§ Slavoj Zizek: Violence
What does violence react to? What is the everyday texture of our lives? Ideology
in the sense of complicated networks of social, political prejudices determines
the way we functions and structures our life. What is ideology?
Donald Rumsfield, gulf war, spoke about known knows (saddam is a dictator),
known unknowns ('WMD that saddam surely had'), and unknown unknowns
('even worse WMD that saddam may have').
What about unknown knowns? Things we don't know that we know? This is ideology.
The texture into which we are embedded.
European trinity: France (revolutionary, political),
German (conservative, poets, thinkers),
Anglo saxon (liberal, economy).
Bohr had a horsheshoe above his house. 'Do you believe in it? Aren't you a scientist?'
'Of course I don't believe in it! But I was told that it works regardless of my belief in it!'.
What is ideology today? It seems very shallow, things of the form 'go achieve',
and whatnot. However, there is a lot more that is tacit.
'Interpassivity': we transpose onto the other our passive reaction. Others are
passive for us. Canned laughter on TV. Literally, the TV set laughs for you.
You feel relief as if you have laughed.
Similarly it's not that we believe. We need someone else to believe for us.
For example, santa Claus. The parent's don't believe, they do it to not let down
the kids. The kids don't believe, they pretend for presents and to not let
down the parents. The whole system of belief functions.
The first person to do this politically is the isareli prime minister
Golda Meir. When asked 'do you believe in god'. Her answer was 'no. I believe in
jewish people, and they believe in God'. But atheism is ~70% of israel.
When different cultures are thrown together (globalism) we should break the
spell of liberalism: we cannot understand each other, we don't even
understand ourselves. I don't want to understand all cultures. We need a code
of discretion. How do we sincerely politely ignore each other? We need proper
distance to treat others in a non-racist, kind manner.
He upholds that we don't even miss anything deep in this way. Do I really understand
you? Do I really understand myself?
We are the stories we are telling ourselves about ourselves. The basic freedom is to tell your side of the story.
The motto of tolerance:
An enemy is someone whose story I have not yet heard.
Living libraries, people can visit minorities and talk to them. It works at a
certain level. But it stops working at some level. Because we would not say
the same of Hitler. 'The X files insight'. Truth is out there . It's not
in what you are telling yourself about yourself. The story you are telling
yourself is a lie.
Two extreme examples. One from Europe, one from far east.
Corruption is prohibited officially, and it is exactly codified in a communist
country. Holidays in Japan. You are given 40 days. It's very impolite to take
more than 20 days. This creates a link between people, the link of politeness.
This is ideology. Prohibition is is prohibited to be stated publicly.
Nazi germany without glasses is 'sacrifice your country'. With glasses, it is
'do this, pretend to do this, we can have some fun, beat the jews'. Ideology
always offers you some bribery.
When hitler finishes giving a talk, the people clap. In a communist speech,
at the end of the speech, the speaker claps with the people. This is a
crystallization of the difference between fascism and communism.
'Nice to meet you, how are you?' is a sincere lie. From the very beginning
we entered into language, we enter into requiring one for whom we can
The light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train
Embracing hopelessness means to accept that there are no easy solutions. We should
accept the hopelessness and start a paradigm shift. Our tragedy is death.
Something will have to change fundamentally. We do not yet have the formula of
what to do. We can now only get ready for a global crisis.
The problem with Hitler was that he wasn't violent enough. In the same way that Gandhi was more violent than Hitler, in terms of 'systemic change'. Hitler killed millions to save the system. Gandhi killed no one to setup a radical change. Change will hurt.
We tend to forget the violence of keeping things the same, and we only consider
the violence of change. Sometimes the gratest violence is to not participate.
Modi, China, Russia: Global market, Cultural narrowness.
Polyamory is instrumental. True love is where you cannot be without someone else.
It is a sign of progress that some things are considered ideology. For example,
''is it right to kill?'' will be laughed at. The problem with current societies
is that we are eroding the set of things we can laugh at due to dangerous
ideas of relativism.
Petersen: truths of the communist manifesto:
- History is to be viewed as an economic class struggle.
- Hierarchical structure is not attributable to capitalism.
- We're also in odds with nature, which never shows up in Marx.
- Hierarchical structures are necessary to solve complicated problems.
- Human hierarchy is not based on power. Power is a very unstable means of exploiting people.
- History comes off as a 'binary' class struggle in Marx.
- 'Dictatorship of the proleteriat': Race to bottom of wages. The fact that we assume that all the evil could be attributed to the bourgouise itself setup the seeds for revolution.
- How will the replacement of the bourgouise happen? Why wouldn't the proleteriat become as or more corrupt than the capitalists?
- What makes you believe that you can take a complicated system like the free market and then centralize this?
- A capitalist who is running a business as a manager does add value.
- The criticism of profit. What's wrong with profit? Profit is theft is the marxist principle. If the capitalist adds value to the corporation, then they do deserve profit. Profit sets a constraint on wasted labour. There are forms of stupidity you cannot engage in because the market will punish you for it.
- 'The dictatorship of the proleteriat' would become hyper-productive. How? The theory seems to be that once we eradicate the profit motive and the bourgouise allows them to become hyper productive.
- We need hyper productivity for the dictatorship of the proleteriat to create enough goods for everyone. When this happens, everyone will engage in meaningful creative labour, which they had been alienated from in capitalism. Then this will create a utopia.
- Does this utopia really be the right utopia for everyone?
- The Dostovyeskian observation: what shallow take on people do you need to believe that if you hand people everything they need, they'll be happy? We were built for trouble. Hanging out on the beach is a vacation, not a job. We would destroy things just so something can happen just so we can have the adventure of our lives.
- Marx and Engels admit that there has not been a system that's capable to produce materials in excess as capitalism.
- The irony of how Petersen and him are both marginalized by the academic community.
- China today: strong authoritarian state, wild capitalist dynamics. It's managed to uplift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. They want the Cofuscian ideal of harmonious society.
- Happiness as goal of life is problematic. Humans are creative in sabotaging pursuit of happiness. We have to find a meaningful cause beyond the mere struggle for pleasurable survival. Modernity means that we should carry the burden of freedom of choice.
- Never presume that your sufferring is in itself a proof of authenticity. Renunciation of pleasure can turn into the pleasure of renunciation.