Monday, January 30, 2012

The Monocle Cafe

Monday morning in Tokyo and time to work away a few hours in the comfort of the newly opened Monocle Cafe in Yūrakuchō. Bright Scandinavian wood, master brewed coffee and in the background the Monocle radio station broadcasting from London, everything fine-tuned in a manner that definitely would make Tyler proud.

Late last night, Anna and I were talking about reason and rationality. To me, these have never been entirely positive words. Like Stephen Toulmin, I believe that they always need to be balanced with humour, irony and emotional spontaneity. In Cosmopolis, Toulmin made his famous argument that even the Enlightenment itself, often characterized as “the age of reason”, should better be understood in relative rather than absolute terms, that it was about using reason to challenge the privileges of tradition and authority but also about recognizing effective limits to that very rationality (just think of the ending that Voltaire gave to Candide!). The same should be true for any future society, that we should seek a future more open to critical thinking and reflexivity while accepting that things will always be idiosyncratic and full of ambiguities. With those words, I return to my work.

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