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Ralston College presents a conversation between Stephen Blackwood and award-winning architect and author Marwa Al-Sabouni, followed by an audience Q&A. A voice of penetrating clarity and prophetic power, Al-Sabouni discusses the role of architecture in cultivating or undermining our social fabric, arguing that the seeds of the devastating Syria Civ…
 
In Part II of their discussion Stephen Blackwood and Alexander Stoddart speak about the transhistorical community of past, present, and future. Stoddart explicates his Schopenhauerian view of art as life-denying and thus paradoxically able to help us relinquish our own will to power. He contrasts this view with that of a shallow presentism, a self-…
 
Ralston College presents a conversation between Stephen Blackwood and Alan Dershowitz, followed by an audience Q & A. The discussion begins with Professor Dershowitz describing the early influences that awakened his appreciation for civil liberties—particularly free speech—and the origins of his fiercely independent thinking. The subsequent convers…
 
Have we killed Homer for good? Stephen Blackwood and historian-farmer Victor Davis Hanson examine the state of the contemporary West by returning to its ancient Greek origins. They explore the richness of its first principles, including self-critique, the elevation of rational understanding, the democratization of learning, and the unification of t…
 
Ralston College presents a lecture with Andrew Doyle followed by a discussion and audience Q & A with Stephen Blackwood. Doyle discusses his new book, ‘Free Speech and Why it Matters,’ and offers trenchant examples of recent curtailment of the freedom of speech and thought. He provides a lively account of why free speech and free expression are vit…
 
Should art be beautiful? This forbidden question guides Stephen Blackwood’s conversation with eminent sculptor and aesthetic luminary, Alexander Stoddart. Stoddart describes, in his usual incandescent fashion, his aesthetic awakening and his views on the failings of modernist and contemporary art. He also speaks about iconoclasm, about art’s battle…
 
Stephen Blackwood speaks with Harry Lewis, legendary Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University (where he taught both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg). They discuss the tragic limits of narrowly vocational approaches to education—with which many young people are pressured to conform—by contrast with education that fosters true self-reflecti…
 
Ralston College presents a lecture by Dr Anthony Daniels (aka Theodore Dalrymple) on Ivan Turgenev’s 1862 “Fathers and Sons”, followed by a conversation about the novel with Dr Stephen Blackwood. Daniels illuminates the depth of Turgenev’s insight into the revolutionary mindset, and its relevance to the nihilism of our own time and culture. This ev…
 
How does humor work and why is it needed more than ever? Stephen Blackwood talks with comedian and political satirist Andrew Doyle (aka, Titania McGrath) as they explore the sovereignty of truth, the metaphysical implications of satire, the role of humor in friendship, and why the asking of real questions is always a reason for hope.…
 
Stephen Blackwood speaks with Freeman Dyson, the late mathematical-physicist and renowned free thinker. They begin with a discussion of education and of the formative experiences that inspired Dyson's intellectual curiosity and courage. The conversation then ranges from evolution to particle physics to consciousness as they discuss the free and non…
 
In this complementary episode to the reading of ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich,’ Stephen Blackwood speaks with Dr Donna Orwin, professor of Russian literature at the University of Toronto. Dr Orwin provides context for Tolstoy and his world, and the two discuss the style, structure, and unfolding layers of meaning within this masterpiece novella.…
 
In this first episode of a new series, Stephen Blackwood reads Leo Tolstoy’s classic novella, ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich.’ A masterful text from one of history’s great writers, it tells the story of a man whose fatal illness forces him to confront the shallow assumptions of his life and the slowly encroaching, inevitable reality of death. ‘Ivan Ilyi…
 
How does one cultivate creativity and independence of mind? Stephen Blackwood talks to physicist and entrepreneur Stephen Wolfram about his precocious and largely self-educated early life and his ascent to become a world-class scientist, an innovator in computational theory, and the founder of a global company. They discuss how to pursue and develo…
 
Stephen Blackwood talks with Cal Newport, writer and professor of computer science. They begin by reflecting on the historically unparalleled challenges and distractions of the digital age. They then discuss strategies to reclaim our mental autonomy, the generative power of non-instrumental thinking, and the fundamental dynamic of thought and life.…
 
North Korean defector and human rights champion Yeonmi Park speaks with Stephen Blackwood about her journey to freedom: first from an oppressive political regime, then from slavery in China, and then from her own inner humiliation and fear. They speak about agency, resilience, and redemption, as well as the life of the mind, our need for others, an…
 
What connects truth, imagination, and freedom? Stephen Blackwood talks with philosopher-theologian Douglas Hedley about the human mind and its participation in a fundamentally knowable universe. The conversation begins with an introduction to three foundational aspects of the Platonic tradition — beauty, nature, and self-knowledge — and to the infl…
 
In Part II of their conversation, Stephen Blackwood and Iain McGilchrist discuss questions of theology, science, and philosophy, including: the shared nature of human life, revealed anew by the COVID-19 pandemic; 'unfolding' as a metaphor for actualization; freedom, necessity, and reason; and the fundamental role of the humanities in a thriving cul…
 
In this lecture for the Temenos Academy in London, delivered on June 19th, 2019, Stephen Blackwood offers a powerful reading of the ancient Roman writer Boethius and his magnum opus The Consolation of Philosophy. After tracing the Ancient Greek roots from which it draws, Blackwood sketches the Consolation’s investigation of how the individual can a…
 
Are we living through an era of madness? Stephen Blackwood sits down with best-selling author Douglas Murray to discuss manifestations of madness in contemporary culture. They explore the metaphysical system sustaining present ideologies, consider the necessity of meaning and forgiveness, and move beyond to discuss the transcendent values and works…
 
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