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Bert Olivier

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.

Lessons from Mexico’s drug wars

The drug wars, or massacres, in Mexico seem interminable, and irresolvable. The subject of a recent (11 July) TIME magazine’s cover story, details about the…

Desire, democracy and Deleuze/Guattari

Escaping for a while from the suffocating Turkish summer in a beautifully carpeted teashop in Istanbul near the Hagia Sophia, we marvel at the unbelievable…

Turkish delight

If at times, as Heidegger remarked, one forgets to be astonished at the very existence of the world, the the pulsating energy and sensory richness…

The growing resistance to capitalist work

Here in Thessaloniki, Greece, where the international ISTP (International Society for Theoretical Psychology) Conference has just ended, delegates seemed strangely reluctant to abandon the discussions…

Protests in Greece

Thessaloniki is balmy and sunny, and my partner and I are enjoying our gyros and Mythos beer in the leafy shade of a sidewalk restaurant…

Cinema, the growth of credulity, and time

According to Paul Virilio, illusionists (or television magicians like David Copperfield not long ago) find it increasingly difficult to make their tricks appear convincing as…

Gaming, simulation and killing

The recent killing of a seven-year-old girl by a teenage online gaming “addict” in Vietnam raises important and disturbing questions. From reports it is apparent…

The abuse of political power

Power is abused, probably a million times a day, the world over. A man who abuses his bodily power to subjugate a woman for his…

Of ancestors, shoot the boer and muti

A discourse analysis of utterances by members of the ANC yields interesting results. By discourse analysis here I mean an analysis of linguistic practices through…