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Author Topic: SLAVOJ ZIZEK  (Read 21532 times)
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« on: March 14, 2013, 11:14:36 AM »

I remember very well when I first saw him in Laibach/NSK documentary PREDICTIONS OF FIRE (if someone has not seen it, I REALLY recommend to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT_-g0Anez0 ) back in the 90's, this Zizek character stood out as kind of neurotic rambling philosopher who was putting many things into perspective quite well. With unmistaken style of broken english language.

During the years I came across him once in a while, but now he really is perhaps my favorite communist!
Couple short pieces:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvjGOncSyHM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgR6uaVqWsQ

And those who want to dig deeper into his quite interesting visions as well as usefullness of those in basically any ehm.. "radical"(?) thinking, will find plenty.

Documentary:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiLFV-xtZ0E

And you will nowadays find hours and hours of his speeches from youtube.
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2013, 11:33:25 AM »

total genious
I have read everything i could find of him in Italian/English.
Discovered him when I was working in comics and I was deeply searching for actual critical articles not written by zinesters.
His mix of Marz&Lacan didn't close his eyes and is just a beginning.

Definitely one of the commies to re-discover for those who don't know much.
Check also some works by Bordiga (quite difficult), Althusser and of course Gramsci.
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2013, 06:47:22 PM »

Some great provocative Zizek quotes:

“Nazism was not radical enough, it did not dare to disturb the basic structure of the modern capitalist social space (which is why it had to invent and focus on destroying an external enemy, Jews). This is why one should oppose the fascination with Hitler according to which Hitler was, of course, a bad guy, responsible for the death of millions–but he definitely had balls, he pursued with iron will what he wanted. … This point is not only ethically repulsive, but simply wrong: no, Hitler did not ‘have the balls’ to really change things; he did not really act, all his actions were fundamentally reactions, i.e., he acted so that nothing would really change, he stages a big spectacle of Revolution so that the capitalist order could survive.”

"Liberal attitudes towards the other are characterized both by respect for otherness, openness to it, and an obsessive fear of harassment. In
short, the other is welcomed insofar as its presence is not intrusive, insofar as it is not really the other. Tolerance thus coincides with its opposite.
My duty to be tolerant towards the other effectively means that I should not get too close to him or her, not intrude into his space—in short, that I should respect his intolerance towards my over-proximity. This is increasingly emerging as the central human right of advanced capitalist society:
the right not to be ‘harassed’, that is, to be kept at a safe distance from others" (from 'Against Human Rights')

"In other words, multiculturalism is a disavowed, inverted, self-referential form of racism, a ‘racism with a distance’—it ‘respects’ the Other’s identity, conceiving the Other as a self-enclosed ‘authentic’ community towards which he, the multiculturalist, maintains a distance rendered
possible by his privileged universal position. Multiculturalism is a racism which empties its own position of all positive content (the multiculturalist is not a direct racist, he doesn’t oppose to the Other the particular values of his own culture), but nonetheless retains this position as the privileged empty point of universality from which one is able to appreciate (and depreciate) properly other particular cultures—the multiculturalist respect for the Other’s specificity is the very form of asserting one's own superiority"

I also enjoy some of Jacques Camatte's leftist theory although the English translations are sometimes difficult to follow and my French isn't very good.
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 08:41:46 PM »

I have not read his books. Probably should. Listened several hours of lectures and watched documents. Also was today reading one of the many Laibach books and it included few of his quotes.

He explains in some of the pieces that many of his statements are filled with irony, that what he says, is to be taken as as such. Therefore, for the simple mind, some of the statements that in could be questions in presented via irony, are seen as somewhat political statements, which they may not be.

Like, the above mentioned nazi revolution for capitalism to survive - you can take a look in Mein Kampf or other books on topic which conclude that marxism didn't really make any revolution, merely offer bastard son for capitalism. Meaning, the materialistic worldview. Certainly he could come with something better than that, I'm sure.

I have not looked if any of his works have been translated into Finnish, but as far as english material goes, I'm more fascinated by the way he expresses himself, with all the body movements, rubbing his nose in ever 5 seconds, wiping his hair about ever 2nd time he rubs his nose, etc.. than to read the same in text. His way of pronouncing english is extremely easy to follow for me - even easier than properly spoken english.
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 11:29:45 PM »

There's a book in finnish called Heidegger, Zizek ja vallankumous.
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2013, 12:10:48 AM »

Like, the above mentioned nazi revolution for capitalism to survive - you can take a look in Mein Kampf or other books on topic which conclude that marxism didn't really make any revolution, merely offer bastard son for capitalism. Meaning, the materialistic worldview. Certainly he could come with something better than that, I'm sure.

I have not looked if any of his works have been translated into Finnish, but as far as english material goes, I'm more fascinated by the way he expresses himself, with all the body movements, rubbing his nose in ever 5 seconds, wiping his hair about ever 2nd time he rubs his nose, etc.. than to read the same in text. His way of pronouncing english is extremely easy to follow for me - even easier than properly spoken english.

He does also say that the entire twentieth century's attempts at communism were nothing but a failure - many of the outmoded old-school left hate him for that. Of course he was also campaigning for the end of state socialism in Yugoslavia many years ago. The people I know personally who lived through the early 90s in the area are still traumatised, both Serbians and Bosnians. It was a fucking horrible situation for ordinary people or non-political artists caught up in that mess.

Yes his voice and mannerisms are fascinating. I imagine this guy spitting out a whole basin full of phlegm from his throat every morning.

If the ultra-radical revolution he claims to desire happened, of course he'd lose his fees from lectures and books, he'd lose his academic tenures, lose his sense of prestige and being a public figure. No wonder he says he wants people to think rather than act!
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2013, 02:03:20 AM »

Zizek must have the itchiest nose ever.
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 02:52:42 AM »

Zizek must have the itchiest nose ever.

- or the world's most expensive cocaine habit ? 
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 08:27:23 AM »

He does also say that the entire twentieth century's attempts at communism were nothing but a failure - many of the outmoded old-school left hate him for that. Of course he was also campaigning for the end of state socialism in Yugoslavia many years ago. The people I know personally who lived through the early 90s in the area are still traumatised, both Serbians and Bosnians. It was a fucking horrible situation for ordinary people or non-political artists caught up in that mess.

If the ultra-radical revolution he claims to desire happened, of course he'd lose his fees from lectures and books, he'd lose his academic tenures, lose his sense of prestige and being a public figure. No wonder he says he wants people to think rather than act!

This is true. I didn't mean his observation was incorrect from the perspective he had, but in same ways as many communist see capitalism and national socialism offer the "same thing", there is very similar logic of where from perspective of NS the materialist worldviews (marxism/capitalism) represent the same thing AND from perspective of capitalism, authoritarian and politically disturbing ideas of communism and national socialism represent the "same thing" opposed to it.

Of course every tumult comes with misfortune and suffering for the ordinary people, but as Zizek easily explains, we've reached the level where so many things indicate that things have gone too far. It results re-evaluation of values and political ideas. Most likely, this would not mean more freedom and more excess of pleasures or any kind. But some sort of suffering and misfortune from capitalist point of view.

I think what he says about people to think rather than act is very true. He explains it very well, showing examples. And this is what has been one of my distastes of "semi-leftist" lifestyle activists. Where it's all basically just bohemian lifestyle. Guys taking part in every demonstration against this and that subject, dreaming of new equal world, but the strategy is attempt of finetuning the existing system. But many of the problems (if you want to call them that) are intrinsic qualities of the system. And unless there are massive ideological directions changed, this finetuning simply won't give any real results.

I don't remember what of the many talks included this his logic of using term "communism". He laughs saying its a "slight" understatement to say people have prejudice when they hear such word, due the history. But it is simply used to indicate that he is not talking of simply finetuning the existing model (like social-democrats or such), but changing it. I think this same is easy to apply on for example fascism or national socialism. It carries baggage even heavier. One could say that no man with any sort of sense would want to carry such extra baggage, but it might be necessary to make clear, that aim is not to finetune the existing bourgeois right wing capitalism, but something else. Yet still, conclude that it is not attempt to re-create all the mistakes and horrors of the history, but critical evaluation of politics, intentions, potential results etc.  Make evaluation of usefulness of tactics, terminology, etc.
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2013, 12:08:33 PM »

Props for thread. Food for thought. Personally I have only seen material of him online and read some texts and articles. So far it have been interesting reads. If anyone have any good recommendations on his books please feel free to mention a few, or other radical philosophers. As Mikko pointed out Zizek might be labelled radical in the circles he moves, I'd appreciate pointers on texts and writers that truly are in the trenches - at least from our point of view.   
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 05:55:26 PM »

New York Public Library LIVE:

Nathaniel Rich in Conversation with Slavoj Žižek: Worst-Case Scenarios.

http://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2013/04/08/nathaniel-rich?nref=56896
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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2013, 06:09:12 PM »

This one is really impressive person. Actually I am not a big fan of him or anything in philosophy that is connected to Marxism (exception would be Hegel), but I am surrounded with my study-friends that are big fans of this philosopher and others connected to him. Sometimes I have a feeling that he is exploiting philosophy in the methods of capitalism to criticize capitalism itself (his huge talent on blitz-impressions). On one hand I admire him, on another - he is a hypocrite with huge talent that helps him to be such a good hypocrite.
Actually to understand this guy (in talking and writing) you must have, at least average, background of Freud, Hegel, Lacan (this one is fundamentally important) and Marx studies.
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2013, 08:30:04 PM »

I also enjoy some of Jacques Camatte's leftist theory although the English translations are sometimes difficult to follow and my French isn't very good.
Camatte's 'On Organization' is an absolute must read. But yeah, finding a good translation is tough. The Camatte stuff I have is atrociously translated, but still well worth the read.
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2013, 08:36:33 PM »

I think it's not necessary to scare potentially interested people by saying that it would be fundamentally important to understand works /theories of Lacan, Marx or Hegel etc to get things out of Zizek.
Maybe even the opposite? Of course it's useful to know terminology and the usual key ideas, that you don't always fall off the thought pattern if he mentions few basic philosophical concepts without elaborating it any further. But, I think one of his goals might be, to popularize and to explain these ideas with more understandable manner. To make their ideas make sense for.. ehm, common people?

Hegel would be certainly very interesting topic of discussion, but I'm thinking "noise forum", hah, as good as it could be, is still very limited in possibilities what it could bring to discussion of ultimate key figures of western philosophy what should be probably things you've been taught at school... ? Or do they? I don't know how education works in different countries. In one hand, I have my doubts if german idealism would hit the schooling program in... for example usa..  before very special university level..? But certainly very much european, very much topic of old industrial. And if someone concludes they know absolutely nothing who is this Hegel character, I recommend to start with google..!
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2013, 09:04:33 PM »

I think it's not necessary to scare potentially interested people by saying that it would be fundamentally important to understand works /theories of Lacan, Marx or Hegel etc to get things out of Zizek.
Maybe even the opposite? Of course it's useful to know terminology and the usual key ideas, that you don't always fall off the thought pattern if he mentions few basic philosophical concepts without elaborating it any further. But, I think one of his goals might be, to popularize and to explain these ideas with more understandable manner. To make their ideas make sense for.. ehm, common people?

Hegel would be certainly very interesting topic of discussion, but I'm thinking "noise forum", hah, as good as it could be, is still very limited in possibilities what it could bring to discussion of ultimate key figures of western philosophy what should be probably things you've been taught at school... ? Or do they? I don't know how education works in different countries. In one hand, I have my doubts if german idealism would hit the schooling program in... for example usa..  before very special university level..? But certainly very much european, very much topic of old industrial. And if someone concludes they know absolutely nothing who is this Hegel character, I recommend to start with google..!

You're right on this one, if we talk about scaring people that might be interested. I look into it from my every-day-bread point of view, but yes you can understand Zizek without authors mentioned, but still, I think that person can't do it deeply enough (of course you need to be willing to do that...rarely people are motivated to give themselves such a brainwork) if you don't know those philosophers I mentioned earlier. I don't know, I am kind of strict when talking about this, but lets leave it as it is for now.

And yes yes yes - Hegel! it is a priori mandatory philosopher. I am starting to study his works now (I was doing it for a lot of times, but that studies were not constructive enough). And I think Hegel is really "not welcome" in schools and believe me or not it is politics to blame (and of course complexity of Hegels writings must not be forgotten). People still makes simple reductions Hegel=Marx=Bolsheviks (and they sometimes do the same with Plato in the way that they blame his works of being inspiration of totalitarianism and even national-socialism. bullshit).
Anyway we need to admit that german idealism with the Hegel up in front is the key to the European reasoning and intelectual heritage; this topic is hot now more then ever, even if someone is trying to deny it. If someone is into discussing these authors or topics - I am in.
As for me, I am writing my masters degree final paper on connections and modifications that were established between Hegel and Sartre and in Sartre's works. And I can tell you - it is damn fundamental and interesting (Hegel and Sartre).
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