Partially Examined Life – Kierkegaard on the Self, 32 min

A philosophy podcast & blog. Enjoy!

Discussing Soren Kierkegaard’s “The Sickness Unto Death” (1849).

This is a 32-minute preview of our vintage 1 hr, 56-minute episode which you can buy at or get for free with PEL Citizenship (see You can also purchase the full episode in the iTunes Store: Search for “Partially Kierkegaard” and look under “Albums.”

What is the self? For K. we are a tension between opposites: necessity and possibility, the finite and the infinite, soul and body. He thinks we’re all in despair, whether we know it or not, because we wrongly think we’re something we’re not, or we reject what we are, or we just don’t pay attention to this dynamic at all: we just go along with the crowd. So we need to keep self-examining and (he thinks) ultimately embrace our subservience to God.

Joined by guest podcaster/Kiekegaard’s lawyer Daniel Horne, we consider K.’s 3-step self-help program and whether there’s anything to be gotten here if you don’t subscribe to K’s Christianity.

Read the text free online or buy the book.We also devote some discussion to Fear and Trembling.

End song: “John T. Flibber,” from Happy Songs Will Bring You Down by the MayTricks (1994). Get the whole album free.

Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard—often considered the first existentialist—was born 200 years ago this past Sunday in Copenhagen. Writing under pseudonyms like Johannes Climacus and Johannes de Silentio, Kierkegaard attacked both the idealism of contemporary philosophers Hegel and Schelling and the bourgeois complacency of European Christendom. A highly skilled rhetorician, Kierkegaard preferred the indirect approach, deploying irony, ridicule, parody and satire in a paradoxical search for individual authenticity within a European culture he saw as beset by self-important puffery and unthinking mass movements.

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700 Free Movies

Without vision, the people perish. The future could be full of community centers, exchanging roles, free Internet books and reduced working hours if we could shift from quantitative to qualitative growth, from building stories on office buildings to telling stories, from being monads living to work to interdependent beings yearning to live.

Neoliberal finance capitalism confuses the goat and the gardener, distorts risk and liability, encourages speculation instead of public investment and threatens language and democracy. The neoliberal model promotes profits, not investments (cf. Nicolaus Krowall). The motor, model and myths must be reexamined and the rights of nature and community empowerment championed. Economics is pluralist, not monolithic. Empirical reality and fictional models wrestle as private affluence and public squalor live side-by-side, as John Kenneth Galbraith grieved in the 1970s.

Security, health, strength, happiness and work must be redefined, work must be shared and social security protected by eliminating the $118K cap on social security taxes to reverse the exploding inequality and enable people to feel integrated and participating.

Focusing only on increasing oil production idealizes or transfigures business as usual, sidesteps systemic questions and makes alternatives taboo.

Needs can be satisfied in a non-economic and non-commodified way.
John Maynard Keynes distinguished between absolute needs (e.g. food) and relative needs (e.g. recognition and luxury goods) before he died in 1946. The corporate world, academia and politicians intent on raising funds for the next election trivialized and narrowed Keynes and FDR and now we face an incredulous media and a paralyzed/polarized government ready to send us down the rabbit hole like Alice.

You can watch “The 99% – Occupy Everywhere!,” “Capitalism- a Love Story,” “War Made Easy,” “Iraq for Sale,” “The Flaw” and “We’re Not Broke” as free movies on

Links to 700 free movies and 700 free E-books await you at
(including the 1915 silent movie Alice in Wonderland), concerts by the Grateful Dead and The Clash.

Enjoy the feast! A little time-prosperity amid the neoliberal hocus pocus/ stagnation and paralysis!

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Less Growth and Less Work

Less Growth and Less Work by Mohssen Massarrat

French economist Thomas Piketty described neoliberalism or finance capitalism as an “inequality machine.” Profits soar and investments are postponed. Keynes spoke of three phases: investments, surplus and stagnation. Are economic policy alternatives and trade agreements blacked out from public discussion?

Reduced working hours is the only way to full employment and to gaining work-life balance. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, Einstein said. Eliminating the cap on payroll social security contributions and rescheduling student loans would help reverse exploding inequality and create public spirit, trust between the generations.

Courage is different than cowardice as light differs from darkness and lethargy and paralysis differ from an open dynamic future.

to read “Less Growth and Less Work” published in 2009, click on

more at and

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Degrowth – A vocabulary for a new era, 19pp

Growth in the developed economies might be coming to an end. This might be due to diminishing marginal returns (Bonaiuti, 2014), the exhaustion of technological innovations (Gordon 2012) or limits in creating effective demand and investment outlets for capital accumulating at a compound interest rate (Harvey 2010)…

From a degrowth perspective, the current economic crisis is the result of systemic limits to growth. It is not a cyclical crisis or fault in the credit system…

As the late Eric Hobsbawm (2011: 12) put it very late in his long life, ‘there is a patent conflict between the need to reverse or at least to control the impact of our economy on the biosphere and the imperatives of a capitalist market: maximum growth
in search for profit’. Two premises underlie this statement. The first was defended in Section 3.1: economic growth unavoidably increases throughput and negatively impacts the biosphere (against the argument of proponents of green growth or green capitalism that it is possible to both grow and reduce environmental impact). The second is that growth is an imperative under capitalism…

3.2 Degrowth and autonomy
The fact that there are limits and growth is coming to an end is not necessarily bad. For many degrowthers, degrowth is not an adaptation to inevitable limits, but a desirable project to be pursued for its own sake in the search for autonomy

Autonomy was a keyword for thinkers such as Illich, Gorz and Castoriadis, but it meant something slightly different to each. Illich (1973) meant freedom from large techno-infrastructures and the centralized bureaucratic institutions, public or private, that manage them. For Gorz (1982) autonomy is freedom from wage-labour. Autonomous is the sphere of non-paid work where individuals and collectives enjoy leisure and produce for their own use, instead of money. For Castoriadis (1987) instead,
autonomy means the ability of a collective to decide its future in common, freed from external (‘heteronomous’) imperatives and givens, such as the law of God (religion), or the laws of the economy (economics).

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Breaking the Frozen Soul

Here are several thoughts from philosophy and theology when the strong winds shake everything but the Wall Street banks. You can watch “Capitalism: A Love Song,” “We’re Not Broke,” “War Made Easy,” “Iraq for Sale,” “War on Whistleblowers,” “Fish Out of Water,” “The Flaw,” “The 99%,” “Tent City,” “Kennedy Legacy,” “Outfoxed” and “I’m Your Man” on Enjoy the feast!

Unlike a chair, an idea can be shared by a whole people.

Words can be like spears breaking frozen souls. (Kafka)

Education is the great transformer (John Kenneth Galbraith).

Economics as taught today is like brainwashing. (Ulrich Thielemann)

Incentives to investing in the real economy are vital after the phase of credit- and bubble prosperity, after the expansion of the financial sector and the repression of alternatives and economic ethics. Economic ethics cannot be reduced to business ethics since that would be ideology. (Ulrich Thielemann)

The neoliberal model promotes profits, not investments. (Nicolaus Kowall)

You can make fish soup out of an aquarium but can’t make an aquarium out of fish soup. (Polish proverb)

The person who says it can’t be done shouldn’t interrupt the person already doing it. {Chinese proverb)

The swan that floats and doesn’t sink represents the in transitory in the transitory. (Heidegger)

The snow gives way to the spring as the old gives way to the new. (Rilke)

Prejudice can be overcome as a stepping stone on the way to the event of understanding, the fusion of horizons. (Hans George Gadamer)

The penultimate depends on the ultimate. (Bonhoeffer)

Human community draws its breath from God’s community. Hope sets us apart from all creation. We can go beyond everything past and present in the power of the coming, the power of the promise. (Jurgen Moltmann)

God did not create the world finished like a think that is forever the same. (Dorothee Soelle)

The language of proclamation runs crossways to the language of time. (Bonhoeffer)

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“Trade Agreements Rigged to Protect Capital From Democracy”

“Trade Agreements Rigged to Protect Capital From Democracy”
by Park MacDougald, March 12, 2015 on…/29595-trade-agreements-rigged-to-pro…

more at,, and…/…/HILARY_UPDATE_EN_2015.pdf

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Democracy for Sale: Stop Fast Track and TTIP!

The investment protection clause of TTIP grants investors special protection regarding their so-called “legitimate expectations.” Businesses can sue when they feel restricted in their business activity by new laws in the public interest. Financial services are an important sector for US investors. “Regulatory chill” is also an important theme. Life-saving generics will be denied and fracking companies can sue when foreign investors are set above labor, the environment and democracy.

to read the articles by Elisabeth Beer, Alexandra Endres and Helmut Bohdiek published in January 2015, click on

more at and

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Video: A basic income for everybody!, 48 min

Belgian video with English subtitles
26/2/15 – It’s an old idea and one that has Belgian origins. In today’s economic situation it has won a growing number of supporters. VRT News wanted to find out whether or not it was feasible and got some of the best experts to crunch the numbers.

People became active and took their own lives in their hands!
See also:

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Homo Economicus and Dethronement of the Profit Principle by Ulrich Thielemann

Homo Economicus and Dethronement of the Profit Principle by Ulrich Thielemann, 2007 and 2010

Max Frisch summarized economism in the formula: “what brings profit is rational.” Economism is a business ethics conception, namely a justification theory for profit maximization. Business ethics is declared superfluous where maximizing the capital value of the business eclipses everything else. Ultimately this is an ethics without morality. The profit principle replaces the moral principle. Instrumentalism amounts to an “ethic” of the right of the stronger.

Where profit maximization reigns illegitimately, we are governed by Humpty Dumpty, “words mean what I say they mean.” Offense is stylized as defense, justice is redefined as “rewarding achievers” and democracy and language become empty. George Orwell warned us of this – when war becomes a domestic necessity to divert us from economic contradiction.

Ulrich Thielemann, formerly professor of economic ethics at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, is director of an economic ethics think tank MeM in Berlin. To read his articles from 2007 and 2010, click on

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Profit-Making is Different Than Profit-Maximizing by Ulrich Thielemann

Profit-Making is Different Than Profit-Maximizing by Ulrich Thielemann

Discussions of jobs and the economy are often marked by trivialization, distortion, unreality and wishful-thinking. The neoliberal model promotes profits, not investments and rationalization and digitalization lead to mass unemployment.

Most created jobs are temporary and precarious. People trust in the myths of the self-healing market, efficient financial markets, dishwashers becoming millionaires and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. System analysis, market failure and state failure are usually glossed over. All personal achievement depends on state investment in roads, schools, hospitals, airwaves, food safety and water quality.

Ulrich Thielemann, formerly a professor of economic ethics at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, is now director of a think-tank for economic ethics MeM in Berlin. To read several of his recent articles, visit

more at,,, and

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