Saturday, October 25, 2008

Slavoj Zizek: What is the Question?

Dangerous moments are coming. Dangerous moments are always also a chance to do something. But in such dangerous moments, you have to think, you have to try to understand. And today obviously all the predominant narratives — the old liberal-left welfare state narrative; the post-modern third-way left narrative; the neo-conservative narrative; and of course the old standard Marxist narrative — they don’t work. We don’t have a narrative. Where are we? Where are we going? What to do? You know, we have these stupid elementary questions: Is capitalism here to stay? Are there serious limits to capitalism? Can we imagine a popular mobilization outside democracy? How should we properly react to ecology? What does it mean, all the biogenetic stuff? How to deal with intellectual property today? Things are happening. We don’t have a proper approach. It’s not only that we don’t have the answers. We don’t even have the right question.
Slavoj Zizek of In Defense of Lost Causes, in conversation with Chris Lydon, September 22, 2008

Click to listen to Chris’s conversation with Slavoj Zizek (1:04:19 minutes, 29.5 mb mp3)


NickeH said...

(Good job transcribing Zizek, man!)

These are serious questions indeed, not only for "the post-modern left" etc but, I think, also for the psychological well-being of the community at large. That is why it is always interesting to hear Zizek talk about these kind of issues in these financially/politically troubled times (being a central figure in post-Lacanian psycho-something debate).

((((((((ö)))))))) said...

Yes...he's funny too. But the central thesis of this discussion (well more of 'Zizek Speaks') is a good one I think. How narrative's require conter-narratives to be 'potent' (for want of a better word). The CHANGE and HOPE messages of the Obama campaign would be meaningless without the follies of 8 years of neo-con fumblings under Bush-Chaney-Rove etc.. I feel that without the neo-con free market paradigm Obama is a hollow figure as he cannot promise or (HOPEfully) deliver real change without the continued anti-narrative alternates of the neo-con paradigm. A real change would be offering a third path; one of real ecologically conscious ecomonmic change where mass industry is forced to explain itself in terms of sustainable development and the global perspective. I dont this is likely to happen and President Obama will be protecting American interests as that is his job.