Bert Olivier

Turkish delight

If at times, as Heidegger remarked, one forgets to be astonished at the very existence of the world, the the pulsating energy and sensory richness — to the point of overload — of Istanbul on the Bosphorus prompts one to remember to be astonished anew. Ten days in Istanbul, too much of it spent at…

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The growing resistance to capitalist work

Here in Thessaloniki, Greece, where the international ISTP (International Society for Theoretical Psychology) Conference has just ended, delegates seemed strangely reluctant to abandon the discussions that have occupied them for a week. And not surprisingly, given the quality of the papers, a case in point being the keynote address by Professor Silvia Federici from New…

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Protests in Greece

Thessaloniki is balmy and sunny, and my partner and I are enjoying our gyros and Mythos beer in the leafy shade of a sidewalk restaurant — an inexpensive and tasty way of surviving in this history-rich Mediterranean country. From where we sit, we can see the colossal statue of Alexander the Great on his steed,…

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Cinema, the growth of credulity, and time

According to Paul Virilio, illusionists (or television magicians like David Copperfield not long ago) find it increasingly difficult to make their tricks appear convincing as something “magical”, …”not for want of skill, but because the field of public credulity has expanded considerably in recent years, keeping step, indeed, with the progress of the mass media”…

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Gaming, simulation and killing

The recent killing of a seven-year-old girl by a teenage online gaming “addict” in Vietnam raises important and disturbing questions. From reports it is apparent that Mong The Xuong, 15, tempted Anh Nhu to accompany him into the woods near their northern Vietnamese village of Yen Hoa with the lure that they could pick fruit…

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The abuse of political power

Power is abused, probably a million times a day, the world over. A man who abuses his bodily power to subjugate a woman for his (power) pleasure, or who abuses her economic dependence on him to get what he wants, are just some of these. Not that women cannot, or do not, abuse their (sexual)…

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Of ancestors, shoot the boer and muti

A discourse analysis of utterances by members of the ANC yields interesting results. By discourse analysis here I mean an analysis of linguistic practices through a focus on the link between linguistic meaning and the power relations such linguistic practices serve. First, the ANC’s persistence in defending their right to sing the liberation song containing…

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The ambiguity at the heart of the concept ‘liberal’

The history of politics, or of political struggle and political change, can at least partly be understood in light of the tension between two of the three constituent concepts comprising the battle cry of the French Revolution, triggered by the storming of the Bastille in 1789: “Liberty, equality, fraternity!” There is an irreducible tension between…

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On UFOs and (psychogenic) perception

The recent declassification of previously secret documents by the FBI, and the availability of these on their so-called Vault website, have given the public access to, among others, the documents pertaining to the UFO “incident” at Roswell in the US, dating back to 1947. The incident in question involves, not merely sightings of “flying discs”…

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Human health: On corporate (ir-)responsibility and manganese

Should the public tolerate instances of irresponsible behaviour on the part of corporations or companies where the handling of substances that are potentially harmful to human health is concerned? Most people would agree that the obvious answer is NO – especially judging by most of the responses to recent TL-articles on prospects of “fracking” for…

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