Looking back and forward… at my time in the US

I have extremely mixed feelings about my time in the US. Even though I spent some weeks in China shortly before going to the US, I had no idea what kind of shock I would encounter. A shock culturally, physically and emotionally. 

The United States of America, that country that I thought was so like Europe. That I thought to be the epicenter of everything Western. With the change in powers underway at the moment, the double feelings all come back in full force.

Continue reading “Looking back and forward… at my time in the US”

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 the (end of the) commercialization of writing

What happens when money is involved in the process of thinking and writing? Is there a danger, or is it simply a neutral motivation?

The end of media?

In a time in which media seems to be of a growing importance in the personal every-day lives of people, conventional organisations that used to provide the content of these platforms are rapidly disappearing or changing their mode of business. Newspapers fire people or become based on a version of crowdfunding (for instance De Correspondent in the Netherlands), and people who try to come up with alternative have a difficult time doing so. As Medium-originator Ev Williams said:

“The vast majority of articles, videos, and other “content” we all consume on a daily basis is paid for — directly or indirectly — by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that. Period. As a result, we get…well, what we get. And it’s getting worse.”

Continue reading “On the (end of the) commercialization of writing”

Go #Steady with a Philosopher

Ever wanted to know how you could support a philosopher? Be involved and go steady with a philosopher…

Read more here about how to go steady with a philosopher… Provide independence, be involved and help create a steady environment that allows for the silence necessary to think.

Steady is a team of developers, designers, journalists and founders in Berlin. They are motivated by the belief that good content should be well rewarded. With Steady, they make it possible. Continue reading “Go #Steady with a Philosopher”

Words&Statistics – “Fact” and post-truths

What happened in 1965? After that date, the word ‘fact’ has decreasingly been used in books. But how come? Did the ‘post-truth’ world start not with social media, but maybe with the rise of relativism and existentialism?

A reflection by Nicole des Bouvrie.

Philosophers deal with words, often in etymological sense, in that they try to understand the meaning of a concept by looking at the history of a word, how it was used, what roots it has. But there is another way in which words are interesting, also for a philosopher: quantitatively. Continue reading “Words&Statistics – “Fact” and post-truths”

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”