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”

On the Frustration & the Beauty of Repetition

As a child I thought I despised repetition. Little did I know that I actually loved it, and practiced it. Just not at school.

“Skill development depends on repetition…” I am reading a book by the American sociologist Richard Sennett on the position and the role of The Craftsman in society. An interesting book. But that sentence would have made me angry. At least, when I was young.

When I was a child I was convinced I hated repetition. I hated it all through elementary school and all through high school. At least, that is what I thought. But I was made to repeat tasks that were much too simple for me. Now I know, that if they had given me Chinese characters to learn, told me to repeat them hundreds, thousands to times, I would have gladly done so. Continue reading “On the Frustration & the Beauty of Repetition”

Reflection on Japanese Prayer

I’m hardly proficient in Japanese, nor do I know everything about its history – although to have read some books especially to prepare me for this trip has been a good thing. But I can say I love the rhythm that envelops everything, the sounds in the street, the ‘gozaimas’ everywhere you go. There seems to be a deep respect for everything – but whether this is surface or truly felt is hard to reckon. So, a short reflection on Japanese prayer.

After being here for more than two weeks, it seems a reflection is in place to gather around me some of this country of deep bows, shrines, busy streets, quiet islands and fast trains. I’m hardly proficient in Japanese, nor do I know everything about its history – although to have read some books especially to prepare me for this trip has been a good thing. But I can say I love the rhythm that envelops everything, the sounds in the street, the ‘gozaimas’ everywhere you go. There seems to be a deep respect for everything – but whether this is surface or truly felt is hard to reckon. So, a short reflection on Japanese prayer.

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Continue reading “Reflection on Japanese Prayer”

How to respond to the horror of #Paris?

It is still too early to know exactly what happened, who what where and perhaps the most important question: why? What is clear is that something terrible has happened. Response from all over the world is pouring in, and besides the initiatives where the people from Paris open their doors for stranded fellow-Parisians to find a shelter for the night, there are also possible violent reactions. Which is what this event is also the beginning or continuation of, fear of violence and revenge. Which response is appropriate now?

It is still too early to know exactly what happened, who what where and perhaps the most important question: why? What is clear is that something terrible has happened. Response from all over the world is pouring in, and besides the initiatives where the people from Paris open their doors for stranded fellow-Parisians to find a shelter for the night, there are also possible violent reactions. Which is what this event is also the beginning or continuation of, fear of violence and revenge. Which response is appropriate now? A reflection by Nicole des Bouvrie. First published on Zinweb.nl (in Dutch).

Continue reading “How to respond to the horror of #Paris?”

Reflection on Birdman and the reality and/of art

Naomi Watts in Birdman

Winner of four Oscars, and some of my favourite actors in it (Edward Norton, Naomi Watts). Enough to go and watch this film, right? Or perhaps it is the subtitle of the film that made me go and see it… In any case a movie that is worth watching: “Birdman: or the unexpected virtue of ignorance“. A reflection without any spoilers.

Continue reading “Reflection on Birdman and the reality and/of art”