ThinkOLIO Presents: Manipulating the Material: Transcendence Through Drugs, Art and Religious Experience

Friday March 3: 7:00PM 8:00PM

This is an Olio co-taught by two professors: Michael Haltenberger and Michael Prettyman.

Throughout human history people have experienced moments of non-ordinary reality through various means. Sex is a ritualistic act that induces altered states, perhaps the prototypical religious ritual. Certain mushrooms have evolved to induce a very similar experience in mammals. There are many ways people (and even animals) manipulate their bodies and environment to achieve these highly desired states. Yet, the line between drugs and medicine is often arbitrarily drawn and driven by political and economic forces. The wholesale worldwide banning of all hallucinatory drugs in 1973 should give us pause. Even more interesting is the recent explosion of research into medicinal uses of these formerly banned substances. What should our relationship be with these pervasive plants? - Michael D. Haltenberger

The challenge faced by artists and mystics is the description and representation of what we, for lack of a better term, call the ineffable. “The Ineffable” can be said to be the real experience witnessed when we transcend the material limits of the universe, when we go beyond the usual limits of perception. Although contemporary art is now thought of as being primarily secular, there is a more ancient standpoint from which to view art, religion and the ingestion of mind-expanding substances. For millennia, both artists and mystics have used psychoactive substances and sacred plants as a gateway. These practices have survived criminalization and marginalization for a very good reason - they work. - J. Michael Prettyman

This class will be led by Michael Haltenberger and Michael Prettyman. Michael & Michael lectures are committed to the idea of community learning. It allows teachers and learners to gather around a subject rather than a professor downloading info into students as if they are empty vessels waiting to be filled. This approach emphasizes the primacy of community as the most valuable source of knowledge and wisdom. Read more about the professors by clicking below.

The presenting beer sponsor is Sixpoint Brewery. Wine will also be provided by Maison Cubi.

Buy a ticket HERE or at the door to attend. This event will take place in the Rare Book Room on the Strand's 3rd floor, accessible via the store elevator or at 826 Broadway.