OlioHouse Weekend | Desire & Free Will

Ramon Casas - Laziness

Why does our will disobey us? What is happening when we go against our intentions?

The classical debates about "the weakness of the will" focus mainly on the moral aspect of the inner tension between will and desire, allegedly opposed. I know what I want to be doing, but some obscure forces push me towards doing something else, potentially radically opposed to what I know I should do rationally. In this OlioHouse weekend, we’ll be exploring some 'dysfunctions' of the will: indecisiveness, apathy, but also obsessions and addictions which are familiar to all of us.

How do philosophers approach the relationship between desires, passions, and willpower? And also, more generally, what exactly is "willpower" made of? Maybe we can precisely answer this question by observing what happens when the will dissolves itself. 

It might be necessary to get away from too rigid a theory of mental faculties, where willpower is classically defined as a rational category of the mind, among memory, imagination, or judgment. Maybe what we call voluntary actions or free will are simply the expressions of the individual's physiology, character, and effective tendencies, and perhaps the lack of motivation, addictive behavior, and the inability for decision making should be reevaluated with an approach that involves philosophy, psychology, and physiology.

Let's gather at OlioHouse to investigate the nature of will in an original way, questioning the blurry frontiers between the normal and the abnormal, the healthy and the morbid. 

Schedule for the weekend:


Noon - Arrive at OlioHouse for a communal lunch 

1:00pm - A Socratic-style Olio with Jeanne - "Weakness of the will",
where we'll question: Is it possible to act against our best judgment?
Are the inner conflicts we sometimes feel happening between "desire" and "will"?

2:30pm - Free time to explore Wassaic and hangout around OlioHouse

4:00pm - Jeanne will teach  Acedia, Abulia, Apathy: Mental Paralysis
Where we'll question: What happens when our will gets flabby? How about a reevaluation of laziness?

7:00pm - Communal cooking 


9:00am: Breakfast

10:00am: Yoga led by Julia Hirsch and a wrap-up writing workshop with Jeanne centered on the topic of indecision and repetitive behaviors. We'll be sharing some ways that we deal with this in our daily lives and explore some possible remedies.

Location: OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

296 Old Rte 22, Wassaic, NY 12592

This is our gorgeous home up in Wassaic, NY. We hold weekend seminars and welcome members of our scenius for creative residencies and projects. It is located less than a 20 min walk from the Metro North station in Wassaic and 2 hours from Grand Central. We are the proud neighbors of the Wassaic Project.

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

Nov 22


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

Sign Up - $20

Nov 26

Kafka’s Very Short Stories: A Phantasmagoria of Loss and Destruction

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

Sign Up - $15

Dec 6

Rolling in the Deep: Carl Jung and the Creative Subconscious

Taught by Michael Prettyman
7:30 p.m. at St John's Episcopal Church

Sign Up - $20

Dec 9

Yin-Yang, Stress, & the Western Mind

Taught by Darryl Aiken-Afam
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Dec 12

The Meta-Olio Party | Why Philosophy?

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Nowhere Studios

Sign Up - $20

Dec 19

The Art of Dying, The Act of Grieving

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Work Heights - Electric

Sign Up - $15

Find out when we launch new classes!