The following were solicited but freely given testimonials from three Lyceum members:
The Lyceum is a one of the hidden nooks of the net that has the potential to start a revolution–one that may never be tweeted.
It is a space outside of academia, outside of a system that is ambiguous in its purposes and about its values. Academia, for its staff and students, is not generally speaking, conducive to real seeking: to seeking the reality of things, in a comprehensive manner. As such, and except in specific cases, it is prone in its current institutional makeup, to disconnected, depersonalised and decontextualised, ad hoc, nihilist and inauthentic, presentations of knowledge, modes of learning and knowledge production or research. The Lyceum represents, precisely, its antithesis.
The Lyceum is not only an ideal, a nostalgic and (therefore, inevitably) ambiguous attempt to return to some romanticised classical culture. The authenticity of the Lyceum culture—as exemplified by its founder and as lived through interactions between its founder and participant—calls for it to be invested in modern problems, to critically appropriate ideas from any source, submit them to rigorous analysis and application, ultimately seeking through them a means to better understand (and increase in certainty about) the way things are, the way they ought to be, what one’s role is in bridging this gap; where ‘things’ refer to the entirety of beings. Why? As the learning and acknowledging of such knowledge, to the extent that we hunger for it, is not only what it is to be human, but is urgent for rescuing us from the many deep crevices of misunderstanding which modern life has lead us into, and which work to prevent us from the truly happy life.
Before joining the Lyceum, I was already familiar with Dr. Kemple, as I had received mentoring from him in the summer months before he launched the Lyceum community. From this, I was quite confident in his ability to teach and express ideas, and that my membership would not be in vain. Now that I have spent a few months as a Lyceum member, I do not have any regrets.
People expect to join the Lyceum to enrich their knowledge of philosophy, and while this is true and is indeed a highly likely result, there is something more subtly learned as well: orienting oneself towards having meaningful exchanges with people over the internet. That might sound a little funny at first, but the premise is very important: I am currently 20 years old, and much of my experience using the internet has been watching other people squander time over minutia, meaning I too am doing the very same thing. I have spent hours upon hours scrolling through my Twitter feed, where oftentimes my biggest reward for doing so is being able to flash a grin at a post that is funny in the moment. Being a part of a generation highly accustomed to using a computer and social media platforms, most people are predisposed to being subjected to an endless flood of memes and jokes. For most people around my age, putting forth the most serious of your own ideas into the digital realm is an alien concept, as they are too accustomed to going to the internet to stream a quirky TV show, or to scroll through a social media feed until it is time to sleep. But it is rarely thought of as a place to help yourself understand the world around them.
This is why the Lyceum is crucial in a time where people have too much access to “digital noise” (to quote Dr. Kemple): it is a community for every one of us to strive to better our philosophical habits, to make our own ideas clearer, and/or to strengthen them. This what I see as the ultimate direction for the Lyceum, for every member to move towards the true, the good and the beautiful, with the help of one another.
I have a schedule that is quite unpredictable, so I wasn’t sure if the Lyceum would work for me. I finally decided to give it a go and I am really glad I did. I’ve been a member for two months now and honestly I feel a little guilty because I’ve received far more value than I’ve paid for. I’ve been studying Thomistic philosophy on my own for over ten years, so I am no beginner in that respect, but I have learned an incredible amount from Dr. Kemple in my short time at the Lyceum. It’s very exciting to be on the ground level of what I believe can and will be a true game changer in how we use technology.