Bert Olivier

Ubuntu and eco-feminism as an antidote to neoliberalism

How many people have noticed that neoliberal capitalism undermines the values of ubuntu (“I am because others are”) as a traditional African practice? And how many know that ubuntu and ecofeminism share some fundamental principles and values? I know of at least one such person, and her work in this regard is extremely significant. In…

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The Tshwane protests, Freud and how to control a crowd

It is regrettable that so many thinking people today – even those in the discipline of psychology – regard the work of the founder of psychoanalysis (which is by no means synonymous with psychology) as being of no more than historical importance, and Sigmund Freud himself as a historical curiosity. And yet, Freud is more…

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Anthro-pessimism, robots and Garland’s ‘Ex Machina’

What does the demonstrable pessimism regarding robots and their projected “attitude” towards humans in recent science fictional films tell us about our understanding (or perhaps imagining) of artificial intelligence? To be sure, let me state at the outset there are exceptions to this, even in some of the most pessimistic instances of such films –…

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Why American market capitalism is broken

Yes, you’ve read correctly. You may not know who Rana Foroohar is, so let me inform you that she is a highly respected business and economic journalist working for TIME magazine, who has just published a book called Makers and Takers, published in May (Crown publishers), in which she makes this (to some startling) announcement….

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Why cartoons are linked to human freedom

There is a very obvious reason why cartoons are inseparably linked to human freedom. And here I don’t mean the Walt Disney variety, or indeed any cartoon film, although they are clearly connected to “artistic freedom” insofar as one’s creativity sets the bounds for the imagination as source of the construction of such films. What…

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How transgressive ‘minor’ discourses can subvert hegemonic neoliberalism

We are in Madrid for a conference on “the posthuman”, and taking in the wonderful art and architecture in this capital city of Spain, including the treasures of the Prado, such as their Goya, Velazquez and Bosch collections. Several papers at this thought-and-action-provoking gathering of scholars committed to change in a world being suffocating by…

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The price men pay for their addiction to porn

The technological revolution that has given us television, the internet and almost inexhaustible sources of image consumption has also, concomitantly, given viewers and internet users access to pornography on a scale almost unimaginable. But, as one should know by now, technology is a pharmakon – poison AND cure – and therefore it should come as…

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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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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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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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