For obvious reasons, this post is written in French. For an English translation of this article, click here.
Photo by fractal00 (Flickr)
Dans la lignée des plébiscites ayant conduit au Brexit et à l’élection de Trump, l’élection présidentielle en France fait des vagues. À l’approche du second tour avec des candidats tous les deux critiqués, l’un pour son approche jugée trop libérale et son appartenance au fameux “système”, l’autre pour sa vision supposément irréaliste et idéologique d’un retour à un passé glorieux désormais inaccessible. Lequel des deux deviendra président(e) n’est pas le sujet de cet article, puisque ce n’est qu’une question de détail, et la spéculation ne sert à rien. La question de fond est celle-ci : quelles tendances sous-jacentes caractérisent le débat politique actuel ? Comment les historiens futurs comprendront-ils la psyché des pays occidentaux en général, et de la France en particulier, en l’an 2017 ?(more…)
From April 26 to 28, I was in Milan, on my own, to see the city and take a break from day-to-day life. It was not my first solo travel experience – I’ve been to Paris, Sao Paulo, New York, Berlin on my own – but it was certainly a new kind of travel experience for me.
My mindset is what set this one apart from the previous journeys.
Previously, solo travel has been a somewhat tortuous process for me. Despite the fact that I appreciated each experience in hindsight and found it well worth doing, in the moment of travelling, alone and often bored, confronted with expectations of what solo travel should look like and how enjoyable it should be, I was often quite frustrated. (more…)
Freedom of choice is a foundational value of capitalism, and of democracies. While it has benefits in the context of those two collective systems, I believe it is a destructive force in many people’s personal lives.
Choices are necessary, and I am not suggesting you run from them – on the contrary – but it is important to master them and not let them possess you. Something as fundamental as a choice might be something we encounter often in life, but that does not mean we have learned how to master it. (more…)
Someone recently said to me over dinner: ‘Why are people so racist and voting for Trump or Le Pen?’ A lively discussion ensued, which made some ideas clearer to me and highlighted some common views of the world that I think are not accurate. For that reason, I want to talk about them here.
To the liberal metropolitan people that I and most of my friends feel like we belong, what’s been going on in terms of Trump’s election, Brexit and Le Pen’s good poll numbers is frightening and mysterious. Why do people make such obviously wrong decisions? (more…)
Rob Siltanen, the creative director of an ad agency famous for working with Apple in its early days, wrote in an ad campaign:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.”(more…)
I've been reading the excellent When China rules the world by Martin Jacques, and his views on China are very illuminating. The book is not really focusing on the future, at least to me it isn't, because it spends a lot of time trying to explain what China is right now, and the many ways in which reality does not conform to the Western view of the country. This Western view was also my own, which is why it feels so illuminating to correct it.
First of all, China has different values from the West. It does not exist in a binary world of either democracy or authoritarian rule. There has never been a tradition of a strong civil society in China, and the government is not an iron-fist ruler on top of a squealing mass of people, but rather an integral part of society and the country. There is no distrust of the government, no feeling that its power needs to be constrained in the way that the Europeans and Americans try to keep their governments in check. In one specific way, though, China does believe in democracy: international democracy, i.e. the right of all countries to have a say, which means that the current Western, i.e. Initially European and now American-dominated world order is coming to an end, in favour of more multipolar structures, including the G20, with lots of developing countries finally getting a say. (more…)
I have already written about Buddhist thought on this blog, and part of Buddhist meditation is about being fully present. This is extremely important and shows that Buddhism has a deep understanding of how we experience reality.
What does that mean?
Well, have you ever experienced flow? Have you ever been so absorbed in what you were doing, be it dancing, working, drawing, running, or even a good discussion with a friend? That is a moment where you were present, and fully in the present, without your mind being drawn away from that moment to other places and times. If you’ve ever experienced this, you know it makes you profoundly happy. (more…)
After years of dabbling in meditation, and after having been inspired by the wonderful books of Daniel M. Ingram, Alan Watts, D.T. Suzuki and Culadasa, I’ve been getting more serious about it and meditating almost every day for close to three months. That might not sound like much, but to my personal life it has already made an enormous difference. I feel blessed to have discovered how powerful it is, and that is why I want to share my thoughts to inspire others.
Note for the long-time subscribers of this blog: This post is mostly about philosophical thinking, it’s not centred on investing, so you might want to skip it if that’s not your thing.
After reading Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World, an excellent children’s book that’s also an introduction to the history of philosophy, I felt it might be quite useful to talk about a very important distinction about what truth means.
In the history of philosophy, it’s quite obvious that what is held to be true in one age or century can be deemed false a few decades later, so how much of an actual absolute truth is there really to find? Do we even have a deep, unchanging nature that philosophy can tell us about? According to French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, the answer is no. (more…)
New technologies are fun. iPhones are fun, apps are fun, the Internet is fun. But something being fun not necessarily means we should do it all the time. Just like meth.
‘But iPhones and apps and the Internet aren’t just fun, they are useful, too!‘ I hear you say. I agree. They’re useful in the right quantities.
The overuse of e-mail
Just look at e-mail. Compared to writing a handwritten letter, folding it and putting it into an envelope that you need to put stamps on and then bring to the postal office, it’s so much easier to compose an e-mail and send it off in a few clicks. It should have reduced the time we spend on written communication a lot. And yet it hasn’t. Almost every week a new app is released to ‘better manage your inbox’ and ‘get to inbox zero’. These are symptoms of the overuse of e-mail. When I see screenshots from developer’s phones and the badge on their e-mail app is in the hundreds of unread messages, I don’t understand how they get to that situation. In my own inbox, there are at most 5 messages at any one time, not because I religiously try to keep the number at 5, but because the vast majority of e-mails I get are spam and immediately put into the spam folder. Everything work-related is dealed with immediately and archived. I think I’ve got a good hold on e-mail, and I certainly don’t spend more than 10 minutes on it per day. So why is it so difficult for some to handle their e-mails effectively? It seems that people are unable to properly prioritise. (more…)