Zizek! (transcript/subtitles)

Zizek! (transcript/subtitles)

What would be my… how should I call it, spontaneous attitude towards the universe? It’s a very dark one. The first thesis would have been a kind of total vanity: there is nothing, basically. I mean it quite literally, like… ultimately…there are just some fragments, some vanishing things. If you look at the universe, it’s one big void. But then how do things emerge? Here, I feel a kind of spontaneous affinity with quantum physics, where, you know, the idea there is that universe is a void, but a kind of a positively charged void. And then particular things appear when the balance of the void is disturbed. And I like this idea of spontaneous very much that the fact that it’s just not nothing… Things are out there. It means something went terribly wrong… that what we call creation is a kind of a cosmic imbalance, cosmic catastrophe, that things exist by mistake. And I’m even ready to go to the end and to claim that the only way to counteract it is to assume the mistake and go to the end. And we have a name for this. It’s called love. Isn’t love precisely this kind of a cosmic imbalance?

I was always disgusted with this notion of “I love the world,” universal love. I don’t like the world. I don’t know how… Basically, I’m somewhere in between “I hate the world” or  “I’m indifferent towards it.” But the whole of reality, it’s just it. It’s stupid.  It is out there. I don’t care about it. Love, for me, is an extremely violent act. Love is not “I love you all.” Love means I pick out something, and it’s, again, this structure of  imbalance. Even if this something is just a small detail… a fragile individual person… I say “I love you more than anything else.” In this quite formal sense, love is evil. They inform me they play chess.  I like that.

[At University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina]

Think about the strangeness of today’s situation. 30, 40 years ago, we were still debating about what the future will be: Communist,  Fascist, capitalist, whatever. Today, nobody even debates these issues. We all silently accept global capitalism is here to stay. On the other hand, we are obsessed with cosmic catastrophes: the whole life on Earth disintegrating because of some virus, because of an asteroid hitting the Earth, and so on.

So the paradox is that it’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on Earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism, which means that we should reinvent Utopia, but in what sense? There are two false meanings of Utopia. One is this old notion of imagining an ideal society, which we know will never be realized. The other is the capitalist Utopia in the sense of new perverse desires that you are not only allowed but even solicited to realize. The true Utopia is when the situation is so without issue, without a way to resolve it within the coordinates of the possible, that out of the pure urge of survival you have to invent a new space. Utopia is not kind of a free imagination. Utopia is a matter of innermost urgency. You are forced to imagine it as the only way out, and this is what we need today. I hope I wasn’t too long. I thank you very much for your patience.

Another very short comment that I can make. You know why I applauded? If you watch old documentary movies, you will see a big difference between a Fascist and a Stalinist leader. The Fascist leader, when he is applauded, he just accepts it. The Stalinist leader applauds himself. The message being And this was my side. So we are on. Okay.

[On Screen: “…Slavoj Žižek, a…Lacanian-Marxist philosopher from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia…has written books on subjects as wide-ranging as Hitchcock, Lenin, opera, and the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Žižek’s aim, in his work, is to combine a Marxist critique of capitalism with a physchoanalytically informed unmasking of the ways in which capitalism works upon the public imagionation. – The New Yorker”
“Slavoj Žižek is an academic rock star. – In These Times]

The worst thing is to play this “We are all humans” game that some intellectuals like to play. You project a certain intellectual persona… cold thinker, whatever… but then you signal, through small details, to socialist wealth. A good,  honest guy.

I put everything here… I love this…  so that… By everything,  I mean… Look even here it is. You see? Isn’t it a crazy combination? You have this, and then you have… The clothes are here. But it’s not only clothes. It’s more. It’s also… how do you call it? … covers,  sheets for the… No,  no.  Everything is here. Here.  Isn’t this nice, close to the kitchen? Here are socks,  underwear. This is all my stuff, and basically, this is all my stuff: newspapers,  journals. These are my books in foreign languages. Two copies of each one. So this is strictly prohibited. It looks bad. I think they are lower there, because this is mostly new stuff. I am narcissist here. Yes, I keep everything.  This should go elsewhere. I’m sorry.  I just… I’ll go far back, so this is there. Just let me… Okay,  if you need the “Mladina” stuff, Ah,  yes,  there are some of them here. Let’s see what’s here, because these are the big format thing. These are some early Mladina from… Ah,  this is from the dissident times. Yes. Mid-’80s,  I started to write from time to time. For two years, some people even claim that I was the most influential. But then new political divisions start, and I was too combative, attacking everyone. This was me. This was my fame. I worked like crazy at that time, because I was writing in English my first books. I never wanted to endanger, not even minimally, the theory, which is why I was never,  never interested in any kind of political career,  because it simply takes time.

Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst, and a senior researcher at the Institute for Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London. He has also been a visiting professor at more than 10 universities around the world. Žižek is the author of many books; his latest are Against the Double Blackmail and Disparities.

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