This is an ongoing online conference over zoom from May to June 2020. The conference will cover topics overlapping the Renaissance principle across the ages and civilizations. Presentations already available (and which can be found below) include:

How to Conquer Tyranny and Avoid Tragedy: A Lesson on How to Defeat Systems of Empire

Life at the End of an Empire: St. Augustine’s Fight to Save Platonic Christianity

The Forgotten Christian-Jewish-Muslim-Confucian Alliance and the 7-9th Century Silk Road

Islam and the Renaissance: A Shared Heritage

The Mind, Life and Insight of Confucius (Chinese Spirituality, Religion and Ethics )”

Dante’s Comedia (Or How to Escape from a Modern Inferno)

Upcoming classes will include the discussion of the Chinese Confucian Renaissance and the Italian Renaissance. If you are interested in participating in these future conferences over zoom, you can contact us at

It is common today to be confronted with the belief that any country, any civilization that gains a certain degree of power, will be destined to become an empire. After all, we are in an American system of empire right now that is presently clashing with competing systems of empire from the East, correct? Well, this is at least, the thinking that has been driving 75 years of cold war to this present day. That despite us being told that the cold war ended in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is rather evident that this cold war is still ongoing. So is humanity doomed? Can a flourishing and prosperous civilization avoid the seductions of empire? At first glance looking at history, the answer looks rather bleak for us. It can easily look like the good is always losing to tyranny. The list is seemingly endless of assassinations, betrayals, the folly of the populace, the madness of the mob, the degree of villainy that tyranny is willing to commit; such that it seems nothing genuinely good has the ability to last for very long before it falls once again into the clutches of tyranny. It is true that we would be very hard pressed indeed to find an example in our history where a great civilization did not undergo periods of empire and that many great civilizations entirely collapsed as a result of it. Many of these former systems of empire still exist as large cities or countries today. If these regions were to once again hold immense power, would they return to the whim of empire? Such a question cannot be answered until we have a thorough understanding of what causes a civilization to enter into a system of empire. By this I do not mean a cold, calculating summary of events and dates of “historical” significance. What I mean by a study of history, is the story, the drama behind the events that took place. What moved the people in their passions, their concerns, their fears that shaped the judgements and actions of their time. By us entering into the drama as if we were participants ourselves within these potent moments in history, we will in turn be able to look upon our own time with fresh eyes. We will be able to compare how our thoughts were different and how they were similar to those of the great civilisations of the distant past; and by observing how their thoughts culminated into the consequences of large events in history, we can judge whether our similarity or difference to these periods in time is a good or bad thing. In this class, we will be focusing on the story of Athens and Rome. NOTE: This class is transcribed and can be found here…

During the course of the 60 years that Augustine of Hippo lived, the world experienced a process of unprecedented turbulence, as the Roman Empire which had emerged out of the prior Republic in 27 BCE was in the midst of collapse. By 410 AD, the man who was to later to be sanctified Saint Augustine, had risen to the heights of influence and leadership within a weakened and crisis-ridden Church. Although Christianity by this time had become the offiial religion of Rome, it’s status and position was in no way secure for two reasons identified by Augustine in his famous treatise City of God: In their despair, many leading Romans had blamed their misfortunes on the existence of Christianity. These Romans claimed that the rejection of the Pagan religions which had historically governed Rome’s culture was the cause of the Empire’s woes, which were the punishment unleashed by the Gods who had been abandoned by their followers. That the politicization and institutionalization of Christianity into an “official imperial religion” had caused the once Platonic-humanist movement to not only lose its original spiritual vitality premised upon the gospel of Chirist, but that the Gnostic sects and heresies that pervaded the Roman order had contaminated Christianity and threatened to destroy its moral viability from within. On both of these core crises, Augustine fought with all of his soul to preserve the essential spirit of Christ demonstrating rigorously what lie at the root of the rot of Rome and also those gnostic sects passing themselves off as Christianity itself. In this presentation hosted by the Rising Tide Foundation, Aaron Kalfon leads a lecture and discussion of the core ideas of S. Augustine as presented in City of God which touch on the nature of mankind, God, Government and natural law which serve as a light of reason for all generations- especially those of our present turbulent age, facing many of the same crises as those of the 5th Century world- faced as we are with the collapse of one imperial system and the potential emergence of something infinitely better… or infinitely worse. For those inspired to read St. Augustine’s original writings, they can find many of the essentials on the Rising Tide Foundation’s Library of Alexandria.…

Today’s age of imperial geopolitics has made it difficult for many people to appreciate the cooperative traditions in history that gave rise to the great discoveries and progress of humanity’s experience. From the ancient Silk Road uniting the east with the west in trade and cultural exchange for hundreds of years to the 7-9th century alliance of Christian, Jewish, Muslim civilisations, history has proven that humanity is much more than a Hobbesian animal- perpetually prejudiced to others, intolerant to differences and greedily “looking out for number one”. Although this mis-anthropic view of human nature has been carefully amplified by generations of imperial gatekeepers of history, philosophy, anthropology and sociology, the fact is that it is no more true than the theory that the earth is flat. Both theories (ie: “flat earth” and “Hobbesian beast-man”) both have the effect of crippling the powers of creative reason in the minds of its adherents, undermining the maturation of conscience in the hearts of its believers and has kept humanity chained to sets of ideas that act as self-regulating barriers between our “material selves” on the one side and our higher potentials for discovery and self improvement on the other. “Stay within your limited field of activity” says the master to its slaves, “and never dream of venturing too far outside your proscribed limits”. In this Rising Tide Foundation lecture, Matthew Ehret introduces the story of the little known Turkic kingdom of Khazaria which converted to Judaism in the mid 8th century and which served as a keystone of the Tang Dynasty’s Silk Road revival as well as intermediary between the beautiful ecumenical alliance of the Abbasid Dynasty’s great Caliph Haroun al Rashid and the Carolingian Dynasty’s leader Charlemagne. Within this class, the question is treated: how and why did this civilisation and broader ecumenical story get scrubbed out of history? How did the Venetian empire and other vestiges of the corrupt Roman Empire reorganise itself after Rome’s collapse and successfully undermine this peace of faiths by unleashing years of Crusades, Mongol invasions, inquisitions while simultaneously engineering a new bankers’ dictatorship after the 13th century that became a dominant force of evil in the world? How did such artists as Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Schiller expose this side of the empire within their works in later years? This lecture is part of a larger ongoing series entitled “The Renaissance Principle in Universal History” and follows the previous week’s lecture “Life at the End of an Empire: St Augustine’s Fight to Save Platonic Chistianity” available here:… Further reading material can be found here: The Forgotten Jewish-Christian-Muslim Alliance and China’s Silk Road by Matthew Ehret… Charlemagne and the Ecumenical Principle (online book) by Pierre Beaudry…

What are the roots of Islam and how has this cultural/religious movement shaped universal history. What is it in Islam that defined the greatest up-shifts of wisdom, tolerance and learning while at other times led to war, division and decay? While this dual renaissance/dark age character is found among all of the world’s great cultures past and present, this Rising Tide Lecture delivered by Asad Wasti focuses in on Islam and the renaissance principle through the ages. Asad takes his audience through the rise of Islam in the early 7th century, the philosophical underpinnings of the Quran, the battle between the world of philosophy vs the strict religious literalists who have attempted to keep the mind locked forever in a cage of blind faith devoid of the reason God bestowed upon his Creation. Great thinkers like Al Farabi, Ibn Sina and others are introduced along this journey.

In this class, as part of the RTF lecture series “The Renaissance Principle Across the Ages”, Dr. Quan Le discusses the principles of Confucianism through a dialectic discussion on the nature of mind, understanding, and how one commences the journey towards wisdom.

In this final lecture of the Rising Tide Foundation series “The Renaissance Principle Across the Ages”, David Gosselin (editor-in-chief of the Chained Muse) introduces the life and times of Dante Alighieri. David asks and answers the question: how did Dante create a unified Italian language and shape a new epoch of poetic composition which uplifted the moral and cognitive powers of the population in such a manner (and during such a dark period of the medieval ages) that a renaissance could spring forth within several generations in Italy?