Is Lacan An Anti-Philosopher? (2/3 – Slavoj Žižek) + transcript

[Transcript by Thomas Matthews below video.] Difficult to follow, I hope you hear me, glad to be here, glad to be with Alain. Of course in this 20 minute form it’s just a little bit too little time to really develop a line of thought- all one can do is more trace, define positions, oppositions, and so on. I would nonetheless like to begin with reference to what is going on recently in your territory,[ …]

The Sexual is Political

Segregated toilet doors are today at the center of a big legal and ideological struggle. On March 29, 2016, a group of 80 predominantly Silicon Valley-based business executives, headlined by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook, signed a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory denouncing a law that prohibits transgender people from using public facilities intended for the opposite sex. “We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation[ …]

Zizek’s Anecdotes in The Fragile Absolute

According to the media, when – at a recent meeting of the leaders of the great Western powers, dedicated to the politico­ideological notion of the ‘Third Way’ – the Italian Prime Minister Massimo d’Alema said that one should not be afraid of the word ‘socialism’, Clinton – and, following him, Blair and Schröder – could not restrain themselves, and openly burst out laughing. This anecdote tells us a lot about the problematic character of today’s[ …]

The Matrix, or, the two sides of perversion

[Delivered at the Inside the Matrix: International Symposium at the Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, on October 28th 1999.] When I saw The Matrix at a local theatre in Slovenia, I had the unique opportunity of sitting close to the ideal spectator of the film – namely, to an idiot. A man in the late 20ies at my right was so immersed in the film that he all the time disturbed other spectators with loud exclamations,[ …]

“The Big Other Doesn’t Exist”

In the “Oedipus complex,” parricide (and incest with the mother) is the unconscious desire of all ordinary (male) subjects, since the paternal figure prevents access to the maternal object, disturbs our symbiosis with it, while Oedipus himself is the exceptional figure, the One who effectively did it. In T&T [Freud’s Totem and Taboo], on the contrary, parricide is not the goal of our unconscious wish, but, as Freud emphasizes again and again, a prehistoric fact[ …]

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[ …]

Notes on a Poetic‐Military Complex

[Abstract:] The predominance of religiously (or ethnically) justified violence can be accounted for by the very fact that we live in an era that perceives itself as post‐ideological. Since great public causes can no longer be used to incite mass violence, that is, since our hegemonic ideology calls on us to enjoy life and to realise our Selves, it is difficult for the majority to overcome their revulsion at torturing and killing another human being.[ …]

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[ …]

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[ …]