Writing something every day and spending time with friends and family next to it forces me to discuss topics more rapidly and superficially. Nonetheless I’d like to talk about Slavoj Žižek. I’m saying nonetheless, because it would take a few hours to do so in a proper way. Take this article as an invitation to investigating his work for yourself.
Žižek is a Slovenian psychoanalyst who scrutinizes the structures of Western democracy, and the response of the people, particularly in Europe and the US. He continuously publishes books and videos on contemporary topics, now calling for a revolution among the left elite. What I particularly like about him is that he regularly focuses on ideology, what I’ve sometimes call ‘dreams’ or ‘life’s loony lore’, revealing also its impact on the psyche of the mob. He regularly breaks with common leftist points of view such as ‘the election of Trump was a bad thing’, ‘the capitalist system is doing fine’ and ‘multiculturalism will work one day’. He does that in a comical, eloquent way, despite some tics, yet has made numerous enemies with his expressions and has been banned from several platforms.
I first learned of Žižek’s existence while hearing his voice during the RSA animate video on capitalism. He has appeared on protests I sympathize with, including the Occupy movement. Last year, my girlfriend took me to his speech in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam. It was enjoyable. He passionately raised new perspectives while shooting right into the painfull spots. His thoughts are dense and interesting. Luckily, he thins them down with a regular ‘and so on, and so on’ or an ‘I claim’. Or a joke. He’d be hard to follow otherwise.
His psychoanalytic angle inspires me, because he describes people, entire cultures and movements almost as a single mind. A persociety, perhaps. He uses tangible examples to make quite general points on how he sees our predicament, offering very few solutions. He expresses a detachment from it all which is informative. An option, perhaps, for all of us. And there’s a flow, an entertaining flow wherein his audience fall from one association into the other, yet somehow remain connected to a thread. An admirable rollercoaster perspective on all those crazy things happening within and around us.