Call for 2018 Catalina Student Retreat Applications


Spring 2018 Student Retreat: Perception

Friday, March 2 – Sunday, March 4 on Catalina Island

Application due Sunday, January 28, 2018


The Harman Academy for Polymathic Study announces an exciting opportunity for intellectually curious and creative students. The retreat is a three-day student initiated and designed workshop held at the USC Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island. A student cohort in collaboration with invited faculty engage a topic from multiple, polymathic modes and perspectives.


“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for… In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, the botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”

 - John Lubbock, The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live In


“Do not look too far for you will see nothing.”

            -Dejan Stojanovic, The Sun Watches the Sun


“To learn to see - to accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.”

            -Frierich Nietzche, Twilight of the Idols


“In the presence of the Moon nobody see stars.”

            -Amit Kalantri


I see white and gold, and you see blue and black. I see bigotry, and you see your way of life under attack. Perception divides us and guides us. Our perspectives clash and compete, and the chaos of soundbite culture corrodes civil discourse. Whether the sight of color, the sound of accents, a bad taste left in one's moth or the feeling of self-righteousness, perception is polymathic by nature. Unlearning our most deeply ingrained preconceived notions, and learning how to understand and empathize with each other's perspectives will take not just psychologists and linguists, opthalmologists and communication strategists, but also political scientists and poets, engineers and English teachers. Much of the discord in our relationships with others and ourselves can spring from false perceptions. Cultivating understanding, empathy, and the courage to see beyond the obvious -  the problems and possibilities of perception - will be the focus of our Catalina Polymathic Retreat this year. 


Applications available at