Tag Archives: nature

Eco-psychology: Using bonsai to heal and find meaning

By Dr. Caroll Hermann In a recent episode of Binnelanders, a popular Afrikaans soapie on kykNet, Iva, the psychologist overcame her grief of not being able to have children by planting a tree. Some bonsaiists “make”a tree in remembrance of loved ones who have passed on or as a celebration of the birth of their…

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Ecosocialism can rescue us from ecocatastrophe

In Ridley Scott’s recent film, The Martian, there is a scene near the end that sums up the often ignored value of the earth. Astronaut and botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is sitting on a bench in a park, shortly after having been rescued from a very lonely existence on the red planet, Mars. He…

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Virtual reality just innocuous fun?

The cover of a recent edition of Time magazine (August 17 2015), shows a guy with what seems like a pair of goggles on his face, in jeans and a golf shirt, jumping into the air against the backdrop of a beach scene. Except … the “goggles” are not “look-through”, like normal goggles; he is…

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The humanities and the advent of the ‘posthuman’

One of the most promising and exciting developments in recent thought has been the emergence of the “posthuman” as a distinct field within, and simultaneously transcending, the humanities. It comes from within this disciplinary field insofar as thinkers working in humanities disciplines such as philosophy and literary departments have contributed to what can perhaps be…

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A ‘cyborg’ future?

When Donna Haraway published her famous (or notorious, some would say) “Cyborg Manifesto” in 1985, later included her book Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (1991), not to mention its many inclusions in various anthologies, she probably could not foresee its incredible history of influence. (For a condensed version of this, see David Bell’s Cyberculture Theorists: Manuel…

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‘Maleficent': A sea-change in popular culture

Maleficent (Disney 2014; directed by Robert Stromberg) is a magnificent film, and it almost seems more than fortuitous that the eponymous, powerful faerie is not called Malevolent, but bears a name that rhymes with “magnificent”. Judging by this recent re-imagining of the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, which was rendered in its classic Disney animated movie…

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‘Nature’s Confession’ – climate fiction everybody should read

Award-winning novelist JL Morin’s latest novel, Nature’s Confession (Harvard Square Editions, 2014/15), is a newcomer to the stable of the newly named genre (or perhaps sub-genre) of cli-fi (climate fiction, associated with sci-fi) novels, and is a rollercoaster of a story that valorises creativity and imagination in the face of the imponderable climate catastrophe looming…

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‘The Road’ and the disappearance of nature

Reading a short article about the reasons for the meat and dairy industry being unsustainable, and watching David Attenborough’s documentary, Madagascar (with its visual feast of beautiful, but ecologically endangered creatures in Madagascar’s forests), from the corner of my eye, reminded me of Cormack McCarthy’s novel, The Road, made into a riveting film by John…

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Living in present-day South Africa

I don’t believe in generalisations when it comes to experience, except in the natural sciences. In fact, philosopher Hans Reichenbach, in The Rise of Scientific Philosophy, goes so far as to claim that “generalisation” is what is distinctive about science – in the language of the philosophy of science, it is science’s “demarcation criterion”. Because…

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Bhutan’s lesson for the world

Reading Sipho Kings’s important article on Bhutan, “Forget your GDP, come on get happy” yesterday sent me back to my old TIME-magazines to find an article by Bobby Ghosh (TIME, October 15, 2012) on this tiny country wedged between India and China. The reason why I remembered Ghosh’s article is that it was entitled “This…

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