Bert Olivier

The biggest cover-up of all time?

After seeing the film based on Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and not having read the novel, I was somewhat prejudiced against his work as being just another kind of thriller, spruced up with a high-art context in which the action unfolds. Until I read his novel, Inferno, named after the first part of…

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The ‘happiest’ nations in the world – what do they have in common?

Some of you probably know about the so-called “happiness index” that has been published on a regular basis for some time now. It lists the countries of the world on the basis of their ‘happiness’ and obviously, the index has a way of establishing such ‘happiness’ – a number of criteria, that is. This is…

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Why capitalism cannot afford to support the human sciences

Ever wondered why capitalism does not (in fact, cannot afford to) tolerate and support the human sciences – in other words, the humanities and social sciences? There is a reason for this. The short answer is that they cultivate critical thinking and practice, which capitalism, in its current attempt to consolidate its global power, naturally…

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When do intimate relationships work?

I raise this question more as a kind of self-reflection than a hard-and-fast recipe of sorts. The latter cannot be supplied by anyone, for the “simple” reason that human beings are very complex creatures. While the interpersonal areas I reflect on below may indeed be important in all intimate relationships (and I do believe that…

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Masculinity and violence against women

During this period of encouraging the “proper” ethical behaviour towards women and children on the part of men, I have listened to a number of discussions on this topic on my car radio while driving, and I have not heard a single reference to Susan Faludi’s exemplary work in this field. Maybe it is because…

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The feeling of living in a ‘dystopian’ present

You know that you are living in a “dystopian” or “degraded” era when virtually everything around you emits unmistakable signs that, whatever the underlying reasons might be, instead of signs of hope for a better future, those that signal a future we should perhaps fear (and perhaps feel guilty about), are slowly but surely accumulating….

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The REAL task of decolonisation

Too few people seem to take the work of those two inimitably emancipatory thinkers, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, seriously. And I am not talking about those nit-picking academics who engage with them at an analytic level to argue about whether they got Marx right, or Foucault, or Deleuze, and so on. What I mean…

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A promising PhD-student’s take on the so-called ‘Zupta’- phenomenon

What follows here is a piece by one of my and Prof. Pieter Duvenage’s graduate students, Casper Lötter, who is a PhD-candidate in Social Philosophy at the University of the Free State – it first appeared in the Weekend Post on 5 November: ‘In a recent and valuable contribution, Raymond Suttner asks, “What is the…

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Why one should NOT vote for Trump in America this Tuesday

There are many reasons why voters in the United States should not vote for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, on Tuesday, November 8. These include the fact that he has, on several occasions, shown himself to have a questionable attitude towards women, and generally towards a variety of minority groups in America, at a time…

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Personality differences across the world

When you travel a lot, as we do, to different parts of the world, encountering people from widely divergent cultures, one might think that you would also come across personalities widely different from those you find in your own culture. However, experience has taught me that this is not the case, and that the divergences…

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