Cicero

Civic Perspective and the Cosmos

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“‘Come!’ said Africanus, ‘how long will your mind be chained to the Earth?’” Before setting out for Los Angeles, the scholars invited to the National Academy for Civics in Government read the Dream of Scipio. It’s about finding perspective. Where you look for answers shapes what you believe you know about the question.  Those chains can tie us down to the wrong question. In a previous post, we turned to a contemporary space traveler to emphasize the point. From astronaut Michael Collins’s 1974 book, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journey: I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could…

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Being Human

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We are a people who need a frontier. Carl Sagan provided these words as he reflected on space exploration long before Atlantis launched into space for the last time. You’ve seen these reflections on Politicolor through our imagined conversation between Cicero and astronaut Michael Collins. As Sagan notes in this video, the space program did not provide “bread on the table” results that changed our everyday. It’s value might be best understood in what it revealed about us and the human experience. Shifting perspectives reveals as much about previous commitments as it does new ones. We do in fact have plenty of…

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Cicero’s View from 100,000 Miles

Cicero’s View from 100,000 Miles

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How is the first picture of Earth from space the most powerful political picture ever published? Marking the 40th anniversary of the famous picture, a British newspaper, The Independent, remarked that the three astronauts of the Apollo 8 mission “went to the moon, but ended up discovering the Earth.” The British cosmologist, Sir Fred Hoyle, had predicted the first image of Earth from space would forever change how we view the planet. Reviewing a photo of the Earth brought back from the Apollo 11 mission, Carl Sagan explained just how our perspective had changed, “Look again at that dot. That’s…

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2009 National Institute

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As someone who has attended two of the Center of the Constitution’s weekend programs, I was overly excited when I was accepted to the 2009’s National Institute.  Of course I couldn’t wait to pick Will’s brain for more and more insight, but quickly I have learned this Institute is much more than that. This institute is a way not to just learn about polity and community, but to also build our very own community and polity. As I climbed  the mountain behind Occidental,with a few of my friends, to watch the beautiful California sunset, I finally figured why we were here at Occidental. We…

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My Wish for You: A Letter to My Students Past, Present and Future

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Katie Reen graciously shared a copy of her oral exam paper incorporating her insighhts from the National Academy at Occidental College last summer. Katie’s students are 11 and 12 years old and she explains, “The concept of my paper is a letter to my students, past, present and future about what I wish for them as people and as citizens.” Below is the section related to citizenship… Now you know that no love letter written to you from me would be complete without my wishes for you as citizens of our community, our country and our world.  And you may…

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A Day at the Beach

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It was the first weekend of the National Academy. In a daze, Keith made his way to Venice Beach and found he was surrounded… Cicero Aristotle Moses Madison And perhaps worst of all, he knew he was trapped in a covenant he could never leave… –posted by Shellee with many thanks to Keith for the pictures

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