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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.

Drones: Panopticism intensified

Panopticism has just been ramped up a few notches. Panopticism is a Foucaultian concept (employed in Discipline and Punish) that encapsulates the paradigmatic condition of…

The discursive forces that shape our lives

The 21st-century world, and with it, our lives, are shaped by powerful discursive forces that are distinct from one another, but are nevertheless interrelated in…

Is social equality an illusion?

Some people evidently thought that in my last post I was writing approvingly about Plato’s division of the community/society into three classes (philosopher-kings/queens — yes,…

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…

Lacan and Fowles on human knowledge

When I first read John Fowles’ wonderful counter-Bildung novel, The Magus, years ago, I had not read Jacques Lacan. When I finally did try to…

Korea – an amazing country

During our recent visit to Korea — “South” Korea, that is, although Koreans simply refer to their country as “Korea” — we were astonished by…