Slavoj Žižek on His Favourite Plays, Interview with Liza Thompson

Can you tell us a little bit about why you’ve chosen each of these plays? At first, the five plays look like a jumbled heap lacking any common feature—what could they have in common? The bitter end of the old Oedipus who cannot reconcile himself with his fate; Richard II’s descent into madness after he is deprived of royal prerogatives; the meaningless self-sacrifice of a woman married to a man she despises; the ruthless killing[ …]

The Spectre Is Still Roaming Around! (Introduction)

The first, automatic reaction of today’s enlightened liberal reader to The Communist Manifesto is: Is the text not simply wrong on many empirical accounts, with regard to the picture it gives of the social situation, as well as with regard to the revolutionary perspective it sustains and propagates? Was there ever a political manifesto that was more clearly falsified by subsequent historical reality? Is The Communist Manifesto not, at best, an exaggerated extrapolation of certain tendencies discernible in the[ …]

Ecology against Mother Nature: Slavoj Žižek on Molecular Red

On November 28, 2008, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, issued a public letter titled “Climate Change: Save the Planet from Capitalism”. Here are its opening statements: Sisters and brothers: Today, our Mother Earth is ill. … Everything began with the industrial revolution in 1750, which gave birth to the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so called “developed” countries have consumed a large part of the fossil fuels created over five[ …]

On David Lynch

In chapter 15 of Seminar XI, Lacan introduces the mysterious notion of the “lamella”: the libido as an organ without body, the incorporeal and for that very reason indestructible life substance that persists beyond the circuit of generation and corruption. It is no accident that commentaries on this passage are rare (for all practical purposes non-existent); the Lacan with whom we are confronted in this passage does not have a lot in common with the[ …]

Hegel versus Heidegger

One of the standard critiques of Hegel, first formulated already by the “young Hegelians,” concerns the apparent contradiction between Hegel’s dialectical method and his system. While Hegel’s method approaches reality in its dynamic development, discerning in every determinate form the seeds of its own destruction and self-overcoming, his system endeavors to render the totality of being as an achieved order in which no further development is in view. With the twentieth century interpreters of Hegel[ …]

Deleuze and the Lacanian Real

Why is structuralism serious? For the serious to be truly serious, there must be the serial, which is made up of elements, of results, of configurations, of homologies, of repetitions. What is serious for Lacan is the logic of the signifier, that is to say the opposite of a philosophy, inasmuch as every philosophy rests on the appropriateness, transparency, agreement, harmony of thought with itself. There is always some part hidden, in a philosophy, an[ …]

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[ …]

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[ …]

Freud Lives!

In recent years, it’s often been said that psychoanalysis is dead. New advances in the brain sciences have finally put it where it belongs, alongside religious confessors and dream-readers in the lumber-room of pre-scientific obscurantist searches for hidden meaning. As Todd Dufresne put it, no figure in the history of human thought was more wrong about all the fundamentals – with the exception of Marx, some would add. The Black Book of Communism was followed[ …]

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[ …]