“Ah, happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay; but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.”-Herman Melville, "Bartleby the Scrivener"
Zizek pens "Revelations" for "Communists" (on the capitalist end-time).
This muggy, rainy London evening I had the opportunity to take in two intellectual titans debate. The topic for debate was something which has been in the forefront of my own mind for sometime and has been brought up by those I’m close to also. It’s something you’ve probably considered recently too – “How the fuck do we get ourselves out of this shit?” It doesn’t get more pertinent.Mr. Hummels
The real reason behind the evening was to discuss Zizek’s new book ‘The Courage of Hopelessness’. Something which I haven’t read however that shouldn’t stop me from discussing it, or so the author alluded in lively debate. Will Self was the contrarian and antagonist who questioned the text with academic vigor, occasionally however falling back on his British whiteness and loquaciousness to provide colloquial cheap laughs and disrupt the flow of Zizek and the rhythm of debate.
Over the course of an hour and a half the pair entered the heady ground of philosophy where members of the audience were either lost or engaged. I was lost however I was reassured by Slavoj who suggested that I needn’t read Lacon as Will Self asked him the importance of Lacon and others in the coming revolution/ catastrophic event. This was Will Self’s over-riding line of questioning – “what can we do then?” This hopelessness was exasperating eventually. Not having read the book I couldn’t side with the critique however I have seen the Chomsky Zizek spat played out on youtube and it seemed Self was echoing Noam. The problem with all of the figures above is that none can provide you with a vision of the future, in reality. Their “intellectual grandstanding” is either contagious or as bad as each other. The key point Slavoj made was “Learn, learn, learn, learn.” This was his activism, and all the other isms that Will Self could throw at him. Self’s major critique is inherent in his main point of argument, one of systemic violence, which remained unanswered by Zizek and Self himself. Something which any conscious and mindful human will have wrestled with since becoming conscious and human.
My own point of view is that hypocrisy is innate. This is something I have argued for time, blud. I think that in our society it is impossible to be good or evil or to even split the two. The large scale implications of small acts are impossible to judge without causing serious dilemma and anguish. The balancing act of living make in a “good” manner is so riddled with pitfalls that it is impossible, this surely highlights the failures of our current capitalism better than anything. You just have to hope that the outcome outweighs the contributing factors. The two examples that I could think of were;
1. I don’t approve of the actions of Starbucks but have a serious headache due to caffeine deficiency, which has devolved through a local social enterprise. In order to stop my headache do I go to the only nearby caffeine outlet which happens to be Starbucks?Ya know?
2. A war is being fought over the minerals in a certain region. The population of the country is likely to incur serious mortality due to this war. Over the border, a tyrant has been over thrown as a result of the other countries mineral output in newly spread mobile phones. The population of the newly free state is similar to that of the state at war and now free however the war over the border now seems likely to end.
What if you vote Corbyn? This was discussed. As well as the idea of a elite hierarchic who have ultimate control. Both ideas seemed reasonable at the time. But neither would change anything. I mean… Fuck. Then they started to talk about the idea of Bio-robotics and other such stuff which I haven’t the time or energy to think about yet. Which is ok apparently, just expect to be part of the underclass. Then a Chinese guys asked a question, and along the way, he said “Confusion is progress.” Which is confucius- n in itself. Geddit.
But that was actually the best thing, I hope he’s right.
This evening got me thing about my long held belief that we cannot achieve a truly equal socialism until after the singularity. But let me explain that another time. It’s as a consequence of capitalism and technology, ya dig. Also, will Will Self read this? No as its in a deep corner of the internet, but if it were somewhere popular, does he use computers? If a Will Self reading on the internet thinks about a Slavoj Zizek book, is he violent?
Also, Will Self’s pushing for an answer on what do we do was not only unanswered by himself but irrelevant if Zizek is a commentator and not a philosopher. He is a guide for those who are looking to take the path. Whether anyone takes the path, or he is helpful along that path is up for debate.
I’ll try and find the video recorded on the night so you can see why my heads turned.