Digital Alternatives

This blogpost is a list about my search for digital alternatives that are more open, more respectful and more private than the ones I and a lot of other people have been using until now, often for free. It’s an attempt to claim back ownership of my virtual self.

Why did I do this? These last few years I’ve started to shift away from trusting the big data corporations such as Google and Facebook. I’m suspicious about the free services these companies offer us. Not only are they invasive of our privacy, they also profit of the enormous amount of data that we generate for them. This way these companies have a huge impact on our consumption, on our ideas, on our relations, on our society and democracy. They are also not held accountable for anything and sooner or later the repercussions will catch up with us - if they haven’t already.

Read more...

Review: Humankind

Humankind is a best-seller in the Netherlands and Flanders, where it’s called ‘De meeste mensen deugen’ (literally most people are good), written by Rutger Bregman. It’s quite voluminous and claims to justify a radically different image of humanity. It has been hailed as a masterpiece of optimism in the press and quite a few people in my milieu have praised it too. This made me somewhat sceptical about it. Unjustified, so it turned out. I was positively surprised by the book. It’s a flame, a flicker in these dark times that we, a hope that society can be bettered.

Read more...

Lessons from the corona-crisis

The corona crisis that is sweeping the planet has been going on for almost four months; Belgium has been in ‘lockdown’ for around a month. What are some (small) things I have learned and observed by now? A few notes and a dose of optimism…

Read more...

Review: The Witcher

It’s the newest fantasy television series to hit the mainstream, this time produced by Netflix. It doesn’t have the pretense or ambition to be a Game of Thrones style epic and holds up well all on its own.

Read more...

Review: The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is Robert Eggers' newest film, after the 18th century psychological horror masterpiece movie The VVitch. This film too is a meticulously put together work of art, with a fabulous dual cast of Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson (trivia: this is the first time I saw a movie with Pattinson), bombastic dialogues, great visuals and the best Lovecraftian atmosphere I’ve seen in a long time.

Read more...

Review: The Drowning Girl

Can you trust a paranoid schizophrenic to tell a real ghost story?

Published in 2012, this weird gothic horror story by the Irish-born American writer CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan is a psychological labyrinth that starts of slow, but completely mesmerizes you by the time you get to the really weird stuff, somewhere halfway in. Kiernan manages to vividly and convincingly sketch the inner life of someone with a mental illness, without any prejudice.

Read more...

Universal Basic Income: an introduction

Source: Bill Waterson 'The Revenge of the Baby-Sat' 1991

These last few years we see the idea of a (universal) basic income mentioned. It’s not all over the news, but it’s certainly something you’ve probably heard mentioning somewhere or read in passing. Not daily, but once in a while. In a think piece somewhere probably, and probably by someone progressive. But it has been defended by lots of great thinkers, including nobelprize winning economists, civil rights leaders like M.L. King, philosophers like Bertrand Russell, and many others. It’s a fascinating idea that makes you think. Some people are revolted by it, others think it’s a panacea to all society’s problems. It’s a lot more nuanced of course, but it’s worth delving into.

Read more...