consumer responsibility

Nevertheless, the industry has discovered that a benevolent part of the consuming population is willing and able to consider and decide whether a specific purchase is promoting a better life (for themselves, for society, for the world in general) or not. And it is more than willing to support these committed  customers in choosing the right stuff. What that finally comes down to is what Berlin-based philosopher Byung-Chul Han calls ‘self-exploitation’. You pay the postal charges, but if you want your package to be delivered to the addressee within a week, you better bring it yourself, since ‘to save the climate’ postal service is reduced to the minimum. If despite everything you decide to fly to your holiday resort, you can pay an extra CO2-supplement. If you don’t want all your fruit and vegetables pre-packed in plastic, you can by re-usable baggies at the checkout. And if necessary, public authorities will force you to do the right thing, such as p.e. separating plastic waste.


In three weeks, I’ll sit the exam Yiddish Level 1 at Universiteit Antwerpen. It feels a bit strange taking an exam again, after so many years of giving them. But apart from that, am I expressing my Jewishness through the studying of Yiddish language? I don’t think so.

double entendre

I was just thinking about using this picture as an illustration for pijpen. But then I realised the image itself was already too equivocal to accompany a text about ambiguities in language. Not only is there the misspelling ‘dentention’, but most of all there is this marvellous ambiguity about closing prisons, jails and detention centres as an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Well … I guess the intentions were good.

gullibility and cynicism

(...) Arendt writes about the mixture of gullibility and cynicism being prevalent in all ranks of totalitarian movements. Conversely, would an actual widespread societal mixture of gullibility and cynicism constitute a natural breeding ground for totalitarian movements and leaders?

a thing called truth

Who decides whether news is ‘fake’ or true? How to decide which facts are real or ‘alternative’? The well-educated, well-situated class – to which I think I belong – knows almost for sure when other people are misled. Through what mechanism? And does it matter? Sometimes it seems easy. There’s empirical evidence. If there are... Lire la Suite →

apocalypse, how?

My point is: it is vain to talk about general collapse or effondrement or apocalypse if the foundation of your conceptions is dubious, and secondly, if you nevertheless want to start suggesting responses, you’d better propose approaches that fit situations and urgencies that already today need sustainable remedies. (…) The fear for a threatening collapse of civilisation is nothing new in Western culture. From the first millennium, past the year 2000, there has been the continuously postponed apocalypse of Jehova’s Witnesses, the atomic bomb, the population bomb, Star Wars, the irresistible invasion of Europe and North America by all the deplorables of the planet and with it the loss of national identity … up to the threat of artificial intelligence and the possibility of transhumanism (of a technological post-humanity, the fusion of wo/man and machine) potentially leading to the end of humanity. (Of course I would not be that cynical as to state that much of the fear mongering about an apocalypse is enhanced by those who are thinking about commercializing solutions for the problems they are invoking.)

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