Jaime listening to Brendan TGC 2012 Cropped

The Great Connections

Seminars

Find the answers you’ve been looking for at The Great Connections Seminars

Colleges do a pretty good job of teaching calculus and the Krebs Cycle.

They know how to test what you’ve learned.

They grant diplomas, which can be important for finding a job.

But do they teach you how to gain the knowledge and skills to take control over the rest of your life and live as a free person?

No, you have to fend for yourself.

But now, there’s a solution…

The Great Connections Seminar.

It’s a one-week summer program that focuses on fundamental life questions such as:

  • How do I know what I know?
  • How do I determine what’s right and wrong?
  • How do I identify the best conditions under which to live?
  • How do I build a life of meaning and creative achievement?

These are the most important questions any human needs to address, but they’re almost never taught in college.

You discover the fundamental practical importance of philosophy. You discuss the links between ideas, between theory and practice, and between choice and action.

We employ classic works with civilization-changing import such as:

  • Livy’s History of Rome, which shaped the early American republic,
  • Francis Bacon’s New Organon, which made rockets and cell phones possible, and
  • Joseph Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, which reveals the power of creative destruction.

We cover a wide range of subjects, from logic to literature, history to mathematics, economics to sculpture.

And we always include important individualist thinkers, such as Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, and Ayn Rand, whose ideas are crucial to defending the foundations of a free society.

But what you study is only one potent component of this empowering week. The method we use is as important as the content, click here to learn more.

“It was a wonderful experience of the beauty of ideas, the human mind intellectually stretching at a high level of cognitive functioning—very valuable to me.” Ph.D. Candidate in Applied Physics, Silicon Valley, CA

Ivy Hood

“The Great Connections Seminar was a life-changing experience.”

I realized that the Great Connections dialogues were a truly better way to go about learning. The seminars encouraged me to go about learning myself and to constantly work on developing my own philosophy towards life. Maybe it is cliché to say, but the Great Connections seminar was a life changing experience.

Ivy HoodHohonegah High School, Roscoe, IL
Alex Moya

“All aspects of an artwork”

I learned the most from the art seminar since it forced me to consider all aspects of an artwork, significant and insignificant details, when trying to seriously consider its message, purpose and beauty.

Alex Moya M.A. Social Science, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

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  • Empowered Reasoning

    Unleash the power of your mind – acquire the intellectual tools and the self-confidence to come to your own conclusions and put thought into action.

  • Active Minds

    Learn to think first-hand about any subject and develop the ability to question and explore the premises and evidence for any set of ideas, in any subject.

  • Autonomous Individuals

    Strengthen your ability to self-govern, to obey your own imperatives and free yourself by taking control of your education and your life;

Brendan Moore

“I realized how lacking my formal education was.” The seminar gave me confidence that I could achieve great things. It was like something was lit inside. I acquired the intellectual tools to help me come to my own conclusions. And I realized how lacking my formal education was. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Brendan MooreCoe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Would you like to gain the knowledge, reasoning skills, and confidence in your ability to think independently?

News and Analysis

The Great Connections for Working and Retired Adults

The Great Connections Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults

Join us in Chicago this Fall for… “The Great Connections” Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults Our theme: Reason and Power Thursday evening, October 1 to Sunday midday, October 4, 2015 STRICTLY LIMITED TO AN ENROLLMENT OF 20 … REGISTER NOW! Would you like to experience the ideas, books, thinkers, and intellectual stimulation you may have […]

The classroom is a society of its own – in what kind of society do YOU want to learn?

The classroom is a society of its own in which a social order emerges through the exchange of ideas and values and from the way in which participants interact with each other according to the discussion principles and the psychological and physical environment set by the teacher. Many classrooms create a social order with an authority-teacher and follower-students who receive the wisdom of the authority and repeat it back in class, on tests, and in papers and other projects. Does this reflect the characteristics of a free society? We say NO. In a free society, you interact with others as independent individuals, trading value for value. An Active Learning Environment We created our program to strengthen your independence and the value you can offer others. Our program increases your intellectual power, knowledge, self-confidence, and social skills to prepare you to live as a free person. Our teachers use their expertise to craft the entire learning environment: physical, cognitive, psychological, and social for the most beneficial effects. Every element is selected and integrated to empower your independence.

    • The instructor is a guide and facilitator, and you engage in examining, analyzing, and discussing the material first-hand using an evidence-based method.
  • You synthesize the information yourself, rather than have the information and answers handed to you.
  • It is a very active learning environment in which reason is the only authority. This means that the best reasoning along with the best evidence has the ultimate authority in our discussion environment.

These elements work together to strengthen your reasoning skills and confirm the value which you bring to the discussion. Reason’s authority is the great equalizer, because the person with the best facts and ideas is the most persuasive in our setting. You and the other participants come to appreciate each other as mutual helpers in learning. This results in a psychologically safe environment which encourages exploration and creativity. The Seminar as a Market Ultimately, the seminar functions as a market of ideas, skills, and values where reason, combined with the invisible hand of individual self-interest, results in greater knowledge, reasoning, and social skills for all. The values and virtues developed in each person at the seminar help to create the experience of a free, voluntary, and cooperative society. It foreshadows what is possible in a freer future, while giving you the opportunity to practice the art of living free. Our students find themselves liberated and transformed.

Michael Natividad

“You’re benefiting from hearing all these different ways to understand things objectively.” You see how much value you have to offer and to add to your own thinking. It’s not a zero sum game like in traditional education where you’re trying to compete with each other and there’s one answer. It’s not “the right answer”; it’s better and better answers. Everyone’s building a mosaic of truth together. We all study one text but there many objective truths in it, you’re benefiting from hearing all these different ways to understand things objectively and truly. And you realize you have something to contribute. It doesn’t have to be the perfect thing, but together it fits with what other people are saying.

Michael NatividadJunior, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

A Closer Look

Our Great Connections method is unusual and powerful: with anything you discuss you use evidence-based reasoning; the teacher is a skilled guide to the works you study, but reason is the only authority. The week-long program includes:

    • Great Connections-style discussions of classic texts in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, esthetics, science and mathematics, economics, history, psychology, literature and the other humanities.
  • The study of logic, introspection, artwork, and architecture.
  • In-depth encounters with accomplished professionals in a variety of fields from finance to physics, medicine to ballet.
  • Trips to factories, scientific laboratories, start-ups, Montessori schools, The Second City Comedy Club, and The Art Institute of Chicago.

To view a detailed description of the program from a previous year, click here.

If you’re a student or parent, sign up here to receive notices about the upcoming seminars and when to register:

The Great Connections Seminar

Would you like to gain the knowledge, reasoning skills, and confidence in your ability to think independently?