What do I think about Zizek?

What is he thinking?

As a learned philosopher with a funny blog, I should have an opinion or two about the Thinking Beast of Ljubljana, the populist, famous, celebrated, roaring, one and only, please welcome Slavoj Zizek (the adornments on the Zs are intentionally left out) who twists psychoanalytical theories together with rabid Marxism and generates a steady stream of anticapitalist thoughts with a dangerously early expiration date. I remember that he once proudly proclaimed that he didn’t watch the movie Avatar, but had seen the poster and read a synopsis or something and considered that enough to burn it to the ground in one of his countercynical reviews. I hereby proudly proclaim that I never went cover-to-cover in any of mr. Zizek’s books (but ind of did get the gist and the jest of that body of his texts). I also grow a beard now.

Some criticize Slavoj because he abuses Lacanian thinking for his own purpose, others think his rhetorical ardor precludes engaging and meaningful discussions of his work. He is turning himself into a caricature faster than anybody would be able to escape such a fixation. But still, what can we distill from his philosophies? We could – and should – have a good laugh with the Elvis of cultural theory, and learn not to take ourselves too seriously. Disappointing? You want to gain wisdom, you want to know the true essence of society, the inner workings of revolutions, crises, and submission to the capitalist beast? I don’t think you’ll find that in Zizek’s philosophies. You can find a lot of controversial material, I mean the man calls himself a “friendly Stalinist” and I overheard him once in Berlin after a lecture where he was basking in self-indulgence, “Oh how smart we are…” – his interlocutor was Peter Sloterdijk and the venue the Rosa Luxemburg theater;- But “real” communists find him dangerous too, because he is to wild to be a dogmatic anything. The 4th International over at WSWS calls him a “charlatan” and “puerile thinker“, and their argument is, as far as I can see, mere non-compliance with Marx and denial of the existence of the working class.

Where he would get interesting for us is the moment he turns his Heraclitian rigor toward the planet. He is worried about ecological disasters like the BP oil spill, and climate change related forced migrations. Yet what I miss is a scientific understanding of the world. That is my main concern with Žižek (here my friend, I gave you back the toboggans on your Zs), when I hear him talk I miss a scientific understanding. I want to hear him explain in some depth the depletion of groundwater levels, the dangers of fracking, the destruction of the Amazon, the melting of glaciers and the pollution of rivers. Why? Because it is a basis we don’t need to fight over. The blind fanatics and their spasm of denial of natural realities will die off quickly after nature makes her cold breath felt.

What we need is a philosophy – and philosophers – with a firm ground in science, not political theory or economy. Perhaps, ideologues and anti-ideologues have in common that scientific (ecological, geological) knowledge doesn’t affect the core of what they want to say. While they diligently absorb ecological disasters into their theories, they are merely there because they illustrate the bankruptcy of the System (our artifact), not because we are a species among other species that are about to fuck up the planet – and ideology is piled up with anti-ideology on the trash pile of petty righteousness called “history”.

Back to nature, less meta-reflection, and better sex.
At this point, I could suggest a counter-philosophy, and engage in some kind of dialogue with monsieur Žižek. But I leave that to the reader as an exercise. Please inflate your own balloons of meaning. What I see as the role of philosophers does have something to do with ideology and dialectics, precisely because these beasts of mass culture are not going do disappear (‘t would be naive to think that). A philosopher knows what she needs to know about metaphysics, and should tirelessly criticize new ideologies, be it ecofascism, post-capitalism or new age collectivism. And precisely because they have a firm base in scientific understanding, they can differ and digress and do that what Nietzsche’s old, halkyonic pharmacy once prescribed: bearing the largest possible contradictions in our chest. I hope this account wasn’t too šcattered, and its intuition more or less clear.

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May 14. First day at sea.

We will leave today. Fabien arrives to wake us up and we finally set sail. Before we reach open waters, we buy some large chunks of ice to refrigerate the ham and cheese we have for the sandwiches during the sea crossing. I take a last glance at the town of Cartagena, that looks out proudly over the Caribbean sea. Once we are on open waters, the boat starts bumping a lot, and, well, I get seasick. The highrises are long out of sight when I have to throw up. My stomach as to remain empty for the next 48 hours. I just lay down on my narrow berth and switch sides like I am frying myself. Dreams revolve inevitably around the subject of good food. Steaks, pineapples, grapes, lamb chops, kebabs, fries, smoked salmon, lobster, garlic-shrimps, old cheese and mangos. It’s amazing how creative an empty stomach is. What am I? What is this? Am I really looking at the bright sight of seasick starvation? The delirium boosts creativity and it doesn’t kill me. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, to quote Nietzsche at least once in this story. I fry myself in my own sweat, it’s boiling hot in the berth, I turn around again and again, there are stones in my stomach. The equilibrium organ plays mad. I need a plastic bag the captain hands it to me relunctantly because it’s the only thing next to glass the Ocean does not like to swallow: plastic. Everything else is biodegradable. You can throw in tin cans, paper, cork – no problem. I dream about the Ocean as a giant organism (and it’s not too far off a comparison, I am referring here to Lovelock’s “Gaia”-hypothesis) and the Ocean knows how to keep her equilibrium in spite of the mess a 10-figure bunch of ignorant bipedal monkeys keeps making of her. I turn around on my bowel’s command, fry my other side, dream about good food again, and creativity. Can we artificially put ourselves in such a state that everything just pours out of us? Can we? Should we?

May 14. First day at sea.

We will leave today. Fabien arrives to wake us up and we finally set sail. Before we reach open waters, we buy some large chunks of ice to refrigerate the ham and cheese we have for the sandwiches during the sea crossing. I take a last glance at the town of Cartagena, that looks out proudly over the Caribbean sea. Once we are on open waters, the boat starts bumping a lot, and, well, I get seasick. The highrises are long out of sight when I have to throw up. My stomach as to remain empty for the next 48 hours. I just lay down on my narrow berth and switch sides like I am frying myself. Dreams revolve inevitably around the subject of good food. Steaks, pineapples, grapes, lamb chops, kebabs, fries, smoked salmon, lobster, garlic-shrimps, old cheese and mangos. It’s amazing how creative an empty stomach is. What am I? What is this? Am I really looking at the bright sight of seasick starvation? The delirium boosts creativity and it doesn’t kill me. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, to quote Nietzsche at least once in this story. I fry myself in my own sweat, it’s boiling hot in the berth, I turn around again and again, there are stones in my stomach. The equilibrium organ plays mad. I need a plastic bag the captain hands it to me relunctantly because it’s the only thing next to glass the Ocean does not like to swallow: plastic. Everything else is biodegradable. You can throw in tin cans, paper, cork – no problem. I dream about the Ocean as a giant organism (and it’s not too far off a comparison, I am referring here to Lovelock’s “Gaia”-hypothesis) and the Ocean knows how to keep her equilibrium in spite of the mess a 10-figure bunch of ignorant bipedal monkeys keeps making of her. I turn around on my bowel’s command, fry my other side, dream about good food again, and creativity. Can we artificially put ourselves in such a state that everything just pours out of us? Can we? Should we?

May 14. First day at sea.

We will leave today. Fabien arrives to wake us up and we finally set sail. Before we reach open waters, we buy some large chunks of ice to refrigerate the ham and cheese we have for the sandwiches during the sea crossing. I take a last glance at the town of Cartagena, that looks out proudly over the Caribbean sea. Once we are on open waters, the boat starts bumping a lot, and, well, I get seasick. The highrises are long out of sight when I have to throw up. My stomach as to remain empty for the next 48 hours. I just lay down on my narrow berth and switch sides like I am frying myself. Dreams revolve inevitably around the subject of good food. Steaks, pineapples, grapes, lamb chops, kebabs, fries, smoked salmon, lobster, garlic-shrimps, old cheese and mangos. It’s amazing how creative an empty stomach is. What am I? What is this? Am I really looking at the bright sight of seasick starvation? The delirium boosts creativity and it doesn’t kill me. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, to quote Nietzsche at least once in this story. I fry myself in my own sweat, it’s boiling hot in the berth, I turn around again and again, there are stones in my stomach. The equilibrium organ plays mad. I need a plastic bag the captain hands it to me relunctantly because it’s the only thing next to glass the Ocean does not like to swallow: plastic. Everything else is biodegradable. You can throw in tin cans, paper, cork – no problem. I dream about the Ocean as a giant organism (and it’s not too far off a comparison, I am referring here to Lovelock’s “Gaia”-hypothesis) and the Ocean knows how to keep her equilibrium in spite of the mess a 10-figure bunch of ignorant bipedal monkeys keeps making of her. I turn around on my bowel’s command, fry my other side, dream about good food again, and creativity. Can we artificially put ourselves in such a state that everything just pours out of us? Can we? Should we?

February 17. Meat and Metaphores.

I want to find my way into the cave underneath us, explore the big hollow caverns that lie below the fundament of our civilization. I want to descend as far as I can, and breath the stale air of the dark grotto that is filled with highly inflammable gasses. The weight of our civilization compresses it and makes it very dangerous down there. Any spark can blow it up, leading to total disaster. Our fundaments stand on fragile grounds. If we become aware of all the absurdities that support our very roots, if we drag them into the light, they’ll spark and everything will collapse like, like…like…All of this is nothing but metaphores, graphical comparisons that never touch the thing they are intended to describe. They can never mean it. They never are what they describe. There are only worlds upon worlds of description. When I write a sentence like the one preceeding this one I always get a little nostalgic. I could have been a scholar sucking on those sentences for the rest of my vitality, it’s a hard candy.
I wrote about Nietzsche. The multifarious perspectives are central in his work. Each “Will to Power” is a perspective, a self-assuming element of the world. There is nothing except metaphores, nothing except perspectives, nothing except the Will to Power. I like this candy more than Jack does. They have invented libraries to work together with people absent or dead. Sometimes they have amazing things to teach us, we call it nourriture when we read a good book, we could feast on a decent library. But I don’t feel like roaming a library at this point in time. I know the books are there in their racks, and they will be standing there long after I’m gone. I don’t feel much curiosity for their content. Why not? I could learn something new. But I’ve already done that for a decade. I’m not hungry now, and I lost my appetite. Probably a digestion problem. I should take a vow or something. Never I will visit a library again before I feel such a strong physiological urge to do so, to gently strike an old book’s cover, to caress its stained Bordeaux linen, to turn the grumbled pages, not before the itching need of burying myself in a tall pile of books becomes omnipresent. By the way, you can do the same oath with respect to people. No bonds again, not before several of your inner organs start swelling and craving and shivering and keeping you out of your sleep for countless nights.

February 17. Meat and Metaphores.

I want to find my way into the cave underneath us, explore the big hollow caverns that lie below the fundament of our civilization. I want to descend as far as I can, and breath the stale air of the dark grotto that is filled with highly inflammable gasses. The weight of our civilization compresses it and makes it very dangerous down there. Any spark can blow it up, leading to total disaster. Our fundaments stand on fragile grounds. If we become aware of all the absurdities that support our very roots, if we drag them into the light, they’ll spark and everything will collapse like, like…like…All of this is nothing but metaphores, graphical comparisons that never touch the thing they are intended to describe. They can never mean it. They never are what they describe. There are only worlds upon worlds of description. When I write a sentence like the one preceeding this one I always get a little nostalgic. I could have been a scholar sucking on those sentences for the rest of my vitality, it’s a hard candy.
I wrote about Nietzsche. The multifarious perspectives are central in his work. Each “Will to Power” is a perspective, a self-assuming element of the world. There is nothing except metaphores, nothing except perspectives, nothing except the Will to Power. I like this candy more than Jack does. They have invented libraries to work together with people absent or dead. Sometimes they have amazing things to teach us, we call it nourriture when we read a good book, we could feast on a decent library. But I don’t feel like roaming a library at this point in time. I know the books are there in their racks, and they will be standing there long after I’m gone. I don’t feel much curiosity for their content. Why not? I could learn something new. But I’ve already done that for a decade. I’m not hungry now, and I lost my appetite. Probably a digestion problem. I should take a vow or something. Never I will visit a library again before I feel such a strong physiological urge to do so, to gently strike an old book’s cover, to caress its stained Bordeaux linen, to turn the grumbled pages, not before the itching need of burying myself in a tall pile of books becomes omnipresent. By the way, you can do the same oath with respect to people. No bonds again, not before several of your inner organs start swelling and craving and shivering and keeping you out of your sleep for countless nights.

February 17. Meat and Metaphores.

I want to find my way into the cave underneath us, explore the big hollow caverns that lie below the fundament of our civilization. I want to descend as far as I can, and breath the stale air of the dark grotto that is filled with highly inflammable gasses. The weight of our civilization compresses it and makes it very dangerous down there. Any spark can blow it up, leading to total disaster. Our fundaments stand on fragile grounds. If we become aware of all the absurdities that support our very roots, if we drag them into the light, they’ll spark and everything will collapse like, like…like…All of this is nothing but metaphores, graphical comparisons that never touch the thing they are intended to describe. They can never mean it. They never are what they describe. There are only worlds upon worlds of description. When I write a sentence like the one preceeding this one I always get a little nostalgic. I could have been a scholar sucking on those sentences for the rest of my vitality, it’s a hard candy.
I wrote about Nietzsche. The multifarious perspectives are central in his work. Each “Will to Power” is a perspective, a self-assuming element of the world. There is nothing except metaphores, nothing except perspectives, nothing except the Will to Power. I like this candy more than Jack does. They have invented libraries to work together with people absent or dead. Sometimes they have amazing things to teach us, we call it nourriture when we read a good book, we could feast on a decent library. But I don’t feel like roaming a library at this point in time. I know the books are there in their racks, and they will be standing there long after I’m gone. I don’t feel much curiosity for their content. Why not? I could learn something new. But I’ve already done that for a decade. I’m not hungry now, and I lost my appetite. Probably a digestion problem. I should take a vow or something. Never I will visit a library again before I feel such a strong physiological urge to do so, to gently strike an old book’s cover, to caress its stained Bordeaux linen, to turn the grumbled pages, not before the itching need of burying myself in a tall pile of books becomes omnipresent. By the way, you can do the same oath with respect to people. No bonds again, not before several of your inner organs start swelling and craving and shivering and keeping you out of your sleep for countless nights.