go find the best. Well, are there even liberal artists in the sense that there are in the West in the east? Maybe they’re not.
Scott Hambrick 47:05
So in the book in the chapter one, or actually, I think it’s the introduction of this room and Roman numerals in this thing here. He talks about how this is about learning your tradition, figuring out who you are, so that you’ll know what to do with yourself. These are my words, but he puts forth this idea that if we’re gonna, if we’re gonna vote, we’re going to do all these things. We need to know who we are, how we got there. And what then from that, we’ll know better what to do with ourselves. Well, if I’m not Japanese, how’s the pillow book intelligent Genji gonna help me do that? That’s not, that’s not who we are a girl that’s there. But those are their books. It’s not it’s not to shit on them. It’s just not the same thing.
Karl Schudt 47:47
All right, but wait, let’s say I’ve done my I’ve done my Hobbs reading for the day time. Okay. And it’s an evening, it’s a warm summer evening. Am I allowed to sit on my porch and crack open? A Miller High Life and read Journey to the West, the Chinese classic? Can I do that?
Scott Hambrick 48:06
Yes, you can. But you have to understand I, I believe that you need to understand that it’s not the same activity.
Karl Schudt 48:14
Okay. Because I do that because I read all this stuff. And then when I’m driving, I’m listening to space, marine stuff,
Scott Hambrick 48:21
all those books I just named, I’ve read them. But it’s not the same. It’s not the same. I’ve got some stamps in my passport. I’ve been outside of this country, and I’ve eaten in diners and restaurants in those places. And I’ve enjoyed the food, and I knew it was good. And the people were kind, and I split, I left I went home, it is not the same as when I go eat dots. And I know, the lady behind the counter. And she knows all the people I know, it’s not the same thing. reading those books is not the same thing. You know, maybe if you’d never read any book, maybe if you’re just like a rootless cosmopolitan raised on Call of Duty and Big Bang Theory, and you don’t know any of the characters and and Dante, you don’t know anything about any of this stuff, then maybe maybe it would be the same, you know, like read Tale of Genji read Hamlet, like maybe none of it. Maybe it’s all completely foreign at this point. You know, could be
Karl Schudt 49:25
I think that might be the case for some of our, our folk that are rootless, and don’t even know that there’s a tradition that they come from,
Scott Hambrick 49:33
eat your avocado toast and read manga from back to front. I don’t know. If you’re one of those people you should write from back to front to you, by the way.
Karl Schudt 49:50
Yes, what would be the manga canon? I don’t know enough about it. If I had to get Scott Hambrick to read Japanese comic books Apparently so I was reading somebody connected to that arc Haven project, talking about why nobody reads Marvel and DC anymore. Because it’s all agenda driven. And you know, they’re gonna flip genders and preferences of characters. Not to sell comic books, but to grind an axe. And I was reading somebody said, This is why I read Japanese manga, comic books, because there’s an I wanted to find out what book it was. I think I even commented on it. So what book is this? And I never got an answer, that there’s some Japanese manga that’s just about fly fishing.
Scott Hambrick 50:38
I read Project X, Nissin cup noodle. And it’s about this company that developed the the noodle cup thing that you see at the grocery stores in the styrofoam cup. It has noodles and flavor in it and little plastic thing on the top and you peel it back. You put the water in there, you know, you’re not the one. Right? Mm hmm. Well, it’s a manga about how that was developed. I enjoyed it.
Karl Schudt 51:05
I have a manga about statistics.
Scott Hambrick 51:09
Sounds good. Yeah, it
Karl Schudt 51:10
was pretty good. The young girl thinks that her father’s handsome coworker is going to be the one to teach her statistics and she begs to be tutored in statistics. But it turns out to be the nerdy sub junior person who comes in and teaches her.
Scott Hambrick 51:26
They fall in love.
Karl Schudt 51:29
Yeah. Yeah, but I think I would enjoy a comic that’s not about superheroes saving the planet. It’s just about fly fishing.
Scott Hambrick 51:39
Aren’t we tired of Superman? Spider Man Batman anyway, his characters are 7080 90 years old. I am like who cares? Superman is the most boring character that has ever invented. Never cared about Superman.
Karl Schudt 51:56
Yep, superhero stories need to go away. Or at least there should be new superheroes. I don’t want to hear about Batman anymore. Deadpool. Deadpool. Watch one of those? Is is all right. The kids like them. Maybe they’re appropriate for children. Yeah, but to have masses of grown men. Say oh, I can’t wait till the next Marvel Comics universe. movie comes out. No, go read Escalus Darn it. That’s what you need to do.
Scott Hambrick 52:31
Prometheus Bound is so good. Yes. Yeah, I don’t want to talk about Hutchins anymore. We got. We got Dewey next time. So we’ll talk about that challenge. liberal thought is the name of that essay and go find that as a PDF. It’s out there, guys.
Karl Schudt 52:47
And then, Carl, I’m
Scott Hambrick 52:50
having hell with it. I’m having hell with it. The Silmarillion.
Karl Schudt 52:53
Well, okay, so maybe a couple of times after that. Yeah, we may have to. You might need to wait till after planning season eight. Yeah,
Scott Hambrick 53:01
it’s getting busy right now. And then I’m just having a hard time sitting down and reading. I don’t know if I said this to you. Before we turn the mics on. No criticism, The Silmarillion. It’s just, I’m just dissipated.
Karl Schudt 53:14
What? Yeah, I get it. The good thing about that, when you do get to it is it’s episodic. It’s not one tail all the way through. So you can read bits and pieces of it and and come back to it later. It’s not like Lord of the Rings.
Scott Hambrick 53:31
Yeah. Good. Drop us a line. If you’re interested in the homestead thing, we probably need people to kind of kick us in the pants there to get that done. That might have to be like a once a month show or something like that. But once a month is infinitely more than none a month. Let us know if you’re interested in that. Be looking for that. Do ESA and read that? Listener? Dear listener? I think that I think you’ll benefit from reading it. If nothing else. It’ll give you something else to be outraged about. I’ll tell you it reading Hutchins reading Hutchins lightly has changed my idea about what we’re doing? I think it’s affecting my approach to it. I’ve noticed Yes. No, at online, great books. And I think I think for the better actually, I mean, of course, I think it’s for the better. I mean, you know, Socrates tells us we all we all do things, even when we’re wrong. In the pursuit of the good. Yeah, agents, where he would be dismayed to know he had disabused me of most of his views
Karl Schudt 54:41
Yeah, if you haven’t, go listen to music and ideas. I really liked Well, I’d like to doing the show on Russian classical music’s go listen to that. It’ll be a nice backdrop for maybe world events.
Scott Hambrick 54:56
Yeah. So funny.
Karl Schudt 54:59
I listened to that. sure her Zod thing last night, and it just hits me. So good. So good.
Scott Hambrick 55:07
Yeah. RIMSKY KORSAKOV awesome name too. Well, that’s all I’ve got. What else? Karl? Do they need to go get stronger with you?
Karl Schudt 55:18
Oh, sure, yeah, if you want to get stronger and get coaching, because you probably need to be strong. You don’t necessarily need to be world class champion power lifter strong. But I think it’s gonna be useful to you to be stronger. Well, actually, the both of us do this, but you can find me at barbell hyphen logic, comm forward slash case, shoot. I think that gets to my spot. What we do is online coaching, you do your lifts, you take video of them, you send them to me, I get back to you within 24 hours telling you what you did wrong. I won’t yell at you as much as Scott does. But maybe you need Scott because you know, I’m the nice one. But yeah, I’d love to love to help you out. It’s a lot of fun for me. And the clients do pretty well. And we also tell you what to lift and when to lift it so you don’t have to think and your your physical well being doesn’t need to be an extra stress burden on you. You don’t have to say Gosh, I really should work out but I’m not quite sure what to do. Now we’ll tell you what to do. You don’t have to think you need to go do you get
Scott Hambrick 56:23
great. And then you’ll post physique. The Awesome,
Karl Schudt 56:28
right and then your Instagram will get more likes and you will get more dopamine hits and saga be happy.
Scott Hambrick 56:36
That’s right. All right. Thank you guys so very much for listening goes to the music ideas show. Go to online great books.com/podcast Get on that mailing list. Karl has a blog Karlschudt.com. And I’ve got one of scotthambrick.com follow us on all those places. So as we’re doing this the simplification increases, we’ll have more ways of getting in touch with each other. Talk to you soon.