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To Distance or Not to Distance Oneself?

Islam Prevents Muslims from Becoming Better Muslims

May we ask Muslims to distance themselves from attacks committed by Muslim terrorists? After each attack, pundits preach us we may not. Supposedly, it would stigmatize Muslims. But by that logic, Catholics shouldn’t be asked to distance themselves from Church scandals either. And Norwegians ought to stop distancing themselves from Breivik’s acts of terror. Imagine it would stigmatize them.

No, let us instead take after former Norwegian Minister of Justice, Anne Holt. After Breivik’s attack, she...

The Dutch Government, the Clinton Foundation and the Postcode Lottery

Idealism or Corruption?

World Bank Photo Collection | CC BY-NC-ND

In line with President Vladimir Putin’s vision for the future, between 2009 and 2013, Russian investors acquired a Canadian mining company. That company, later known as Uranium One, traded in the material needed for nuclear weapons and power plants. It also controlled 20% of the total US uranium production.

It was Hillary Clinton, at the time serving under President Obama as Secretary of State, and now running to be the first...

Africa's Population Potential

The UN projects that the African population will grow to 4.4 billion individuals by the end of this century, over a third of the entire global population. Despite its ethnically diverse peoples, Africa will not only become the world’s largest consumer market, but potentially also the biggest supply of cheap labor to the developed world.

An overlooked question, however...

The Meaning of Kafka's Metamorphosis

How an Army of Interpreters Buried Kafka's Suffering

The Meaning of Kafka's Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung (1915), i.e. The Metamorphosis, is a novella of around seventy printed pages. Kafka writes about the life of Gregor Samsa. The book opens with Gregor waking up one morning in his parents’ home. During his sleep, he has transformed into an “ungeheuren Ungeziefer”, a sort of giant dung beetle. Kafka avoids precisely naming the creature, except that it is some sort of insect. Whatever it is, it’s something unhuman.

Before his metamorphosis,...

Freedom as a Physical Property of the Universe

Things that grow never become more equal, only less equal. Since the inception of the universe, stars did not come to resemble each other more over time, but less. From its birth, an organism’s organs don’t converge in form and function, but diverge. As people age, their individual resumes end up differing more from one another, not less. Since the beginning of history, human culture and identity did not become more of the...

On the Question of Being Born Good or Evil

On the question of whether people are born good or evil, the answer is, “competent”. Man—the species—is born competently equipped for his survival. To be “born good” therefore refers not to man, but to his environment, namely to be born in an abundant environment in which there is room for growth. To be “born bad” means to be born in a restrictive environment in which the survival of one comes at anothers’ expense.

For example, in a hypothetical environment with a carrying capacity of precisely X...

On the Realness of Movement

Some people suffer from a rare condition called akinetopsia, which means motion blindness. These people cannot perceive moving objects the way others do. To them, moving objects appear as static objects, disappearing and reappearing in different places along their paths. For example, normal people perceive a train passing them by in one fluid motion. People with akinetopsia perceive the train as snapshots of a train ‘jumping’ from one spot to the next at certain intervals, but without movement...

Why Do Animals Have Four Legs?

All terrestrial vertebrate animals have four limbs (plus head and tail), except for snakes, who used to have them, but lost them again through evolution. But why do they have four limbs?

Evolutionary biologists will answer the question without answering it. They will explain that terrestrial vertebrates descended from a fish-like ancestor that had four limbs. C’est tout. But this answer does not satisfy. The answer insinuates evolution works at random, with no regard for form...

Women's Emancipation: A Forebode?

When at sea, the naked eye cannot observe what great oceanic undercurrents move at great depths underneath. At surface level, we perceive a freedom to sail in any direction the winds take us, but the undercurrents we cannot see influence the direction of the wind itself.

Similarly, human society operates on many levels, of which the naked eye can only observe most trivial matters. Why has the West embraced the emancipation of women? At first glance, merely touching the surface of the matter, we...

Epic Reading

15 Books to Understand the Self and the Other

Always looking for interesting books to read, I put several gems on my ‘to read’ list. The list of books below offer insights about one’s own culture and the cultures of others, about one’s own life and the lives of others. In random order:

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