Tag Archives: desire

Disposable objects: The roots of global nihilism today

I have written on nihilism here before, and am returning to it now in light of a striking analysis of its causes by Bernard Stiegler in What Makes Life Worth Living: On Pharmacology (Polity Press, 2013, Kindle edition). While not ignoring the diagnosis of nihilism in western culture by Nietzsche, Stiegler takes its roots back…

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Why we need a politics of ‘spirit’ not consumption

Most people reading this are probably wondering what a “politics of spirit” could possibly mean. After all, it seems like an oxymoron to juxtapose “politics” and “spirit”. I would agree with that, at first sight anyway. Until you read Bernard Stiegler’s transfixing book, The Re-Enchancement of the World, subtitled: The Value of Spirit against Industrial…

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Human rights and desire: The need for a clear conscience

We live in the age of the unquestioned assumption of human rights — that is, the assumption that all human beings are entitled to certain “basic human rights”. This is accepted as normal, or setting the norm, and this is unquestionably correct, at least in the sense of being an accepted convention. However, the discipline…

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What politicians could learn from Plato

I am willing to bet that the vast majority of politicians in the world today do not give much thought to the relationship between governance and the “nature” of human beings. That is, how should one govern, given specific abilities, inclinations and dispositions on the part of the governed and the governing? Plato considered this…

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The lens of roman noir: Ishiguro’s ‘When we were Orphans’

Kazuo Ishiguro is famed chiefly as winner of the Booker Prize for his novel, The Remains of the Day, the virtues of which are beyond dispute, but will not be discussed here. Instead I want to concentrate on his novel of 2000 (shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize), When We Were Orphans – a masterpiece…

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Homo and Gyna Consumens

One of the most perspicacious social theorists of our time, Zygmunt Bauman, has given us a compelling, if not wholly original sketch of the contemporary consumer, or what he calls “Homo consumens”. I prefer to add “Gyna” (woman) to “Homo” (man), not only for feminist reasons of representing all the members of the human race,…

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