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



"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.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


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Other upcoming Olios


Jan 22

Living Room Salon | Our Struggle with Free Will

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jan 24

Living Room Salon | Tough Poetry in Dark Times

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jan 31

The Dangerous Pleasure of Art

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

Feb 1

Feb 2

OlioHouse | Our Stories, Our Bodies: Rape Culture in American History

Taught by Jamie Warren
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 6

Olio Seminar | Space, Time, & Work: Understanding Labor

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $75

Feb 8

Rethinking Refugee Trauma and Mental Health

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 9

OlioHouse | The Love Symposium

Taught by Skye Cleary
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 15

Philosophy and Friendship

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 21

Living Room Salon | Music and Environmentalism

Taught by Kristy Barbacane
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Feb 25

What Would Buffy Do? Radical Feminism and the Slayer

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Neuehouse Madison Sq.

Sign Up - $20

Feb 28

Into the Mystic: Music & the Moving Image

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20


Find out when we launch new classes!