The Conditionality Curse

Freedom is the absence of conditionality. In this industrial, mechanical, technical era, however, conditionality is the ever-expanding center of existence. All of our appliances and software revolve around the concept “if this, then that” – it is conditionality that enables functionality. It is easy to spot conditionality in advertising: if you buy this, you’ll gain that. Contracts, insurances, marriages, they all define conditions, and so examples are plentiful. Conditionality has been spilling over from business into personal lives, where it is causing lots of emotional pain.… Continue reading

When the Worst Won

Read in Dutch on The Fire Online

In a kakistocracy the worst of all people are in charge. This Greek word can be applied to any governed entity, a country, an institution, a company, et cetera, and it reflects a situation that is inherently harmful. Leaders are incapable of doing their jobs, either morally, practically or both. The reasons behind their failing are highly relevant, although never as relevant as the primary, tragic fact that the job is being failed.… Continue reading

Heroic Historians

At the moment I am writing a history book and I am realizing that our old ways of conducting historic research are existentially broken. The information I find in university libraries –on this topic– is just as unreliable as a random internet page, the only difference being that the library book carries a generally presumed legitimacy it does not deserve. Once information is published in a book somewhere, it is infinitely referenced in other books.… Continue reading

Between Coincidence and Conspiracy

There is one specific article by Edward Snowden that has been inspiring me since its publication in August 2021. It’s called Apophenia – How the Internet Transforms the Individual into a Conspiracy of One. ‘Apohenia’ is a term coined by a German psychologist during the Second World War, it means seeing patterns that aren’t really there, a type of conspiracy mindset, an epiphany into delusion instead of reality. Today, this term leads us back to a crossroads between right and wrong.… Continue reading

From Individual Power to Collective Shame

In 1919, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays (1891-1995) founded America’s first public relations firm, applying psychoanalytic discoveries to promote consumerism and to use latent sexual energy to manipulate the masses through subliminal seduction.

Freud, and his more daring colleague Wilhelm Reich on whom I’ve written previously, knew exactly how important latent –unrealized potentiality– energy is to the overall health of the mind and body. In their work, the word ‘sexuality’ bears almost no resemblance to what it means to us today.… Continue reading