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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.

The times, dreams and cinema

Freud called dreams “wish-fulfilments”, inviting the obvious objection, that this would fail to account for nightmares. Except … if we think of nightmares as negative…

So what would fundamental change be?

In my previous posting, “The receptivity to the idea of change“, I suggested a possible reason why so many Americans have responded affirmatively to Barack…

The receptivity to the idea of change

Barack Obama‚Äôs emphasis on change, or the desire for change, as something that unites his supporters in the race for the Democratic nomination in the…

Technology and identity

In an earlier piece — The changing face of identity — I reflected on the implications and possible influence, if not “effects”, of the social…

To kiss or not to kiss?

The advent of the prohibition laws (against the brewing, sale and transport of alcoholic beverages) in the US and other countries had a long and…

Naomi Klein on disaster capitalism

Naomi Klein’s recently published book The Shock Doctrine is itself a shocking revelation of the cynicism underpinning the relentless manner in which what she calls…

Private healthcare, or health-needs exploitation?

The recent announcement by private healthcare groups (Netcare, Medi-Clinic and others) that their ward and theatre fees would rise considerably (between 8% and 33%) this…

Another step into the 21st century

Towards the end of 1999, Time magazine published a special edition that looked ahead to the new millennium. Among others, it contained an article that…