Animation by Meryl Friedman and poem by Taylor Mali...
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
- Martha Nussbaum
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Saying, as Albert Camus, does, that suicide is the only real philosophical question amounts to a paradox. After all, the answer to this question cannot be suicide. Or as Arthur Schopenhauer writes: “Suicide may also be regarded as an experiment – a question which man puts to Nature, trying to force her to answer. The question is this: What change will death produce in a man's existence and in his insight into the nature of things? It is a clumsy experiment to make; for it involves the destruction of the very consciousness which puts the question and awaits the answer.”
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Memory and history are interconnected, but there is an important difference. History is what historians conduct research on in a scientific manner. Memory, on the other hand, is more subjective. Memory deploys myths and legends. Memory is important for our identity, and distortion of facts is then not necessary a sin.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
When the term was designed it referred to those countries that neither choose to side with the U.S. nor with the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War. These non-aligned countries gathered in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 aroused enormous euphoria and not only in that particular part of Europe. However, the changed political climate made the term ‘Third World’ redundant.
‘Third World’ as an analytical tool referring to developing and underdeveloped countries is inaccurate, because it only takes the unequal distribution between states into consideration, some countries are then rich and others are poor. However, within rich states there are many poor, and within poor countries there are many extremely rich people. The sociologist Ulrich Beck uses methodological cosmopolitanism to question global inequalities. This method is thus an imaginary leap away from the nation-state, because, so claims Beck, if we only take nation-states into account we will be blind for inequalities between people from different countries for which is no legitimacy when methodological cosmopolitanism is used. And the philosopher Thomas Pogge adds: “Once we break free from explanatory nationalism, global factors relevant to the persistence of severe poverty are easy to find.” From a moral point of view the lives of all individuals matter. It should not matter whether someone is a slumdog in a ghetto of Los Angeles or if someone lives along the railway tracks of Jakarta.
Psychologists have always thought that multitasking is just impossible. Now, researchers from Stanford University have finally proven so. Their research shows that heavy multitaskers are far less able to concentrate, to absorb information and to distinguish what is relevant from what is irrelevant.
For an interview with the researchers see here.
The Hong Kong-based director Wong Kar Wai exposes in his movies the view that memory is man’s curse. A curse, though, we cannot live without. Without memory a sense of continuity necessary for an identity is unfeasible. Memory is needed to make morality in general and justice in particular possible. However, no matter how hard we try to reach out, no matter how much we urge for real contact with significant others, those others stay out of reach. And we try – we try to forget. That is when trauma kicks in – the curse of memory – and Wong Kar Wai’s mesmerizing movies lift off. His movies show the eternal return of our curse.
The clip is from the movie In the mood for love.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Occasionally, an artist has fate on his side. Then he succeeds in turning all his skill and experience into a sublime work. ‘The Falling Man’ by Richard Drew is such an example. He made the photo at that sunny morning of 9 September, 2001. He immortalized the falling man. That can be the beauty of still photography: if the photo works, history stops – no past, no future. The man is still falling. The eternal recurrence of the same moment. The man never hit ground zero. He is alive in an eternal now. A successful Icarus. This heroic son of Daedalus affirmed the tragic.
Tom Junod wrote a beautiful essay about the falling man in Esquire.
Monday, August 24, 2009
‘What a fellow you are,’ said the overseer, ‘and why can’t you do anything else?’
‘Because,’ said the fasting showman, lifting his head a little and speaking with his lips pursed, as if for a kiss, right into the overseer’s ear, so that no syllable might be lost, ‘because I couldn’t find any food I liked. If I had found any, believe me, I should have made no bones about it and stuffed myself like you or anyone else.’
These were his last words…”
Franz Kafka – A Fasting Showman
The fasting showman eats the void – the nothingness. In the Dutch translation ‘the fasting showman’ is called ‘the fasting artist’, but he is not an artist. He has taken the first step to creation – recognizing instead of denying the nothingness – but he does not create anything out of it (or despite of it).
It is therefore no miracle that Judaism is an inherent pessimistic religion. A religion that does not offer redemption with a heaven as an after-life retirement home. David Ben-Gurion made therefore a grave mistake to give into pressure to declare the new state of Israel a Jewish state, and not because it contradicts tenets of political liberalism, i.e. the secular state, but because it contradicts Judaism. It is therefore no surprise that some orthodox Jews do not recognize the state of Israel, they persist in their pessimism (they also do not join the Israeli army, because they do not want to defend a state they do not recognize).
Slavoj Zizek – On Belief
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
The Russian author Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov published in 1859 the novel Oblomov. Today, the main character of this novel is famous for Oblomovism, which is a synonym for someone who is a sloth characterized by extreme laziness, indolent apathy and indecisiveness (which he has in common with Shakespeare’s Hamlet). Oblomov dreams of an eternal present of bliss where nothing changes because everything is already perfect: “in those days parents did not hurry to explain to a boy the meaning of life, and to prepare him for life as for something at once difficult and solemn. No, they did not weary a child with books which would cloud his head with questions likely to devour the heart and the intellect, and to shorten existence. Rather, the standard of life was furnished him and taught him by parents who had received it ready-made from their parents, together with a testamentary injunction to preserve the integrity, the inviolability of that standard as they would have done that of the Vestal flame.” However, according to Anthony Giddens, we all live now in post-traditional societies. Modernization has detraditionalized societies. Detraditionalization, though, does not mean there are no more traditions, either they become reflexive, i.e. we are aware that these are traditions and this awareness changes them, or become a form of fundamentalism. We can no longer speak of a natural order concerning our values and norms, values and norms can be renegotiated because they have to be justified in the light of social action. Of course, while we cannot simply return to a closed-off tradition, we should also not hold a utopian belief in inevitable progress.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Above painting is 'The tower of Babel' by Pieter Brueghel the elder.