Nota bene! Thinking in question/s

“What were we THINKING???” 2024 ISCIA Seminar, Nelson Mandela University

“In this seminar series, we invite you to help us consider the planetary crisis we face right now, with its sheaf of human-created environmental calamities and its existential threat to humanity itself, in light of the question: What were we THINKING???”

The call for presentations asks some very good questions. I present some dubious responses, touching on my own work on philosophical practice and drawing from fellow travellers David Harvey, Emmanuel Levinas, Anne Carson, Hannah Arendt, Laurie Anderson and a 1992 ANC policy document. 

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To change our thinking:

Philosophical practice for difficult times

Seminar for the Southern Association for Psychotherapy and Counselling (UK)

If a time of crisis calls for a new mode of thinking, philosophical practice offers the means to answer that call. Contemporary philosophical practice revitalises the ancient Greek understanding of philosophy as a way of life that cultivates personal transformation and new ways of seeing the world.

Thanks to Del Loewenthal and the critical existential–analytic psychotherapy training group. Our conversation is a fine example of philosophical practice in action

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Learning to live after all

Thirty years with Andrew Feldmár

Celebrating the launch of Andrew Feldmár’s Credo: R.D. Laing and Radical Psychotherapy (8 June 2023)

If this book is Andrew’s creed, his confession of belief, then I am here to testify and bear witness, offer some kind of proof: proof of life, of concept. Proof of the pudding. I first met Andrew Feldmár in the mid-1990s, when I was in pieces, at my wits’ end…

The Housekeeper's Tale

International Solidarity in Apartheid South Africa

Keynote Address North American Levinas Society
“Solidarity and Community”
29 July 2021

Need I remind anyone again / that armed struggle is an act of love? (Keorapetse Willie Kgositsile)

In 1987, my husband Rob and I were recruited in Canada to move to Johannesburg to run a safe house for underground leaders of the anti-apartheid struggle. We did so until 1990, when the operation was discovered by the regime and we fled back to Vancouver.

Those years raised profound and troubling questions for me. However, it was only in the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas that I eventually found a way to properly frame and understand my experience of violence and armed resistance, of one’s infinite responsibility before the suffering of others, of solidarity and justice.

I wrote “The Housekeeper’s Tale” for a 2016 conference on the Politics of Armed Struggle in Southern Africa. More literary than scholarly, it sets out several lessons from the School of Underground. What does it mean to go to war? What does it mean to love your enemies? What does violence mean? What peace will come?

Philosophical counselling: The ethics and politics of life

“But if they’re interested in being able to work out their life, with someone who is going to keep them company, keep them safe, and not do anything to them while they’re doing that, then they stay. And then we work.”

An interview by Ran Lahav

13th International Conference on Philosophical Practice Belgrade, August 2014