Studium Generale 2018/2019
Theme: May You Live in Interesting Times
For this years program we attempt to make an inventory of the time we are living in, and propose some primary characteristics.
David Sedaris once wrote that it is almost impossible to understand your own time. Like a fish swimming in the water, so obvious that he does not notice it, does not know any better: that’s just what the world looks like.
The title of the series is May You Live in Interesting Times, an English expression taken from a Chinese curse. Although it seems to be a wish – the expression is normally used ironically. With the implication that ‘uninteresting times’ of peace and tranquility are nicer to live in than interesting ones, which from a historical perspective usually include disorder and conflict.
In what times are we living now?
Philosopher Zygmunt Bauman suggested the concept of ‘liquid modernity’ as a way
to describe the condition of constant plasticity and change he observed in social life, identities and global economics within society. Philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn introduced the concept of a paradigm shift. Once a new world view was accepted, you could not really imagine that it had ever been different.
In this Studium Generale we will talk about issues that are at stake at the moment, realising that we live in a liquid modernity and that every worldview could be seen as liquid as well. In every lecture we offer an analysis of sociological, political or scientific conditions and we talk about the possibilities of how to deal with it.
John Cage: “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones” (1988)