Slavoj Žižek is a Philosopher from Slovenia and a learned critic of things. I got to know about him through a dear friend and after watching one of his awesome lectures on youtube (“The Need to Censor Our Dreams”) I understand that many of his proposed ideas are in fact what I have been thinking and debating about for the last few years. I am not saying I am as capable as Slavoj, just that now I feel I have a few more people who identify with my side of the world-view. Here, I present a list of the thoughts that really resonate with me from his video lecture available on
1: At around 19 mins, he talks about capitalism in India and China succeeding not in spite of traditional values of family and ethics but because of the corruption of the so-called traditional values e.g when a man says “I am doing this for my family or children”; “..to provide them a better life”. So this man will do anything and go to any length to achieve his target and this is some scary stuff. Here, the culture of family actually cuts-off this guy from the society and makes him think only for the short-term, narrow-minded supposed good of his own closest ones. Pretty scary, right…but it happens in most other places also I guess. But of course more prominent in the under privileged societies in poor countries. So, maybe the punk and hip hop cultures are actually blessing in the sense that they make our youth connect more with each other rather than living in the silos of the obsolete “family structure”.
2: Then at 24:00 he talks about the “fake western Buddhism of the Richard Gere type..” where “we are approaching an era of casual one night stand..” but we are afraid of a full passionate love, which is decried as too much attachment to a person and weakness of character. “You need to be detached.” “…don’t fixate yourself, experiment with your life and so on. and this is very sad what is happening here.” It is as fake as our demand for beer without alcohol, coffee without caffeine, sex basically without sex..its called safe sex. it is horrible.”
Much like “Clinton Sex”. You have it but not without fully enjoying it. our lives are getting more fake, scared, etc. People want everything but they cannot bear the thought of “living with it”. They want love but fear attachment. What is wrong with attachment? You fear attachment because of the responsibility that comes with it. Say, you have to work hard to provide for your child and so you say you don’t want one. You like the concept of having fun with a child but don’t want the daily headache to raise him.
3: “Maybe we lack authentic consumerism.” We consume something only after it has been judged safe. We, for example, don’t smoke. Here is the one idea I usually talk about that many men today don’t have balls. They think they are men when they go to a gym, get a promotion at work, get a good business deal, etc. But to me they are ‘pussies’ when they also play ‘by the rules’ and cannot for even once have a go at things just to try them out. I am not smoking, paying for sex, fighting on the street, swearing at someone, etc. are the best cultural traits to be acquired but if you and your children and their children simply start giving up on all these just to be ‘in the system as the good guys’, you lose out of life. You are a human clone, and stop being a complete human being. Maybe that is why I like living in Russia. Its more real here.
3: We are not overtly racist but we have it beneath ourselves. We are racist even when we feign embarrassment when someone asks us something about our culture / idea / theory and we are uncomfortable to handle it because we know in the depths of our heart that our such theory / culture or idea is lacking somehow in this particular area. Like when the young people of today who usually say “I don’t care” to almost all the questions I put to them. It is not that they dont care, but in the core it means they don’t consider such question to be of any importance in their lives …not even more than planning their next night out which is always done with such detail and other resources. And then we have these problems of “A belief without believers.” For example, when a parent buys a Santa Claus for his child during Christmas and you ask the father “Do you really believe in Santa Claus?” and almost certainly he will deny that. So why the hell are you putting this idea to your little kid. So that when he grows up he already thinks that many other ideas you put to him in his childhood might also be bullshit and there starts a system of disbelief. How can you justify to him giving this confusing upbringing where he has to gradually figure out the rights from the wrongs. Even the schools celebrate Santa Claus. I mean WTF is happening here.
4: Inherent transgression: Many of our fun behaviours are learned. Like we learn to enjoy alcohol or sex. Because for the first time it is not fun but painful or bitter taste. But we try it again and again till we start enjoying it. Maybe that is why we get physical, mental, emotional issues when we consume more of the commercialized fun-items of the modern times. Because inherently they are not so good for us. They are transgressed into our belief system by the media, our neighbours and other tricks of the trade.
5: The mishaps of the proportions: The gang rape in India that shocked the world is not something that we need to wait for to happen. It happens in various forms when we have these big divisions of opportunities in our societies. And this means this is happening all across the world in various other forms as well.
For example, in Mexico there are thousands of factories that employ single poor women as employees and this sham is feeds to us through the media as being very women oriented. But there is a ritual that has emerged in those establishments where 100 women are kidnapped, serially raped and then brutalised to death every year. So now can you compare the rape in India with what happens regularly in these Mexican factories. So these incidents are not male-aggressions. It is a faulty social economic structure bursting out.
Vancouver, Canada, has a few reservations given out to Native Americans and it is now a frequent activity where single white males go to such areas kidnap a native woman and rape her, kill and then dump her body. The police usually downplays such incident as family issues or at best murder by some random maniac. But what it actually is, is a faulted structure existing in the very place which people from the less developed countries may think as there dreamland of equal opportunity and other bullS#^t.
6: Any Ideology is good in the basic circumstances where it is developed. This basically means we don’t usually have ‘a one solution fits all’ type of scenario.
7: About rules: The ones you should violate (but discreetly). For instance, your parents tell you not fool around with girls. But then in the system of things how are you to learn more about them if you don’t. And then if you don’t you are also called a loser. So you better listen to the rules here, but violate them when no one is looking. What kind of stupid system is this.
The others you are solicited to violate but you better not for your own safety. Like when they ask you to be free in your speech. Really? Look what they do to Snowden and Assange. This is the corruption we have in our society in terms of telling each other what we should be doing and what not. Can I actually trust anyone now? 2x WTF.
8: “We are free but we are not able to see where we are not free.” For example, these international trade agreements. Here we determine the situations where and how the trade can happen. So if there is just a little tweak in economic situations, the trade agreement is already in danger. Basically we need freedom to also include “something more”. Something that we cannot think of now but which is a very existential possibility considering where and how we live these days…which is a world changing so very fast. Instead these trade forums try to hand-down almost dictatorial versions of the so-called international trade agreements to the less powerful countries.
9: The Freudian super ego paradox: The more you are innocent the more you are guilty.
The false individualization: it culpabilizes the person when the structure is against those very ideas. “What did you do to protect nature today?” “Did you use your air conditioning instead of opening the window?” The more you discover and feel guilty, the more you feel guilty. And for-profit companies benefit from this, for example, when you are happy to an buy an expensive Starbucks coffee because it says on their campaign that , for instance, 5% of their profits go to some “stupid Guatemalan children”.
10: Liking your own clichés: “When I go to India or China and they tell me “Oh we have our culture…” I tell them fuck you. Tell me your dirty jokes and then the ice is broken.” Otherwise we have this “terrifying political correctness” which is absolutely hogwash.
Here Slavoj advocates Ethical cleansing which I believe is more important than learning about science and commerce because it forms the basis of all the rules we make for ourselves and others around us.
11: About my kind of society: I don’t want to live in a society where I have to be part of these meaningless efforts to fix things all the time. I want to live in a society where an “invisible system” is responsible for running the whole game and I have time and freedom to watch my movies and eat good food.
12: Putin is not bad person but he is not very efficient. He could get Russia out of the dependence on international oil exports but has not done this yet. But, yes, super powers of the future are Russia and China.
13: America has unfortunately relegated itself to the role of the “global policeman” and now it is doing the dirty work of all others. In the name of global security it is fighting wars all around and for zilch in return. “The war in Iraq actually handed Iraq over to Iran.”
The Solution: I don’t have a simple solution for this problem or rather this bag of problems. But the first step is to “censor our dreams” in the sense that we cannot say that “oh we build our little cooperative society and we start to change the world.” No, the world structure is more powerful and fucked up than can be fixed by our little dreams.
“By Zeus! you are right Socrates!”