April 17, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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“The public space is empty today.”

“The public space is empty today.”

It seems as if your local coffee shop – that place where they know your name and your order – is threatened with extinction. However, it is essential to our society and our well-being, writes philosopher Hans Schnitzler Bar philosophy.

A nursery for the community, that's how he sees the pub. But before we ask why that is, we need to define the idea of ​​a “pub.”

'Traditional, small, a place where you can't eat anything but a boiled egg or a piece of cheese. I prefer not to music, but I'm not strict. What is important is the mixed audience. Cafés have been part of European culture for centuries, as a place to discuss ideas, read newspapers, and watch and listen to people. Sociologists call it a third place, between the privacy of your home and public space. This public space is a bit empty today, also because we are all looking at screens and no longer communicating. Thanks to social media, we seem to harass each other, but at the same time we pay for groceries at self-checkout and order them via QR code. Everything becomes more personal.

“Bad news, because research shows that these short social contacts are important for our mental well-being. The balance between the group and the individual is a bit lost, and a café can help restore it. You're there together but you're still completely anonymous, and this is a good place to practice general knowledge. You're sharing Space, but you also give each other space. That's why I think it's fertile ground for building community, and it's one of those places where we learn to interact with each other in a good way.

“The balance between the collective and the individual is somewhat lost, and the café can help restore it.”

When rude and ugly things are said online, they are often justified with: “It's just bar talk.”

“But bar talk is done at the bar, in a tolerant atmosphere. You see each other, you exchange glances, and that's essential to human communication. These things are said anonymously online. What you say in a bar has fewer consequences than what you say outside of it, I write, because we don't We play a role in the bar, we are all just guests. The bar is a nice equalizer, and it is also a kind of refuge where we can recover from a day full of obligations and gender roles. But because we see each other's faces, we are not so rude.

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Friendliness and courtesy are essential in a café.

“Kindness is a small virtue with potentially large consequences. And also because it is contagious. A smile, a friendly greeting – immediately creates an atmosphere of familiarity, which is in contrast to the gloomy atmosphere that prevails in our society today. This is part of politeness: genuine interest without pushiness. Something I am convinced is Essential for our mental health A pub where people are friendly provides a place to be yourself and develop, and at the same time it is a school of social arts, where we can learn how to treat each other less harshly.

The Pub Philosophy, by Hans Schnitzler, publisher De Bezige Bij, will be released on March 28. 19.99 euros