In the past three weeks i have been watching quite a few youtube videos and read some books. I discovered new writers to discover: Ad Verbrugge, a Dutch philosopher and Paul Verhaeghe, a Belgian psychologist. Both have written books about the current times, love and loneliness and sexuality. I am still reading these books. All these books are written in Dutch.
From Verhaeghe i have the following books from the library:
Liefde in tijden van eenzaamheid (Love in times of loneliness)
Het einde van de psychotherapie (The end of psychotherapy)
Van Ad Verbrugge i have the following two books:
Tijd van onbehagen (Time of discomfort – which i got after the death of my stepfather two years ago)
Staat van verwarring – Het offer van liefde (State of confusion – The sacrifice of love)
I will write more about these books and what they made loose in myself over the coming weeks.
Reading a Dutch book about modern philosophers. It was actually on my stack of books to give away, but i took it out, curious about it. I think i got this book from my stepfather, after he died. Sofar i enjoy reading it.
To make this clear Gadamer points to the model of the dialogue. A dialogue is distinguished by a difference in perspective between the participants. There is distance, because one has a different perspective on the case than the other. This difference is fruitful; it continually forces the participants to closer clarification. This process of clarification can only work if one is actually interested in the viewpoint of the other. Commitment is as fundamental as distance. When distance is missing nothing needs to be explained; when commitment is missing, nothing can be explained. There is the entire difference between an unproductive fight and a productive difference of opinion. In a dialogue the perspectives are not identical, but they stand open for each other, exactly on the points where they differ. When the dialogue succeeds, the perspectives fold into each other, and a collective perspective originates. Gadamer speaks here of a melting of horizons. Then both original perspectives are removed, as two metals (tin and copper) change into a new metal, the amalgam bronze.
Yesterday i was suddenly gripped by a going through my bookcases and clearing out all the books i haven’t read, half read, was given as a present and never read and books i simply do not like anymore. Half my eating table is full of them. I will go through them; some i will put in the giving away cases out on the street, some i will bring to the Slegter, the second-hand bookshop, some i will take to the garden to see if anyone else wants them. I still need to go through some shelves, the ones where there are two rows of books behind each other. And i still have some books in the attic.
I found some scifi books i simply do not like. Some philosophy books, some children’s book i have never read myself, some poetry books, some art books, architecture books. Some books i hoped i would read them someday. I have decided that day will not come. Some dvd’s, a sunglasses someone else left in the train. And there is more to come! Yeah!
I’m still thinking. I have grown more quiet here, on ellenpronk.com. I try to live my life as good as possible. Be open towards the people i meet. Friendly. It is hard. I still find myself talking too much. Not listening enough.
Still thinking. This morning the thought came up. I’m still using too much force. I’m still trying to break through. I’m still trying. I still need to loose myself, relax. Look outside and see what is there. Look inside and see what is in there. Ease up.
I still trust myself. Really. It is hard. I do worry sometimes. Practical things. Where i live. Money. Sure. But yes, i still trust myself.
I am noticing a different form of reading. Slower. Reading the text out loud in my head. Reading paragraphs multiple times.
This is different from my escapist form of reading. In this form i read a story, in which i loose myself.
It is a lot more strenuous to read in this non-escapist way. I catch myself trying to loose myself every sentence. I have to keep myself on track. Read slow and carefully. Do not enjoy yourself. Think!
I watched the movie Leave No Trace Saturday evening. Loved it. Quiet, soft spoken. A father and daughter living in a national park. Taking care of themselves. Drinking water they have caught. Eating mushrooms they have picked. Practicing disappearing from view when somebody gets too close.
Then they get caught.
This is not a dreadful story. People are kind. Even the social workers are kind. But they do live far away from the experience of the two people. They live in the current ordinary world. Where people work. Live in a house. Go to school. Work. Have hobbies. Watch television. Not people with PTSD.
Anoher book from the library i have been reading over the past few weeks. A Dutch book this time, De kanarie in de kolenmijn (The canary in the coalmine). A book written by Marianne Thieme, current leader from the Dutch political Partij voor de Dieren and Ewald Engelen, professor Financial Geography at the University of Amsterdam. Both write one half of this book.
Ewald Engelen writes from a economical standpoint about the world’s current situation.
Scaling-up. Companies are getting larger. They use their power to influence politics and decision making. For their own advantage.
Debt. We live in increasingly larger amounts of debt.
Wrong measurement instruments. We determine a price not the value of something.
Marianne Thieme writes about biodiversity and ecology. Many species are becoming extinct. Also drinking water is a desperate need. We currently spend too much drinking water on our food and clothes, while we should spend it on nourishing people.
Both Ewald Engelen and Marianne Thieme come to the conclusion that we need to think and set our priorities differently. Not on money, but on the people and animals and plants living on this planet trying to make it liveable for themselves.
Some things written about by this book i have known about. I remember the football world cup in Argentien in 1978. Neerlands Hoop was against the Dutch football team joining this world cup as the regime then in Argentine was a totalitarian one. I knew about the Chili coup. And then of course the Berlin wall, the fall of the Soviet Union empire, the Iraq war. But these were all separate events to me, not linked to each other.
I am not sure about the general story in this book. But still, it gives me so much to think about, so many things to question, not take for granted. I am happy reading this book right now. It gives me plenty of new areas to explore. Naomi Klein’s other books first of all.
Central to the book’s thesis is the contention that those who wish to implement unpopular free market policies now routinely do so by taking advantage of certain features of the aftermath of major disasters, be they economic, political, military or natural. The suggestion is that when a society experiences a major ‘shock’ there is a widespread desire for a rapid and decisive response to correct the situation; this desire for bold and immediate action provides an opportunity for unscrupulous actors to implement policies which go far beyond a legitimate response to disaster. The book suggests that when the rush to act means the specifics of a response will go unscrutinized, that is the moment when unpopular and unrelated policies will intentionally be rushed into effect. The book appears to claim that these shocks are in some cases intentionally encouraged or even manufactured.
Reading this book right now does awaken so many feelings and dreams. Too much to talk about here, right now. It does open a new area of books i want to read. Economics. Ecology. Our current neo-liberalism. The networked society. My head feels rather full right now.
Capra’s is a cool and rational analysis rather than the work of a firebrand. But for those feeling a bit confused or helpless in the face of an unpredictable future, this is a great introduction both to the nature of the problem and the logic of the response. A book that could make a difference, if anyone is listening.
Reading this book gave me insights in the development of science, economics and law over the past couple of hundred years. What is called in this book the mechanization of the world view. In other words, the world is something we can extract something of value from. I have never thought about the role law has played in this. But countries have grown in influence. Private ownership and state sovereignty have a much larger part to play in the application of law compared to the fifteenhundreds. The commons role in our society has been severely lessened.
This book has given me plenty of stuff to think about. Highly recommended.
The first book to present jurisprudence — the theory and philosophy of law — as an intellectual discipline with a history and conceptual structure that shows surprising parallels to those of natural science. The authors argue that at the root of the multi-faceted global crisis we face today is a legal system based on an obsolete worldview; and they explain how, by incorporating concepts from modern science, the law can become an integral part of bringing about a better world, rather than facilitating its destruction.
The Ecology of Law is an ambitious, big-picture account of the history of law as an artefact of the scientific, mechanical worldview — a legacy that we must transcend if we are to overcome many contemporary problems, particularly ecological disaster. The book argues that modernity as a template of thought is a serious root problem in today’s world. Among other things, it privileges the individual as supreme agent despite the harm to the collective good and ecological stability. Modernity also sees the world as governed by simplistic, observable cause-and-effect, mechanical relationships, ignoring the more subtle dimensions of life such as subjectivity, caring and meaning.
The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons can also be understood as natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit. Characteristically, this involves a variety of informal norms and values (social practice) employed for a governance mechanism.