Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

Keynote 4: Ignaas Devisch

Restlessness: Plea for an immeasurable life

We work less, but we have more to do. We have more free time, but we sleep less. While we complain about stress, rushing and the danger of burn-outs, we plan overfilled days. In short, our time is becoming ‘obese’.

We cram everything in and are no longer able to mess about or truly do nothing. Anyone who thinks restlessness is a phenomenon specific to our own times is mistaken.

For centuries people have sought a solution to a problem of which they themselves are the cause: an excessively full life. But is restlessness really a problem or one of our primary motivations?

More than to achieve peace and balance, what matters is to find a way of dealing with our insatiable but also very positive appetite for self-realization and all the passion that goes along with it.

We still of course need to be careful about working too hard or suffering a burnout, and to keep our eye on social and economic processes that make life busier. There can be no doubt that many things in our daily lives happen more quickly than a few centuries ago.

It is important to understand this acceleration in order to see why we complain about it and at the same time keep on actively participating in it. Because since when does a good life have to be balanced?

PhD Ignaas Devisch (1970) is professor in Ethics, Philosophy and Medical Philosophy. He holds positions at Ghent University and University College Arteveldehogeschool, Belgium and was research fellow for five years at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He is an active member of several European Networks in philosophy of medicine:
the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care (board member)
ISIH network (In Sickness and in Health)
COST action on disaster bioethics, which develops ethical frameworks in health care settings
TORCH (The Oxford Phenomenology Network)

​He is expert member of the Belgian Superior Health Council; Research Associate of the Somatechnics Research Centre (MacQuarie University, Australia); he was coordinator of a research group at the Heyendaal Instituut, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and was member of The Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry (UGent). bioethics’, and is consultant for several healthcare organisations. He was part of the Health Innovation Lab (University Leiden, T&O).

​He is co-chairman of a Belgian organisation (de Maakbare Mens) which reflects ethically and philosophically upon biomedical evolutions. (www.demaakbaremens.org).

As a philosopher, he works at the faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine. Since 2003, he teaches philosophy of medicine, social philosophy, ethics and bio-ethics.

Published by  Faculty of Health 8 July 2019