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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

 

Save the date!: The Great Connections Weekend Seminar

Now you can return to college… 
and experience the ideas, books, thinkers, 
and intellectual stimulation you missed out on 
the first time around.

Join us in Chicago this Fall for…

“The Great Connections” Weekend Seminar for Adults

Thursday evening, October 1 to Sunday morning, October 4, 2015

I don’t know about you, but when I went to college, I was looking for a deeply exciting and enlightening experience of learning. Do you ever look back and wish you could return to college? To recapture the joy and excitement of learning – or capture now the kind of learning you may have missed?

Well here’s a second chance! 

Join us for an intellectually challenging and rewarding three days devoted to exploring the greatest works of all time – entirely for your own satisfaction and pleasure. No tests, no assignments, no other pressures.

We’re offering this in response to many working and retired adults who have wanted to join us at The Great Connections Summer Seminars! One said: “I wish I’d gone to a school like yours. May I attend even though I’m out of school?”

This interests proves to me that, regardless of age, people desperately crave lifelong education – the kind that’s intellectually stimulating, enriching, and rewarding.

This weekend seminar will be similar to those we held in 2010 in Chicago, and 2013 in Buenos Aires and San Jose, which were resounding successes.

To get a flavor as to what the fall seminar will be like, you can watch a video about our 2010 weekend seminar for adults here. 

The Great Connections Seminar for Working & Retired Adults Chicago 2010

A Great Connections discussion at the 2010 weekend seminar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More details as to location and schedule will be forthcoming, but I wanted to give you the chance to save this date on your calendar. If you’re interested, please contact me.

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

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.

Ceres, Goddess of Grain in front of the Chicago Board of Trade

Ceres, Goddess of Grain in front of the Chicago Board of Trade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re offering a mix of challenging readings, provocative discussions, and entertaining and informative excursions to Chicago’s cultural attractions.

We’ll reside at an attractive downtown location, surrounded by great restaurants and stunning sights.

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.

Watch for more complete details in the coming weeks. Please contact me if you have any questions:

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

Regards,

Marsha Familaro Enright
President

 

University Education As It Might Be and Ought To Be

Great Connections head Marsha Familaro Enright wrote a new article on university education as it might be and out to be at The Savvy Street. This is Part I of a five part series of articles on optimal higher education. Below are the opening paragraphs from the article:

Maria Montessori on Discipline and Liberty

Standard education not only fails to teach the philosophy, history, economics, and politics of a free society, but its methods oppress individuality and instead encourage conformity and obedience. It does the opposite of teaching young people how to live as free, autonomous persons.

In the main, the teaching methods at traditional universities have remained unchanged for centuries. Most classrooms rely heavily on an authoritarian, top-down structure of a single arbiter of knowledge, often in the position of lecturer, discussion leader, and knowledge authority, who conveys knowledge to the waiting student-receptacles.

Of course, many colleges and universities are using all the bells and whistles of the latest physical technology, which makes the world’s knowledge available to their students through Internet-connected classrooms, cool electronic-writing technology, online discussion groups, and handheld quiz machines.

But the more crucial and fundamental psychological and social elements to learning are often still ignored, especially at the university level. Yet, a free future demands more than the dissemination of information; where do free individuals learn how to use it in their lives?

Given what we now know about human development, learning, and motivation, university education is ripe for a revolution in its psychological technology.

Students need an educational program that embodies the ideals of self-sufficient, self-responsible, goal seeking, and autonomous individuals. Furthermore, when freedom and autonomy are directly experienced, students become more engaged, interested, and enthusiastic learners and more often adopt the ideas and values of liberty. Such a system for lower education has been around for more than 100 years.

This is why RIFI aims at innovating higher education, starting with The Great Connections Seminar. Continue reading the article here.

Marsha Familaro Enright on Changing the Teaching Paradigm

How to Improve Reading Ability

Some new evidence has come out about the dismal reading level of most college students from Renaissance Learning’s research. Renaissance Learning is an assessment and analytics company that makes widely used online educational software for K-12 students.

Their extensive research report has quite a bit of useful information in it about how much and what students are reading, and what factors contribute to the most success in reading. A chart on page 42 shows that college freshman, on average, are assigned books rated at the 7th grade level.

Sadly, it also shows that books for adults on the New York Times bestseller lists average a 5.6 grade level for fiction and 7.6 grade level for non fiction!

At our Great Connections seminars, we read classic texts from philosophy, science, literature, history – you name it. And we read them together in such a way that students learn how to understand and read difficult, but rich, material, such as Newton’s Principia, Epictetus’ Handbook, Blake’s The Tiger, or Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy. No mere 7th grade level for our students!

Renaissance Learning’s report argues that comprehension, volume, and challenge are key factors. We find that if we help students with comprehension of the most challenging but best-written texts available, what the University of Chicago’s famed president Robert Maynard Hutchins called “The best that has been thought and said,” they will experience real competency and be encouraged read more.

Hattip Patrick Peterson.

Events

The Great Connections in Greece and Italy, June 16-30, 2018

Aristotle's LagooonOn the left is a picture of the lagoon on Lesbos where Aristotle started the world’s first systematic research project, studying myriad species of animals and plants, and laid the foundations of biology and politics. It’s only an hour from Erressos and Mytilene, where Sappho, one of the world’s greatest poets, strolled the sands of the Aegean.

Would you like to see that lagoon for yourself? Discuss Sappho’s poetry with us on those beaches?

Would you like to see the site of the ancient Olympics, and the town of Jason and the Argonauts? Explore Mycenae, home of King Agammemnon whose runaway wife Helen triggered the Trojan War, while reading The Illiad?

Or read Plato while visiting The Academia? Or walk and discuss questions about how we know and how we should live, as Aristotle and his Peripatetics did, at The Lyceum.

Or fly across the Adriatic, following the explorations of the ancient Greeks to the colony of Syracusa, Sikelia (Sicily) where we’ll study one of the world’s greatest and most creative mathematicians, physicists and inventors, Archimedes. The founder of hydrostatics, one of the masters of geometry, and the inventor of a death ray that decimated Roman ships, he’s well-known for declaring “Eureka!”

Do you want to revel in Greece and Italy’s history, ideas, great natural beauty — and art, capping off our trip by viewing the magnificent Riace Bronzes and other treasures of Magna Graecia (larger Greece) at the Museo Reggio Calabria?

Greek Thought Mingled with Greek Beaches

I’m inviting you to a special Great Connections program next summer in Greece and Italy.

We’ve been to a Lake Michigan beach in Chicago–now you can try one in the Mediterranean!
We’ll study Greek myths and the works of Homer, Euripides, Sappho, Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes and others while we visit the places they worked and lived. If you’ve attended one of our programs, you already know what an empowering and enlightening experience you will have at The Great Connections–you’ll get it only more so in these legendary places.

We’ll visit archeological sites and museums, enjoy beautiful Greek artwork, partake of stunningly fresh seafood and other Greek specialities, and their nightlife. All while discussing magnificent works of the ancients, of course!

Costs and Itinerary

The program costs $2,675 for 3 star accommodations or $3,575 for 4 star accommodations and the package includes all hotels and breakfast, roundtrip air to Lesvos, one way air to Catania, private coach transportation in Greece and Italy, and all instruction.

Meet us in Athens on Saturday, June 16th, where we’ll enjoy the city in the evening. On Sunday morning, we’ll fly to the island of Lesvos to explore its riches, then back to the mainland Tuesday in Athens where we’ll visit the sites of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, explore the Acropolis and its museum among other sights. On Thursday evening, we’ll travel by private coach to Corinth, and, over the next few days, visit Mycenae, Argos, and Olympia. On the following Tuesday, June 26th, we’ll get back to Athens and fly to Sicily (Magna Graecia) for the finish. We’ll enjoy many Aegean beaches and cap it off with fabulous Taormina beach in Sicily!

You will need to meet us in Athens on Saturday, June 16th, and plan to return home from Catania, Sicily, on June 30. Your best bet for airfare is online websites like Kayak and Momondo; the phone app Hopper is great for watching and predicting the best time to buy your ticket. You can see the entire itinerary including what we’ll read, watch, and do, here.

Here is an example of the 3 star hotel, here is an example of the four star hotel.

Start Planning Now

To get this low price, we have to make group reservations by December.

Please register here and pay RIFI a deposit of $475 or $675, depending on the accommodations you choose, by December 15th using the button below. Your next payments will be $550 or $725, depending on your accommodations, due February 1, March 1, April 1, and May 1. Deposits are non-refundable; see the rest of the refund policy at this link.

Alternatively, if you pay the balance in full by February 1st, you will receive a $100 discount, making your balance $2,100 or $2,800 respectively.

Registration and payment button:

The Great Connections Greece and Italy 2018




You can also send payments by check to:

RIF Institute
9400 S. Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643

Or call me at 773-677-6418 with your registration and credit card information.

There is a strict limit of 30 people on this trip, please apply soon!

Of course, please let me know if you have any questions. Email me at menright@rifinst.org or call me at 773-677-6418. Get your passports ready!

Warm regards,