Zij en Wij – Het Omarmen van de Paradox

Wat heeft hedendaagse filosofie te bieden in deze tijd waarin populisme van allerlei kanten op de loert ligt? In dit artikel ga ik in op werk van Boris Groys, Emmanuel Levinas en Bracha Ettinger om twee benaderingen van de Ander te analyseren.

Veel van de huidige politieke ontwikkelingen spelen zich af rond het fenomeen dat in de continentale filosofie wel met ‘het probleem van de Ander’ wordt aangeduid. Emmanuel Levinas omschreef dit ongeveer als volgt: Er is iets dat zich buiten mijn eigen wereld bevindt, waar ik niet langer omheen kan, waar ik iets mee moet. Het is anders, het is niet-ik. Dit probleem komt naar voren rondom het vluchtelingenvraagstuk, bij de discriminatie van vrouwen, en in Europese discussies zoals BrexitContinue reading “Zij en Wij – Het Omarmen van de Paradox”

They and Us – Embracing the Paradox

What do Boris Gorys, Giorgio Agamben and Emmanuel Levinas have to say about how we are dealing with the threat of the Other – the immigrant, the religious, the woman? They warn for an oversimplification that leads to populism, and how the best approach involves dealing with paradox.

Many of the contemporary political developments are based on a phenomenon that in continental philosophy is called ‘the problem of the Other‘. Emmanuel Levinas described this somewhat as follows: There is something outside of my own world, something which appears to me and which I can no longer ignore, I have to do something with it. It is other, it is not-I.  Continue reading “They and Us – Embracing the Paradox”

Forget this “When good men do nothing…”

Reading books can give a distorted idea of what evil is, and what it means to be a good person. And especially when we start using falsely attributed quotes that are both misleading and wrong, we need to reconsider what it actually means – to do good.

The power of a good story

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of good books, with stories that stay with me, hopefully forever. But I have always read a lot of books. As a child, I would go to the library every week and find a new set of books – 6 as that was the maximum. Carefully selected of course, as it would have to last me a week. Continue reading “Forget this “When good men do nothing…””

The Ethics of Being First

Making distinction in order define oneself on the basis of what something is not, instead of having an holistic approach, is responsible for the main problems of humanity. Difference is what perpetuates poverty, climate change, social inequality, genocide, and war.

When D.J. Trump spoke his inaugural speech, many things he said were obscured through the simplicity of the words he used. One of those is the phrase “America First”.

Being first can mean different things. Whatever meaning you prefer, it refers to a politics of difference that is detrimental to the whole. Continue reading “The Ethics of Being First”

On when to cause offence

There is something that has bothered me for years.

Different groups of people who live by the idea that doing their best is good enough, but who actually fail to be good enough. Teachers, family, bahá’ís, friends, co-workers, academics, authors, activists. Many people whose heart is in the right place.

If I’ve learned anything in 2016, travelling in the United States, in China, in Japan and in Europe, it is that people mean well, but expect that change comes about through intentions alone. Continue reading “On when to cause offence”

Affirmative action & the continuation of sexual difference

One of the fundamental errors in this method is that is continues the definition of members of the disadvantaged group based on them not-belonging to the norm.

One of the ways to overcome the inequality between men and women (and also regarding other minorities, but I will focus on gender here), is the idea of affirmative action – a type of discrimination that favors members of a disadvantaged group. The idea is that this would lead to a reality in which there will be more women in higher positions, in order to stop men from being promoted instead of women.

There are quite some problems with this approach. And one of the fundamental errors in this method is that is continues the definition of members of the disadvantaged group based on them not-belonging to the norm.  Continue reading “Affirmative action & the continuation of sexual difference”

On Europe’s Future

I am part of the top-% of the highly educated people. Yet never have I taken one class or seminar on economics, leaving me in the dark about what macro & micro economics look like and how these processes are deeply connected to political history and our future. It was time to change that, so I started reading.

I am part of the top-% of the highly educated people. Yet never have I taken one class or seminar on economics, leaving me in the dark about what macro & micro economics look like and how these processes are deeply connected to political history and our future.

With the encroaching crisis of 2008, and the many attempts the media has made to explain this crisis to the ignorant mass to which I counted myself, I did realize something was wrong – why would governments and the European Union decide to lend money to bankrupt banks and countries, money that would instantly be used to pay off other loans of the same institutions that were so ‘generously’ offering the new loans? Why would they not invest these in the backbone of what makes a country – the people actually doing the work, trying to keep their jobs and feeding their family? (Let alone take care all those without work!) I didn’t understand, but these governments must know what they were doing, right? Or not? I had no idea. Continue reading “On Europe’s Future”