QA 57. “Need I remind anyone, again?”

Between 1987 and 1990, my husband Rob and I ran a safe house for the liberation movement in apartheid South Africa. We were part of what we would later learn was named Operation Vula, short for Vul’indlela (“Open the road” in Zulu). Its aim was to infiltrate exiled leaders of the African National Congress/Umkhonto we…

QA 47. Motion of confidence (Part 2)

Last week’s philosophy café offered another conversation about confidence. As noted before, confidence has two levels. One is conditional: the conscious trust in one’s abilities or worth, developed through experience and familiarity (“or entitlement”, as someone pointed out, referring to the social confidence of private-school girls). The other is what John Dewey described as “unconscious…

QA 38. January 2013. Rocking the foundations of thought

Education systems that render people stupid, mental health treatment that renders people mad, religions that render people wicked, economies that render people poor, political systems that render people powerless. How is it that our social systems break down (render) precisely what they are meant to serve (render to)?

QA 32. Apr 2012. Confessions of a neuro-skeptic

In an interesting recent article, “The Brain on Love”, Diane Ackerman discusses some findings of “interpersonal neurobiology”, an offshoot of neuropsychology, which uses brain-imaging technologies to explore the relationship between behaviour, emotion and brain function. According to Ackerman, it is driven by “one of the great discoveries of our era: that the brain is constantly…

QA 15. (June 09) Essence of philosophical counselling

I have been explaining, exploring and writing about my philosophical counselling practice since I began in 2002. I’ve presented papers at conferences here in South Africa and in Canada and the US, which are available on my website along with other published articles. But recently a couple of friends challenged me to cut to the…

QA 11. (Feb 09) A wedding

For David and Corinna, 21 February 2009 What does it mean, to marry? Marriage is an event, both simple and extraordinary. Something will be accomplished, here, today. Something will end and something begin. To marry is “to unite intimately”. It is rite of passage in which two lives are transformed. Two singular people say I…