John Charalambakis delivering a presentation

“Unfolding geopolitical and geoeconomic reality as viewed by classical works of literature.”

Salon Discussion | Dr. John Charalambakis | May 9, 2023

“Whether we talk about Herodotus, Thucydides, Montesquieu, or Gibbon, the fundamental element is that history illuminates human conditions. If we take it a step further, we discover that history is not the unpeeling of the past but the breathing in of the living foundations of the present and sometimes of the future too.” – John Charalambakis, PhD, Discussion leader

As we find ourselves in an era of transformation characterized by great power conflict and economic fragmentation, we can only truly begin to understand the swirling dynamics of the present and illuminate the way forward if we first seek the truths from the works of great historians, philosophers, authors, and the like. We hope you will join us in our endeavor to assess the world we find ourselves in today by diving into the Remnant Trust’s collection of classical works to shed light on contemporary conditions.

Informing the discussion were the following six selected classic works from the Remnant Trust Wisdom of the Ages Athenaeum* with brief readings from the works provided.

  1. The Prince by Machiavelli, 1st ed., 1640
  2. The Law of War and Peace by Grotius, 1646
  3. Frankenstein by Shelley, 3rd American, 1869
  4. The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, 1st Eng. ed., 1550
  5. Two Treatises of Government by John Locke, 2nd Corrected, 1694
  6. Politiques, Or Discovrses of Government by Aristotle, 1st Eng. ed., 1598

Classical Works and the Unfolding Geopolitical and Geoeconomic Reality

  • What kind of norms did the character Frankenstein try to defy and why?
  • Who are the modern Frankensteins who demonstrate dereliction of duties and run away from their monster creations?
  • Are we headed into a Thucydides Trap in an era marked by great power rivalry?
  • What does Euripides teach us about the sins of commission and omission and who can play the role of a modern Electra who brings catharsis to the contemporary Mycenean kingdom
  • What do Agamemnon, Xerxes, Napoleon, and Hitler have in common?
  • Is Daniel Defoe’s story of Robinson Crusoe about individualism and the return to a state of nature, or about the birth of a new country whose people desired a state of affairs where liberty reigned supreme?
  • What is the common parameter in World War I and II?
  • What is the underlying joint factor/force in Defoe’s and John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government and what does that have to do with the elements that foster and nurture power
  • How does the Aristotelian principle of the One, the Few, and the Many fit into today’s paradigm of a rising egotistical tragedy of the commons where institutional corruption robs critical thinking?
  • From Aristotle to Machiavelli: If a good life presupposes a virtuous life, what is the role of the Prince in times of crisis?

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