Saturday, October 28, 2006


Okay lots of gloom. Now time for some fun. Listen to Slavoj Zizek explaining why he thinks love is "evil" and "an extremely violent act." He also says things like, "it's not just nothing, there is something, things are out there and it means something went terribly wrong."

I missed watching this documentary when it came last year. Another Zizek documentary The Pervert's Guide to Cinema is getting released soon. In the documentary he travels to remade sets of movies like Blue Velvet, Psycho, Vertigo and others and explains and illustrates his philosophy of psychoanalysis and desire. Will check it out when it comes. Two long clips from the documentary here and here. If you haven't seen Blue Velvet or are faint of the heart, you may want to skip the first video. And here is Zizek in bed explaining what is philosophy and the mystery and ideology behind "chocolate laxatives." Speaking of David Lynch this scene from Mulholland Dr. never fails to cheer me up. Please don't click if you are underage! I have copied it on the browser because youtube requires login for age verification.


Cheshire Cat said...

Zizek - the Michael Moore of philosophy

bhupinder said...

I liked listening to Zizek.

I also like listening to Lalu.

Alok said...

Oh No. You guys don't like zizek?

Cat: now I am seriously doubting my taste in my choice of intellectual gurus. this is the second time in less than a week that you have abused someone i admire :(

bhupinder: i heard or read somewhere that Lalu recently got the business leader of the year or some award like that. did you know that? :)

Cheshire Cat said...

Alok, it wasn't meant to be abuse. Zizek has a few interesting things to say, but the reason he gets so much attention is because of his outsize personality and comic brio. I should confess that I have an ideological reason to be anti-Zizek, namely his sympathy with Communism.

As for Dawkins, I respect his credentials as a scientist and as a popularizer of science. But he has nothing interesting to say as a critic of religion, and his overzealousness is off-putting.

Alok said...

I was joking :)

Frankly I don't really understand much of what he says but i like his critique of advanced capitalist society specially how it exploits desire and how it leaves ideas like freedom, individualism and individual responsibility without any meaning. also he is a great synthesiser, he brings in things from so many different perspectives!!

jyothsnay said...

Quite an interesting food for thought when an eminent personality exudes so much spontaneity on a subject that one holds so tight against the breast.

I run away from him when he says love is evil...I say,it's a necessary evil!It intoxicates us.It rejuvenates us.Love is for me, a self-imposed conflict, I set forth for self. Its all about being vulnerable to someone,like a fragile petal flutters {someone smiles here!} with a string of breeze. Love is "of being for others". when I let myself be sculptured by the other person, his perceptions & expectations of I am in a battle with my real self that I know or live with and the imaginary self of mine as sculpted by him {his Utopian image of the idealistic love as colored by his expectations}...oh!that's the conflict!
cut back to the movie clip...I savoured every bit of it!A celebration of Femininity.

bhupinder said...

I have not read any full fledged works by Zizek, but whatever little of his writings I have read on the internet, he tends to recycle ideas making them sound original and dramatic. He is a good intellectual entertainer from what I can make out.

The man does have a prodigious body of knowledge, and often good insights. I mean, who before him noticed that Stalinist leaders applaud themselves and the fascist ones just accept the applauds.

But then did it really matter ?

He is an intellectual Lalu.

On Lalu, perhaps at a later occasion :-) (BTW, I am an admirer of Lalu).

Alok said...

jyothsna: i think he is being ironic and sarcastic. it is his style. not to take him literally, at least not completely. check out this pic with his wife/girlfriend. he very much believes in your philosophy of love. :))

bhupinder: i have read bits and pieces of his writing too. i like these inter-disciplinary thinkers and writers who are at home everywhere... popular culture, art, literature, philosophy, religion, politics. he has got such breadth and he synthesises everything so effortlessly. also the way he exposes the problems and hypocrisies of liberalism as we practice today is very enlightening.

Ishwar Dost said...


I like your comment on Žižek’ vey much. He is no only a guru, but also a guru-ghantal! I cannot understand why an avid reader like BHUPINDER is so ‘naaraz’ with him. I hope whenever he would read this Lalu patiently— not in bit and pieces or ‘on the internet’, but a ‘full fledged works’— he would begin to like this lalu. This Lalu is ten times more original than Terry Eagleton (however I like Eagleton also very much). Alex Calliniscos describes him recently (The Resources of Critique, 2006) as ‘…extraordinary intelligence, energy and wit…’ I am a student of theories of Ideology (Marxists and non-Marxists alike), and I find Žižek as the most important contemporary theoretician in this field. However this doesn’t mean that I am in total agreement with his views. His profundity and originality is widely acknowledged even by his opponents. (See Routledge companion to Postmodernism and other companions)
However, Reading him is not easy. It demands a constant cross-referencing, minimum theoretical grounding (or a will for the same) in classical German Philosophy (Kant, Hegel and Marx, Heidegger), Psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan, Deleuge and contemporary French Thought). His writing, which is full of jokes and anecdotes, may sometime give an impression of lightness at surface level. You are right that we cannot take him literally.

Nevertheless, he may or may not be liked by many, as liking is based on many things including political orientation, life-world, reading temperament, purpose and style of reading, choices of styles of writer, theoretical interests, and the questions in mind at a time. Labels of Bourgeoisie and communist are irrelevant to the writing of Masters. Hegel was pro-monarch, but Marx devoted his much time in reading and reconstructing Hegel. Heidegger was pro-Nazi, but Žižek made thorough criticism of him, as Heidegger is very profound and important philosopher. Žižek says in one article: ‘Three decades ago, when I was a student of philosophy in the old socialist Yugoslavia, a hard-line Marxist professor used to criticize bourgeois philosophy by claiming that it is nondialectical (positivist, idealist, irrationalist). In short, his basic reproach was that bourgeois philosophy is not Marxism—he rejected it simply for being what it was. And I could not avoid the same impression apropos of most of the critics of my work who also, as it were, knock on an open door.’

I have his some books with me, but from your post only I came to know that he himself making films.

Alok said...

thanks for stopping by Ishwar!

Actually those documentaries are not made by Zizek but are actually about his ideas and theories.

I am still struggling with the basics of continental philosophy so I don't really understand most of what he says but I like his style, always full of wit and dripping with irony. Also his writings on contemporary popular culture and its ideological underpinnings make me think and see things from a new perspective.

by the way, the discussion on bhupinder's lumpen proletariat post was very enlightening. I have bookmarked the link, to reread in future when I understand some of those concepts more clearly!

also the link to your blog doesn't work. you should start blogging too! the best thing about blogging is that what you write needn't be final. you can even put your reading notes or just one aspect of something that you found interesting and share it with other people.

bhupinder said...

"lumpen proletariat post"?

Spare the post please :-)

And after the Ishwarian sledge hammer, what do you I am going to do?

Obviously read more on Zizek and know better in future when I stick my neck out !

Alok said...

"Spare the post please"

lol! I have always been bad at english grammar :)