Limited seats remaining for high school students and adult learner cohorts.  Starts March 3rd, enroll today!

Examined Life Series x Academy of Thought & Industry

Explore the human condition through pop culture

 Disney films, Nike ads, and the lyrics of Kendrick Lamar.  Join our exciting 10-week part-time online course to access powerful tools to help you live more fully and honestly.

Explore human nature in a way that is motivating and relatable.

The Theory of Enchantment is a partnership between Chloe Valdary and the Academy of Thought and Industry (ATI).  The is the first course in an ongoing series of courses on the Examined Life, preparing you with the tools and principles to design the life that you have always imagined.

Theory of Enchantment is a unique 10-week part-time online course that explores the complexity of the human condition through Disney films, hip hop videos, contemporary psychology, and ancient philosophy.   Access timeless, powerful ideas in philosophy and psychology and acquire perennial tools to live more honestly and fully.  Gain a greater understanding of how to better relate to others and with one's self.

This powerful course is taught by our qualified ATI instructors based on course content from Chloe Valdary's Theory of Enchantment.  We offer upcoming cohorts for high-school students and adult learners. 

Finally, the course you have always wanted to take.

Get motivated with entertaining course content

Explore powerful ideas about human nature that combine developmental psychology and pop culture to keep you interested and engaged 

Get engaged with live discussions and Q&A 

Engage twice weekly in lively discussions and Q&A with your cohort to gain deeper perspectives on course topics

Develop critical thinking and analysis skills 

Sharpen your sense of shared humanity. Develop skills of analysis and introspection that become the fuel to drive your personal growth

Our next cohort is beginning soon. Enroll today!


Through a variety of engaging materials—from the Lion King to Kendrick Lamar, from James Baldwin to Brené Brown, from Nike ads to Steinbeck—students grapple with three guiding moral principles.

The course material allows teenagers and adult learners to explore these themes of human nature in a way that is relatable and motivating, and to develop a lifelong habit of such exploration. Whether it’s the dramatized sentiment of a Disney film, or the elevated consciousness of an Angelou poem, students engage with perspectives that sharpen their sense of shared humanity, develop skills of analysis and introspection, and find fuel to drive their own growth as human beings.




Criticism should be used to uplift and empower, not to tear down or destroy.

Everything one does should be rooted in love and compassion.

People are human beings, not social or political abstractions.

Enroll now for our 10-week part-time online course for only $349 USD. Includes regular workshops with fellow students, and live Q&As with Chloe Valdary. Spots limited.

The Examined Life

Get Started in our Course Series

Five classes to help you design the life that you want to live.

1 Theory of Enchantment

The Art and Science of Self-Creation

3 The Personal Narrative

Study the philosophy and psychology of living intentionally. Coming Fall 2021.

Explore the great memoirs, narratives, and self-portraits of history—and start your own. Coming soon.

Win-Win Relationships

5 Impassioned Culture Consumption

The theory and practice of non-zero-sum relationships, personal, professional, and beyond. Coming soon.

Extract information, value, and meaning from the noisy abundance of today's cultural streams. From news to pop culture to high culture. Coming soon.

Theory of Enchantment

About the Course

A 10-week course with twice-weekly meetings facilitated by a live instructor. Coursework consists of a guided engagement with instructional videos featuring Chloe Valdary, pop cultural artifacts, and readings in philosophy, psychology, and civil rights history.

 High School Students

Adult Learners

What’s the commitment involved?

About 3 or 4 hours per week: two discussion sections plus engagement with the course material.

Is it only for high school students?

No! While this particular offering is primarily designed and structured for high school students, we also (separately) run adult cohorts. Just indicate you’re an adult student in the comments section of the inquiry form

Is high school credit available?

Yes! Students can earn a trimester’s credit through the Academy of Thought and Industry (WASC accredited) for successfully completing the course.  

When does it start?

Our next cohort starts March 3rd, with evening sessions at 7pm EST/4pm PST on Monday and Wednesday evenings, available fully online. We are also offering waitlist spots for multiple spring cohorts.

How much does it cost?

Tuition is $349 USD for the full 10-week online program.  You can register and pay for this upcoming course by filling out the enrollment form or by contacting us directly.  We provide up to 100% financial aid and scholarships are available for interested students who cannot cover the cost. 

Sponsorship Program

Individuals or organizations interested in the program can sponsor other deserving students by funding scholarships. 100% of scholarship funds go towards student tuition.

Are there more courses?

Yes! The next course in the Examined Life series, The Science and Art of Self-Creation, will be offered in Fall of 2021.

What others are saying.

Elena B.

Emily R.

Diane F.

"Healing and letting go of all the assumptions and baggage, the perceptions and misunderstandings... to answer your question it makes me consider every. single. stranger. with much more compassion. And then also and definitely myself. Also there is now more choice when it comes to what I amplify of my mother, my father, my surroundings, my memories, my thinking. Mission in process of being accomplished, again and again."

"The most we can do is try to shed light onto our suffering, so that others may begin to see their own suffering, so they can change it for themselves. A great Baldwin message that is evoked in this lesson. So important to view each other with compassion and humanity, starting with the self."

"The crux of James Baldwin's argument... Does this revelation resonate with you?" I'm almost in shock how much of a revelation I am experiencing. I can't write about this in detail because this led to a pretty deep and personal journaling session for me, but I am seeing how some long-held resentments and pain could be related to my capacity to caricature another being. When I signed up for this course i expected to learn stuff but I did not expect such an insight this early on."

Who Are We?

Educators for Change

Chloe Valdary is a cultural thought leader and founder of Theory of Enchantment. She previously served as a Robert L. Bartley Fellow and Tikvah Fellow at the Wall Street Journal, and has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Atlantic.

The Academy of Thought and Industry is a network of physical and virtual high schools across the country. Full-time students in ATI take this course as one of their electives, and it is now being offered to all high school students globally.  

Interested in our full-time ATI Virtual program for high-school students?

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