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”

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”

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”

Surrender upon demand | US experience part one

After about two weeks in the United States, there is to much too keep in. Writing seems the only sane response to the variety of experiences that cannot be but leave an impression.

After about two weeks in the United States, there is too much to keep in. Writing seems the only sane response to the variety of experiences that cannot be but leave an impression.

I could start with the initial wonder, those couple of days walking around in a haze, the filmset that was movie around me, that I didn’t want to touch anything so that it would not become too real. The steam coming out of put holes in the streets of New York. People walking like they have nowhere to be except right there, in that walk, walking the walk, as stand-ins, always ready for something to happen. The woman in the metrostation randomly starting to talk to me about her life. The people asking me if I have a problem with black men. The New York skyline from a rooftop in Astoria, and it not sparkling me as it should.

Continue reading “Surrender upon demand | US experience part one”

Why again do we want this ‘freedom of speech’? Or: reading Spinoza

Watching the news, reading social media contributions, I more and more come to the conclusion that it might be time to end our persistent liking of this concept, the ideal of freedom of speech. In a world where opinions create problems, perhaps it is time to stop having opinions altogether. Especially when having an opinion is seen as ‘doing something’, as ‘contributing something’ to society. Thus, the main problem I have with the ‘freedom of opinion’ is that is seems to warrant a liberty through which people feel entitled to say whatever they want, even if it hurts, even if it confirms prejudice and ignorance.

When we take into account that we are mostly limited in our thinking by the world in which we find ourselves, then we must conclude that our opinions can only be a confirmation of who we already are, of what we already know.

 7201886880_23f21ac36e_b

Continue reading “Why again do we want this ‘freedom of speech’? Or: reading Spinoza”

The Chinese experience – Part I

China, a fascinating land full of new obstacles, opportunities and perspectives that has been a great experience so far. Around every corner there can be something new, disgusting, lovely, beautiful, touching, crazy, horrifying. It is a great test of sanity, of belonging, of becoming.

A little over one week ago I arrived in China, a fascinating land full of new obstacles, opportunities and perspectives that has been a great experience so far. Around every corner there can be something new, disgusting, lovely, beautiful, touching, crazy, horrifying. It is a great test of sanity, of belonging, of becoming. With only a few words of Chinese – and no hope of acquiring that language any time soon – I learn a new language of assertiveness, perseverance and humbleness.

Continue reading “The Chinese experience – Part I”

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?”