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Coming Online Events

One-day ONSITE seminar tuition is $125 per person. Any contribution above $125 is classified as a tax-deductible donation. Special events have differing tuition. Scholarships are available for teachers and students. Or, become a subscriber in the Community of Lifelong Learners for $40 per month for unlimited attendance at on-site and online events, or $25 per month for only ONLINE events. 
Subscribers are responsible for ordering their own books. Please inquire via email here.

Online Weekly Intensives

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Online Seminar Series - NOW MEETING

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings 
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Intensive

The Hobbit

Tuesday Evenings - January 10 - February 7, 2023

 

Influenced by themes from old English Literature and the Arts and Crafts Movement, and evolving to complex narratives involving the struggle between good and evil, friendship, death, fate, free will, the danger of power, and the beauty of redemption, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings continue to endure as inspiring and timeless epics. With engaging language, grounded descriptions of the relationship between people and places, arresting archetypes, and suggestions of providence, J. R. R. Tolkien has created these wonderful books that pull the reader into a foreign yet familiar world… a place essentially our own.

 

We invite you first to join us for The Hobbit. Published in 1937 to wide acclaim, we will begin our long journey of trial and adventure where it must start… with Bilbo Baggins of Bag End. Soon, further dates and pricing will be announced for The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. The online group will be limited to fourteen participants, and we expect a great deal of laughter, camaraderie, wonder, suspense, and inspiration. Sessions will take place on Tuesday evenings, 5:30-7:00PM Pacific Time. The seminar facilitator will be Andy Gilman. This five-week series is $225. Community of Lifelong Learners subscribers receive a discount of $25 through a refund.

Click here for full details.

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Online Seminar Series - NOW MEETING

The Ways of the Greeks - History Part Two
Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch
Intensive

Thursday Evenings - January 12 - April 27, 2023

Isocrates, the Greek rhetorician, once remarked that what makes one an Athenian is not the blood that runs through one’s veins, but the ideas in one’s mind. How can we access this ancient world, with some aspects so foreign and others so familiar, and discover foundations that changed the trajectory of civilization. This series is developed in four sections: 1) Gods and Epics, 2) Tragedy and Comedy, 3) Plato and Aristotle, 4) History - in two parts). Attendees will gain a deep understanding of Greek life through some of its greatest authors, and will be better able to see the profound influence the Greeks have had on the entirety of the west and the world. Online seminars in will take place on Thursday evenings, 5:30-7:00PM Pacific Time. Greek History Part Two, in winter and spring 2023, will focus on The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, the Hellenika by Xenophon, and The Life of Alexander by Plutarch. One need not have attended Greek History - Part One to get the full value of this series, as these works stand on their full merit alone. 

This sixteen-week series is $950. Community of Lifelong Learners subscribers receive a discount of $100 through a refund. Payment options are available. 

Click here for full details.

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Online Seminar Series - NOW MEETING

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Intensive

 

Thursday Afternoons - January 19 - May 18, 2023

 

Human ingenuity could probably find a way to exaggerate the greatness and importance of Don Quixote, but it might take a Cervantes to do it, and he would surely do it in a novel like Don Quixote.  “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha” is the title of a book, but it is also the name and description of the title character of that book.  Are the man and the book two or one?  And what about Sancho Panza, who cannot read the book which brings him into existence, though he can render a life-or-death judgement when given an isle to rule in it?  Can such a book depict justice?  And Dulcinea del Toboso: what does it mean to be the actual human being (in a fiction), with a real and different name (in a fiction), standing behind the love-object of a man she does not know loves her (in a fiction)?  Can a fiction portray real love?  Is Quixote’s love, inside the fiction, a fact or a fiction?  Then there’s the immortal horse who looks half dead: Rocinante, who loves his home so well he knows the way to it when his master does not.  The romance of the historical Spanish horse notwithstanding, is this one, a fictional animal, the most famous of all Spanish horses?  How did Cervantes do that - make the glory of Spanish horseflesh a broken-down nag with an unforgettable name?  In what Spain does this horse live?

 

Online seminars will take place on Thursday afternoons, 12:30-2:00PM Pacific Time. All reading materials (in English translation) will be supplied and sessions will be facilitated by Eric Stull. Groups will be limited to 14 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 3 CEU credits for participating. This eighteen-week series is $950. Community of Lifelong Learners subscribers receive a discount of $100 through a refund. Payment options are available. 

Click here for full details.

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Online Seminar Series - NOW ENROLLING

Ramayana by Maharishi Valmiki Intensive

 

Tuesday Afternoons - April 18 - June 27, 2023

 

India's most beloved and enduring Epic, the Ramayana is one of the world's great literary masterpieces. Come get lost in the adventures of Prince Rama's betrayal, exile, and struggle to rescue his faithful wife, Sita, from the grasp of the demon Ravana. Included in the story are many extraordinary legends of India including the story of Hanuman, son of the Wind God, whose devotion to Prince Rama makes him a preeminent example of devotion throughout all of India even today. The Ramayana gives a window into the importance of duties and relationships and paints a picture of how to best lead a well-lived human life in civilized society. These lessons have proved timeless and are continually referred to and still consulted, for their spiritual, cultural, social, and entertaining teachings. This beloved epic is still profoundly relevant today and retold in countless art forms and modalities including spiritual lore, romance stories, murals, plays, dances, puppet shows, and cartoons throughout India and Southeast Asia. 

 

Online seminars will take place on Tuesday afternoons, 12:00-1:30PM Pacific Time. All reading materials (in English translation) will be supplied and sessions will be facilitated by Roxana Zirakzadeh and Andy Gilman. Groups will be limited to 14 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 2 CEU credits for participating. This eleven-week series is $675. Community of Lifelong Learners subscribers receive a discount of $50 through a refund. Payment options are available. 

Click here for full details.

Free Community Online Series

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Free Onsite Community Seminar Series

The Foundations of Our Republic

Monday, February 6, 2023

What are the fundamental principles of our Republic? Are these principles based on a view of objective reality/nature, or simply the "consent of the governed"? Depending on how one addresses the previous question: Are these principles changeable, and if so on what grounds? How should one read the founding documents? What authority does the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches have? What are rights? Are they based on nature or consent? Are they inalienable? Please join us as we explore these political works through semi-monthly afternoon meetings at the Ojai Library. 

The February 6 reading is:

Articles of Association - 1774

Schedule:
12:00 - 1:00PM PST

Readings in the series:
Articles of Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, selected Federalist Papers, selected Anti-Federalist Papers, the U.S. Constitution, selections from Democracy in American, Dred Scott Decision and Dissenting View (edited), selected Lincoln speeches, Lincoln Douglass Debates (edited), Plessy v. Ferguson and Dissenting View (edited), Brown v. Board of Education, Letter from Birmingham Jail, Proposed Equal Rights Amendment, Roe Vs. Wade, Dobbs vs. Mississippi

Location:

The Ojai Library

111 E Ojai Avenue - Ojai, California

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Free Online Community Seminar Series

The Foundations of Our Republic

Monday, February 6, 2023

What are the fundamental principles of our Republic? Are these principles based on a view of objective reality/nature, or simply the "consent of the governed"? Depending on how one addresses the previous question: Are these principles changeable, and if so on what grounds? How should one read the founding documents? What authority does the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches have? What are rights? Are they based on nature or consent? Are they inalienable? Please join us as we explore these political works through semi-monthly evening meetings. 

The February 6 reading is:

Declaration of Independence - 1776

Schedule:
5:30 - 6:30PM PST

Readings in the series:
Articles of Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, selected Federalist Papers, selected Anti-Federalist Papers, the U.S. Constitution, selections from Democracy in American, Dred Scott Decision and Dissenting View (edited), selected Lincoln speeches, Lincoln Douglass Debates (edited), Plessy v. Ferguson and Dissenting View (edited), Brown v. Board of Education, Letter from Birmingham Jail, Proposed Equal Rights Amendment, Roe Vs. Wade, Dobbs vs. Mississippi

Location:

Online. Register to receive the link.

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Free Online Community Seminar Series

The Glory of Art

Monday, February 13, 2023

What is Art? Why does it hold such a central position in humanity’s self-understanding? Art seems to have subjective, contingent, and relative aspects, while also evoking the eternal, essential, and radical. Art represents, communicates, explores, inspires, challenges, creates, and questions. This semi-monthly series will explore the work of artists and thinkers through history.

 

Aristotle - “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance”.

 

O’Keeffe - “To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”

 

da Vinci - “Art is the Queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all generations of the world.”

 

O’Connor - “Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.”

 

Picasso - “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand.” 

 

Klee - “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.”

 

Brecht - “Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”

 

de Beauvoir - “Art, literature, and philosophy are attempts to found the world anew on a human freedom: that of the creator; to foster such an aim, one must first unequivocally posit oneself as a freedom.”

 

Dostoevsky - “Art is as much a need for humanity as eating and drinking. The need for beauty and for creations that embody it is inseparable from humanity and without it man perhaps might not want to live on earth.” 

 

Nietzsche - “Art is essentially the affirmation, the blessing, and the deification of existence”. 

The February 13 reading is:

Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci - I True Science

Schedule:
5:30 - 6:30PM PST

Location:

Online. Register to receive the link.

Upcoming Regular Events

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Online Seminar Series

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Let us leave theories there and return to here's hear.

 

Having done the longest day in literature with Ulysses (1922),  Joyce set himself an even greater challenge for his next book - the night. "A nocturnal state... That is what I want to convey: what goes on in a dream, during a dream." Published in 1939, the book would take Joyce two decades to complete. 

 

A story with no real beginning or end, the work has come to assume a preeminent place in English literature. Anthony Burgess has lauded Finnegans Wake as "a great comic vision, one of the few books of the world that can make us laugh aloud on nearly every page". Harold Bloom has called it Joyce's  masterpiece, and, in The Western Canon (1994), wrote that "if aesthetic merit were ever again to center the canon, Finnegans Wake would be as close as our chaos could come to the heights of Shakespeare and Dante".

Join us as we read this text one chapter at a time, every other Wednesday afternoon. Click here to visit the Finnegans Wake Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.

January 25 Reading:

Book One - Chapter Four of Finnegans Wake by Joyce continued (Page 89), Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (December 1999). ISBN 9780141181264

Also, Chapter Four of A Reader's Guide to Finnegans Wake by William Tindall

Syracuse University Press; Reprint edition (May 1996), ISBN 0815603851

Schedule:

12:00-1:30PM PST

 

Tutor

Barry Rabe

Location

Online. Register to receive the link. 

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Online Seminar Series

The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James

Saturday, January 28, 2023

“We must judge the tree by its fruit. The best fruits of the religious experience are the best things history has to offer. The highest flights of charity, devotion, trust, patience, and bravery to which the wings of human nature have spread themselves, have all been flown for religious ideals.”

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature is a book by Harvard University psychologist and philosopher William James. It comprises his edited Gifford Lectures (20 in total) on natural theology, which were delivered at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland between 1901 and 1902. The lectures concern the psychological study of individual private religious experiences and mysticism, and use a range of examples to identify commonalities in religious experiences across traditions. James concludes that religion is overall beneficial to humankind, although acknowledges that this does not establish its truth. He also considers the possibility of over-beliefs, beliefs which are not strictly justified by reason but which might understandably be held by educated people nonetheless, and had relatively little interest in the legitimacy or illegitimacy of religious experiences. Join us as we work through these lectures, with online seminars taking place about one month apart. 

January 28 Reading:

Preface and Lecture One - Religion and Neurology (pages 1-25)

The Varieties of Religious Experience 

Penguin Classics; Later Printing edition
(December 16, 1982) - ISBN 978-0140390346

Series Schedule:

 

Saturday, January 28 - Preface and Lecture One -
Religion and Neurology (pages 1-25)

Saturday, February 18 - Lecture Two -
Circumscription of the Topic (pages 26-52)

 

Saturday, March 18 - Lecture Three -
The Reality of the Unseen (pages 53-77)

 

Saturday, April 15 - Lectures Four and Five -
The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness (pages 78-126)

Saturday, May 13 - Lectures Six and Seven -

The Sick Soul (pages 127-165)

Schedule:

12:00-2:00PM PST

 

Tutor

Andy Gilman

Location

Online. Register to receive the link. 

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Online Seminar Series

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
by Edward Gibbon - Chapters LI-LXXI 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

This six-volume work by the English historian Edward Gibbon traces Western civilization from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium in the fifteenth century. These texts cover the history, from 98 to 1,590AD, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman Church, and the general history of Europe. According to the author, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens. We invite you to join this series as we explore this influential text in monthly online seminars, exploring a few chapters at a time.

Click here to visit the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.

January 29  Reading: 

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon - Penguin Classics; Abridged edition (January 2001) - ISBN 0140437649

Chapters LI - LXXI (Pages 672-764)

Schedule:

12:00-2:00PM PST

 

Tutor

David Appleby

Location

Online. Register to receive the link. 

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Online Seminar Series

The New Testament

Saturday, February 4, 2023

The word testament in the expression New Testament refers to a new covenant that Christians believe fulfills the covenant that God made with the people of Israel made on Mount Sinai through Moses, described in the books of the Old Testament. We invite you to join this series as we explore the  four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and Epistles, and the Book of Revelation. 

Reading: 

Acts of the Apostles (attendees may use any translation they prefer)

Schedule:

12:00-2:00PM PST

 

Tutor

Elizabeth Reyes

Location

Online. Register to receive the link. 

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Online Seminar Series

Locke's Essay

Sunday, February 5, 2023

What assumptions, perhaps unexamined, underlie our opinions on such subjects as individual rights, tolerance and the role of government? Can an exploration of basic philosophical questions, such as How do we know what we know? and What are the limits of our understanding? inform our thinking on political issues and foster mutual understanding?

 

John Locke, whose words are echoed in the Declaration of Independence and whose ideas informed the framers of the U.S. Constitution thought the study of philosophy had that power. He embarked on An Essay Concerning Human Understanding following an impasse among friends in a discussion of subjects of morality and religion. He writes, “After we had a while puzzled ourselves, without coming any nearer a resolution of those doubts which perplexed us, it came into my thoughts, that we took a wrong course; and that, before we set ourselves upon inquiries of that nature, it was necessary to examine our own abilities, and see, what objects our understandings were, or were not fitted to deal with.” 

 

Join us as we discuss Locke’s study of human understanding, his examination of those philosophical questions which underpin his political insights. 

 

This series continues a broader series on epistemology. All are welcome. Please join us even if this will be your first seminar in the series. 

Click here to visit the Epistemology Page.

February 5 Reading: 

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke

Abridged and Edited by Kenneth P. Winkler

Book II, Chapters XXI through XXVI, pp. 93 - 133.
ISBN 978-0-87220-216-0

Series Schedule:

Sunday, March 5 - End of Book II Of Ideas (pages 133-175)

Sunday, April 2 - Book III Of Words (pages 176-223)

Sunday, May 7 - Begin Book IV Of Knowledge and Opinion (pages 224-273)

Sunday, June 4 - continue Book IV Of Knowledge and Opinion (pages 274-322)

July [TBD] - end of the Essay, excerpts from The Stillingfleet Correspondence (pages 323-357) 

Schedule:

12:00-2:00PM PST

 

Tutor: 

Carol Seferi

Location: 

Online. Register to receive the link. 

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Online Seminar Series

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

Saturday, February 11, 2023

The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951, was Hannah Arendt's first major work. The books strives to understand the causes and the mechanics of Nazism and Stalinism as the major totalitarian political movements of the 20th century. Regarded as one of the most important books of the last 100 years, Arendt warns that, “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.” We invite you to join us as we explore this entire book, meeting about once per month. 

February 11 Reading: 

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

Preface to the First Edition, Preface to Part One: Antisemitism, Preface to Part Two: Imperialism, Preface to Part Three: Totalitarianism (pages vii-xl)

Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich; First edition (March 1973)
ISBN 978-0-156-70153-2

Schedule:

12:00-2:00PM PST

 

Tutor: 

Andy Gilman

Location: 

Online. Register to receive the link. 

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Online Seminar Series

On Reading Six Women Artists/Thinkers - 
Personal Truths, Metaphors and the Public Sphere

Sunday, February 19, 2023

In this series we will explore diverse writings of women ranging over four centuries, texts that are both timely and timeless. Starting with Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1794), we will move through arguments from the public sphere—including Hannah Arendt’s Truth and Politics (1954) and Eva Brann’s Is Equality an Absolute Good? (2022)—to those dealing with the more personal truths found in literature, culminating in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Thinkers and artists alike, including Martha Nussbaum and Iris Murdoch, will help guide our conversations to those aspects of dialogue that underlie civil discourse with explorations of Rational Emotions (Nussbaum) and The Sovereignty of Good (Murdoch).

February 19 Reading:

Is Equality An Absolute Good? by Eva Brann

ISBN 978-1-58988-163-1

Series Schedule (the Third Sunday of each month):

January 22 - Mary Wollstonecraft - A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (selections)

ISBN 9798752301384 (Amazon on-demand print book)

 

February 19 - Eva Brann - Is Equality An Absolute Good?

ISBN 978-1-58988-163-1

 

March 19 - Iris Murdoch - The Sovereignty of Good (selections)

ISBN 978-0-415-25399-4

 

April 16 - Hannah Arendt - Lying and Politics (selections)

ISBN 978-1-59853-731-4

 

May 21 - Martha Nussbaum - Poetic Justice (selections)

ISBN 0-8070-4109-2

 

June 18 - Jane Austen - Persuasion 

ISBN 9798741674918 (Amazon on-demand print book)

Schedule:

2:00-4:00PM PST

 

Tutors

Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson

Location

Online. Register to receive the link. 

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Online Seminar Series

Natural Law - Treatise on Law by Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The term natural law is a little hazy. Is natural law simply a more authoritative version of positive law? And if that is true, how might we understand how the founders of the American republic came to believe in the proposition that we are all endowed with certain inalienable rights which are self-evident truths? Conversely, does science and civil law show us that there are no natural laws, rather only values?

If natural law is real is it grounded in the metaphysical or in something else? How do we reconcile the problems of the is and ought, skepticism, positivism, notions of right and wrong, teleology, scientism, the connection between virtue and happiness, and human dignity.

 

This portion of the series will study the Treatise on Law by Thomas Aquinas. Registrants need not have attended prior sessions in the series to fruitfully gain from discussing this work, which stands autonomously.

February 25 Reading:

Treatise on Law by Aquinas - Questions 90-93

St. Augustines Press; 1st edition (June 2009)

ISBN 978-1587318801

Series Schedule:

Saturday, March 25 - Questions 94-97

Saturday, April 29 - Questions 98-105 (selections)

Saturday, June 3 - Questions 106-108

Schedule:

12:00-2:00PM PST

 

Tutor

Carl Bobkoski

Location

Online. Register to receive the link. 

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Online Seminar Series

Anguish and the Absurd -
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - Part Two of Three

Sunday, February 26, 2023

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta."

This series will explore the troubling world of the absurd through the writings of Kafka, Gogol, Camus, Sartre, Borges, Beckett, Bulgakov, and others.

February 26 Reading:

Lolita by Nabokov - pages 105-215

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
(March 1989) - ISBN 978-0679723165

Schedule:

12:00-2:00PM PST

 

Tutors

Paul Herder and Andy Gilman

Location

Online. Register to receive the link. 

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