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,[ …]

Disorder under the heaven

Late in his life, Freud asked the famous question “Was will das Weib?”, “What does a woman want?”, admitting his perplexity when faced with the enigma of the feminine sexuality. A similar perplexity arouses today, apropos the Brexit referendum: what does Europe want? The true stakes of this referendum become clear if we locate it into its larger historical context. In Western and Eastern Europe, there are signs of a long-term re-arrangement of the political[ …]

Beneath the Veil: On the Truth of Islam

What is Islam – this disturbing, radical excess that represents the East to the West, and the West to the East? Let me begin with the relationship of Islam to Judaism and Christianity, the two other religions of the book. As the religion of genealogy, of the succession of generations, Judaism is the patriarchal religion par excellence. In Christianity, when the Son dies on the cross, the Father also dies (as Hegel maintained) – which[ …]

The power of the woman and the truth of Islam

What is Islam – this disturbing, radical excess that represents the East to the West, and the West to the East? Let me begin with the relationship of Islam to Judaism and Christianity, the two other religions of the book. As the religion of genealogy, of the succession of generations, Judaism is the patriarchal religion par excellence. In Christianity, when the Son dies on the cross, the Father also dies (as Hegel maintained) – which[ …]

Choosing Our Fate

Item number PO 24.1999 in the Museum of Islamic Art is a simple 10th century earthenware circular dish from Nishapur or Samarqand; its diameter 43 cm, decorated with a (Farsi) proverb attributed to Yahya ibn Ziyad, written in black on white slip ground: “Foolish is the person who misses his chance and afterwards reproaches fate.” Such dishes were meant to solicit an appropriate conversation among the learned eaters during and after the meal; an old[ …]

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[ …]

The truth shall set you free, but not this truth

As the drama surrounding Julian Assange escalates, it is worth momentarily distinguishing WikiLeaks from its mercurial founder, and instead asking what WikiLeaks itself means today. Thus far, the story has been cast as a struggle between WikiLeaks and the United States empire. The central issue, then, is whether the publishing of confidential state documents is an act in support of the freedom of information, of the people’s right to know, or an act of terrorism[ …]

Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks

In one of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks Putin and Medvedev are compared to Batman and Robin. It’s a useful analogy: isn’t Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’s organiser, a real-life counterpart to the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight? In the film, the district attorney, Harvey Dent, an obsessive vigilante who is corrupted and himself commits murders, is killed by Batman. Batman and his friend police commissioner Gordon realise that the city’s morale would suffer[ …]

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[ …]

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[ …]