…’I will move the underground’ Slavoj Zizek On Udi Aloni’s Forgiveness

A hybrid of realism and fantasy, “Forgiveness” is a psychological examination of the tragedies of the Middle East. David, a young American-Israeli, returns to Israel to join the army, only to find himself in a catatonic state after accidentally shooting a Palestinian girl while on patrol. He is committed to a mental institution which sits on the ruins of a Palestinian village that had been attacked by Israeli forces in 1948. The head psychiatrist offers[ …]

Language, Violence and Non-Violence

[Appeared in 2008, International Journal of Zizek Studies, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 1-12 (pdf)] In his “Critique of Violence,” Walter Benjamin raises the question: “Is any non-violent resolution of conflict possible?”(243) His answer is that such a non-violent resolution of conflict is indeed possible in what he calls “relationships among private persons,” in courtesy, sympathy and trust: “there is a sphere of human agreement that is non-violent to the extent that it is wholly[ …]

Christ, Hegel, Wagner

[Appeared in 2008, International Journal of Zizek Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 1-12 (pdf)] In pre-digital times, when I was in my teens, I remember seeing a bad copy of Vertigo – its last seconds were simply missing, so that the movie appeared to have a happy ending, Scottie reconciled with Judy, forgiving her and accepting her as a partner, the two of them passionately embracing… My point is that such an ending is[ …]

Descartes and the Post-Traumatic Subject

[Appeared in Filozofski vestnik, 2008, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 9-29. pdf] If the radical moment of the inauguration of modern philosophy is the rise of the Cartesian cogito, where are we today with regard to cogito? Are we really entering a post-Cartesian era, or is it that only now our unique historical constellation enables us to discern all the consequences of the cogito? Walter Benjamin claimed that works of art often function like shots taken[ …]

The Violence of the Liberal Utopia

[Appeared in Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 9-25 (pdf – paywall/subscription)] [Abstract:] While liberal capitalism presents itself as anti-utopia embodied, and today’s neoliberalism as the sign of the new era of humanity, which left behind the utopian projects responsible for the totalitarian horrors of the 20th century, it is now becoming clear that there is a utopian core in the liberal project itself- the violence that accompanies the victories of[ …]

The Prospects of Radical Politics Today

I. Introduction Today, in the time of continuous swift changes, from the “digital revolution” to the retreat of old social forms, thought is more than ever exposed to the tempta­tion of “losing its nerve”, of precociously abandoning the old conceptual coor­dinates. The media bombard us with the need to abandon the “old paradigms”: if we are to survive, we have to change our most fundamental notions of per­sonal identity, society, environment, etc. New Age wisdom[ …]

Badiou: Notes From an Ongoing Debate

[Appeared in 2007, International Journal of Zizek Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 28-43 (pdf)] Introduction – Two dialectical axioms In his Logiques des mondes (Badiou 2006), Alain Badiou provides a succinct definition of “democratic materialism” and its opposite, “materialist dialectics”: the axiom which condenses the first one is “There is nothing but bodies and languages …,” to which materialist dialectics adds “… with the exception of truths.” This opposition is not so much the[ …]

Against Human Rights

[Extract. Appeared in New Left Review 34, July-August 2005] Abstract: Alibi for militarist interventions, sacralization for the tyranny of the market, ideological foundation for the fundamentalism of the politically correct: can the ‘symbolic fiction’ of universal rights be recuperated for the progressive politicization of actual socio-economic relations? Contemporary appeals to human rights within our liberal-capitalist societies generally rest upon three assumptions. First, that such appeals function in opposition to modes of fundamentalism that would naturalize or[ …]

What can psychoanalysis tell us about cyberspace?

THE INFORMATIONAL ANOREXIA Today, the media constantly bombard us with requests to choose, addressing us as subjects supposed to know what we really want (which book, clothes, TV program, place of holiday . . .)—“press A, if you want this, press B, if you want that,” or, to quote the motto of the recent “reflective” TV publicity campaign for advertisement itself, “Advertisement—the right to choose.” However, at a more fundamental level, the new media deprive[ …]

Why is Wagner Worth Saving?

[Appared in Journal of Philosophy and Scripture, 2004, Vol. 2, No. 1. pdf.] With Romanticism, music changes its role: it is no longer a mere accompaniment of the message delivered in speech, it contains/renders a message of its own, “deeper” than the one delivered in words. It was Rousseau who first clearly articulated this expressive potential of music as such, when he claimed that, instead of merely imitating the affective features of verbal speech, music[ …]