Andrew Kern

Andrew Kern is the founder and president of The CiRCE Institute and the co-author of the book, Classical Education: the Movement Sweeping America

Andrew Kern Jul 11, 2014

I've read that people become happier around 50 and I've wondered why. I figure it probably has something to do with time. 

Perhaps people in their later years accept that they cannot escape time, both its raveges and its potentials.

When one is younger, perhaps, he can cling to the delusion that a decision can bring something to an end, that by making some sort of big, dramatic decision, one can attain a stability. 

Andrew Kern Jul 8, 2014

I'm suffering from an embarrasing problem. It boils down to this: I believe that Christ makes sense of the cosmos and of life, and that without Him life doesn't end up making sense. 

Only, I don't believe this in some heartfelt, sentimental way, as in, "I believe there's a reason for everything that happens," or some such vacuous avoidance of reality that is true but not meaningful in most contexts. I'm not talking about a feeling or a shortcut to consolation.

I believe that in actual fact Christ makes sense of everything. 

Andrew Kern Jul 3, 2014

A Few Axioms


We imitate: It would be sensible to ignore the pride that strives to transcend that. 

We are an imitation: It would be good to embrace the Glory that comes with that. 

We are imitated: It would be wise to embrace the responsibility that comes with that. 

It is our wisdom and glory sensibly to humble ourselves by choosing responsibly who and what we imitate and by doing it well, for we become what we behold.

Andrew Kern Jun 29, 2014

Gabriel was an angry and ambitious young man determined to change the world, but he was having a bad day. Only a half an hour earlier, at 10:00 AM, a friend had been arrested for ineffectively tossing a bomb at a car, the main effect of which was apparently to scratch the nape of a lady's neck, pop some tires, blow out a store-front window, bloody the Sunday dress of some people in the crowd, and lightly wound an aide to the dignitary he had targeted. Sure, the lady was a duchess; still, the achievement failed to match the youthful and idealistic ambitions of the bomb-thrower. 

Andrew Kern Jun 18, 2014

I never did well accepting the nasally comments by professors about the flaws in great books. For some reason, and I think that reason is the amount of time my family and church directed by attention to the Bible, I started out liking glib answers but came in pretty rapid order to dislike them. 

Andrew Kern Jun 17, 2014

The classical tradition has been polluted by four streams of thought, each of which is ultimately rooted in conscious or unconscious antipathy to the human soul. 

Naturalism, which took its educational form as Utiliatrianism, is a rejection of anything transcendent. It arose in the 17th and 18th centuries out of the fear that somebody might learn something that everybody else can't easily see for themselves. It leads to the idea that learning is measured by its usefulness and validates itself, for the most part, through measurable assessments. 

Andrew Kern Jun 4, 2014

There is no doubt in my mind that the greatest joy of teaching comes from seeing something you can't control happen: a soul transformed or nourished in a way that leads to visible growth in thoughts and deeds. I can't imagine what would tempt a person to teach if he didn't expect to see this happen. 

That is why the CiRCE apprenticeship is one of my favorite activities. After three years of immersion in classical mentoring, all or at least most of the teachers will testify that it did them good. Some will tell you they were transformed. 

Andrew Kern May 16, 2014

A while back I didn't have anything to do so I played cards with some politicians and won the state of North Carolina. Not knowing what to do with all my new-found riches, I tossed my bread upon the waters and found that a new horse came back to me. That is to say, I bought a horse with the intention of running it in the Kentucky Derby. 

It was a perfect horse, sired by a perfect sire, haunches and paunches perfectly proportioned, teeth perfectly aligned, eyes perfectly fixed on the next race, legs perfectly designed for speed and fury. So we named it Secretariaticus. 

Andrew Kern May 16, 2014

I came across these notes this morning. They were noted in June of 2004, which I find interesting. 

If Christian morality has any validity -  if it aligns with or expresses a natural law - it is very challenging to imagine a way the quasi-civilization we've manufactured can continue much longer. 

Andrew Kern May 8, 2014

The Logos enables us to move across what we have come to call "subjects", arts, disciplines, and sciences without losing our bearings. In other words, it, and it alone, allows for an actually integrated curriculum. 

Every art, science, or artifact has its own logos that makes it what it is. This is, perhaps, easier to see in the sciences, since some of them actually end with a variation on logos, such as biology, cosmology, etc.