Philosophically

The Myth of the Sexually Aggressive Male

We are all familiar with the conventional ideology of the sexually aggressive dominant man and his sexually submissive female counterpart. Naturally in contemporary western society this ideology has been challenged. How successful such a challenge has been is open to debate. The purpose of this post though is to explore this contemporary ideology on the assumption that it remains for the most part paradigmatic. I had the opportunity recently to attend a public debate presented by the Wits Centre for [...]

The Fantasy of Shirley Valentine

A friend of mine recently went overseas for 10 days to visit some family. Soon after she returned, she confessed that she felt overwhelmed at home. She wanted to go back to Europe and leave her children with her husband. What it was that made her feel this way? I also feel sometimes like running away. Small kids, teenager and husband can take its toll. Especially around 5 pm (suicide hour) when everyone wants something from you and it is not [...]

Consciousness and Freedom: Jung, Sartre, Steiner.

Freedom, that is the idea of freedom, the possibility of freedom, is a topic which strikes me as worth considering. It is, after all, arguably, the most important question philosophy can ask; and a defining parameter in our understanding of what it means to be a human being. The question simply put is this: Can an individual make choices which are not wholly determined by a prior casual chain? Is it possible, like Kant’s hypothetical God, to initiate a first [...]

The experience machine and Jung’s symbolic attitude

I heard from one of my lecturers at Wits recently about a book called Better never to have been: the harm of coming into existence, written by a local lad, Professor David Benatar, HOD of the philosophy department at the University of Cape Town. As the title suggests Benatar proposes that it is far better never to be born; that one is irreparably harmed by coming into existence. The two arguments that Benatar offers for this view are: 1.By bringing someone [...]

On the Nature of Love: an unromantic critique

When you love someone what is it that you love? Let me tell you why I ask. I think that often when we relate to other people we objectify them. This is most noticeable on virtual social networks such as facebook. The term facebook friend long ago started meaning something different from a friend in the real world. A friend on facebook means something like – a member of my virtual community. And much like those that follow you on Twitter a facebook [...]

Death: a Jungian perspective. What Face-the Grim Reaper?

When you lie in bed, alone, late at night, contemplating your own mortality, as the Grim Reaper grins at you, what face do you see? I frequently suggest both in my posts and to those I work with personally, the importance of facing up to the reality of death. To face the fact that you are not immortal. That the candle flame of your life will be blown out one day by the unfeeling and unrelenting wind of time. This fundamental [...]

What does the Perfect Life Look Like Today?

Anja was listening to radio 702 the other day (isn’t she always). Anyway she told me about a caller to the show, who said, the problem with the youth today is that they no longer have role models. Or, if they do, their role models are less than ‘ideal’. The caller went on to say that in yesteryear the ideal profession was to become a doctor or a lawyer (I would add chartered accountant to that list), but these lofty [...]

The Birth of Self

What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die – S’ren Kierkegaard. There is little doubt that [...]

The Childish Pursuit of Happiness

‘”Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called. What a lovely piece of writing. It fills me with happiness just to read it. And yes I am capable of these types of feelings of happiness, fleeting as [...]

Love Alchemy: and Why New Age Love is Basically Bullshit

Love is not abstract it is particular. I hate to shatter your illusions, but when Michael Jackson shouted out I LOVE YOU on stage, as he was want to do, he wasn’t referring to you in particular, so I hope you didn’t take it too seriously Love is not something you give to your community, it is not something you give to mankind, it is not something for the poor, or even for God. This is an illusion perpetrated by Holy [...]