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.”

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Recensie: “Sterven voor een idee” / Of: Over levenskunst

Een vorm van kunst die me na aan het hart ligt is de levenskunst, een specifiek filosofische kijk op het leven, filosofie en kunst. Binnen de levenskunst gaat het erom dat kunst en filosofie niet zomaar dingen zijn waar je over praat, maar het zijn performatieve zaken. Je hele leven is een belichaming er van.

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Prologue to publishing the dissertation

It is because of the inner calling to reach for a new that is unrelated to the present, for that which lies beyond the realm of the possible, that I started out on this path and will continue to do so, in order to search for some form of truth while facing evidence that truth does not exist, to search for meaning in a meaningless world, to search for change in a world that is nothing more than eternal repetition.

At some point you’re ready to start working on it. The publication of what you’ve worked at for so many years. But rereading the prologue, I feel I’m finally ready to part with it. It has taken some time, some distance, it has taken writing another book in the meantime. But I’m ready to look into the long and arduous road of publishing The necessity of the impossible…

Here the prologue for your consideration: (And publishers are welcome, of course!)

“By choosing to write about the desire to reach the impossible and the closely related illusion of change, I have chosen to fail. To fail in life. And synonymously to fail in thinking.

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That delicate balance

Writing is more than an occupation. It’s a mind-set, a way of living as it requires a delicate balance between sense and non-sense, between life and love, between waste and production. It is not about having a lot of space, time or silence. It’s is having all those things in the right circumstances.

Writing is more than an occupation. It’s a mind-set, a way of living as it requires a delicate balance between sense and non-sense, between life and love, between waste and production. It is not about having a lot of space, time or silence. It’s is having all those things in the right circumstances.

Often it is easier to point out the factors that do not help in the process of writing. But cancelling out all those things is not the same as making it possible to write. But for sure, the men trying to break into the house last night, don’t really hep. Neither does receiving too many friends, reading boring books, and endless rain and cold. What does help is the little squirrel that comes by every morning to say hello. As does the nice cup of coffee with which to start my morning.

Probably this is all very personal, there is no real recipe to writing. Although I suggest these things for people not used to staring at the white space of the empty screen or piece of paper:

  1. Have a plan – either very detailed from day to day, paragraph to paragraph
  2. Dare to make time for your writing-project – knowing it will come to nothing. The reward of the writing itself should be the only reward aimed for. Other outcomes are a nice bonus.
  3. The right surrounding – there will be music that works good for writing, and music that does not.
  4. Try out different methods of writing to see what is your voice – do you write well just putting everything on paper and later on scratch 98% of it? Or are you an organised writer, seeming to ‘waste’ a lot of time thinking, but once you’re ready writing the whole chapter at once, based on a strict script? Find out for yourself!
  5. You need to fail. If you don’t fail, it means it’s a project not worthy of spending time on. Writing is about wanting to fail, not about wanting to succeed.

Image: Flооd via Compfight cc.

Beyond the prejudice of philosophy

Translation of published article on Zinweb.

Having finished my master of philosophy at one of the Dutch universities, I often find myself confronted with prejudices against philosophy, both in the world and the job market. The discussion about closing one of the faculties of philosophy in the Netherlands (Earsmus University Rotterdam) has brought them all to the surface once more. Here is my response.

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Only sometimes you realise everything is linked, comes together. It’s such a powerful feeling, to see how a poem you learned by heart when you were a mere thirteen years old, the epigraph of a master thesis, a quoted sentence on the first page of my final work in high school – all relates, comes together, is one and the same.

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The paradox of writing about sustainability

While waiting for a flight out of Schiphol, Amsterdam, surrounded by people with flashy phones and hand luggage, and disposable cups emptied of over-priced coffee, I reread a piece I wrote (in Dutch) on the website for meaningfullness in the Netherlands (Zinweb.nl). I go against the statement made in the Dutch media, that sustainability is supposed to be the religion of the 21th century.


At least, when religion is taken in a classical way. The ordinary, obvious. What else is there to be done? When I would give my own meaning to all words I utter, can I still call that writing, communication?

Or, as Pessoa wrote so painfully eluding: “I want a rest from, be other than, my habitual pretending.”


Ow, yes, sustainability. I wrote something like this – that the theme of sustainability is so powerful precisely because it is not a new religion, a new idea or a separate movement. It is connected to everyone’s existence. Related. Attached. Whether we want to or not, whether we believe in it or not, whether we make our decisions accordingly or not.