The Imitation of Heroes

By |2021-05-29T05:45:43-05:00May 28th, 2021|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Classical Education, Classics, Featured, Liberal Learning, Phaedo, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College, Timeless Essays|

The demise of imitation has been devastating for personal growth. It used to be a commonplace that successful people need to have extraordinary “heroes” whom they admire and try to emulate. But the historical disciplines in the twentieth century waged something of a war against the very idea of the hero. Imitation, like so many [...]

Car Repair, Self-Interest, & the Benevolent Investor

By |2021-05-19T10:43:50-05:00May 19th, 2021|Categories: Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, Christopher B. Nelson, Happiness, Liberal Learning, St. John's College, Timeless Essays|

The figure of the universally benevolent man seems in many circles to have taken a back seat to the stunted, self-centered Economic Man. We ought to ask ourselves: Are we losing a nuanced sense of self-interest rightly understood? I have been reminiscing a lot lately, probably a sign of my age. But I recently came to [...]

Fit for the World

By |2021-05-19T07:45:07-05:00May 5th, 2019|Categories: Antigone, Apology, Christopher B. Nelson, Essential, Great Books, Humanities, Liberal Learning, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

The mysteries of the human heart, and of the soul within you, are every bit as wondrous as the mysteries of the political and the natural worlds. And so you have asked questions of the world, in part because it is your nature to wish to know, in part because you wish to know your [...]

On Being Eva

By |2021-04-03T15:54:25-05:00January 21st, 2019|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jacob Klein, St. John's College|

Eva Brann seems to have a refreshing effect on all who meet her. This must have something to do with her openness to the world in all its manifestations, her spritely and generous spirit, her mischievous love of play, and her gift of friendship. Today, she still looks like she is experiencing a giddy delight [...]

Music of the Republic

By |2021-02-09T15:34:37-06:00July 8th, 2018|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Classics, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Music, Plato, St. John's College, Timeless Essays, Virtue|

Music pervades our lives and always has. It has taken you outside of yourselves and taken you deep within. It has been associated with things divine… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Christopher Nelson as he explores the music of the Republic of the United States of [...]

What Is Unique About St. John’s College?

By |2019-06-10T15:45:29-05:00July 27th, 2017|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Classical Education, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

Join The Imaginative Conservative's Winston Elliott as he talks with Christopher Nelson, president of St. John's College, about his service at St John’s, and about the unique kind of liberal arts education offered there. President Nelson discusses the mission of St. John's College, the role of the Great Books in their classes, and explains the [...]

Is the Future of Reading at Risk?

By |2021-05-19T01:37:06-05:00April 20th, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Featured, Liberal Learning, Modernity, St. John's College, Technology|

Some educators are beginning to worry that the wired generation is going to give up serious reading altogether. Judging from our experience here at St. John’s, the future of reading is not at risk. Our students prove every day that it’s perfectly possible to be fully plugged in and at the same time to be [...]

Slogans: Belief without Thought

By |2019-09-05T10:42:20-05:00April 6th, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Education, Featured, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Socrates, St. John's College|

A good slogan, whether it’s comical or serious, catches your attention. Slogans satisfy our innate desire for simplicity and pith. Sometimes they even rhyme, which implants them deeply into our minds—rhyme and music being powerful aids to memory. (Remember the rhyme “Thirty days hath September, / April, June, and November”? How could you forget it?) [...]

Warren Buffett and Liberal Education

By |2021-02-09T15:23:40-06:00March 22nd, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Education, Featured, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

The separation of knowledge into categories frustrates the human desire for unity. Each of us is a student of the world, a whole individual trying to make integral sense of the world, and striving to make that world our own. Settling in to college life this fall, students seem to be following a drumbeat toward [...]

The Elements: The Key to Understanding the Cosmos

By |2021-02-09T12:51:30-06:00March 3rd, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Education, Featured, Iliad, Mathematics, Plato, St. John's College|

The quest for elements is the best way we humans have of getting to the roots of things and making sense of our experience. And working at this together, in a community dedicated to learning, is one of the best services we can do, both for our own souls and for those of our fellow [...]

Why Liberal Education in a Capitalist Society?

By |2019-08-08T12:21:03-05:00February 17th, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Classical Education, Classical Learning, Education, Featured, Imagination, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

As the president of an American college with a distinctive approach to liberal learning, I have watched from afar with great interest as curiosity has grown in Europe about liberal, as opposed to specialized, higher education. That curiosity has now culminated in this gathering, where we are sharing our thoughts about grounding an education on [...]

The World of Imagination in Mathematics

By |2019-08-06T17:32:12-05:00December 26th, 2015|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Education, Featured, Mathematics, St. John's College|

Welcome to St. John’s College. To our returning students, faculty and staff, welcome back. To our freshmen and their families, we are very happy to have you joining us. In the next few days, you freshmen will begin working your way through a book that I think, more than any other, serves as an exemplar [...]

An Unexpected Bestseller: Plutarch’s “Lives”

By |2021-05-19T09:27:01-05:00December 3rd, 2015|Categories: Aristotle, Christopher B. Nelson, Featured, Liberal Learning, Plutarch, Rome, St. John's College|

Now that school is back in session, I will shortly be resuming a study group that began last year on Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans. I thought I might say just two things here about the particular excellence of this great book—that it fuses history and philosophy, and that it promotes the [...]

Liberal Education Makes You Free

By |2021-05-19T11:52:54-05:00November 27th, 2015|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Education, Featured, Imagination, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

The aim of liberal education is to help people become free. It tries to educate people who are free to search out knowledge on their own, people who are not dependent on others to tell them what they need to know, and ultimately, people who are the best judges of their own needs. It tries [...]

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