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Great Quote by Arthur Koestler on Education and the Sciences

An excellent quote on education and the sciences from Arthur Koestler’s fascinating book Arrow in the Blue:

“For people who regard mathematics as dry and the sciences as boring, this kind of mentality is difficult to understand. It is a peculiarity of our present civilisation that the average educated person will be ashamed to admit that a work of art is beyond his comprehension although, in the same breath, he will proclaim not without pride his complete ignorance of the laws which make his electric switch work, or govern the heredity of his offspring. He uses his radio set and the countless gadgets surrounding him with no more comprehension of what makes them function than a savage. He lives in an artificial world of cheap, mass-produced mysteries which he is too lazy to penetrate, without any understanding of the objects which he manipulates and is, in consequence, mentally isolated from his immediate environment. Our whole higher educational system is designed to foster this lopsided mentality, to create indifference towards the laws of nature, a deficiency comparable to myopia or colourblindness.

Arthur Koestler

Given these circumstances, and the ways in which science is taught in our schools, it is difficult to convey a child’s delight and excitement in penetrating the mysteries of the Pythagorean triangle, or of Kepler’s laws of planetary movement, or of Planck’s theory of quanta. It is the excitement of the explorer who, even though his goal is limited and specialised, is always driven by an unconscious, childlike hope of stumbling upon the ultimate mystery. The Phoenician galleys journeyed over uncharted seas to find the Pillars of Hercules, and even Captain Scott may have been unknowingly tempted by the hope that perhaps there really was a hole at the South Pole in which the earth’s axis turned on bearings of ice. From the star-gazers of Babylon down to the great artist-scientists of the Renaissance, the urge to explore was one of man’s vital drives, and even in Goethe’s day it would have been as shocking for an educated person to say that he took no interest in science as to declare that he was bored with art. The increasing volume of facts and the specialisation of research have made this interest gradually dry up and become a monopoly of technicians and specialists. From the middle of the nineteenth century onward, physics, chemistry, biology, and astrophysics began to fade out as ingredients of a rounded education. However, in pre-Relativistic days it was still just possible for the non-specialist to keep abreast of general developments in science. I grew up during the closing years of that era, before science became so formalised  and abstract that it was removed from the layman’s grasp. Atoms still moved in three-dimensional space and should be represented to the senses by models—little glass spheres revolving around a nucleus like planets around the sun. Space was still non-curved, the world infinite, the mind a rational clockwork. There was no fourth dimension, and there was no subconscious id—that fourth dimension of the mind which transforms straight lines into crooked lines, and the deductions of reason into a web of self-delusions.”

A Summer Program for Students 16 and older

Get an edge on college – and life! Come to

The Great Connections Seminar

A Summer Program for Students 16 and older

Saturday, July 22-Saturday, July 29, 2017

Chicago

If you’re not a student…

Could your favorite student benefit from this program? Please forward this information.

Free yourself: Students success

Unleash your mind.

Strengthen your autonomy.

Expand your knowledge.

Experience your power to affect others.

“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 Moore, Coe College

Registration is now open for
The Great Connections Seminar

Our theme this year is “Reason and Evolution”

To students…

  • Are you tired of classes where you’re told what to think?
  • Are you looking for more than memorizing information and reciting it on tests?
  • Do you want to be challenged to think for yourself?
  • Can you confidently argue for – and act on – your point of view?
  • Do you want to be prepared for today’s ever-changing markets?
  • Do you want to connect with passionate and principled students from the U.S. and abroad to discuss life’s most challenging questions…while enjoying music, dancing, architecture, and art to the fullest?

Students practicing improv techniques. If your answer is “yes,” then join us this  coming July for a unique “total immersion”  learning experience in one exciting and  challenging week of intensive classes,  interactive sessions, off-campus expeditions,  and rewarding camaraderie. It just might  change your life, as it has for previous  students.

(Students practice improvisation techniques above.]

No matter where you go to school, this unusual experience will serve you well. The knowledge and skills acquired here could prove to be your most valuable asset in college, graduate school – and life. For details, please read on…

Janessa Colomer

“I love this program! I learned how to approach [philosophical] topics, learn mathematics and found people who are motivated, determined, and proactive to further their education.” Janessa Colomer, University of California San Diego

Chicago by the river

 Preview what you’ll experience…

 

 

 

Through this program, you will:

  • Discover why philosophy is crucial to your survival and flourishing, and find the important meaning and implications for yourself in seemingly simple issues.
  • Increase your ability to ask questions that will change what you get from – and how you perform in – your classes, your job, your life.
  • Become a versatile thinker with our evidence-based discussion method applied to an extraordinary range of subjects, from philosophy to mathematics, poetry to politics.
  • Discuss the links between between theory and practice, choice and action.
  • Learn how to creatively collaborate with enthusiastic peersIvy Hood

“I learned ‘Question your teachers–if you simply soak up what they tell you, you don’t have a true understanding.” Ivy Hood, B.A. International Studies, B.S. Economics, Rockford University, 2016 Student Laureate, The Lincoln Academy of Illinois

Learn How to Write Well

Do you know how to write well and express your thoughts effectively?

Writing with skill is crucial to achieving many goals: course-work, cover letters for jobs, emails inquiring about post-doc positions, persuading others to invest in your business idea – you name it.

This year at The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the instruction of a professional writing expert, Malachy Walsh. See all about him below.

Connect timeless principles to today’s hottest issues…

At the seminar next summer, we’ll show you how to understand and enjoy challenging works that have changed the world.

Discussions of Pythagoras, Charles Darwin, Joseph Schumpeter, and other great thinkers, will help you discover the often-hidden connections between classic principles and contemporary controversies.

Sable Levy talking with other students. “It’s four months later and  I  haven’t stopped thinking about the  seminar. At  the risk of sounding trite or  hyperbolic, I  know it has changed my life    forever.” Sable  Levy, Drew University (second  from right)

On architecture tour of Chicago.

For example:

  • Examine the nature of life and its relation to the mind in Aristotle’s DeAnima–and relate it to Darwin’s discoveries,
  • Explore a poem that was a right-turn in human intellectual evolution–and revived the Western world, Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things.
  • See how Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws influenced social evolution.

We’ll delve into works from science to economics and literature – all about evolution.

Derick Ansah

“When I met him again at the beginning of this fall    semester, it was like meeting a completely new    person. Derick had changed mentally and spiritually    so much. It’s as if he grew 2 years’ worth of  college prowess in your short one-week  course.” – Nawaphon Sittisawasakul, SUNY-  Purchase (Derick Ansah pictured at left)

See how to use The Great Connections in your life in our latest videos here.

Benefit from individual attention…

In our discussion groups (maximum of 15 students) instructors won’t force-feed you prefabricated notions. Rather, our talented faculty will teach you one of Great Connections 2013 students studying together at breakfast.the  most important lessons of all: how to grasp the  meaning of events and ideas for yourself. Why? One  of our priorities is constant interaction between  instructors and students.  Participants will work  individually  and “hands-on” with superb teachers  and mentors who will coach them one-on-one in achieving their goals.Guest speakers won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions both in and out of class.Eric Rhodes, The Great Connections 2009“Eric spent several hours telling us about his experience in Chicago and how much it meant to him. His father and I are delighted!” Lucy Hair, mother of Eric Rhodes, University of California Riverside 

Free Yourself…

All this adds up to a culture in our seminar like no other; one which encourages and respects your individuality, ideas, and independence, and which will energize you while you free yourself to take charge of your own education and your life.

Ian Mihura and Sable Levy “We made our own society, where my ideas, my  presence and effectiveness counted. Now I know I can  make a difference.” Ian Mihura, senior, Clarin High School,  Buenos Aires (at left)

 For one transformative week, experience a superior  way of learning … and discover the culture of a rational  and free society.

Meet your instructors…

Marsha Familaro Enright Marsha Familaro Enright, Seminar Leader
 B.A. Biology, M.A., Psychology, President, The Reason,  Individualism, Freedom Institute, the Foundation for the  College of the United States

Ms. Enright brings a remarkable range of knowledge and analytical ability in both the sciences and the humanities to her role as the seminar’s lead instructor. She will guide students in class discussions throughout the week, as well as lead informative tours. Ms. Enright has extensive teaching experience with adults and adolescents in schools, conferences, and summer camps. She also writes on topics ranging from economics to esthetics, neuropsychology to politics.

In 1990, Ms. Enright founded Council Oak Montessori School for children ages 3-15. Chicago Magazine named it one of the top private schools in the city in 2006 and 2011.

Liz Parker

Liz Parker, B.S. Economics and B.A. Global Affairs,
 George Mason University
 The Great Connections Teacher Training Course

Ms. Parker has participated in more than ten Great Connections  Seminars, and co-instructed for the past three years. She brings a wide range of talents to the program from her background in art and television production, as well as economics and international relations.

Andrew Humphries, Co-Instructor, The Great Connections Andrew Humphries, Co-Instructor
 B.A. Liberal Arts, M.Ed. Montessori Integrative Learning,  Graduate student, Economics, George Mason University,  Master leader of Socratic Seminars.

A graduate of the rigorous Great Books classics program at St. John’s College, Sante Fe, Mr. Humphries is a Koch Fellow, Grover Herman Fellow, and Young Communicators Fellow of the Institute for Humane Studies. He also worked at the Institute of Economic Affairs, the high school program at The School of the Woods Montessori School, Houston, the Centre for Civil Society, New Delhi, and Michael Polanyi College at Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala City.

 MalachMalachy Walshy Walsh, Leader, The Writing Connection

 B.A. Georgetown University, M.A.  Depaul University, and  perennial  Ph.D. candidate in literature,  University of  Chicago.

In his 5-day course, The Writing Connection. Mr. Walsh will teach you how to write for any purpose, based on his 25 years of experience as a Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, and Aristotle’s Rhetoric. His passion is helping people learn how to write better, because knowing how to write well creates a lifetime of opportunities.  As a manager at Kraft put it, “Malachy shows you how to pick your own brain.” He will also be available as a professional mentor to the students. See more about him below.

Enjoy special presentations and meet exciting professionals…

Meet accomplished professionals in a variety of careers of potential interest to you. You’ll learn first-hand how they do their jobs and get personal answers to your questions. You will meet people such as Ruth Baker, J.D., Baker and Enright, Chicago and Ralph Yuan, Quantitative Researcher at a Wall Street investment firm.

Think hard, work hard, play hard…

Students Jake Ilson and Eric Rhodes swimming in Lake Michigan

Our program includes informative seminars and mind-  expanding presentations, plus adventurous off-campus  expeditions that connect classroom theory to the real world.  We will draw upon Chicago’s rich intellectual, architectuChicago lakefrontral,  cultural, and commercial  resources, capitalize upon classic films,  music, and works of art.

We’ll journey to famous museums, research facilities, business clubs, restaurants, retail stores and beyond, such as:

  • Gorgeous Grant Park
  • Lake Michigan’s Oak Street Beach,
  • The Oriental Museum on the University of Chicago campus,
  • The Second City Comedy Club, birthplace of improv and midwife to Saturday Night Live

Experience the excitement of one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in North America, Chicago. You’ll attend classes in conference rooms and live in its fully equipped apartments of Marie Robinson Hall, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. You’ll be just steps from their great recreational complex, and a short bus ride to Millennium Park, the Art Institute, the Chicago Board of Trade, and the beautiful beaches of Lake Michigan.

Due to the individual attention each student will receive, enrollment is limited to  15 per seminar discussion group. DMarina Coll and Carolina Ciblis, Great Connections 2011on’t risk being left out –  enroll today! See complete seminar details below.

 

“It was good when people said ‘I don’t understand.’” Marina Coll, English and philosophy teacher, Our Lady of the Shelter School, Buenos Aires, Argentina (on the left in the picture)

Seminar Details
The basics: The Great Connections Seminar will begin at 3:00 PM on Saturday, July 22nd and end at midnight on Saturday July 29th. You will check out of your dorm on Sunday morning, July 30th and have the rest of the day to enjoy the city.

Location:
Marie Robinson Hall at The University of Illinois at Chicago811 W. Maxwell, Chicago, IL

Capsule schedule:
 Participants will attend seminars in the mornings, go on excursions in the afternoons, and engage in extended discussions in the evenings. Saturday afternoon/evening: An orientation and initial Socratic Seminar. Sunday to Saturday: Socratic Seminars, special presentations, excursions, meetings with professionals, extended breaks to eat and explore on your own; Saturday evening: A closing dinner and party; Sunday morning: The day is free to explore the city or return home, at your option.

Readings:
In the spring/summer, we will email links for most of the texts so that you can read them in preparation for the seminar. On the opening Saturday afternoon, you will receive a specially printed book with all the readings to use during the seminar. We highly recommend you read all selections before you arrive.

Accommodations and Meals:
 You will reside in the contemporary, air-conditioned apartments of our conference building, Marie Robinson Hall. You will have one bedroom in a 4-bedroom apartment with a fully equipped kitchen. We will provide the opening and closing dinners. A Whole Foods and a Jewel Supermarket are 5 minutes walking from the Hall and there are many food stores, eateries and cafes nearby offering everything from hamburgers and hot dogs to Thai food and sushi for your other meals. There’s also have a cafeteria within walking distance. Students often eat together and are encouraged to make meals together in their apartments. You can sign up to use the University of Illinois at Chicago recreational facility.Transportation: Downtown Chicago is reached easily from O’Hare and Midway airports via CTA train or airport shuttle, as well as by bus and car. Links to maps, information about what to bring, and details about Chicago will be sent to you after you register.Fees: Full tuition to the program is $1,200, which includes the opening and closing dinners, and books. Room in an equipped apartment, with use of conference and entertainment facilities, is an additional $800.Fee Schedule:Before March 1st, tuition is $300, Room and Board $300Before May 1st, tuition is $500; Room and Board $500,After May 1st, tuition is $1,200 and Room and Board $800.Some scholarships are available covering tuition, room and some board (see details on the Application Form here and contact Marsha Familaro Enright at menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418 with any questions).

How to register for the seminar:

1. To apply online click here to go to the Application Form. After your interview and acceptance, you will be directed to a totally secure web page, where you may use your credit card to pay for the program. For your information, the payment page is here.

2. To apply by postal mail, fax, or email, click here to print out an application form. Complete and mail to 9400 S. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60643.  After your interview and acceptance, you can mail your check to the same address, call us at 773-677-6418 to pay by phone, or pay online at our website.

The Benefits of the Great Connections Seminar College Program 2015

What Students Said About The Great Connections Seminar 2015

“The seminar is transformative; I grew as a person. Working part time in the Philippine TGC 2015 Ken and Gaetano - Version 2Congress, my biggest goal is to share what I learned with my colleagues and friends and apply it to positively affect our lives.Ken Wu, junior, University of the Philippines-Dilman, from Quezon City, Philippines

Isabel MoinoIt has surpassed my expectations! I loved it! I learned so much from everyone, the texts, the experiences and myself! I’m really happy! I’ve gained awareness of when you are accepting someone else’s opinion (author, person or institution) without inspecting their arguments and logic. It can be very dangerous to accept ideas blindly, without thinking about the consequences they may have on your own life.Isabel Moino, senior, Universidad Francisco Marroquin, from Guatemala City, Guatemala

“My bDerick Ansahiggest goal in life is to reach my highest physical and mental potential. I took away many things from the seminar, but three main lessons: 1. The reading selections allowed me to learn and incorporate a wider range of subjects. 2. Groomed analytical skills which I grew over the week. 3. The people I have met here are more similar to me on a conscious level than any other people I have ever met. I am very thankful for what I have learned from each one of them. Where I come from, people cannot even picture themselves doing what I’ve done this week; I can be an example of what everyone in my community can do for themselves.” Derick Ansah, sophomore, SUNY-Purchase, from Bronx, NY

One of the best experiences of my life and I’ll definitely be back next year, perhaGreat Connections 2015 Remy Oliverps with a good friend as well! I’ve gained more self-confidence and lost the self-doubt that weighed me down, which will be important in pursuing my job as a corporate lawyer and writer on issues.” Remy Oliver, freshman, University of Virginia, from Potomac Falls, VA

Kaitlyn Means“As the week went on, I was surprised due to the fact that each new day was even more amazing than the last.” Kaitlyn Means, senior, Brookfield-Broadview Heights High School, from Broadview Heights, Ohio

Seth Kannarr“A life-changing experience! It’s crazy how such a diverse group of people can come together and grow as a family! Super glad I had the opportunity to attend. Knowing the importance of clear definitions and coming to terms with a reading will be very useful, as well as knowing the many aspects of power. But the largest lesson this week is how to live objectively via reason, individualism, and freedom. “Seth Kannarr, senior, Harlem High School, from Machesney Park, Illinois

Nora Gibes“At Hillsdale College people have of a lot of philosophical and political debates outside of class. My impression was that engaging in these would be relatively useless because the disagreement would usually stem from a very fundamental disagreement (such as if there is a higher authority). But I learned this week that what seems to be two irreconcilable stances might actually just be two people using different definitions. I plan to use this knowledge when I get caught up in such a debate.” Nora Gibes, freshman, Hillsdale College, from Augusta, MI

Tanya Badillo“I struggle to set society’s influence aside and only focusing on what I truly want for myself. My desire of wanting to be a better person, being able to know me more. I believe that this seminar has helped me get on the path to really getting to know me, to discover what are the things that make me who I am, and to question more, and listen carefully.” Tanya Badillo, geophysical engineer, from Mexico City, Mexico

Rene MiguelI can see myself implementing a mandatory seminar to every business I might own some day. I believe that this will help them develop their reasoning skills and their collaborative structure.” Rene Miguel, sophomore, Harold Washington College, from Chicago, IL

 

 

 

A wonderful weekend at The Great Connections Seminar

Wish you could have joined us last weekend! “Types of Power,” “Causality Versus Duty” and “Federalist 51 on the Separation of Powers” were just a few of the fascinating texts we analyzed at The Great Connections Seminar. That was in between walking around Chicago to explore it’s fabulous architecture and sculpture. We all learned so much from the texts and each other about power in every aspect of our lives – and the ideas that make the world what it is today.

Tibor Machan recounted his unusual life, beginning with a harrowing escape from communist Hungary aboard a train filled with Soviet soldiers, to his part in establishing Reason magazine, leading to his worldwide fame as a reasonable exponent of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.Great Connections Fall 2015 Tibor Machan and Marsha Familaro EnrightGreat Connections Fall 2015 Sculpture discussionTGC Fall 2015 Seminar 2Great Connections Fall 2015 DinnerGreat Connections 2015 DinnerGreat Connections Fall 2015 Architecture tour

Register for our seminar now: Understanding Power and the Power of Reason

“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

Can’t make it? Join us for dinner and a talk by philosopher Tibor Machan on Saturday night (see more about him below).

Don’t miss out on our powerful weekend.  We’ll:

  • Delve deeply into “Types of Power” by Goldhammer and Shils to reveal the multiple variations of social power that influence our world.
  • Experience the psychological power of art through our examination of sculpture and architecture.
  • Bolster our understanding of the Constitution through our dialogue on Federalist 51, on the Separation of Powers.

And more! You will come away from our weekend, armed to understand and navigate social relationships, craft a better world for yourself through art, and fight against the erosion of our freedoms.

The weekend is coming up shortly – register soon! See all the detailed information below.

STRICTLY LIMITED TO AN ENROLLMENT OF 20 … REGISTER NOW!

Would you like to experience the ideas, books, thinkers,
and intellectual stimulation you may have missed out on
when you went to college – an
d meet some of the most interesting people?

Well here’s your chance!

Join us to chew over some of the most intriguing works by the world’s great thinkers, and come to your own conclusions about them – for your own satisfaction, pleasure, and increased personal power. No tests, no assignments, no other pressures.

With our evidence and logic-based methodology, you will strengthen your first-hand judgment, your confidence in your own thinking, and your ability to collaborate with others – all great skills in work and life.

We’re offering a mix of challenging readings, provocative discussions, and entertaining and informative excursions to Chicago’s cultural attractions. We’ll examine works such as:

"The Spearman" Grant Park, Chicago

  • The ancient Stoic, Epictetus, who managed to have power even though a slave.
  • Machiavelli, on the social power of the Roman republic.
  • Louis Sullivan, on the power of architecture.
  • Ayn Rand, on conflicting views of ethical power.

City of Chicago by the river.

 

We’ll discuss the power of art and architecture, and examine some remarkable examples while exploring the  city of Chicago on a beautiful fall weekend.

We’ll watch and discuss selections from two famous films, aimed at influencing opinion – one by the Nazis, another by Americans.

You can see the entire schedule here. To get a flavor of what the fall seminar will be like, you can watch a video of our 2010 weekend seminar for adults here.

Meet the faculty…

Tibor Machan, Ph.D.

On Saturday night, we’ll have a gala dinner together and listen to philosopher, Tibor Machan, talk about his life from communist Hungary to fame as a thinker and staunch advocate of freedom.

After Dr. Machan was smuggled out of communist Hungary he immersed himself in American culture, focusing on political philosophy.  Influenced by Ayn Rand, he helped create the Reason Foundation and forged a career as an independent scholar, influential professor, writer, and speaker. He will discuss his life as well as issues of timeless concern to us all, such as the importance of thinking objectively.

Ray Raad

On Sunday, we’ll hear psychiatrist and research fellow at Columbia University, Raymond Raad, M.D., M.Ph., explain the research evidence for free will, and the power of self-awareness. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. He said:

“Every time I attend one, I gain deeper insight into an idea I thought I already knew well. These seminars have changed the way I read.”

I will be leading the program. You can read more about me here.

The instructors won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions, both in and out of class. Furthermore, Dr. Machan and Dr. Raad will both join us as participants for our seminar discussions.

One caution: Because of the high level of personal and individual attention that the faculty will devote to each attendee, registration is strictly limited to 20.

Practical Accommodations…

We’ll reside at an attractive downtown location, The Hotel Blake, surrounded by great restaurants and stunning sights. This stylish downtown hotel is set in a 19th-century beaux arts building in the Printers Row historic district, steps away from some of the city’s most magnificent attractions; Millennium Park, The Harold Washington Library, The Art Institute, The Board of Trade, Willis (Sears) Tower as well as some of the city’s best shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

In your room, you will discover complimentary internet access, free local phone calls with no access fees, Hotel BlakeLavAzza coffee makers, hairdryers, iron & ironing boards and complimentary water.  There’s a casual coffee and juice bar downstairs. Our guest may also take advantage of our large spacious, well equipped complimentary fitness center and complimentary wireless internet in the lobby, and 24-hour business center.

We arranged for a special conference price of $189 per night for your room which was available until September 1st: call to check whether it is still available. Or book a room at one of the other many nearby facilities in Chicago’s dynamic city center.

At The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the same distinctive learning method, absorbing curriculum, and top-notch faculty that has won rave reviews from the students who have participated in our “undergraduate” events every summer the past six years.

Stretch your mind…

Experience an atmosphere of enjoyable collaboration resulting from our specially crafted, evidence-based discussion methodology, in which reason is the only authority. You’ll come away enlightened, with your powers of reasoning and first-hand judgment strengthened. And you’ll have forged “great connections” with the other fascinating people who will attend.

As a physicist from Stanford who has attended our programs several times said:

Imagine you’re into yoga, but you do it by yourself – then you find this group where everyone is doing it! The high level of cognitive functioning, the intellectual stretching – that was really valuable to me. “

The program’s cost for the weekend is $475. Or, if you can’t take the time to join us for the entire weekend, attend our dinner on Saturday night and hear Dr. Machan. Dinner and the talk cost $90.

Three Easy Ways to Register…

1. Go to this link and register now to save money. Payments for the seminar or the dinner only can be made at this link.

2. If you prefer, print out this form and send your payment by check to:

RIF Institute

9400 S. Damen Avenue

Chicago, IL 60643

3. Call 773-677-6418 to register and pay by credit card.

For even more information about the program, visit the event page here.

Please contact me if you have any questions:

menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418.

It’s time to unlock your hidden potential!

Most people have vast potential they haven’t even begun to realize. Here’s an opportunity to expand your horizons and release the capabilities you didn’t even know you possessed!

Seize this opportunity to fulfill your intellectual curiosity, purely for the love of knowledge. You’ll stretch your mind and enrich your life.

Let’s face it: The world is complex and confusing. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of anything. But this is precisely where the greatest thinkers of all time can help.

During our provocative seminar, you’ll learn the timeless, fundamental truths that help you make the world comprehensible. You’ll emerge with a better grasp of the meaning of current events and news headlines. You’ll build your confidence and be able to hold your own in any discussion.

Moreover, you’ll reap real-world rewards, both personal and professional. You’ll be equipped with tools for success, living well, and achieving your goals. You’ll sharpen your skills in reasoning, thinking, arguing, debating. You’ll make better decisions, increase your creativity, solve problems more rapidly and efficiently.

The “Great Connections” seminar is a unique “total immersion” experience and intellectual adventure packed into three days of intensive learning, interactive sessions, off-campus explorations, and rewarding camaraderie. Join us.

Regards,

Marsha Familaro Enright
President

 

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 missed out on
when you went to college – an
d meet some of the most interesting people?

Well here’s your chance!

I hear it so often: People wistfully express regret for what they didn’t accomplish in their college years – the courses they should have attended, the books they should have read, the discussions they didn’t have. Some even guiltily wish they had spent more time in class instead of sleeping, drinking, or otherwise slacking off.

It’s never too late! Now you have a second chance. Armed with renewed motivation and seasoned with the experience of a lifetime, you have a new perspective that will make this “return to college” genuinely worthwhile and rewarding.

Join us to chew over some of the most intriguing works by the world’s great thinkers, and come to your own conclusions about them – entirely for your own satisfaction and pleasure. No tests, no assignments, no other pressures.

Moreover, with our evidence and logic-based methodology, you will strengthen your first-hand judgment, your confidence in your own thinking, and your ability to collaborate with others – all great skills in work and life.

We’re offering a mix of challenging readings, provocative discussions, and entertaining and informative excursions to Chicago’s cultural attractions.Our theme this fall will be Reason and Power. We’ll examine works such as:

"The Spearman" Grant Park, Chicago

  • The ancient Stoic, Epictetus, who managed to have power even though a slave.
  • Machiavelli, on the social power of the Roman republic.
  • James Madison, on the political separation of powers.
  • Ayn Rand, on conflicting views of ethical power.

City of Chicago by the river.

 

We’ll discuss the power of art and architecture, and             examine some remarkable examples while exploring the  city of Chicago on a beautiful fall weekend.

We’ll watch and discuss selections from two famous films, aimed at influencing opinion – one by the Nazis, another by Americans.

You can see the entire schedule here. To get a flavor of what the fall seminar will be like, you can watch a video of our 2010 weekend seminar for adults here.

Meet the faculty…

Tibor Machan, Ph.D.

On Saturday night, we’ll have a gala dinner together and listen to philosopher, Tibor Machan, talk about his life from communist Hungary to fame as a thinker and staunch advocate of freedom.

After Dr. Machan was smuggled out of communist Hungary he immersed himself in American culture, focusing on political philosophy.  Influenced by Ayn Rand, he helped create the Reason Foundation and forged a career as an independent scholar, influential professor, writer, and speaker. He will discuss his life as well as issues of timeless concern to us all, such as the importance of thinking objectively.

Ray Raad

On Sunday, we’ll hear psychiatrist and research fellow at Columbia University, Raymond Raad, M.D., M.Ph., explain the research evidence for free will, and the power of self-awareness. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. He said:

“Every time I attend one, I gain deeper insight into an idea I thought I already knew well. These seminars have changed the way I read.”

I will be leading the program. You can read more about me here.

The instructors won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions, both in and out of class. Furthermore, Dr. Machan and Dr. Raad will both join us as participants for our seminar discussions.

One caution: Because of the high level of personal and individual attention that the faculty will devote to each attendee, registration is strictly limited to 20.

Practical Accommodations…

We’ll reside at an attractive downtown location, The Hotel Blake, surrounded by great restaurants and stunning sights. This stylish downtown hotel is set in a 19th-century beaux arts building in the Printers Row historic district, steps away from some of the city’s most magnificent attractions; Millennium Park, The Harold Washington Library, The Art Institute, The Board of Trade, Willis (Sears) Tower as well as some of the city’s best shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

In your room, you will discover complimentary internet access, free local phone calls with no access fees, Hotel BlakeLavAzza coffee makers, hairdryers, iron & ironing boards and complimentary water.  There’s a casual coffee and juice bar downstairs. Our guest may also take advantage of our large spacious, well equipped complimentary fitness center and complimentary wireless internet in the lobby, and 24-hour business center.

We’ve arranged for a special conference price of $189 per night for your room (available until September 1st, then market rate). Or book a room at one of the other many nearby facilities in Chicago’s dynamic city center.

At The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the same distinctive learning method, absorbing curriculum, and top-notch faculty that has won rave reviews from the students who have participated in our “undergraduate” events every summer the past six years.

Stretch your mind…

Experience an atmosphere of enjoyable collaboration resulting from our specially crafted, evidence-based discussion methodology, in which reason is the only authority. You’ll come away enlightened, with your powers of reasoning and first-hand judgment strengthened. And you’ll have forged “great connections” with the other fascinating people who will attend.

As a physicist from Stanford who has attended our programs several times said:

Imagine you’re into yoga, but you do it by yourself – then you find this group where everyone is doing it! The high level of cognitive functioning, the intellectual stretching – that was really valuable to me. “

The program’s cost for the weekend is $475. But if you register by August 25th, you can pay $425.

Or, if you can’t take the time to join us for the entire weekend, attend our dinner on Saturday night and hear Dr. Machan. Dinner and the talk cost $90.

Three Easy Ways to Register…

1. Go to this link and register now to save money. Payments for the seminar or the dinner only can be made at this link.

2. If you prefer, print out this form and send your payment by check to:

RIF Institute

9400 S. Damen Avenue

Chicago, IL 60643

3. Call 773-677-6418 to register and pay by credit card.

For even more information about the program, visit the event page here.

Please contact me if you have any questions:

menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418.

It’s time to unlock your hidden potential!

Most people have vast potential they haven’t even begun to realize. Here’s an opportunity to expand your horizons and release the capabilities you didn’t even know you possessed!

Seize this opportunity to fulfill your intellectual curiosity, purely for the love of knowledge. You’ll stretch your mind and enrich your life.

Let’s face it: The world is complex and confusing. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of anything. But this is precisely where the greatest thinkers of all time can help.

During our provocative seminar, you’ll learn the timeless, fundamental truths that help you make the world comprehensible. You’ll emerge with a better grasp of the meaning of current events and news headlines. You’ll build your confidence and be able to hold your own in any discussion.

Moreover, you’ll reap real-world rewards, both personal and professional. You’ll be equipped with tools for success, living well, and achieving your goals. You’ll sharpen your skills in reasoning, thinking, arguing, debating. You’ll make better decisions, increase your creativity, solve problems more rapidly and efficiently.

The “Great Connections” seminar is a unique “total immersion” experience and intellectual adventure packed into three days of intensive learning, interactive sessions, off-campus explorations, and rewarding camaraderie. Join us.

Regards,

Marsha Familaro Enright

President

 

The Great Connections Seminar is Filling Up Fast

THE GREAT CONNECTIONS SEMINAR

Saturday, July 25-August 1, 2015

Chicago

Michelangelo's Priogione detto AtlanteFree yourself:

Unleash your mind 

Strengthen your autonomy

Expand your knowledge

Experience your power to affect others

 

Mastering the Tools that Transform Higher Education

into Lifetime Success

A Seminar for Young Adults 16 and older

“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.”

Our theme this year is “Reason and Power.”

To students…

Are you looking for more than memorizing information and reciting it on tests? Do you want to be challenged to think for yourself?

Do you want to gain powerful knowledge and skills that will equip you for college, for success, for life?

Can you connect the abstract ideas propounded in your classrooms with life decisions and world events?

Can you confidently argue for – and act on – your point of view?

Do you want to connect with passionate and principled students from the U.S. and abroad to discuss life’s most challenging questions…while enjoying music, dancing, architecture, and art to the fullest?

 

Students practicing improv techniques.

Students practicing improv techniques.

If your answer is “yes,” then join us this     coming July for a unique “total immersion” learning experience in one exciting and challenging week of intensive classes, interactive sessions, off-campus expeditions, and rewarding camaraderie. It just might change your life, as it has for previous students.

 

OUR ENROLLMENT IS FILLING UP

SCHOLARSHIPS ARE ALMOST GONE

PLEASE APPLY SOON.

If you’re not a student…

Could your favorite student benefit from this program? Please forward this information.

No matter where someone goes to school, this unusual experience will serve them well. The knowledge and skills acquired here could prove to be their most valuable asset in college, graduate school – and life. For details, please read on…

Janessa Colomer

Janessa Colomer, freshman, University of California, San Diego

 

“I love this program! I learned how to approach [philosophical] topics, learn mathematics and found people who are motivated, determined, and proactive to further their education.” 

Chicago by the river

Chicago by the river

 Preview what you’ll experience…

Through this seminar, you will:

  • Discover why philosophy is crucial to your survival and flourishing, and find the important meaning and implications for yourself in seemingly simple issues.
  • Increase your ability to ask questions that will change what you get from – and how you perform in – your classes.
  • Become an “ideological detective” by training your mind to find the assumptions behind any set of ideas and judge their objective truth.
  • Develop the ability to present facts, ideas, and arguments to others with clarity and confidence while learning important ideas about philosophy, politics, economics, history, science and more.
  • Confront riveting questions about such issues as the source of authentic happiness, how to withstand social pressure, and what is the relation of reason and emotion.
  • Learn the principles and practices of introspection and use them to increase your self-understanding and autonomy.
    •  Examine art’s power to change the culture. Explore the application of the concept of objectivity to architecture, sculpture, and painting, and decide whether something can be judged a work of art – or not.
  • objectivity to architecture, sculpture, and painting, and decide whether something can be judged a work of art – or not.

    Liz Parker and Rachel Milner, Great Connections 2009

    Liz Parker (on the left), Graduate, George Mason University, Arlington, V

“It’s easy to rely on others as authorities. This seminar was a great reminder of my power as an individual when I have reason on my side – and a great source of confidence.” 

Connect timeless principles to today’s hottest issues…At the seminar next summer, we’ll show you how to understand and enjoy challenging works that have changed the world. Discussions of Plato, The Port Royal Logic, Nicolo Machiavelli, Montesquieu, James Madison, Ayn Rand, and other great thinkers, will help you discover the often-hidden connections between classic principles and contemporary controversies.

Sable Levy talking with other students.

Sable Levy, Drew University, Madison, NJ (second from right)

“It’s four months later and, basically, I haven’t stopped thinking about the seminar. At the risk of sounding trite or hyperbolic, I know it has changed my life forever.”   

On architecture tour of Chicago.

Architecture and history tour of Chicago

 

For example:

  • Discover how the question of “what is knowledge” examined by Socrates in Plato’s Meno dialogue affects everything you think.
  • Consider the issues of terrorism and national security through Montesquieu’s examination of the separation of powers.
  • Learn how to increase your own personal power and self-control through introspection skills.
Brendan Moore makes a point.

Brendan Moore, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA (at  left)

 

“What I found incredibly valuable was that we were not only able to obtain theoretical knowledge but also practical knowledge.”  

Benefit from individual attention…

Great Connections 2013 students studying together at breakfast.

Students have chosen to  organize themselves in a study group.

Instructors won’t force-feed you prefabricated notions. Rather, our talented  faculty will teach you one ofthe most important  lessons of all: how to grasp the meaning of events and  ideas for yourself.

Each discussion group in the seminar has a maximum of 15 students.

Eric Rhodes, The Great Connections 2009

Eric Rhodes

Why? One of our priorities is constant interaction between instructors and students. Participants will work individually and “hands-on” with superb teachers and mentors who will coach them one-on-one in achieving their goals.  Instructors won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions both in and out of class.

“Eric spent several hours telling us about his experience in Chicago and how much it meant to him. His father and I are delighted!” Lucy Hair, mother of Eric Rhodes, University of California Riverside 

Free Yourself

You will experience a culture in our seminar like no other; one which encourages and respects your individuality, ideas, and independence, and which will energize you while you free yourself to take charge of your own education and your life.

Ian Mihura and Sable Levy

Ian Mihura, senior, Clarin High School,  Buenos Aires

We made our own society, where my ideas, my presence and effectiveness counted. Now I know I can make a difference.” 

For one transformative week, experience a superior way of learning … and discover the culture of a rational and free society.

Meet your instructors…

Marsha Familaro Enright

Marsha Familaro Enright

Marsha Familaro Enright, Seminar Leader
B.A. Biology, M.A., Psychology, President, The Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute, the Foundation for the College of the United States

Ms. Enright brings a remarkable range of knowledge and analytical ability in both the sciences and the humanities to her role as the seminar’s lead instructor. She will guide students in class discussions throughout the week, as well as lead informative tours. Ms. Enright has extensive teaching experience with adults and adolescents in schools, conferences, and summer camps. She also writes on topics ranging from economics to esthetics, human development to neuropsychology.

In 1990, Ms. Enright founded Council Oak Montessori School for children ages 3-15. Chicago Magazinenamed it one of the top private schools in the city in 2006 and 2011.

Andrew Humphries, Co-Instructor, The Great Connections

Andrew Humphries

Andrew Humphries, Co-Instructor
B.A. Liberal Arts, M.Ed. Montessori Integrative Learning,

A graduate of the rigorous Great Books classics program at St. John’s College, Sante Fe, Mr. Humphries is a master leader of Socratic Seminars. A Koch Fellow, Grover Herman Fellow, and Young Communicators Fellow of the Institute for Humane Studies, he also worked at the Institute of Economic Affairs, the high school program at The School of the Woods Montessori School, Houston, the Centre for Civil Society, New Delhi, and Michael Polanyi College at Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala City.

Enjoy special presentations and meet exciting professionals…

Karen Brienzo, Jack Denst Designs

Karen Brienzo

Meet accomplished professionals in a variety of careers of potential interest to you. You’ll learn first-hand how they do their jobs and get personal answers to your questions. You will meet people such as:

Karen Brienzo, CEO and President Jack Denst Designs and Mail Managers, Chicago, IL
Ms. Brienzo started her career as an entrepreneur at the age of seven, selling decorated hangers. She founded the direct-mail handling business, Mail Managers, over 25 years ago. Today, she’s reviving the brand of mid-century modern designer Jack Denst, who is featured in the Smithsonian.

Ms. Brienzo is a founding board member of Council Oak Montessori School.

Dan Curran

Dan Curran

Dan Curran, CPA, JD, Real Return Group, Chicago Stock Exchange, Chicago, IL

Starting his career with Goldman Sachs in 1959 and with a life plan to at least the age of 90, Mr. Curran has a long and  colorful career as a market maker at the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Chicago Stock Exchange among many other roles.

He was a board member of the Free Market Society of Chicago, and is a founding board member of The Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute.

James Kandrac

Jim Kandrac

 

James Kandrac, President, United Computer Group, Independence, OH

In June 1987, at 26 years old and married with a six-month old, Jim Kandrac founded United Computer Group, Inc. (UCG). UCG is an IBM Advanced Business Partner

specializing in mid-market and enterprise clients. UCG has been rated in the top 1% of IBM Business Partners nationwide. UCG’s VAULT400 BaaS is a premier managed risk mitigation and business continuity planning service for secure online backup and disaster recovery.

 Mr. Kandrac has mentored Brecksville, OH high school students through the School of Entrepreurial Engagement of Northeast Ohio program for many years.


Think hard, work hard, play hard…

Students Jake Ilson and Eric Rhodes swimming in Lake Michigan

Swimming at Olive Park Beach, Chicago

 

Our program includes informative seminars and mind- expanding presentations, plus adventurous off-campus expeditions that connect classroom theory to the real world. We will draw upon Chicago’s rich intellectual, architectural,

Chicago lakefront

Chicago Lakefront

cultural, and commercial resources, capitalize upon classic films,  music, and works of art.

 

We’ll journey to famous museums, research facilities, business clubs, restaurants, retail stores and beyond, such as:

  • Grant Park, Chicago,
  • Lake Michigan Oak Street Beach,
  • Chicago Stock Exchange

Experience the excitement of one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in North America, Chicago. You’ll attend classes in the fully equipped conference center and apartments, Thomas Beckham Hall, one of the residences of the University of Illinois at Chicago. You’ll be just steps their great recreational complex, and a short bus ride to Millennium Park, the Art Institute, the Chicago Board of Trade, and the beautiful beaches of Lake Michigan.

Marina Coll and Carolina Ciblis, Great Connections 2011

Marina Coll and Carolina Ciblis

Due to the individual attention each student will receive, enrollment is limited to  15 per seminar discussion group. Don’t risk being left out –  enroll today and benefit from the steep Early Bird Discount!  See complete seminar details below.

 

“It was good when people said ‘I don’t understand.’” Marina Coll, English and philosophy teacher, Our Lady of the Shelter School, Buenos Aires, Argentina (on the left in the picture)

Seminar DetailsThe basics: The “Great Connections” seminar will begin at 3:00 PM on Saturday, July 25th and end at midnight on Saturday August 1st. You will check out of your dorm on Sunday morning, August 2nd and have the rest of the day to enjoy the city.Location: Thomas Beckham Hall, The University of Illinois at Chicago1250 S. Halsted, Chicago, ILCapsule schedule: Participants will attend seminars in the mornings, go on excursions in the afternoons, and engage in extended discussions in the evenings. Saturday afternoon/evening: An orientation and initial Socratic Seminar. Sunday to Saturday: Socratic Seminars, special presentations, excursions, meetings with professionals, extended breaks to eat and explore on your own; Saturday evening: A closing dinner and party; Sunday morning: The day is free to explore the city or return home, at your option. The full schedule will be published in the near future.

Readings: In the spring/summer, we will email links for most of the texts so that you can read them in preparation for the seminar. On the opening Saturday afternoon, you will receive a specially printed book with all the readings to use during the seminar. We will also provide advance copies of the reading via email, and highly recommend you read all selections before you arrive.

Accommodations and Meals: You will reside in the contemporary, air-conditioned apartments of our conference building, Thomas Beckham Hall, 1250 S. Halsted. You will have one bedroom in a 2-bedroom apartment with a fully equipped kitchen. You can sign up to use the University of Illinois at Chicago recreational facility. We will provide the opening and closing dinners. A Whole Foods and a Jewel Supermarket are 5 minutes walking from the Hall and there are many food stores, eateries and cafes nearby offering everything from hamburgers and hot dogs to Thai food and sushi for your other meals. There’s also have a cafeteria within walking distance. Students often eat together and are encouraged to make meals together in their apartments.

Transportation: Downtown Chicago is easily reached from O’Hare and Midway airports via CTA train or airport shuttle, as well as by bus, train, and car. Links to maps, information about what to bring, and details about Chicago will be sent to you after you register.

Fee: Full tuition to the program is $1,200, which includes the opening and closing dinners, and books. Room in an equipped apartment, with use of conference and entertainment facilities, is an additional $800.

Fee Schedule:

Until March 31st, tuition is $300; Room and Board $400,

April 1st, tuition is $500; Room and Board $400,

May 1st,  tuition is $700; Room and Board $600,

June 1st, tuition is $800 and Room and Board $900,

After June 1st, tuition is $1,200 and Room and Board $800.

Scholarships are available; see details on the Application Form here and contact Marsha Familaro Enright at menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418 with any questions.

For more details about the program, go here.

Here’s how to register for the seminar:

1. To apply online click here to go to the Application Form. After your interview and acceptance, you will be directed to a totally secure web page, where you may use your credit card to pay for the program.

2. To apply by postal mail, click here to print out an application form. Complete and mail to 9400 S. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60643.  After your interview and acceptance, you can mail your check to the same address or pay online at our website.

See the full schedule here.

The Great Connections program fosters active minds:Empowering each individual with the knowledge, reasoning skills, and independence to understand the world and build a life of adventure and creative achievement.The Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute9400 S. Damen AvenueChicago, IL 60643

773-677-6418

www.rifinst.org

Events

THE GREAT CONNECTIONS SEMINAR for students 16 and older

Registration for the Great Connections Summer Seminar is now closed. If you would like to be considered for this program next summer or a weekend program, please sign up for our newsletter.

The week-long program includes Great Connections-style discussions of classic texts in philosophy, logic and reasoning, science and mathematics, economics, history, psychology, literature and other humanities. Students also study logic, introspection, artwork, architecture, meet accomplished professionals in a variety of fields from finance to physics, medicine to ballet. Also, we visit places such as factories, scientific laboratories, entrepreneurial warehouses/offices, Montessori schools, The Second City Comedy Club, and The Art Institute of Chicago.

To view a description of the program for 2017, click here.

Fees for the seminar cover tuition, entrance fees, room, and some board; in 2017, they are $2,000 for the week. However, there are discounts for early enrollment, and some scholarships available. All scholarship recipients are asked to contribute what they honestly can afford towards the program.

Below is the schedule from last year; for the complete schedule for 2017 go to this link.

Questions?