A Forum for and the Background of the Mediation of Dialogue in Ancient and Modern Academies

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Europe Filled With Corpses

Europe is being filled with corpses, metaphorically, the corpse of Greece, and literally, unfortunately also literally, as yesternight, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, because of the multiple terrorist attacks in Paris. Bad times for Europe. Atrocious times with only one predictable result: the increase of power of the far-right nationalistic fronts. May education do its thing before history repeats itself in a different way (Pan-European Hitler!? And academics to support him/her again!?). And may people belonging to (central) right, centre or left, realize that they have to collaborate for the sake of the current multifaceted crisis, and despite all political differences, which once upon a time, were thought to be insuperable.

For now, our prayers concern the French and non-French, who were robbed of their lives in Paris. And the tears shed are not the expression of involuntary first movements as pre-emotions, but full-fledged good passions of grief (yes, good passions; I am not Stoic on this): in awareness of the badness, we deeply mourn and think it is appropriate to do so until we perceive the signs of progress toward virtue again: then we will get to the (Stoic, or not Stoic) good emotions of joy and wishing of a better future, for Europe as well. For, the world is our home.

PS: Because we need logos in order to go beyond numb silence after such attacks against democracy, attacks which are part of the daily life in certain parts of the world, check the following discussion between Slavoj Zizek, Yanis Varoufakis and Julian Assange (the latter joined per Skype), which took place in London after the Paris attacks. As ever with strong views, resist the temptation of following blindly, and, instead, thoughtfully agree or disagree:

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Phaedo at Harvard

Let me begin with the end of the Phaedo conference at Harvard (Oct. 30-31, 2015): I cannot remember when I had so much fun with philosophers after a conference, at our "round-table discussion" (this not at Harvard, but in a very pretty location in Cambridge). The result of this conference - as I see it: one of the best I have attended so far - has been a unanimous: "Let's re-read the Phaedo", which provides clear evidence that it was a very good conference. So I am happy to say that I will give the details about the next Phaedo event in due time. The motto is: "reading Plato again, and again and anew", or: "...lovingly critically and critically lovingly".

T(he rest of t)he content must wait a bit... 

...for, the times in London Ontario are very beautifully busy, with a lively ancient philosophy circle, students with "alive and kicking" minds, and progress in the expansion of a current project "Marcus Aurelius and cognitive behavioural cure of affective disorders", with respective presentations at our College and most valuable input and feedback from the side of clinical psychologists (our expert in CBT and depression, David Dozois), as well as a coming conference on Catherine Malabou's very inspiring work, organised by our Steve Lofts and Tony Calcagno. I could not be happier in the present moment, or, to avoid comparatives, and with all due respect to and sincere disagreement with Epicurus: I am happy in the present moment, full stop, and no calculation is thereby involved. So be it. Still cycling in London. Autumn refuses to say good-bye. Take your time, if you please.

The Emerson Hall, which accommodates the Faculty of Philosophy, at Harvard University.