How many different apps do you have open on your phone right now? How many tabs on your internet browser? And how many different e-mail threads and Facebook messages? If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot of each of these – too many, in fact. The myth of multitasking has seeped into […]
The media is not neutral or unbiased. It never has been. The formation of mass newspapers around the world were tied to political parties to promote respective agendas. As such, the media can be distinctively broken down into a three-tiers. The first, faute de mieux, is the mainstream media. The mainstream media is the basest […]
In the Preface of The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant asks three questions that gave the fourth one. His project is an enquiry undertaken by Pure Reason to search out the limits of Pure Reason. The questions are the following:
What can I know?
What ought I to do?
What may I hope for?
What is man?
I will start with the last one just to figure out how we can answer these questions today.
What is man? Or what am I?
I was told by reading Kant and other philosophers that I am a rational being, capable of speaking (Aristotle), living through dialectics so that the Universal Reason can establish itself in the world (Hegel), among other definitions. How did it serve me today?
Since the 20th century, rationality is technical or technological and we are submitted to machines and algorithms. All other fields and walks of life evolve and revolve around infotech and biotech with a progressive absence of critical thinking. I love the Kantian project and I believe Kant is one of the biggest philosophers ever, but we are more emotional and practical beings than highly rational. How can the critical thinking “function” with the massive amount of news and fake news by the minute?
What can I know?
Everything and nothing thanks to social media. It all depends on how we use this tool to our full potential. Potential can differ from one person to another; however technology can be a wonderful tool to learn new skills and to be updated.
What ought I to do?
Other than surviving on all levels, I think ethics are the name of the game for the present and the future. It lies on freedom and courage to step forward and be responsible for the whole world.
What may I hope for?
That’s the most difficult question especially today when the world is stuck between the pandemics and the economy crisis. I think by willing to be flexible and accepting that change is inevitable, by willing to work differently and having a new perspective on life, can we hope for a better future.
Bats are peculiar creatures, a strange hybrid between a mouse or a fox and a bird. The flying freak sleeps upside down during daytime and gets active during nighttime. There is no doubt this animal was, and stills the object of many fantasies. Therefore what are the main fantasies on bats?
In Biblical tradition, bats were believed to be messengers of Satan. The Puritans believed that if a bat flew close to someone, somebody was trying to bewitch them. This is the reason why one might see bats sculptures on the outer walls of Gothic churches in Europe.
In 1897, Bram Stoker wrote his Gothic novel Dracula, introducing the character of Count Dracula and established many conventions of subsequent vampire fantasy. Stoker was inspired by European myths about vampires and some types of bats that solely drink blood. Dracula inspired more fiction about bat behavior like vampires. The success perpetuated the fantasy and the fascination of bats.
Then in 1939, the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger created Batman, a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books. Originally named the “Bat-Man,” the character is also referred to as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective. Unlike Dracula and the common idea of bats, Batman is a hero fighting criminals and bringing justice to the world.
Just to name these examples among many others, bats became a narrative symbol in our subconscious mind, explaining both fear and fascination of these creatures. It pushed more and more people around the globe to approach bats, studying them, domesticating them, killing them or even eating them. To Chinese, bats are a symbol of happiness!
A bat is an infected animal but due to its immune system it can live with viruses. SARS, MERS, COVID19 are said to have been transferred to humans from bats because of human interactions with them.
A bat, like any other creature, is crucial to the environment equilibrium. We should save bats by letting them be in the wild. Don’t hug a bat, don’t kill it, don’t eat it, and don’t get close to it.
During lockdown, there was a massive pressure on people to be creative since time is the thing we needed to kill. While this is not a bad idea and creativity is thrived in moments of silence and slowness, the whole marketed creativity was more perceived as an obligation. However, creativity is not an obligation. What is creativity then?
Creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc. It is the synonym of originality, inventiveness, progressiveness, imagination.
Consequently, there are two main goals to creativity: aesthetics and necessity. For the latter, creativity is essentially an obligation and that’s how humans evolved and survived as specie. But for aesthetics and intellectual pleasure how can creativity become an obligation? It is almost a paradox. Therefore where did conception come from?
In ancient times, creativity was never an issue except for poets who were inspired by muses. There was a natural way to let creativity develop by simply letting it be. It was more like a dance with creativity whenever anyone was inspired. Nature is creativity without an issue, hence the peaceful relationship humans had with it.
In modern times, since the 17th century, a man was defined as a free conscience being in total mastery of his own thoughts and actions. Creativity started to be an issue because it had to me mastered and under the command of the ego. Then a person had to be creative. The relationship to creativity became a struggle, pushing artists to sacrifices and artificial ways to reach it. Most artists still beat themselves up to create something. How many artists did commit suicide? How many others were/are addicted?
Forced creativity and commercialization of art in general turned creativity into an obligation and a burden. As Nietzsche said it once:
I want to know whether you are a person devoted to creating or to exchanging in some respect or other: as a creator you belong to the free, as an exchanger you are their slave and instrument.
Writing is not only about expressing ideas or telling a story. Whereas the aforementioned is true, writing goes beyond this, even for philosophy writing too.
How can writing be defined?
Writing is about creating moments. A moment is created when meeting a person, an event, an idea even if it is an internal subjective one. It’s like being hooked and digging deeper. Writing is about the perpetuation of that moment, which can go through fluctuations along the writing exercice.
On parallel, the reader will be hooked on that moment and will go through fluctuations as well. Being emotional or rational, or both ideally, the fluctuation of both the writer and the reader, will propel them into the ongoing moment crafted by writing.
That moment is like a runway show: colours, shapes, emotions, concepts, themes will showcase for the writer and the reader. Often, the writer is hooked but not the reader; maybe a different reader would be. That’s the risk of creativity specially in writing.
The worse kind of writing is the one that stops the moment. Or the one that doesn’t create any moment. The writing that doesn’t pick up what’s left and go further with it, is the kind of forgotten books shortly after reading them.
Writing means a constant search for the upcoming word and idea.
Meeting a new “other”, might be a person or a place, an idea or a picture, an event or a book etc., is the ultimate goal of a writer.
The country is shut down due to the corona tsunami and people remain home. For me, it was a new experience as i am teaching online. I hate corona but i am loving this online job experience. However, being locked down, I couldn’t help but wonder about the year 2020.
For those who follow my blog, they know that starting october 2019, we have been on a long revolution against corruption and injustice. So on a shaky land we entered 2020 that hit us with more turmoils and with corona. Horrible as it is, we must look at the bigger picture. 2020 is the year of battles and change; which logically leads to the desire of change or to resistance because of fear. I feel it is a turning point: there is before and after 2020. The decade sounds revolutionary on all levels.
Corona, floods, earthquakes, protests, climate change and more demand responsibility and collective consciousness. It demands awareness and redifinition of oneself, of social structures, of relationships, of politics, of economics. Basically it demands form each one of us a choice and a role. Speaking of Corona: movies, tedtalks, conferences predicted the outbreak of a similar virus. We listened but we didn’t get ready for it. Now that the outbreak is here, what am I going to do? How to deal with others? Who am I and what are my deepest desires? The natural incidents I mentioned indicate the redifinition of the earth itself.
2020 is the year of big lessons in life. Incidents will force us to retrieve into ourselves and connect on a deeper level with our fears and desires. It is the year that must teach us to let go of the past and start fresh new, both on individual and collective levels.
So yes there is fear and loneliness. There is a resistance to change. But do we have a choice other than love and flexibility? I don’t think we do.