I know one thing: that I know nothing (The Socratic paradox, supposedly from Socrates – Socrates_Louvre470/469-399 BC)

Picture: Statue of Socrates in Louvre, Paris (France)

When you’re getting older, you also hope to get wiser. There is no guarantee that it will happen, but hope keeps people alive. But then again, in my life I’ve learned that the words quoted above are so true. Every time you get some answers to questions, you find out that there are even more questions to be answered.

We live in strange times. The world seems to be on fire, with conflicts and wars. It looks like humanity never learns from history and is condemned to make the same mistakes time after time.

In most Western European countries and the US, a liberal, capitalistic and democratic society has evolved. Where laïcité – a secular national state with separation between church and government – is the standard. In most other countries religion has a huge influence, and if not, the state itself needs a strong centralist government (e.g. Russia, the People’s Republic of China).

Fundamentalism has challenged the world in the 21st century. Starting with 9/11, and recently in Paris. But we seem to forget that the same fundamentalist forces also strike countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Russia and several countries in Africa. The answer of the “civilized world” is throwing bombs on IS territory, drone attacks in Afghanistan and Mali… a negative spiral of violence that never ends. It’s like the conflict in the Middle-East between Israel and Palestine, the constant threat in the Ukraine and tensions between Tibet and China.

Looking at the world we live in, I sometimes try to take a “view from a distance”, knowing that I’m also a part of this world. And try to find some answers to questions that arise, on how and why. I want to share these thoughts on my website pages, writing a personal blog. Feel free to react, to help me find answers to the questions raised. You’re welcome to my blog, as long as you follow some simple rules. Respect for other people’s opinions, decent language and an open mind. There is only one absolute truth: we all have a limited time to live – we’re born and one day we’ll die – so let’s spend that time well.

I’ll introduce myself on the page About the author.

em. prof. dr. J.W. Egtberts, MSc, LLB
© 2015-2016 J.W. Egtberts


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