Addiction, Alienation and the Problems of Individualism - SOLD OUT!

Presented with Chinatown Soup



"The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is human connection." 


This quote, taken from Johann Hari's "Chasing the Dream" will fuel our discussion on addiction. 

We are a society riddled with addictive behaviors.  From food to the internet to our smart phones and the old standbys like drugs, sex and alcohol, it would seem that no one is immune.

Addiction is a word that’s thrown around a lot these days but do we really know what it is?

The addiction treatment industry is worth 35 billion a year in this country.  The vast majority of treatment is based on 12 step programs like AA which are rooted in a deeply Protestant belief in our inherent weakness and powerlessness.  The example of the Rat Park experiment shows us how our only “weakness” is our deeply social nature and our addictions are fostered by an increasingly alienating society not something within ourselves.  

Classified as a biological disease since the sixties addiction is actually our (arguably healthy in terms of self-preservation) reaction to a socially isolating society and culture and not an inherent biological weaknesses or character flaw.

In this class we will explore what it means to see addiction as a social failing rather than an individual one.  We will consider how our current model of addiction has been failing us for over a century and how we can rethink it to help ourselves and each other.


Feel free to watch the Rat Park experiment video which we will be screening in class.

Addiction made by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell




Location: Chinatown Soup

16B Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Chinatown Soup is a creative community advancing art, justice, historic preservation, and civic engagement in downtown New York.


Other upcoming Olios


Apr 28

Human Rights at the Edge of Darkness: We are the Resistance

Taught by Phelim Kine
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Apr 30

*Read-in* Undoing the Demos: The Future of Education

Taught by Hallie Scott
4 p.m. at Dean Machine

Sign Up - $10

May 5

Buddhist Realism and Dark Comedy: It's Funny Because It's True

Taught by Christopher Kelley
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 7

*Read-in* The True Believer and the Nature of Mass Movements

Taught by Michael Haltenberger
4 p.m. at IDIO Gallery

Sign Up - $10

May 19

The Feminist Storytelling Movement in True Crime

Taught by Tracy Bealer
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 27

Great Books Written in Prison: From Plato to MLK

Taught by Ward Regan
7 p.m. at Molasses Books

Sign Up - $0

Jun 2

How Vulnerable are Reproductive Rights in the US?

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jun 30

The Woman Question

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


Find out when we launch new classes!