Category Examined Life

An occupation in the heart of Berlin

  Red banners on the windows, hammocks in the hallway, and each day a flurry of workshops, strategy meetings and movie screenings announced on a noticeboard in the foyer. The Institute of Social Sciences at Humboldt University appears busier than ever and yet no lectures are taking place here. As of now, the political situation […]

Walter Benjamin’s Arcades

And nothing at all of what we are saying here actually existed. None of it has ever lived-as surely as a skeleton has never lived, but only a man. As surely, however, <broken off> <Do,3 > The impression of the old-fashioned can arise only where, in a certain way, reference is made to the most […]

Virtual Reality and The Empathy Machine

Each epoch dreams the one to follow. -Jules Michelet, “Avenir! Avenir!” Every age has utopian dreams. These virtual worlds provide escapist allure, and they create a space in which to sort the residue left over from unrealised hopes. Travel literature is one such example, born out of colonial journeys into the frontier. At the same […]

A surplus of dreams: studying law in the age of scarcity

This article was originally published in Overland Literary Journal. Why are record numbers of undergraduates pursuing a career in law when getting a foot in the door is harder than ever? In 2014, 14 600 Australian law graduates entered a field with a capacity to take 66 000 professionals. Assuming no growth in jobs, and […]

Vale St James

New students and visitors to the evergreen Sydney Law School, while strolling down the corridors cutting through the second floor, may feel their eyes drawn to the steady gaze of a few old luminaries of the faculty, whose former presence is commemorated in a series of striking portraits. So at home do these characters look […]

Pokémon Go and the enigma of the city

This article originally appeared on the Hong Kong Review of Books. Academics are usually late to the party, left to thrash out all the detail from the brittle corpse of an event through dry biopsy. When I saw Pokémon Go explode onto social media, I immediately recognized that the game was creating ways of enjoying the urban landscape […]

The language of objects

Orhan Pamuk’s novel Museum of Innocence is written from the perspective of Kemal, a man who is so obsessively in love with a woman called Füsun that he starts creating a museum for her belongings. The idea of an actual museum was in Pamuk’s mind right from the outset of writing his novel. In fact, he started […]

The Red Pill

One of the most memorable symbols of Lilly and Lana Wachowski’s 1999 film The Matrix was the red pill which Neo selected as part of a choice that Morpheus presented to him, between blissful ignorance and dialectical freedom. Since then, that symbol has been appropriate by the MRA community to represent the (false) choice of […]

What kills you can also make you stronger

Formerly a very occasional smoker, I wish to weigh in on a debate in which nuance is too-often lost. I want to make a very simple observation derived from various experiences all over the world in which I shared a smoke with someone or observed them settle into this habitual activity. Almost without fail, these individuals […]

Moderation is bullshit. Stay true to your desire.

Moderation is bullshit. Stay true to your desire. If you desire something authentically, and in the process get to know the object you desire, you will realise that it is conditional on its negation, in the same way that light implies dark, and self implies other. You will realise that its presence implies its absence. […]