26 February 2018

Learning to see the difference

In philosophy you don't learn
anything new.
But you do learn to see
everything anew.
Namely, you learn
to see the difference,
the ontological one.


In der Philosophie lernt man
nichts Neues.
Aber man lernt,
alles neu zu sehen.
Man lernt nämlich,
die Differenz
– die ontologische –
zu sehen,

17 February 2018

The idea of Universal Basic Income

The proposal of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a response to jobs 'running out' due to algorithmic automation and as a 'final solution' to poverty has become popular in some quarters.

But does the UBI not display the Usual Bovine Ignorance about the nature of freedom? The phenomenon of freedom can only be disclosed by a thinking that has not cut off its access to the ontological difference that has nurtured Western thinking from its Greek origins on. In particular, as a social ontology shows, the phenomenon of freedom includes the striving for each individual to find and adopt his or her self in a reflection from its world of existential possibilities. Through this self-reflection afforded by the esteem of others, the self gains its own self-esteem — its stand and standing as somewho in the world.

Not only would a Universal Basic Income not address the need and desire for self-esteem, but, like the idea of the welfare state as a whole, would only further undermine the self-esteem of those needing encouragement most of all. Siphoning the poor off into the pool of social losers with misplaced compassion. Whereas, given encouragement, there is no end to what people can do for each other, each within the limits of their own abilities, whatever they may be, hence deriving their self-esteem and self-standing.

UBI seems to be not such a good idea, after all. And that already due to the Usual Bovine Ignorance about the nature of ideas themselves. An idea, namely, is the 'look' a phenomenon presents of itself in the difference between being and beings. Our times pay dearly for the lack of a phenomenology of freedom — and hardly a glimmer on the horizon. Positivist thinking of all shades is consolidating from generation to generation; the ability to think philosophically from the ontological difference is silently, painlessly dying.

CC to CC.

Further reading: Social Ontology