Once the center of Western culture, the University has lost its way. For centuries, it was a force both stabilizing and civilizing, training young minds to discover the perennial truths by which they were elevated above the merely material concerns of our baser nature. The University was a center of wisdom, guiding us to the principles by which we ought all to live.
Today, however, we observe a culture in decay, and the root cause is the University itself. We could point to many particulars: such as the marginalization of philosophy and the humanities; bad theories about truth, meaning, reality, and the human person; the expanse of programs into glorified vocational training (with exorbitant tuition fees); the bloat of unnecessary administrative and bureaucratic positions; or the many strains of progressive ideology that have supplanted and squelched the wisdom of tradition. Regardless of which causes we identify, the result is the same: students may graduate barely capable of composing a complete sentence, ignorant of what distinguishes valid from invalid argument, and oblivious to the manipulative linguistic machinations to which they are daily subject through advertising and political discourse.
Yet, even had the University not lost its way, even had it maintained the integrity necessary to fulfilling its mission, it would today remain inadequate. The challenges faced in the digital age exceed the capacities of a temporally-constrained system of credentialing. We need not only principles of wisdom, but a means for continued recurrence to those principles. Fortunately, for all the challenges it creates, the digital age also enables us to create those very means: to learn how to question, how to think, how to be free in mind and adept in language, logic, and argument.
For that, we need philosophical habit: that is, the habit of reflecting upon on our own understanding, for questioning truly what we do not understand, for remaining humble in the face of the unknown or the confusing, and diligent in seeking resolution of our intellectual difficulties.
It is mission of the Lyceum Institute to provide a digital environment dedicated to fostering the philosophical habit—of questioning the truth of things and the good of life—in all its members, as we collectively pursue the never-ending education of a truly mind-liberating nature.
Much of education depends upon the atmosphere in which we immerse ourselves, and, in the twenty-first century, we all inhabit a digital atmosphere. The Lyceum Institute seeks a continual, communal, and thoughtful ennobling of that atmosphere.