Frustration, confusion, anxiety, despair, these are the symptoms of sensory overload, a state of mind in which we increasingly find ourselves. We’re drowning in data supply by entities with no regard for our best interest. Your intellectual freedom is at stake, they’re in by everything from academia and big tech to the media and government. Fortunately, you have a way to take back personal control and as a solution founded upon ancient philosophy.
In his book, Restoring Reason, Philosopher Dr. Travis Corcoran demonstrates how the liberal arts provide us with the skillset to evaluate knowledge and draw our own conclusions for clarity, confidence, and freedom. Dr. Corcoran explains the trivium, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom and the foundation it lays for making high-quality decisions for a high-quality life.
Restoring Reason is an intellectual self-defense manual to make sense of the world we live in. Including an analysis of the five biggest social engineers today including corporate interest and legacy media, this reproducible systematic framework will help you see truth, deny falsehoods and lead a fulfilled independent life.
This is the Author Hour Podcast, and I’m your host, Frank Garza. Today, I’m joined by Dr. Travis Corcoran, author of a brand-new book, Restoring Reason: Using the Ancient Liberal Arts To Defend Against Modern Manipulation.
Travis, welcome to the show.
Travis Corcoran: Thanks Frank, thanks for having me.
Frank Garza: To kick things off, could you please share with us a bit about your background and how that led to you writing this book?
Travis Corcoran: Oh man, I’m going to do something different. I never start here, Frank, but I think this would explain exactly why I wrote this book or what made me this way. That was, as a child, when my parents asked me to do something, I would ask “why” all the time. I’m sure I’m not the only child that did that. I think anyone has, any parents [who] have children, they know it can be annoying that the child’s always asking why, why, why. Something that always stuck with me from a very young age in those formative years was, I was always upset or unsatisfied with the answer, “Hey, because I’m your mom, that’s why” “Because I’m your father, that’s why.”
It didn’t give me closure or it didn’t answer the question and so I was always left with this feeling of like, I want to understand, I want to know why. I guess that stuck with me my whole life and then so later on — I could tell you all my educational background and all that stuff but what I see today is that I think a lot of us have been conditioned to just do things because we’re told.
That maybe because you’re told by a teacher, or maybe some other authority figure in the government and we just kind of go along. We stopped asking that question we used to ask as a child, “Why? Why?” And maybe that was because we just didn’t like the answer we were getting so we either gave up or some like me, we kind of leaned into it and wanted to finally resolve it. That’s what I did and it’s helped me a lot to understand things, not just know them and I wanted to give that to other people. That’s why I wrote this book, to give those tools.
Frank Garza: We’re going to talk quite a bit about the trivium and what that is and practicing these three ancient liberal arts. How did you come to that in your life, those principles?
Travis Corcoran: Well, it wasn’t something that was automatic. I was very lucky to be introduced to Sister Miriam Joseph’s book, The Trivium. My background prior to that was in university where I started as a biology major with a minor in philosophy but then switched after the first year.
Once I got reading the philosophy, it had interested me so much that I thought, “Well, I’ll just do a double major.” Philosophy really prepared me to think critically because anyone that’s ever done a university philosophy curriculum or majored in that, the courses in logic is mandatory. You have to take those and — I’ve probably in the book, because I say it all the time when I speak or on podcasts like this — this is no different but logic is to philosophy or clear thinking and reason, just like what math is to the sciences.
Logic is to philosophy what math is to the sciences. You cannot apply the sciences without math. I’m sure, Frank, you don’t know a single scientist, chemist, biologist that doesn’t know what addition and subtraction is, right?
Frank Garza: That’s true.
Travis Corcoran: I know a lot of people say, “I’m a philosopher” or “I read philosophy” and “I’m a critical thinker” and then the moment you start to ask them about logic and they may not even be familiar with the basic operators of logic, you know? Conjunction, disjunction, negation, conditional statements, bi-conditional statements.
Being familiar with the word logic or familiar with what philosophy is, doesn’t make us necessarily a logical person or a philosopher. I mean, I’m familiar with what sumo wrestling is but by no means am I a sumo wrestler. Once I really got to know and understand logic and studied logic, I saw tremendous value there. Unfortunately, it’s a time I was still quite young, I was in my early 20s.
Along with that came, probably a lot of young arrogance at the time because I had just been given this new incredible tool, I had no idea that you could evaluate the quality of statements. I was always pretty good in math and really — I’ve always loved math. I like how you can use that to evaluate quantity but my eyes really opened once I began — once I became a student of logic then I really learned, wow, we can actually evaluate quality as well, not just quantity but the quality of statements.
From there and after lots of stumbling and falling and failure and looking in the mirror with my arrogance that I finally came upon Sister Miriam Joseph’s book and that’s when The Trivium really took off for me because then, logic fell into its appropriate place at the center of the Trivium are those first three liberal arts.
Once I really understood the relationship between knowledge, understanding, and wisdom and I would say, logic is very — that’s what you can call understanding or that second liberal art. Logic is simply the systematic reasoning conducted according to strict principles but knowing where that fits in with knowledge. Then the third liberal art wisdom, the expression of what I know and what I understand, when it all came together, I really saw its potential, that was how it started for me.
Frank Garza: Great, you started to talk about what are the components of the Trivium there where I want to get further into that, I’m going to read a quote from your book here. It says, “The key to restoring reason is to learn how to practice three ancient liberal arts that together are known as the Trivium.” Could you do a deep dive or a definition on what the Trivium is?
Travis Corcoran: Yeah, gladly. The trivium is just the first three of these seven classical liberal arts. I don’t really go too much in the last four or the quadrium much in the book, I don’t find it necessary plus, it’s pretty much worthless until you have a grip on The Trivium which is those first three liberal arts. When I say liberal, I mean, by the etymology of the word “liber” and “al” or from the suffix, “-alis”, meaning over pertaining to “liber-“, which is the root word for liberty or freedom. These are really the arts of freedom, arts pertaining to freedom or liberty.
The first one — by the way, these just come naturally. This is exactly how; I don’t know if you’re a parent, Frank, but if you have a child or you know children, the moment they’re born, they’re just absorbing knowledge. The first face they see, they begin to identify that as mom, the first time they feel hungry, as they get older, they begin to attach words to these feelings or these objects or these people. They’re compiling a database, that’s really your first liberal art knowledge.
The second liberal art, and this usually happens – again, these three arts, they just occur naturally. The second liberal art is, understanding or logic. What happens there is the child around the age of seven and nine, they have such a sufficient database of knowledge that they can begin to ask questions about it, they begin to naturally form inquiry.
One of the best examples that most American audiences will be familiar with is it’s around that age, between seven and nine that a child starts to ask about Santa Claus. Things aren’t adding up, they want to understand.
Frank Garza: Yeah.
Travis Corcoran: How does this fat guy get around to every single house in the world in one night, right? It contradicts their knowledge of motion and travel. How does he go down the chimney and all this stuff? That’s just one example. That’s probably the age where I started asking my parents too, “Why, why, why is the sky blue? Why is this, why that?” The child goes through that, we all go through that system, it’s the natural process of the mind around them and then after another seven years, and most people are familiar with this age, around 14 in the American school system, you become a sophomore, a wise fool.
See, at this point, not only do you have a sufficient database that you can ask questions, you now have a sufficient understanding of some things in the world, some very fundamental things, that can be very empowering. So many teenagers, that’s when they begin their rebellious phase. They’re empowered by an understanding and at that age, they enter the third liberal art or that phase naturally, wisdom, which is the expression of what they know and understand. Of course, they might be incorrect or understanding may be false but they still don’t have a problem expressing that to their teachers, to their parents and other positions of authority, right?
I mean, I think we can all identify with this, we’ve all seen this. Anyone’s watched the growing of a child where you have children, you see them go through all three of these. In fact, Dorothy Sayers, she wrote or actually gave an essay on this, it’s called The Lost Tools of Learning and it’s been transcribed into a 25-page essay and it talks about this brilliantly, how the child goes through these three liberal arts, knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
That’s in short, what the trivium is. What I’m trying to do is just to put the focus back on like [it] happened so long ago, the Renaissance time and Ancient Greek, they just identified these phases of us growing up and wanted to study them more, practice them and enhance them because ultimately, just because you’re — those first seven years, absorbing all this knowledge, that really should never stop.
The rest of your life, you should be accumulating and acquiring more and more knowledge so the quantity of your knowledge is going up as your understanding increases. Then, you have the tools to determine the quality of that knowledge as well. Then, if you’re a third liberal art wisdom or also traditionally called, rhetoric, the expression of that, if you’re effective, then you can have a lot of influence in your community, in your world, the world and that’s basically what they are.
Frank Garza: I want to ask you a little bit about who the target audience is for the book and maybe I’ll get at that by asking why or who would pick up this book and what are they going to get out of, why would they want to read it?
Travis Corcoran: I would say, the target audience, I would say is anyone that has a mind, that wants to think for themselves but the people that are likely to pick — the people that are likely to pick it up are the ones that already have this sneaking suspicion. They know that the mind is incredibly powerful and everything in your life is determined by the quality of your mind. That’s the kind of person that will pick this book up.
Typically, those are people that have been pursuing a lot of self-help that are just tired of the results that were coming through, and finally learning that a lot of it is just good marketing, really. Or entrepreneurs, people that want to do better in business relationships. Basically, any aspect of your life that you want better, the moment you understand that the quality of your life depends 100% on the quality of your mind, then, you’re interested in this book, then you’re interested in nurturing and cultivating the quality of your mind. Those are the people that are going to pick this book up.
The people that are already have acquiesced their mind and are fine with corporate media or big government, big tech telling them what to think, how to think, they’re probably not going to pick this up. It’s the people that understand their mind has incredible value, right? Everything that’s going on in our lives, Frank, is the result of the decisions we make. Those decisions, we make them based on the quality of our decision-making ability, how we think, and that comes from the mind. A higher-quality mind is always going to result in a higher quality life.
Frank Garza: That makes sense and you talk about in the first part of the book, kind of what people are up against and why these principles can be so important to help them combat that and chapter one is titled, “Why Is Our Culture So Poisonous?” Can you get into answering that question? Why is our culture so poisonous?
Travis Corcoran: That’s a big question and a good one. It’s important to note too, how did it come to this, how did it get this way? I know that it’s tough to start a book that way with like the bad news or but we’re never going to make a big change if we don’t accept the reality as it is that we can continue to pretend it is not that bad, which is great. That allows you to never take responsibility. I know it’s not the most positive part of the book, however, it’s something that if we’re being honest with ourselves and we really do want to make a change, we have to look at it.
What I do in that chapter and vary on the book is identify what I think the five biggest culprits are or in another way, I like to look at it as a murder mystery. So the same way a detective walks into a room or is trying to solve a mystery, the first thing that that detective is going to do is determine who are the suspects. Who has means, motive, and opportunity? That’s how in the book I identified those five things like what I would call five big suspects.
In fact, just like an Agatha Christie murder, I’d say it may not be one of them. Maybe all five of them worked in collusion with one another. I think it’s important to bring those up how and why it’s become that way like your question, how did it get this or why is it like that. That’s probably a question to ask the leaders or criminal elements within those five main groups. They could probably answer it better.
Anything I would say would be nothing but speculation. What I want to focus more on is what can I do to defend myself against these murderers of the intellect because that’s how I see them. If I look at society, I can see that we are very deficient in critical thinking and very toxic in emotion. I am not saying that emotions are bad and I talk about this in the book, it’s dangerous to allow them to rule your mind, right?
Because you have many emotions, there is one voice of reason, and that one voice of reason is really what should be in charge. There should be a monarchy inside your mind but we live it seems like reversed, like the external world is a monarchy, these monumental control systems of hierarchy and then our mind ruled by emotion is anarchy and I don’t want chaos in my mind. I want order and that comes from the voice of reason.
The emotions should be advisors, so I think these big institutions that I named, these legacy institutions, they play upon how they have achieved such success as they cater to our emotions, which is a very easy and effective strategy and what it does, it is very effectively shut down our ability to think critically or silenced or murdered that voice of reason and that’s my best speculation on how we got to where we are.
Frank Garza: Could you name those five institutions again just so we get that out there to people?
Travis Corcoran: Yeah, of course. I would say that is big government, big tech, legacy media, academia, and big corporations or mega-corporations. When I say corporations, I don’t mean the small mom-and-pop shop down the street that’s selling donuts, I mean the major corporations, right?
Frank Garza: Yeah.
Travis Corcoran: Once they have influence in the government and they begin working hand in hand, it almost seems like the lines are blurred between them and that’s why academia has become the way it is. We talk about school as this great thing, the right to an education, however, if it’s paid for by government and the government does not have your best interest, then why would they conduct funding for a system that is empowering you?
This is a tough thing for people to consider and I am not saying that that’s the way it is but if you were to read anything by John Taylor Gatto or look into the depression model of schooling, —which is basically what’s founded everything that happened now in terms of compulsory or government-mandated education — it may not appear to be this wonderful right or gift, this free “education” because it’s almost not education. It’s really schooling.
Knowledge Is The Precursor to True Understanding and Action
Frank Garza: The second half of the book gets more into how do you put these theories into practice. You have a chapter on business and work relationships, healthcare, and politics and I want to dig into at least one of these. The one that I found particularly interesting was healthcare. How will applying these principles help you with healthcare?
Travis Corcoran: Well first, it helps you to see through some of the deception, errors and reason, contradictions, logical inconsistencies that we hear all the time from so-called healthcare. There’s another perspective, what is called healthcare is a bit of a misnomer because many people I know and yourself as well probably, you often don’t seek out a healthcare specialist until you’re sick.
It’s really not healthcare, it’s sick care. You go to them and they’ll care for the sickness or the symptom or the disease, the diagnosis. That’s what gets the attention. The true healthcare practitioner is going to make sure that you stay in good health, that you eat properly, move properly. There is no interference to the workings of your nervous system, cardiovascular systems, they are doing things preventative.
What is predominantly called healthcare now is really nothing more than sick care, so using these tools first helps break down these structures or perspectives that weren’t serving you. They more or less serve the industry around what’s falsely called healthcare and because these three little arch they come that it’s not some new discovery or great technology, this is simply just how the mind works naturally and health is also a very natural thing.
What’s made us so sick and not just physically but I’d like to say socially and emotionally too as a lot of people suffering, that can be almost directly related in proportion to our distance from nature. The more we become cultural instead of natural, we make cultural healthcare decisions.
We don’t make natural healthcare decisions and one of the reasons we do that is a lack of understanding.
If you don’t understand nature, you don’t understand physiology, you don’t understand how health is built and maintained, then you are certainly more positioned to believe a cultural promise that is going to alleviate all of your problems with ease. That doesn’t require responsibility on your part, any understanding on your part, it only needs compliance and that’s what’s so alluring about it.
A quick fix, an injection of morphine or swallowing a tablet to give me more energy, less energy to hush this symptom, which is an alarm that you have a health problem. We just want to kill the alarm system, then we consider ourselves healed and healthy. One of the best examples is you take someone who, I don’t know, Frank, if you were feeling under the weather, you ate some bad sushi, I don’t know and I hope not.
Frank Garza: It sounds like a bad day.
Travis Corcoran: Yeah, had you done that and there are some microbes in there that weren’t very friendly to your body, the intelligence and beauty of your body identifies that so, it is going to do some things for you. Those things may not be comfortable. It is going to raise your temperature, which we call fever and that’s to raise the temperature so those microbes die off. Maybe you’ll vomit because your body wants to eliminate that so it doesn’t stay and reproduce and spread systemically throughout your body.
I don’t know about you but I do not enjoy vomiting, I do not enjoy a fever, I don’t enjoy headaches, however, your body is doing those things to serve you. Our so-called healthcare system would prefer — which by the way is great in emergencies, I’ve had some great success with emergency medical professionals that I would say probably saved my life but — we rush too quickly to this so-called healthcare system so that they can give me a tablet or something else to lower that fever or to stop me from vomiting.
The result is, “Oh, I feel better, Frank. No more fever, no more vomiting.” However, am I healthier now? What I’ve done [is] I now have to, my liver and kidney, have to detoxify from those pharmaceutical products and I’ve allowed that microbe to stay in there and reproduce and do more long-term damage. Does that make sense?
Frank Garza: Yeah, that does, thank you.
Travis Corcoran: Here it is, I am actually healthy, that is a healthy response, the fever and the vomiting. Now, I am functioning well but I feel bad. That can happen with health. The opposite example would be this, I feel intense pain or emotional pain and I take morphine from the hospital or heroin from the street, same active chemicals. You take that morphine or that heroin and that person feels good.
Would you say that that person is healthy? See, they’re not functioning well obviously but they feel good. That is not health, however, this is precisely how our entire “healthcare system” works. They measure health by how you feel instead of by how you function and they are quick to give you all these things to treat those feelings, feeling of headache or feeling of back pain or feeling of vomiting, feeling of radiating pain.
Take this pill, take this tablet, take this procedure, do an intense operation or surgery, and hopefully, if it’s successful, you don’t feel that anymore. There is no measure of function. Now, this isn’t across the board obviously. There were times where an unfortunate accident, car accident, or a fall or something and someone does need prosthetics or an intense procedure or rehabilitation, emergency medical care or I get in a car wreck and my arm gets cut off, I want the medical system to sew that back on.
Now, healing that, my body has to do that. Once they have sewed the arm back on, it’s up to my body and to start growing the skin back together and all of this stuff. You know, just like you, if you broke your arm, it’s not the cast or the protection thing around your arm that starts growing it back. If I get a cut on my skin that little bandage isn’t what grows the skin back. It’s this intelligence inside my body that is reproducing cells as necessary and we should be — healthcare is working with that intelligence and enhancing it, not numbing the alarm systems to a health problem.
All of this is much easier to understand with the trivium. When you have sufficient knowledge and that knowledge is correct and you have a true understanding, then you can take action that serves you and if you’re really good and influential, you can serve the people around you too.
Frank Garza: Yeah, it makes sense. Thank you for tying that together.
Travis Corcoran: Yep.
Frank Garza: Well, writing a book is such a feat, so congratulations on getting this published. Is there anything else about you or the book that you want to make sure our listeners know before we wrap up?
Travis Corcoran: I would say I would love it if people were simply — the book is not like a full course and how-to. It is definitely not a course in logic or research and all of that stuff but what it’s meant to do is inspire people to take responsibility and ownership of their mind. That is the whole reason I wrote this. I mentioned that earlier, about the deficiency in critical thinking. I really think that’s the problem or at the core of all of our problems in society right now.
Taking responsibility for our mind is the first step to making a better world and I’m in contact with a lot of people who have so much compassion for the world, big visions and stuff and they often say, “Oh, I want to change the world.” First I always ask them, “How can that be if you can’t change your mind?” “I want to be a leader.” Well, you can’t even lead your own life, let’s focus — you can be a leader but let’s focus on you first.”
That’s what this book is meant to be and should we inspire people that they have incredible opportunity and potential within them. It all starts with their mind and if they take it seriously and pursue it, in the book, throughout the book, I’ve given — you’ve seen it, there’s so much recommended reading in there. If there’s something that really interests them or they want to go further, I’ve recommended all sorts of books in there, all sorts.
That’s what I’d like everyone to know about the book. It should be an inspiration to take ownership and responsibility of your mind and that will definitely change your life. About me, that’s as people get to know me, that comes with time. I’m not very good at talking about myself but I will say that, like what you said, writing the book is interesting. I’ve probably learned a lot more about myself than I had if I hadn’t written that book and I’m certain that other people should really consider doing the same, whether they publish or not, it was fun. I’m saying that diplomatically, it was fun.
Frank Garza: Awesome. Travis, this has been such a pleasure, thank you so much for putting this book out into the world. The book is called, Restoring Reason. Besides checking out the book, where can people find you?
Travis Corcoran: They can always find me on Facebook as long as I’m not banned or censored, you know, that thing is changing quite a bit there. They can always find me on Facebook, they can also email me at [email protected] or [email protected] and I usually respond to Facebook messenger fairly quick and my emails as well. Usually, if it’s Facebook messenger, [you’ll] usually get a message back from me within a day or two. If it’s email, also, two days.
Frank Garza: Thank you, Travis.
Travis Corcoran: My pleasure, Frank, thanks for having me on.