Slavoj Zizek: Parallax View - dialectical way of thinking

Slavoj Zizek: The Parallax View

"Usually parallax means: when you change a little bit and what you see changes. The most simple parallax, obscene, would be: I remember when I was young, in those pre-digital times, you had those - not even holograms, more primitively- postcards on which you see a girl with a blouse and when you change it a little bit you see naked breasts. The object changes, but the change in the object is really just an effect of how you, as an observer, move. What I want to show, is that, nonetheless, this change is not simply subjective. It is an effect of a certain change in the object itself. Why did I pick up this term? To emphasize this incompatibility. When we are in ideology, we can look at things in radically different ways. And there is no all-encompassing larger narrative. For example, the idea of class struggle. Or not even class struggle. Let's take today's Middle East crisis: Israel - Palestine. You have the Israeli experience. They say: We just want to live here, they are rocketing us. But then, if you go to the other side, you hear a totally different story. And here I don't believe in this abstract humanism, this UNESCO type, United Nations: 'But let us tell a general story...'. No, there is no general story where there is a place for all of it. All there is at a general level is the logic of the struggle itself. We have incompatible perspectives. It is basically - to be honest - a new, slightly modern way to make the old Marxist point of social antagonism, class struggle or whatever. The idea being, again, that the gap is irreducible. It can not be overcome through some kind of a higher perspective. All we can do is to formulate the antagonism. To understand a certain society is to understand its antagonism, its contradiction, its deadlock. Here I remain a Marxist. On the other hand, this is what gives capitalism such dynamic. Capitalism is this miraculous system in which the more it is contradictory, the more it functions. Capitalism thrives from pulling itself out of crises. The more it is in crises, the more it explodes. This is why for certain traditional evolutionary Marxists it is always a problem. As you maybe know, already for over a hundred years, Marxists have claimed that capitalism is approaching its last stage of rotting, of falling apart. But the more capitalism is becoming rotten, is disintegrating, the better it functions. This is important. We have certain basic Marxist-Hegelian notions like contradiction, antagonism. The problem is how to precisely understand them. I think we were so corrupted by this standard Stalinist idea, where contradiction simply means the struggle of opposites, which seems to mean that there are always two sides: the good one, the bad one; 'we should support the progressive side', and so on. That has nothing to do with the proper Hegalian-Marxist notion of contradiction. The whole point of parallax is to reintroduce a more authentic dialectical way of thinking and to point to, especially today, where we are under this pressure of 'one global culture', 'we should understand each other'. No, here I am very brutal, but I think this is the true anti-racism. It is not that when I come to another country, I would like to understand you. No, I don't want to understand, and I can not understand everything. Here I agree with my conservative friend, Peter Sloterdijk, who is definitely not a left-winger. He said: 'we need today a new code of discretion'. Look, if you have a Muslim friend, it is stupid to expect that you should totally understand him. You never will. We need a superficial code of manners to treat each other respectfully, even without fully understanding ourselves. The lesson would have been: accept the distance. For example in ex-Yugoslavia, all those Western idiots came and said: 'You Bosnians and Serbs or Serbs and Albanians, why don't you understand each other, get closer...'. No! I claim: ignore each other, accept the distance. Accept the distance. There is something liberating in it. Maybe I am too misanthropic here, but I don't want to understand the whole world. There are cultures, which I consider stupid. I don't care. The problem is: how can you be a non-racist in accepting this. I claim that when we want to understand the other we are usually very racist. You want to penetrate the other to know everything. How can you understand the others, when the others don't understand themselves? We don't understand even ourselves. So again, maybe a little bit in a Nietzschean way, I want to reassert distance, ignorance, to accept that we don't have to be too close to each other, we don't have to understand each other. Accept distance. And then, selectively, we can be friends. Through obscenities and so on. So my message is still very politically incorrect. Instead of trying to understand everybody, pick up friends and talk dirty to them, make racist jokes and so on, and life will be much better."

Reading Žižek – Where to Start?

First They Came For Assange: Chomsky, Slavoj Žižek, Patti Smith, More To Speak In Support Of WikiLeaks Founder

A Global Event marking the 4th anniversary of Julian Assange’s political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy taking place on 19th of June simultaneously in Berlin, Paris, New York, Quito, Brussels, Madrid, Naples, Belgrade, and other cities with Julian Assange (live from Ecuadorian Embassy in London), and other supporters such as Yanis Varoufakis, PJ Harvey, V. Westwood, Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Žižek, Renata Avila, Bernard Stiegler, Sarah Harisson, Srećko Horvat, Brian Eno, Baltasar Garzón, Angela Richter, Chris Hedges, Laibach… and many many others.

Inspired by the famous Martin Niemöller poem about cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group, what the event “First they came for Assange…” wants to stress that we live in a critical time in which everyone opposed to the political and financial powers might soon become a target.

It has been 4 years since a courageous South American nation granted Julian Assange asylum due to his legitimate fears of rendition to the US. After exercising a sovereign right, the UK threatened to attack the London Embassy. Since then, two EU Governments, Sweden and the United Kingdom, consisently refuse to recognise their human rights obligations and grant safe passage to Julian Assange.

In February 2016 the UN declared the detention of the Editor and journalist as illegal and demanded his urgent release and compensation. Over 500 human rights organisations, law professors, former UN office holders and Nobel Prize winners signed a letter urging the governments of Sweden and the UK to respect UN’s decision to free Assange immediately.

More than a hundred days have passed and the situation remains the same, and will remain the same, unless there is an increase in political pressure. We cannot afford inaction. First they came after Julian Assange, then they came after Chelsea Manning, then they came after Edward Snowden… who is next?


Slavoj Žižek at the Oxford University Philosophy Society

May 16. St John's College, University of Oxford

Slavoj Žižek is undoubtably one of the world’s most formidable thinkers. His eclectic work covers areas from political radicalism, the importance of ideology and the analysis of modern popular culture. Sometimes funny, often controversial and above all always interesting, Žižek should prove to be an unforgettable speaker, and the Oxford University Philosophy Society is delighted to welcome him for an evening of discussion.


Slavoj Žižek: "Wisdom is DISGUSTING!"

Slavoj Žižek tells Paul Holdengräber why he thinks wisdom is conformist.

Watch part 1: Slavoj Žižek + Paul Holdengräber "Surveillance and whistleblowers"

Watch part 2: Slavoj Žižek + Paul Holdengräber "Voyeurism and digital identity"

Reading Žižek – Where to Start?

Slavoj Žižek + Paul Holdengräber "Voyeurism and digital identity"

The Slovenian star philosopher Slavoj Žižek in the second of two conversations with the popular interviewer Paul Holdengräber, director of Public Programs at the New York Public Library.

Watch part 1: Slavoj Žižek + Paul Holdengräber "Surveillance and whistleblowers"

1:42 Blue Velvet and immature fantasies
7:45 Kafka – the great master
8:20 Wisdom is the most disgusting thing you can imagine
12:20 Job’s book
17:03 Woody Allen and Immortality
22:20 The meaning of the empty symbol
28:27 David Lynch’s use of excessive egos
36:49 Casablanca and Hollywood’s censorship
46:25 The staged identities on facebook
51:10 Our inner truth is a constructed lie
58:50 Virtual sex

Reading Žižek – Where to Start?

Slavoj Žižek + Paul Holdengräber "Surveillance and whistleblowers"

The Slovenian star philosopher Slavoj Žižek in the first of two conversations on surveillance with the popular interviewer Paul Holdengräber, director of Public Programs at the New York Public Library.

Watch part 2: Slavoj Žižek + Paul Holdengräber "Voyeurism and digital identity"

4:48 Danish pornography
5:40 There is no harmony in the univers
8:44 David Lynch and the crawling excess of life
11:17 God underestimated us
19:40 Why do people read Stephen Hawking?
21:14 Surveillance and whistleblowers
22:40 The most dangerous freedom
30:40 The necessity of vulgar humor
35:24 The public persona
37:45 The connection between Pussy Riot and Snowden
41:58 Never allow intellectuals in power
47:30 Julian Assange, a spy for the people
53:46 There are only two different kinds of persons in the world
56:38 Right wing wisdom
57:39 People only want the appearance of freedom
1:01:51 The complicity of liberal tolerant capitalism
1:07:42 The European dream
1:13:50 Unjustified paranoia

Reading Žižek – Where to Start?

Slavoj Zizek | We're Only Human | Full Lecture

"... one should distinguish between constituted ideology – empirical manipulations and distortions at the level of content – and constituent ideology – the ideological form which providers the coordinates of the very space within which the content is located.

Today, this fundamental level of constituent ideology assumes the guise of its very opposite, of non-ideology – how?"

from Zizek and the Media

Reading Žižek – Where to Start?

Žižek wins 2017 Hemingway Prize

Lignano - Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek has been awarded a Hemingway Prize, an accolade given out by the Italian city of Lignano that celebrates the adventure of thought, Italian media report on Wednesday.

Žižek will receive the prize in mid-June along with British author Zadie Smith, Italian psychoanalyst Massimo Recalcati and Italian photographer Nino Migliori.

Žižek was described by the jury as one of the most thought-provoking philosophers in the world who stands out with his original critique of modern culture and economy.

The jurors highlighted his bibliography, countless articles and interviews, and the films Žižek! and The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, Primorski dnevnik, a minority daily, reported.

The prize is named after US Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway, who had strong ties to Friuli Venezia-Giulia and Veneto in Italy and briefly served on the Isonzo Front during WWI. It is awarded by Lignano in cooperation with Friuli Venezia-Giulia province and the book fair Pordenonelegge.


Reading Žižek – Where to Start?

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