Jericho - Barnett Newman

Rousseau, La Nouvelle Eloïse.

 "Woe to him who has nothing left to desire! He loses, as it were, all he possesses. One enjoys less what one obtains than what one hopes for, and one is happy only before happiness is achieved. Indeed man, greedy and circumscribed, destined to crave everything and obtain little, has received from Heaven a consoling strength that brings everything he desires closer, submits it to his imagination, makes it seem present and palpable, delivers it to him, so to speak, and in order to make this imaginary property more delightful to him, modifies it as his passion dictates. But this whole spell disappears in the face of the object itself; nothing any longer embellishes this object in the eyes of its possessor; one does not fantasize what one beholds; imagination no longer adorns anything one owns."

"Desire" comes from Latin “desiderium”, which refers to a nostalgia, or a lack of a constellation of stars. We often desire what is beyond our reach - but also beyond our needs.

If we are lucky enough to have the means to do so, we can get what we desire to fulfill it - but we could also change our desires.  Why do we desire things that are out of reach, if we can fit our desires to what we have?  Why do we have desires that make us unhappy?  And what can we do about it?  

In this Olio, we'll explore various schools of thought, from the Stoics' condemnation of desire to Spinoza's definition of desire as the very essence of men. Why do I want what I want? Is it really because I derive pleasure from it?  I desire what I don't have, so desire is a painful feeling of lacking, missing, longing in that sense. But could I be happy if I didn’t have any desire to do, be, have anything?

Location: Berg'n

899 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Hip, late-night beer hall featuring microbrews & food vendors in a spacious, industrial-chic venue. Classes will be held in the private room.

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.

Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month

Other upcoming Olios

Apr 25

Art or Image?

Taught by Vishwa Adluri
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Apr 27

OlioHouse | Found Poetry: Literary Collages in Ordinary Places

Taught by Heather O'Neill
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

May 3

The Holy Fool

Taught by Geoff Klock
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 7

Olio Movie Night | Eraserhead

Taught by Geoff Klock
8 p.m. at Nitehawk Cinema Williamsburg

Sign Up - $0

May 10

Cuba and The Commu-Capitalist Reality of Today

Taught by Teresita Levy
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 15


Taught by Skye Cleary
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $20

May 22

Stoicism in a World out of Your Control

Taught by Massimo Pigliucci
7:30 p.m. at The Assemblage | NoMad

Sign Up - $20

May 24

Sex, Pleasure & Intimacy in the Time of Capitalism

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

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

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