Food, Power and Control: An Olio Dinner Party

Michael Haltenberger at Berg'n

Thu, Sep 29 at 6:52 p.m.   |   90 minutes

We are partnering with Local Roots to bring you Think Olio's first ever dinner party! Your ticket price includes dinner by Landhaus, drinks by Bell's and an Olio with one our brilliant teachers, Michael Haltenberger. Professor Haltenberger will begin the class with a short lecture to guide the conversation during dinner. Attendees will be seated at tables of four and the professor will occasionally check in on the different groups before concluding with another short lecture and a group discussion. See below for an idea of the topics we will be exploring. Our philosophy is "If you find yourself disagreeing with the teacher's perspective, that is all the more reason to join the conversation!"


Food, Power and Control: How our obsession with food is a sign of our growing sense of powerlessness

Our lives can sometimes become tasteless, lacking in meaning. We search for novelty and innovation and have forgotten about depth and context. Our choices in food are just one of the many ways that we express our yearning for something with more texture, more taste, than our daily experience of Facebook and Twitter and cubicles and cross-platform synergy.

Our obsession with individualism has made food another customization rather than an expression of how we are in the world. The emphasis on ego and progress has led us to think that everything must be exactly to our liking. (Those who've worked in food service or retail know exactly what I mean.)

At the other end of the spectrum is "food" like Soylent which reduces the deeply human experience of eating to nothing more than fueling a machine.

The irony of it all is that in the midst of our attempt to assert our uniqueness we mindlessly gobble pork bellies, oysters and micro brews convinced that we are acting autonomously.

We will consider these issues and work towards a more mindful approach to our food that, rather than accommodating the latest fads or our particular tastes, considers our place in the food chain and eating's connection to the act of living.

“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
Alexis de Tocqueville

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: Berg'n

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


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

Location: at Online

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Regulating Business in a Capitalist Society

Location: at Online

Teacher: Lawrence Cappello

June 9, 2020, 7:30 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.

Press Start to Begin: A Survey & History of Video Game Music

Location: at Online

Teacher: Whitney George

June 12, 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.

Internet Omnipresence & Critical Thinking

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

June 22, 2020, 8 p.m.

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

Location: at Online

Teacher: Rob Larson

June 30, 2020, 8 p.m.


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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.