Zij en Wij – Het Omarmen van de Paradox

Wat heeft hedendaagse filosofie te bieden in deze tijd waarin populisme van allerlei kanten op de loert ligt? In dit artikel ga ik in op werk van Boris Groys, Emmanuel Levinas en Bracha Ettinger om twee benaderingen van de Ander te analyseren.

Veel van de huidige politieke ontwikkelingen spelen zich af rond het fenomeen dat in de continentale filosofie wel met ‘het probleem van de Ander’ wordt aangeduid. Emmanuel Levinas omschreef dit ongeveer als volgt: Er is iets dat zich buiten mijn eigen wereld bevindt, waar ik niet langer omheen kan, waar ik iets mee moet. Het is anders, het is niet-ik. Het is het denken in het zij en wij, een fundamentele tegenstelling waarop onze wereld is gebaseerd. We herkennen probleem in het vluchtelingenvraagstuk, bij de discriminatie van vrouwen, en in Europese discussies zoals BrexitContinue reading “Zij en Wij – Het Omarmen van de Paradox”

They and Us – Embracing the Paradox

What do Boris Gorys, Giorgio Agamben and Emmanuel Levinas have to say about how we are dealing with the threat of the Other – the immigrant, the religious, the woman? They warn for an oversimplification that leads to populism, and how the best approach involves dealing with paradox.

Many of the contemporary political developments are based on a phenomenon that in continental philosophy is called ‘the problem of the Other‘. The thinking of they and us. Emmanuel Levinas described this somewhat as follows: There is something outside of my own world, something which appears to me and which I can no longer ignore, I have to do something with it. It is other, it is not-I.  Continue reading “They and Us – Embracing the Paradox”

The paradox of writing about sustainability

While waiting for a flight out of Schiphol, Amsterdam, surrounded by people with flashy phones and hand luggage, and disposable cups emptied of over-priced coffee, I reread a piece I wrote (in Dutch) on the website for meaningfullness in the Netherlands (Zinweb.nl). I go against the statement made in the Dutch media, that sustainability is supposed to be the religion of the 21th century.


At least, when religion is taken in a classical way. The ordinary, obvious. What else is there to be done? When I would give my own meaning to all words I utter, can I still call that writing, communication?
Or, as Pessoa wrote so painfully eluding: “I want a rest from, be other than, my habitual pretending.”


Ow, yes, sustainability. I wrote something like this – that the theme of sustainability is so powerful precisely because it is not a new religion, a new idea or a separate movement. It is connected to everyone’s existence. Related. Attached. Whether we want to or not, whether we believe in it or not, whether we make our decisions accordingly or not.