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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.

‘Aquaman’ and American superheroes

On the way back from a conference in Berlin just before Christmas 2019, I was catching up on movies on Qatar Airlines — a carrier…

Trump: The Emperor without clothes

Everybody knows the story of the emperor’s new clothes — where a vain emperor contracted two so-called ‘tailors’ to make him a new set of…

Modern architecture in Berlin

When one finds oneself on a busy street in modern Berlin — capital of a reunified Germany since June 20 1991 — it is difficult…

Searching for a new political cosmology

This morning my eye caught a report about Brazil’s climate-change denialist, neoconservative president, Jair Bolsonaro — evidently in an attempt to divert attention from his…

Criminality of the brutal variety

By the term, ‘criminality’, I don’t simply mean the perpetration of crime, or criminal acts; I have in mind something far more fundamental, even primal,…

Education policy and the future of water

On Tuesday, I watched a video on the deteriorating water situation in the Arabic state of Jordan, which foregrounded to me the imperative, that countries…