A well-known cultural critic visiting your webinar? Listen to Online Energizer Arnold Heumakers, one of our country’s most provocative historians. His latest book is called Langs De Afgrond, and it’s about the usefulness of extremely controversial thinkers. In it, Arnold penetratingly discusses a number of thinkers. Not to justify them, but to show what they still have to say to us today. To phrase it rather popularly: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
We can learn from our enemies! Embrace your nastiest critic, you won’t regret it. A recalcitrant thinker has no reason to justify our behavior, or present things in a rosier light than they really are. There are troublemakers in every organization. Every company possesses a certain corporate ideology, and every ideology has certain dead ends. No one exposes these blind spots as sharply as the naysayer, the adversary, or in other words, the controversial thinker. Such people should not be silenced – it is precisely here that freedom of speech is such a great asset. Let Arnold take you along the extremes of European history.
Other topics for an Online Energizer from Arnold:
The Attraction of Evil.
Strongly related to the previous theme, is the contemporary fascination with Evil. These days, our favorite entertainment consists of thrillers, detectives, horror movies and so on. Entertainment full of violence, torture and murder is now considered perfectly normal – we even eat popcorn while watching it. What does that say about contemporary civilization? Why do we love violence so much, while in everyday life we can stand it less and less, even try to banish all possible danger(s)? Arnold has a few exciting propositions ready for this Energizer! Join him – and each other – in an exciting discussion.
Optimism as a moral duty.
We should always be positive. This has almost become a moral duty. But is it also true? Doesn’t all this optimism amount to (self)deception? Does this mindset really enhance our life (chances)? Arnold makes a provocative plea for methodical pessimism, which permanently takes disasters and adversity into account, or, as the controversial thinker Ernst Jünger put it, `sleeping with the catastrophe’. Only in this particularly way you can arm yourself against the less pleasant sides of reality. A useful trait for any business (or orginization)! There’s a world to be won for seasoned realists, they see the danger coming well before their competition.
What is art?
The ideal Online Energizer for companies/organizations in the creative (culture) sector. The answer to the infamous question “What is art?” seems quite obvious at first: everything we admire in museums and concert halls or read as literature. But what do we precisely mean by it? And have we humans always understood it the same way? The idea of what art is appears to have a long history. Today we can discuss the question: is Justin Bieber art? But a seventeenth-century man would not even have understood that question! What has changed in our concept of art since then?
Arnold Heumakers graduated in history, and worked at the National Institute for War Documentation until 1986. After that, his writing career took off. He became literary critic with the Volkskrant and NRC Handelsblad. As an essayist he writes about literature, history and philosophy. He also taught cultural history at the University of Amsterdam. A very well-read man, who nevertheless never minces his words! Arnold Grunberg is a big fan.
Presentation of this Online Energizer is also possible in English.
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30 minutes, 60 minutes, 120 minutes