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Posts published by “Bert Olivier”

As an undergraduate student, Bert Olivier discovered Philosophy more or less by accident, but has never regretted it. Because Bert knew very little, Philosophy turned out to be right up his alley, as it were, because of Socrates's teaching, that the only thing we know with certainty, is how little we know. Armed with this 'docta ignorantia', Bert set out to teach students the value of questioning, and even found out that one could write cogently about it, which he did during the 1980s and '90s on a variety of subjects, including an opposition to apartheid. In addition to Philosophy, he has been teaching and writing on his other great loves, namely, nature, culture, the arts, architecture and literature. In the face of the many irrational actions on the part of people, and wanting to understand these, later on he branched out into Psychoanalysis and Social Theory as well, and because Philosophy cultivates in one a strong sense of justice, he has more recently been harnessing what little knowledge he has in intellectual opposition to the injustices brought about by the dominant economic system today, to wit, neoliberal capitalism. His motto is taken from Immanuel Kant's work: 'Sapere aude!' ('Dare to think for yourself!') In 2012 Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University conferred a Distinguished Professorship on him. Bert is attached to the University of the Free State as Honorary Professor of Philosophy.

Triumph of capitalism: The new world plague

Some time ago, while working on a bigger project concerning contemporary society, I took Slavoj Žižek as my point of departure to raise the question…

‘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…

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…

On the death of a (benign) revolutionary

This morning, just after reading the news of Nelson Mandela’s death — uncannily coinciding with the world premiere of the film on his life —…

Beautiful, but expensive Basel

Basel is among the oldest cities of Europe, and architecturally speaking, among the most beautiful. Its founding antedates the beginning of the common era (CE),…

Tarzan revisited

The story of Tarzan is familiar to millions of readers and movie fans all over the world. In addition to the original narrative (Tarzan of…