Bert Olivier

Capitalism: Why we live in a ‘schizo society’

What a pleasure it is to be in Istanbul — probably the most sensuous city in the world — for a conference on one of the most innovative and profound thinkers of the 20th century, if not in the history of philosophy, Gilles Deleuze (whose extensive collaborative work with Felix Guattari makes it imperative to…

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Worlds in collision

Individuals are “worlds” set on what is often a collision course. In a previous post I wrote about the “diversity of individuals”, where the thought of such potential “collisions” was already latently present. In the last few days I have come across a number of things that have impressed upon me the realisation that the…

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Eben Venter’s ‘Horrelpoot’, fiction and SA’s future

Anyone who has read Eben Venter’s gripping novel, Horrelpoot (Clubfoot; Tafelberg 2006), would know that it is no easy read despite being written eloquently and engagingly. What I mean is that it is a harrowing book to read. I have read the original Afrikaans version but apparently it is available in English too. Furthermore, anyone…

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Human extinction? It’s not just science fiction

At a recent science fiction conference (thematically called “East/West SF”), arranged under the auspices of the “Brain Korea” project by Professor Ilgu Kim of Hannam University, Daejeon, Korea (about an hour by high-speed train from Seoul), a number of excellent papers were presented, none more so than the one by American Peter Paik, titled: “Science…

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New ‘RoboCop’ reboots the roboethics dilemma

The one good thing about being unable to sleep in an aircraft, sitting in a cramped-up position for longer than eight hours at a time in the case of two successive flights, is that you can catch up on all the recent movies you’ve not had the time to view. On our recent trip to…

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Finding nirvana in the bosom of the mountain spirit

It is our second visit to Korea, less than two years after the first, and my initial (favourable) impressions of the country have been confirmed on more than one occasion already. I have been invited here by a colleague to present a paper at a conference on science fiction, but because we wanted to investigate…

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A private school with a difference

One usually associates a private school with the highest possible cost of school education, not so? I recall that, when my children went to school, they attended so-called model C schools, partly because there were several excellent schools in that category in the area where we lived, and partly because, even if I had wanted…

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Atonal music as model for democracy

I can imagine readers thinking to themselves what a nonsensical title this post bears – atonal music as a model for democracy? Really? What possible connection could there be? And yet, someone familiar with the atonal music of Arnold Schönberg, and with the idea of optimal citizen-participation as a criterion of “true” democracy, might just…

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Trash, ‘Idiocracy’ and how to avoid it

Viewing the movie Idiocracy is quite an uncomfortable experience, despite it being a comedy. Its premise is simple: smart, intelligent people tend to have fewer children – sometimes no children at all, in fact – compared to less intelligent, less “educated” people, with hardly any future perspective. Project the imagined consequences of this premise into…

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Exploring space…

Space – a word with so many meanings, literal and figurative. I need my space. Is there space in the lounge for the new table? Headspace is essential for psychic growth. Deep space. Newtonian space, Einsteinian space. Space-time. Cyberspace. Virtual space. Space of flows. Space – the final frontier (any Trekkie would recognise this one)….

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