Turning the Soul: Humanities and the Hero's Journey


We find the archetype of 'the Hero' in  films, plays, novels, myths, psychological development etc. as the person who leaves the comforts of their life to undertake a journey that benefits others. In this Olio we'll discuss different ways to understand the idea of the hero and how it should be applied as the very foundation of our education.

Today, humanities studies the material conditions of texts and works of art without giving an account of the relationship between this knowledge and the soul of the student.  I.e the student is given information yet no instruction on how to put it into action in daily life. But is it possible for humanities to function without an acknowledgment of the soul? 

This Olio discusses the work of Freud and Nietzche to demonstrate the need for a different kind of humanities which is not merely materialistic. The conception of the hero (one who goes on an inward journey to face their unconscious and emerges victorious, with new insight and creative power) plays a central role in Nietzche and Freud's construction of humanities. Within their writings we meet with two different aspects of the hero on a spiritual quest. Applying the hero's journey to the teacher-student dynamic makes room for a fulfilling and transformative kind of education.

We will uncover the relationship between these two conceptions of the hero and in doing so, we'll take up the secret battle between instinct and knowledge and the role it plays in humanities today.

"The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. … It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal—carries the cross of the redeemer—not in the bright moments of his tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.” - Joseph Campbell




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




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


Sep 17

Our Pornographic Education

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7:30 p.m. at Crystal Lake

Sign Up - $15

Sep 18

Mediated Intimacy: The Dating App Landscape

Taught by Pani Farvid
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 19

* Sold Out * OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $

Sep 23

New York, The Neoliberal City

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at The Old Stone House

Sign Up - $15

Sep 26

Living Room Salon | 'Dirty Computers', Voice & Visibility

Taught by Kashema Hutchinson
8 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 29

Olio FieldTrip | Skateboarding and Modern Art

Taught by Ted Barrow
1 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $30

Oct 4

Modern Privacy: Reclaiming Our Self Narratives

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Oct 15

Olio Seminar | Kafka will Ruin Your Life and Make You Laugh About it

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

Sign Up - $60

Oct 22

The Fear of Leisure

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15


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