Bert Olivier

‘Disgusting, fascist, racist Donald Trump’

The events of the last week in what is supposed to be the ‘greatest democracy’ on the planet have been very disturbing, to say the least – perhaps not for most people, who may not really care about the United States of America, but for me, who spent at least 6 years of my life…

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The resurgence of anti-Semitism

The spectre of anti-Semitism is once again stalking us, according to Vivienne Walt (TIME, July 1 2019, p. 33-37). Unbelievable, one might exclaim. Not really, and I’ll explain why – or rather, I’ll let Freud – one of the most original thinkers in history – explain why. But let’s look at the evidence for the…

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5G: Exacerbating interconnectedness?

From the point of view of complexity theory, or chaos theory, if you like, everything is interconnected. ‘Chaos’ is here regarded as just a very complex variety of ‘order’, unlike in earlier times — the ancient Greeks, for instance, opposed chaos’ and ‘cosmos’ (order), as most of us do in our daily lives. In Deleuzoguattarian…

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So you think that Orwell’s ‘1984’ could only happen under a political dictatorship? Think again!

Many people — especially those who still read novels — will know George Orwell’s 1984, with its depiction of the brainwashing society of Big Brother, of Newspeak (the language designed to inhibit critical thinking), the Thought Police, and constant surveillance of every citizen, monitoring their behaviour (lest they should exhibit signs of discontent, or worse,…

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Popular art and the homogenisation of viewing subjects globally

The global hype around the HBO television series, Game of Thrones (GoT), which ended with what was apparently generally perceived by fans as an anticlimax of sorts, made me reflect once again on the pertinence of the intellectual work of that indomitable French thinker, Bernard Stiegler, for grasping the way that contemporary electronic technology is…

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Another important European conference for Afrikaans-speaking philosophers

About two years ago I wrote a piece for this site on an important conference for Afrikaans in Europe, which was held in Gent, Belgium, by the NAWG (Nederlands-Afrikaanse Wijsgerige Vereniging, or the Netherlands-Afrikaans Philosophical Society). We are at this biennial conference again, this time in Leiden, Holland, from where it will rotate to South…

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Season 2 of True Detective — A ‘noir’ reflection of our broken society?

When the first season of True Detective was broadcast — with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as two detectives out to solve a case that seemed intractable in the extreme, with a gritty cinematic style and refusal to compromise itself for the sake of satisfying the usual Hollywood saccharine, sentimentalist demands regarding plot structure —…

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Should one question technology’s drive for dominance?

In a sense, the titular question, above, is redundant. Technology is, after all, already dominant — a claim that hardly needs to be substantiated with evidence; it is there for everyone to perceive on a daily basis. Not that the objects of ‘perception’ are self-evident in any straightforward way. In social reality a good deal…

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Notre Dame, spirituality and technology

The recent devastating fire that nearly destroyed the more than 800 year-old Parisian Gothic cathedral, Notre Dame, has put something important in perspective. One could not but notice that the shock caused by this event was not restricted to Paris, or even France, which one might have expected. Understandably, Parisians have always loved this architectural…

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A question of balance…

Two days ago my partner and I went on a whirlwind visit to Gauteng and North-West Province – flying to Johannnesburg and driving from there in a rented car to the Potschefstroom campus of North-West University, where I had been invited to participate in a debate on the question: ‘Is God still necessary for morality?’…

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