Tech

Metaphors (as models), and our own ‘networked’ existence

In The Prison-House of Language (Princeton University Press, 1972) Fredric Jameson opens the Preface with the following thought-provoking remark (p. v): The history of thought is the history of its models. Classical mechanics, the organism, natural selection, the atomic nucleus or electronic field, the computer: such are some of the objects or systems which, first…

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‘Searching for an Electric Peanut (part II)’: Jonathan Silverman’s liminal art

Liminality is a strange phenomenon: The Encarta dictionary online defines it as ‘belonging to the point of conscious awareness below which something cannot be experienced or felt’, which is only one of the ways the term is used, but nevertheless gives a good idea of what is involved when you call something ‘liminal’. The point…

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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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‘Dark technology’ and human ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’?

In the later 19th century there was a protracted debate among thinkers of various stripes about the question, what ultimately determines human actions — ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ — a debate that is still going on today. But while it was then influenced by the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin, on the one hand, and empiricist…

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People are not as free as they think they are

Some (older) people may recall the 1983 Warner Brothers mockumentary, Zelig, written by, and starring Woody Allen, together with Mia Farrow as the psychiatrist who treats him for his strange disorder. Lately I have been thinking a lot about this classic portrayal of conformism on the part of a man who manifested his adaptation to…

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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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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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How to bring South Africa’s fuel prices down – Use Sasol!

Just a quick thought: I have noticed that, quite apart from the large percentage of the debilitating fuel prices in South Africa being due to government taxes, our fuel is much more expensive than in the African countries surrounding us. (Check out these comparisons). What strikes one when you look at these comparisons, is that…

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Don’t call me “kaffir”

Don’t call me “kaffir” I’m not your prison Bitch Don’t blame me for the sociopathology I’m not the architect of this wrongful state You rant and rave like a lunatic Yet you claim to be fighting for the oppressed Your presentation and demeanour tells us for whom you work That tells us you’re not independent…

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Minara

Recently, in Johannesburg, I caught up with Shaheen Hoosen, from the Minara Chamber of Commerce, and was pleasantly surprised to find a chamber of commerce guided by Islamic principles for the Muslim community, involved with both business development and trade development. Intrigued by the idea of such a specialised chamber of commerce, I prodded the…

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