Health

The dynamics of complex systems: ‘Flight Behaviour’

Most people don’t know what complex systems (the word ‘complex’ is important) are, despite the fact that everyone one is enmeshed in several such complex systems every minute of the day and night. One such complex system is language, which we use more or less all the time, except when we sleep, and even then,…

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Breaking down South Africa?

In 2015, it was reported that Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, speaking to followers at Nongoma, criticised black South Africans for not building further on the country they had inherited from the National Party, opting instead to destroy or break down infrastructure, in this way cancelling out the (economic) progress made during a time when the…

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Sleepwalking into a geophysical storm?

In a recent article titled ‘The perils of short-termism: Civilisation’s greatest threat’, by Richard Fisher, he makes the following sober (and sobering) remark about the people — our children and grandchildren — who are likely to be alive when the iconic year, 2100, dawns: All the decisions we make, for better and worse, will be…

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What parents can do to make up for gaps in our basic education?

By Lehlohonolo Mofokeng Here is a reality many of us do not want to talk about: our basic education encourages surface learning than deep learning. One of the reasons I encourage my learners to enter for Accounting Olympiads is to show them that our content is weak; by consequence, disadvantages them when they enrol at…

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A world in need of redemption

This morning my two sons and I were having a texting exchange on Skype, while all of us were on our computers and online for various reasons — I was working and chatting to them in-between reading a PhD-student’s latest chapter of his thesis, and at least one of them was working while chatting too….

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‘Pictures at an Exhibition:’ Mussorgsky, painting and Virilio’s ‘grey ecology’

In my previous post, I pondered the work of Paul Virilio on the ‘accelerated’ lives we lead in the early 21st century, and tried to explain what this has to do with the never-ending stream of images bombarding one on a daily basis. What I did not have space to do, was to draw attention…

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The healthy way to get around our cities

Cape Town, like any urban area, is a city on the move. You can see it in every corner of its 2 461km2 metropolitan area, where 3.7-million people jostle for space on our roads. From Mitchells Plain to Milnerton, Sea Point to Strand, congestion is commonplace and smog levels are rising. Traffic jams mean lost…

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How (virtual) ‘speed’ has changed our way of life

Paul Virilio is a very important, if unusual, thinker. An architect and philosopher, his work has transformed the way people think about the relationship between speed (or acceleration), visuality (or visual culture), technology, the military, and the distinctive mode of existence of people in the early 21st century. This is how Virilio expresses the links…

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Does Philosophy have a function in society?

A doctoral student in philosophy at the University of the Free State, Mark Amaridakis, recently reminded me of the important contribution made to philosophy — specifically the Critical Theory of the so-called Frankfurt School — by Max Horkheimer, one of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research’s early directors. This made me pick up one of…

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What we’ve learnt from analysing 300 calls to a mental health helpline in South Africa

By Dessy Deysel and Dr. Linda Eskell Blokland We see the toll-free numbers on TV, read about them in magazines and newspapers, hear radio personalities encourage us to reach out. Helplines for depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric conditions are being used daily in our country, where one in three of us will likely experience a…

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