15 ideas to contemplate

I mentioned in my previous post that if you want to train the mind you need to give it ideas to contemplate. I’ve been contemplating for about 15 years what might be the most powerful ideas to contemplate, and here’s a list of them. Happily, they come in triumvirates.

  • Truth, goodness, and beauty
  • Wisdom, virtue, and personhood
  • Freedom, justice, and community
  • Nature, purpose, and propriety
  • Being, mode, and change

Please don’t do classes on each or even seminars (except, maybe, for juniors and seniors). But get everybody in your school, especially the teachers, thinking about these things. These are the threads that hold your tapestry together, the coals that keep the fire burning.

In another post, I’ll discuss how we can contemplate them – even in the pre-school!


(recommended resources: CiRCE Apprenticeship, CiRCE teacher training, 2009 CiRCE Conference CD’s, Mortimer Adler: How to Think about the Great Ideas, The Syntopicon (volumes 2 and 3 in the great books set), casual conversations with friends about any book or event or experience keeping one or more of these ideas in mind as you think about it)

3 Responses

  1. Thanks, Andrew, for this handy list. I’ve put each “triumvirate” on a card on my desk, ready for intentional and/or impromptu consideration.

    I think these will also be helpful as I plan our in-service training this year. Thanks to the Circe conference, I plan to build in some colloquy time to allow for purposeful rambling.

  2. I’m eagerly awaiting info on the 2009 conference recordings. 🙂

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