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

Michael Haltenberger at Chinatown Soup

Thu, Oct 27 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes


"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

Teacher: Michael Haltenberger

Michael D. Haltenberger has been teaching Comparative Religion at Hunter College for over a decade. His primary interest is the relationship between religion and science and how both affect the way we experience and behave in the world.


Venue: Chinatown Soup

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


Other Upcoming Olios


New Toys and New Tyrants: Capitalism and the Rise of Platform Economics

Location: at Online

Teacher: Rob Larson

June 4, 2020, 8 p.m.

A Dialogue: Buddhism and the Stoics

Location: at Online

Teacher: Bhante Kusala & Michael Prettyman

June 5, 2020, 8 p.m.

Seeing the Subconscious: Mindfulness, Psychology, and the Road to Healing Racism

Location: at Online

Teacher: Darryl Aiken-Afam & Robin Schlenger

June 7, 2020, 7 p.m.

Internet Omnipresence & Critical Thinking

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

June 8, 2020, 8 p.m.

Escape From The City

Location: at Online

Teacher: Ted Barrow

June 10, 2020, 8 p.m.

Progressives, Radicals & Well-Meaning Liberals

Location: at Online

Teacher: Angie Beeman

June 11, 2020, 8 p.m.

Plato Goes East: The Republic and The Bhagavad Gita

Location: at Online

Teacher: Vishwa Adluri

June 14, 2020, noon

Socialism, A Day in the Life

Location: at Online

Teacher: Danny Katch

June 15, 2020, 8 p.m.

Government Action and Inaction in Response to Covid-19

Location: at Online

Teacher: Andres Bernal

June 19, 2020, 8 p.m.


Stay in Touch


Instagram Mailing List Contact

Get Involved


Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.