Categories for World

Necropolitics

Today on Twitter i came across an article called ‘Onze politieke macht regeert niet alleen over het leven, maar ook over de dood‘ published in Vrij Nederland 21 March 2020. I need to reread this article, as it touches on many different subjects within current and past politics and society. For now i will quote some parts which really impressed me. These quotes are in Dutch. Later on i will write more about this in Englsih.

In lijn met Da Vinci constateerde de Japanse socioloog T. Awaya: ‘Tegenwoordig bekijken we elkaars lichaam met een gulzige blik, als potentiële bron van losse onderdelen waarmee we ons leven kunnen verlengen.’ Hij gebruikt de term ‘sociaal kannibalisme’.

In Nederland weet bijna iedereen, nu de wetgever elke Nederlander tot potentiële donor heeft verklaard, dat burgerschap ook inhoudt dat het eigen, ademende en levende lichaam van staatswege precair is geworden, een zak van huid met daarin dobberende organen en weefsels: een toekomstig medisch hulpreservoir.

In 1998 i stated officially for the Dutch state i wasn’t prepared to donate any organs after i died. Something i still feel fits with my personal life view. Reading this article reinforces my opinion on this subject and gives me more tools to work with to talk about this with other people. Still in early stages though. More will follow!

Published on March 31, 2020 at 6:00 by

Distance

This afternoon i walked to the Vredestuin Noord garden. I worked a bit more on a new drawing. Still in development. After around forty five minutes i walked around a bit. At the back, against the wall of the old railway, there were a couple of straw heaps standing against it bathing in the sunshine. I sat up there, listening to the birds and the cars racing past behind the trees.

I’m thinking about the distance of a meter and a half the Dutch government is setting up as a rule. I understand this, of course. But at the same time i am thinking about our individualistic society. Everyone apart. Everyone not connected to anybody else. Everybody alone. Singled out. On itself.

I know, i know this is not a conspiracy post. I am not thinking that, not at all. But it is on my mind. Mulling it over. Trying to think it through.

It is strange, how this rule is making something so visible. And impossible to ignore. Outside the house. Inside the house. Very strange.

Published on March 24, 2020 at 6:00 by

Corona

A few weeks ago we made jokes about it. A friend was a bit careful and didn’t shake our hands, four or five weeks ago. We laughed. We didn’t take it seriously. It would pass over us. We didn’t think.

Earlier this week i had a talk with friends. Two of them worked/works in healthcare. We talked about the amount of deaths needed for people to start panicking. Ten thousand, one person said. That means two hundred and fifty thousand people affected by the corona virus. We are not there yet, but things move really fast. Exponentially.

In an old middle eastern story someone asked for a reward. One piece of rice on the first square on a chessboard. Two pieces on the second square. Four pieces on the third. Eight on the fourth. Sixteen on the fifth. Easy, the king thought. But on the twenty first square over a million grains were requested, a trillion on the 41st. For the final squares there wasn’t enough rice in the world.

I went out for lunch. I met Vincent along the way. We talked a bit about the threat. We bumped our elbows. After lunch i walked past the Pompenburg Park and said hi to the people working there. When i got home i walked into a live broadcast of the government announcing more rues and regulations.

  • events with over a hundred people are canceled
  • where ever possible people need to work from home
  • people with a fever and complains of aches in the lungs need to stay at home
  • schools stay open in the meantime

The Rotterdam Marathon on 5 April is canceled. Going through the liveblog on nu.nl many sport events are postponed or canceled.

On Twitter Jason Van Schoor said the following things:

Please follow the link above to twitter to see the subsequent tweets.

A post on medium tells us the following:

The coronavirus is coming to you.
It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.
When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.
Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.
They will have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies.
The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.
That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.

Right now i feel worried. I don’t worry that much about myself. If i get ill, there is still a chance it will be the mild version. If i die, i die. I think it will be a shame, as my life is still full of possibilities and options. But if it happens, there is nothing i can do about this.

We will get through this. For sure.

Published on March 13, 2020 at 6:00 by

LoveSick: The Question of Love

LoveSick: The Question of Love from NOWNESS on Vimeo.

In a world rife with consumerism, where online dating promises risk-free romance and love is all too often seen as a variant of desire and hedonism, France’s greatest living philosopher Alain Badiou believes that love urgently needs reinventing and defending.

I saw this video through aeon.co.

For the French philosopher Alain Badiou, romantic love is ‘the most powerful way known to humanity to have an intimate relationship with another’. Love, he believes, creates a state of dependence that is an important counterweight to modernity’s emphasis on individuality. In this short film from the UK director William Williamson, Badiou argues that today’s approach to relationships, with its consumerist tendency to focus on choice and compatibility, and the ingrained refrain to move on when things aren’t easy, means that we need a philosophical reckoning with how we think about love. To make his point very specific, Badiou points to the ever-growing prevalence of online dating services that claim to offer algorithmic matching of partners, a way of seeking love that, he thinks, drains love of one of its most vital qualities – chance.

Published on March 9, 2020 at 6:00 by

Less less less

Often i am thinking about the state of the world we live in. I am not terribly pessimistic. But not optimistic either. I see the forces in this world fighting for their own profits. Taxpayers escaping to other countries, to avoid millions, billions of dollars or euros to pay. It does make me sad, this continuous greed game.

I do know money is necessary in this world. It is a currency we have invented ourselves. I have a bit myself, for two more years i guess. I know i need to find a way to make a bit more for myself, in a way i feel happy with. This is hard.

I am thinking of a way to communicate what we need to change in our lives. A way to communicate the terrible danger we all are in. The falling apart of our human world.

I think back about the articles i have read about rich people buying villas in New Zealand because it is one of the safest places in the world. I think back about the articles i have read about the crisis in 2008 and the people working in banks who were afraid and ready to run. I think about the current responses about the coronas virus.

We are so afraid. Scared to death.

I don’t think we can simply wait. And i do see changes are already taking place. I’m not sure they are enough though. I know the scientists are worried. I know we have so little time to stop the worst from happening. To stop the warming up. To stop the oceans from rising up. To stop the dying out of insects and mammals and birds. To stop the impoverishment of this planet.

My own life is changing. I try to live with care. I try to not spend that much money on stuff. I try to buy less. Less clothes. Less furniture. Less food. Less holidays. Less stuff.

I know this will cause difficulties. If only ten percent of the people follow this rule of less less less, people will start loosing their jobs. Companies will go bankrupt. But i don’t see any other way. So we need to prepare ourselves. We need to make sleeping places, we need to make soup kitchens. We need to take care of each other.

I don’t think this will happen tomorrow, or next year. But yes, within twenty years.

We need to be bright and strong and caring. We need to be together.

No left or right, no rich or poor. Together.

Published on February 28, 2020 at 6:00 by

Isolation

This morning i came across this long read in the Guardian: Splendid isolation: how I stopped time by sitting in a forest for 24 hours.

I love this article. A few quotes.

A word he used a lot in talking about his work, and in describing the experience and value of the nature solo, was “re-enchantment”. He was of the opinion that most people, most of the time, lived life in a state of disenchantment. What he wanted to do, above all, was to help people strip away the layers of hard rationalism that accrued around the adult mind, so that they could return to a more childlike engagement with the world. And in reaching this state, he said, this place of re-enchantment, we could come to see ourselves not as separate from and in control of nature, but as part of it.

As weirdly counterintuitive as it feels to acknowledge, human beings are not naturally predisposed to think of life in terms of seconds and hours, of how they might be optimised. The development of mechanical clocks during the middle ages and, later, the advent of widespread precision timekeeping that facilitated the industrial revolution, fundamentally changed the way in which the human animal related to the world. Time became both an abstraction and a commodity, a raw material to be bought and sold, saved or squandered.

The mass adoption of this new conception of time, abstract and removed from the organic context of nature, was central to the rise of capitalism, and to the accelerating mechanisation of life. “Beginning in the 14th century,” as the American cultural critic Neil Postman put it, “the clock made us into time-keepers, and then time-savers, and now time-servers. In the process, we have learned irreverence toward the sun and the seasons, for in a world made up of seconds and minutes, the authority of nature is superseded.” To sit by a river for a day and a night is to experience the reinstatement, if only temporarily, of that authority.

I sat in the Kralingse Bos at the side of the lake. Looking out over it towards the shape of the city of Rotterdam. Following the birds swimming in the water. Closing my eyes and trying to hear all the songs the birds sang all around me. I loved it. Apart from the cars drowning out sounds in the far distance. And at the same time i was thinking of this article. Many thoughts popped in my mind. Most are gone now. It doesn’t matter.

I hope you will enjoy the weekend! Salute!

Published on February 7, 2020 at 6:00 by

Everyone is alone

First i wanted to make a post titled True Love. I had already written this post though. So no. I have also written a post called Alone. Way way back. But this subject stuck with me during the day. So i settled for this one, Everyone is Alone. True.

You can battle this aloneness. Make friends with whom you can go out, go see a movie, have dinner with. Chat with, shop with. Have sex with. Have a significant other. Have children.

All things to battle being alone with. As do i. The dinner party of last Sunday is a prime example. My friends, from the garden, from the harvest market. All people i have met over the past three and a half years.

But we all are still alone. Each and everyone. Something we all need to deal with. Preferably. It is not something we think about each minute of each day. But it is always there, lurking behind the leaves, behind the buildings, behind all the other people surrounding us. Alone.

I can only talk for myself here. I don’t know how other people deal with this. I know of myself a bit. I used to drink a lot more than i do now. In order to forget. To spend my time not thinking. I still have many issues, but i am dealing with most of them. I am reasonably happy. I enjoy saying good morning or afternoon or day to people i pass on the street. Some reply, some don’t. It doesn’t matter. I try to keep my calm. I try to look outwards as much as possible. I try to think about everything i feel. Everything that happens to me. Too many things really to feel completely alone. That does help me.

I don’t feel bad at all. I do cry at times. This morning i did. But it passes. And then i feel good again.

I hope you will have a good weekend. Salute!

Published on January 17, 2020 at 6:00 by

Greta Thunberg

I do follow Greta Thunberg on twitter for half a year or more. I admire her dedication and single mindedness. She is so right. The last day i saw her speech at the Climate Action Summit 2019 in the USA. It brought tears to my eyes. Salute!

My message is that we’ll be watching you.

This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams, and my childhood, with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones.

People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money, and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?

For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight? You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50 per cent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees (Celsius) and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

Fifty per cent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution, or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.

So a 50 per cent risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences. To have a 67 per cent chance of staying below a 1.5 degree global temperature rise — the best odds given by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) — the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on January 1, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just “business as usual” and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than eight and a half years.

There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not. Thank you.

Published on September 25, 2019 at 6:00 by

Decisions

I am not a scientist. I can only speak for myself. What i think is worthwhile to do and to strive for. Most of these things have to do with minimizing my ecological footprint. Difficult because i live in western Europe in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. I am surrounded by a neo-liberalist world. It is hard to find a good starting point from where to think.

As i said, i am not a scientist. But i can think and read and talk about things. About our world. So i will in the next few weeks.

Not right now though. Writing takes time and thought. It is hard work. For now i’m happy i have decided this is one of the areas i will dive into more.

Have a good weekend. Salute!

Published on August 2, 2019 at 6:00 by