The Art of Belonging – reflection on the NSU summer school

Is it possible to define the sense of belonging that is more than simply the addition of the parts, that does not erase philosophical loneliness but gives it a place and makes you regard it as a strength?

It has been truly a magnificent gift to be able to spend an intensive week with a group of strangers, talking about venturing into the unknown, into the future of (feminist) philosophy, and who, during the final session, dare to share their feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. In life. But mostly in their philosophical being. A loneliness that is both personal and professional. And I wonder how that shared attitude of fundamental openness creates a space of belonging. Continue reading “The Art of Belonging – reflection on the NSU summer school”

Truth has never been sexy – let’s focus on the real issues please

It should be extremely clear to everyone that truth is besides the point. And has been for decades already. 

Truth does not exist. It is not something you can simply point out and say: look at that, that is the truth. Truth is made. Truth exists only in a particular world, in which specific rules and regulations about what is reality matter. Truth is always subjective, as it depends on which world you live in on what kind of rules you will follow, what truth-procedures you follow. And truth is always objective, as within that specific world with its truth-procedures, that truth is the truth, no matter who says it or who thinks it. That is the truth, and nothing but the truth (so help me God). Continue reading “Truth has never been sexy – let’s focus on the real issues please”

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”