Two Beers with Steve interviews Jan Irvin

Jan Irvin, host of the popular Gnostic Media podcast stops by to talk about the Trivium education. This podcast covers a general overview of what the Trivium is and how a knowledge of the Trivium can help you discern what is 'true' from what is fallacious.

The Trivium is an ancient method of critical thinking that has three components; grammar, logic, and rhetoric. These three components make up the only three of the seven Liberal Arts. The other four concepts are covered in the Quadrivium (but we did not cover that in this episode).

Jan explains how the sophisticated class (the elites, the sophists, the powerful) has employed the Trivium to use mind control over the lower classes of society. Due to the fact that the educated class has access to better critical thinking skills they employ techniques to manipulate the minds of the less educated. Think of advertisements, campaign slogans, and government propaganda.

With a knowledge of the Trivium (which can be self-taught and is easily accessible) anyone can quickly learn techniques to identify logical fallacies and propaganda.

Link to the original interview:

  43 comments for “Two Beers with Steve interviews Jan Irvin

  1. Nick
    April 11, 2012 at 1:22 am

    lol Jan. have a beer mate!

    youre on fire in this .. did you have a line of something? 😉

    • Jan Irvin
      April 11, 2012 at 10:25 am


      • Nick
        April 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm

        im just commenting on your enthusiasim in this particular interview.. i appreciate your excitment about it. no offence.
        hey man this may not be the place to say but have you checked out a guy named Rob Ager on youtube. He does really great movie analisys .. paricularly in “the Shining” (where he points out the movies relation to the fed and the gold standard etc , the famous photo in the movie is has Woodrow Wilson in it etc) and other kubrick movies.. he also does a great job in “making sense of conpiracy theories” .. you should check it out. He has a great head on him , maybe someone you could have on your show at some point.. anyway, love your work man.

  2. Rupert Tiger
    April 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    The ‘trivium’ could easily become a totem substitute around here for thinking itself.

    • Jan Irvin
      April 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      How’s that, Rupert. Exactly how is my thinking sloppy? What’s your issue? What do you have against the trivium, specifically?

      • Rupert Tiger
        April 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm

        Yes, I do have something to prove! I wish to prove that this so-called-trivium is becoming oh so tedious. You invoke it ever like a mantra, and as soon as you meet a mental challenge you run and hide behind it and then you shake it like a witch doctor shaking a stick of bells – without taking any time or consideration yourself as to what the challenge actually might be. Only Jan and his magic trivium can be right on any issue.

        • Jan Irvin
          April 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm

          Can you say something original? Or are you just going to go thread by thread and copy / paste your regurgitation?

          What’s got you upset, Rupert? Is it your religion? Are you being forced to question and challenge yourself, so your here to lash out due to some other greater issue you’re having?

          • Rupert Tiger
            April 11, 2012 at 8:39 pm

            Thank you. I posted a perfected reasoned account (wrt Atwill) of the dangers of dropping Christianity as the result of such work; you know to which I am referring. What I posted was well thought out, well-meant, well-reasoned, and it did not state any specific need to believe at all. All you could do was invoke the ‘trivium’ such that the fallacies might be worked OUT! You demand of others specificity yet you yourself made no mental effort whatsoever. You just put on your ‘magic trivium underpants’ and go into the attack business. You can’t see it but you’ve become hoist by your own petard. Go back to being a human being please Jan, we miss you, some of us have actually had good educations.

          • Jan Irvin
            April 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

            I mentioned to you filtering OUT the fallacies. So in other words, what I was saying was study the episodes here on this website on the fallacies and filter them out of your statement about the so-called dangers of dropping Christianity. It’s not for me to go through and fix your arguments for you. I don’t have time. I figured if you invested some effort in studying the fallacies, you’d spot them yourself. Sorry if I didn’t do enough hand holding.

        • Jan Irvin
          April 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

          And again, I hope that you’ll at least provide some form of an example. If you’re going to call me out for hiding on mental challenges, I’d expect you to show exactly what mental challenges I’m hiding from.

          • Rupert Tiger
            April 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm

            Presented above.

    • robert42
      April 19, 2012 at 5:42 am

      The trivium is a tool, or toolbox, for the mind, and as such, it provides leverage that would not be available to the unaided mind, in the same way that a pair of pliers can allow one to extract a nail that would not yield to ones bare fingers. Or a sieve, that allows one to efficiently remove fiction from truth (i.e., apophasis) so that what is left after nothing more can be removed is the truth. Sure, you could pick away at the grains in a pile of rubble with your fingers to find the truth after a long time, but no-one lives long enough to do much of the truth sorting that urgently needs doing.

  3. Rupert Tiger
    April 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    “Jan Irvin on April 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm
    I mentioned to you filtering OUT the fallacies. So in other words, what I was saying was study the episodes here on this website on the fallacies and filter them out of your statement about the so-called dangers of dropping Christianity. It’s not for me to go through and fix your arguments for you. I don’t have time. I figured if you invested some effort in studying the fallacies, you’d spot them yourself. Sorry if I didn’t do enough hand holding.”

    You don’t need to be so patronising. You know you fucked-up in your arrogance! You just don’t have the guts to admit it. In fact I don’t think you have the wherewithal to address my points; I think that much of what I said was new to you (wrt Atwill) and you just freaked in defence of your own position. I need to be critical here and call you an arsehole for that last statement.

    • Jan Irvin
      April 11, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      I did address your points. Seriously, though, the trivium is about learning to fact check yourself, and do your own study, to learn how to learn. The information is all around here for you. When you go around my website making a bunch of unfounded claims, posting in many different threads your rants and accusations / attacks, getting all upset because I didn’t accept what you thought to be a well-reasoned argument, well I’m sorry about that Rupert. I’m sorry that I didn’t think your argument was well thought out and I didn’t spend enough of my time to break it down for you. I’m a busy guy. Seriously, I don’t need to hand hold every Christian that comes in here upset about questioning their beliefs. If I’m honest and say to filter out your fallacies, I’m sorry you take that personally and as an attack against you.

      Sure, I can be arrogant, what of it? What’s that got to do with any of the points I raised? I’m not here to make friends with you, Rupert. I’m here to provide people information that they otherwise normally don’t get. I try to help people wake up from their sleep and brain washing. I don’t have time to take care of every person who comes around here and posts up emotional shit.

      You’re free to leap to what ever conclusions you want about what I or Atwill think. Or, you can study the trivium, logic, and the fallacies, and see for yourself if indeed your argument was well thought out.

  4. Rupert Tiger
    April 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    You are just not listening, are you! It is not about being a Christian, I never claimed that for a moment. That is just the falsehood you hold here, and you obviously need the ‘trivium’ like a mental crutch. You’re obviously just a second class intellect presently Jan, or maybe you’re ‘controlled opposition’. It is acutely disappointing that such pressing important issues are tackled in this way, but this is your page, and if this is the way you want to do things, then good luck.

    • Jan Irvin
      April 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      ““The great problem this issue of course raises for us ‘alternative explanation folk’, that Jesus is potentially both our saviour and our nemesis in equal measure.””

      No, you’re the one who said that for you alternative explanation folks (fallacy of equivocation), that Jesus is potentially both your savior and nemesis.

      Maybe that’s the case for you, but you’re not speaking for me.

      So when you make statements about Jesus being your savior, and you write posts about the supposed threat of giving up Christianity, the trail of crumbs you leave appears to lead to a cracker eating Christian.

      So how is that using anything as a crutch? Exactly what is the trivium? How, exactly, would one go about using critical thinking as a “crutch”. Is it bad to use critical thinking as a crutch? In what was is it bad?

      Why do you need to make ad hominem attacks like ‘second class intellectual’? Why do you feel threatened by me that you need to make false attacks, lies, like that against me? Is it normal for you when you feel threatened to name call like you’re on a elementary school yard playground? Exactly in what way would I be “controlled opposition” by teaching people all of these subjects here? Why would controlled opposition teach how mind control works? What would be the implications of that? What evidence do you have to support your claims? Or does simply asking questions like who what where and when get you upset?

      What pressing or important issues have you addressed that are being tackled in what way? You mean by dismissing people who can’t control themselves and need to post between 3 threads that they’re upset? How should I deal with someone who can’t control their emotions?

      • Rupert Tiger
        April 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

        You are evidently using an OD of ‘logic’ like a smoke screen now to avoid addressing the issues I raised, and to avoid recognising that you are behaving like a pompous ass.

  5. devilllson
    April 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Again great stuff Jan, wish I could figure out what “Rupert Tiger” was/is on about, i love Christians, just don’t know if I could eat a whole one!

  6. Leif
    April 13, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Rupert go read some Robert Anton Wilson and relax the f*** out. You’re wasting emotional energy on something that you define as being logical but you can’t detach it from your emotionality so its just this garbled mess that you’re posting on a website. Make sure you are not projecting your distaste for certain personality types onto Jan.

    • Nick
      April 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      Rupert, maybe Jan reminds you of youre older brother.. Im wondering about this whole detaching the emotional from the logical.. it seems to have an aire of sexism.. every word comes wrapped in an emotion.. emotional intelligence is very important.. but id say you could well use the Trivium to break down your emotional discourse too.

      • Nick
        April 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

        *your! (for all the “ur nazis out there”)

  7. el
    April 13, 2012 at 11:21 am

    You know the REAL problem with the trivium, christianity, and religion Robert?

    Its us.

  8. Jim
    April 16, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Jan your exchanges with Rupert was a great demonstration of intellectual self defense. Well done. Perhaps Rupert is some kind of Kantian pronounced [cunt-ian] – cunt for short. Kant certainly has some squabbles with the fundamentals of the trivium.

  9. Marcos
    April 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Jan, first time I heard you talking about the Trivium was last year at Red Ice Radio. Since then I have been gobbling up your website, which then turned me to other resources (like Mark Passio and Tragedy and Hope for example)

    The first time I heard you talking about the Trivium, it resonated very strongly. I thought “here is something I can use to show people how I am not crazy, when I talk about health, politics, religion, etc. It was something that I felt I always did intuitively, but having it all laid out like Gene and you did, was an eye opener.

    However, there is one aspect of the Trivium that I still have difficulties grasping, and I admit that this may be because I haven’t delved deep enough in the quadrivium yet, and this is it: how do we deal with information that we didn’t acquire via any of our 5 sense? I am talking about entheogens for example, which is something I have direct experience with myself. But the list can be expanded. There is evidence out there that suggests that things such as remote vieweing and telepathy are very likely real.

    What is your take on this Jan? How do we deal with information sensibly, without dismissing it before fact checking, and yet at the same time without simply taking someone else’s word for a fact?

    • Jan Irvin
      April 19, 2012 at 7:07 am

      Maybe you’ve not watched the entire series of the trivium, quadrivium, qabalah?

      • Marcos
        April 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

        Podcasts #49, #50 and #51? I did, and you are right, Gene expands some on this in podcast #51. I still feel I haven’t connected all the dots though. I’ll re-listen to the series and have another go at it. Thanks.

        • Jan Irvin
          April 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm

          Yes, and it will help if you read Daniel Feldman’s book on the Qabalah. I covered this stuff in my interview with Mark Passio too.

          • Marcos
            April 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm


          • JustMe
            April 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm

            >trivium, quadrivium, qabalah

            The most fascinating part about this discussion, and awaking for me, is how I recall as a child naturally “obviously” applying much of this wisdom. It was innate. Nobody taught me this, it was just natural to me.

            How threatening it is to indoctrinated adults, to be around “awake” “children” ….

            And the confusion that was created as the educational system did all it could to refute those thought processes, just as John Taylor Gatto describes.

            My mother was a secretary in an elementary school, which I must say made the experiance even worse. When I first heard Gatto mention the Prussian background of education it reminded me of a conversation I’d heard between the Principle and my mother. He was a former Naval Officer and he was telling my mother about this association. And this was ~35 years ago!

            It was upon hearing Gatto’s comment that so much became clear, everything just finally clicked for me. That flashback over the history of my life.

            And healing started.

            Thanks Jan, Mark, and AJ for the awakening, and for the internet so that we can all share what we are learning.

            While I’ve only lived my own consciousness, I’ve become convinced that the wisdom of the questions children ask is because the basic components of the trivium, quadrivium, qabalah are part of us in some “seed form” (for lack of a better description) when we are born. As Gene said “it’s how the brain works”. And thus the targeting of early childhood by the “educational system” to kill that seed!

            Thanks again!

  10. April 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Greetings Jan,
    I remember my 6th form Biology teacher’s handout about about Aristotle’s theory of the homunculus – which asserted that at the time of conception a fully formed but miniscule version of the human infant was deposited by the father into the womb of the mother. This of course, was meant to support the view that life came solely from the father and was merely implanted in the mother.
    For a long time I wondered how a guy who was as smart as Aristotle could have believed this nonsense, with so much evidence around him proving otherwise. I came to the conclusion that even when men present themselves to be the font and source of objective knowledge, there is always a hidden agenda which supports their interests – in this case that of male supremacy.
    This goes to your axiom that it is better to know how to think than what to think.
    Best wishes,

    • Jan Irvin
      April 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm

      Very well said. It also goes to show that we check our grammar and our fallacies!

      • May 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm

        Sorry – I did not grasp your point about ‘what’ goes to show that you check grammar and fallacy….

      • May 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        I would aver that Logic only admits logical answers – and to be satisfied with logic alone ignores a whole different level of abstraction- which is the level which accommodates paradox.
        That is what I meant to demonstrate with my example of Aristotle’s foolishness. Despite being a master of logic his wrong assumptions led to a wrong conclusion. Logic does not have the ability to shed light on our ingrained assumptions, cultural, religious and otherwise.
        For this we need introspection, unbiased observation and absence of prejudice.
        Logic is only one of the tools we need, and it is never the ultimate tool.
        Plato gave no value to intuition and poetry – in fact he said he would exclude poets from his republic. He was an exponent of ‘the noble lie’ – I for one would not wish to be a member of such a republic, where intuition and introspection and many other ‘right-brain’ functions were deprecated and rejected. Logic may have the virtue of vetoing some untruths, but by no means can Logic alone be trusted to lead us to the truth.

        • Jan Irvin
          May 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm

          We’ve covered this extensively in our work, even doing a video on the Noble Lie. However, the trivium is NOT just logic, as we very clearly pointed out, it’s grammar, logic, rhetoric; the quadrivium is arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. And as the information provided here on this website shows, it further ties into the Qabalah. But what you want is to hold contradictions – fallacies. Had you been paying attention to what was discussed, the fallacies by their very nature, which is a part of logic, teaches is to shed light on our ingrained cultural assumptions.

          • May 6, 2012 at 7:15 am

            Too bad Aristotle and Plato weren’t able to take the course….

          • Jan Irvin
            May 6, 2012 at 10:08 am

            He did better than that. He laid out the course’s foundations. You seem to have a very narrow, uninformed view of logic and Aristotle. You couldn’t think without logic. May I suggest you study some of the trivium information around here so as to appear informed on the subject?

  11. Daniel
    April 28, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Hello Jan,
    Thank you for this podcast, it certainly sparked a major facet of my life’s research. When I lived in Humboldt, I would brew my own Cannabis Wine (with some other herbs also in some batches). I found Cannabis to be very intense at times and now consider it an entheogen. Maybe not as intense as psilocybin or the others although I found myself to be more prone to suggestion. While I only started my research on The Liberal Arts, I find myself pondering the link between entheogens and the trivium/quadrivium. Do you have any thoughts on this or can you point to a direction for this connection?
    I also wanted to mention neuro linguistic programming, I havn’t gathered enough information yet to come to a conclusion although do you have any thoughts it? Such as the works of Richard Bandler, John Grinder, etc., & it’s link to the 7 Liberal Arts.
    -Just some thoughts, I’m going to continue my research thanks again.

  12. Daniel
    April 28, 2012 at 6:43 am

    I’m sorry, I should have thoroughly perused your work first. I found more information. Thanks, my mistake.

  13. May 7, 2012 at 1:47 am

    This comment is in response to yours dated May 6th, to which the thread seems inexplicably to have been snipped.
    Then I an only express my astonishment that their (Aristotle’s and Plato’s) logic led one to make such a foolish error and the other to propound such a cynical and harmful proposition as ‘The Noble Lie’.
    It is also my observation that your snide and condescending tone cannot divert attention from the fact that you failed to address the question which was implicit in my comments, which is, how could have these two men, who possessed such ostensibly impeccable tools of logic and reasoning still been so terribly wrong?
    Perhaps you might be able to see the implications of this.

    • Jan Irvin
      May 7, 2012 at 7:22 am

      As a thread gets too long, it automatically gets cut off.

      But maybe you should be more precise. I’ve no idea why you’re trying to pin Plato’s actions on Aristotle. Obviously it was Plato who developed that, and obviously Plato and Aristotle disagreed on many things, including the Noble Lie.

      As Aristotle is the one who developed logic, and Plato is the one who discussed the Noble Lie, which was already going on, why do you, again, blame Aristotle for what Plato did?

      I recommend you getting your facts straight and not use fallacies, such as guilt by association, to make your arguments.

      Again, we weren’t discussing only logic, so why you’d get caught up in your fallacies on that single point, missing the entire topic altogether is outside my conceptual grasp. Again, try studying the trivium so that you understand what was actually being discussed and that way you don’t lock yourself into such ignorant views.

      Furthermore, when you understand that Plato was enslaved, and wrote that to get out of slavery, your question on how he could make such a “mistake” becomes clear.

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