Robert Spaemann on Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Robert Spaemann (1927–2018) is a German Catholic Philosopher who engaged in his political philosophy with an early critic of the Enlightenment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. What are the arguments in this discussion?

What is Life?

The question is still not answered, and the deeper we look, the more we realize that there may not be a simple answer. In the past, I tried to understand this problem better and wrote about it a few years ago, and recently I came across a new book on the topic by the biologist and Nobel Laureate Paul Nurse. […]

The Burning Man is drowning

The event is known around the world: Burning Man. After a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Burning Man has returned to the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada for its annual week-long event. Running from August 28th to September 4th, 2023, this year’s Burning Man has seen the largest crowds ever, with over 80,000 attendees converging on […]

Meaning or Presence?

Based on the historical observation, however, that certain cultures, like our own “modern” culture, for example, have a greater tendency than other cultures to bracket the dimension of presence and its implications, I have come to propose a typology between “meaning cultures” and “presence cultures.”

Dia de los Muertos 2022

Oakland in 2022 is a town with many problems, and a very high murder rate (There were 107 murdered people between January 1 and October 30, 2022). Nevertheless, it is also a resilient city, and its diverse communities celebrate their cultures in spite of difficult circumstances. One of those yearly events is the Mexican “Dia de los Muertos,” celebrated in […]

Pyramus and Thisbe

Much of our humanity consists of stories that speak of tragedy, misfortune, conflict, deep emotions, or humor. Here is a story that originates from Babylon. The accompanying picture is a wood relief from Dresden, 1656, created by Johann Georg Fischer. Pyramus and Thisbe are lovers who ran into really bad luck. The story forms part of Ovid‘s Metamorphoses. It has been retold many […]

The Future is coming soon: Surprising Trends for the next 10 Years

Adapted from: Guillen, M. F. (2020). 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything. St. Martin’s Press. Next Industrial Revolution: Birthplace of the next industrial revolution: Sub-Saharan Africa The reason: 500 million acres of fertile yet undeveloped agricultural land. The total size of Mexico is 500 million acres. The population of sub-Saharan Africa was 1.1 […]

Fibonacci Primes

How do prime numbers intersect with the Fibonacci series? As we know, prime numbers are distributed randomly, which means there is no algorithm that will predict prime numbers: finding them requires enormous computing power. There are many primes in the low range of natural numbers: Between 1 to 100 there are 25 prime numbers: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, […]

Fashion Ghosts

What is real? A good question to ask at the beginning of 2022. How do we move from reality to fiction? Or rather backward: We live with fictions, but what is real? The intention of this post is to show the beautiful facades of San Francisco through the 2021 Christmas period, almost devoid of humans. A ghost town, glowing in […]

Responsibility for the Other?

"It is not without importance to know—and this is perhaps the European experience of the twentieth century—whether the egalitarian and just State [and its politics] in which the European is fulfilled … proceeds from a war of all against all—or from the irreducible responsibility of the one for the other." (“Peace and Proximity,” 1984.)

Emmanuel Levinas

Holidays in the Bay Area -2020

The holiday season starts with Thanksgiving (end of November) and lasts throughout December. It includes Hannukah,  the Winter solstice, Kwanzaa, Christmas, as well as a few other memorable events, like our tribute to consumerism, Black Friday. The year of 2020 was extreme: A pandemic, massive political protests, the worst wildfire season in California’s history, and more fire smoke in the Bay Area […]

Sunset over the Bay Area

“To leave out beautiful sunsets is the secret of good taste.” (Dejan Stojanovic.) Well, occasionally we fail. A spontaneous walk in the evening, without much expectation, and suddenly, there it was, this sunset over the Bay Area, viewed from Tilden Park. In California we are fortunate enough to have the Ocean in the West, which means that the sun sinks into the ocean, if […]

Landscapes in the Pacific Northwest

It’s about a thousand miles to drive on Highway 1 from San Francisco to Port Angeles, the northern-most town that connects the US and Canada. The drive along the ocean is beautiful, through vast coastal landscapes and ancient forests. One can find some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world along this remote coastline, small fishing towns, Indian reservations, and several world-famous National Parks. I travelled […]

Sperm Whales: Species with the largest brains

There is an article about Sperm Whales in the New York Times that talks about their modes of communication. They seem to have an elaborate language we don’t understand yet. The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest predator on  earth. Mature males average 16 metres (52 ft) in length, with some reaching more than 20 […]

Venice Beach

Venice Beach is California at its best: the diversity, irreverence, and playfulness of Venice Beach attracts millions of visitors every year. With all its diversity, it seems to remain what it always was: Street shops for tattoos, marijuana, and T-shirts, entertainers performing their shows with sizable audiences, graffiti, ballgames, roller-blades, and tourists. There is a back side, an older portion […]

Basic Desires

I want to live I want to know I want to love I want to be loved I love to know I want to eat I want to sleep I want to dream I want to die

World Population, 2013 – 2050.

It’s interesting to look at some long-term world trends at the end of 2013. The graphs appear more normalized, for instance with the population growth rate above. Countries like Nigeria (see population chart below) are unfortunate exceptions. How will the world really look like in 2050? Trends are extrapolations from current and past data, enhanced with some mathematical modeling. Forecasts […]