1 janvier 2010
Slavoj Zizek
Living in the End Times
Cover - Gottfried Helnwein, Untitled (After Caspar David Friedrich), oil and acrylic, 1998
The most dangerous philosopher in the West. (Adam Kirsch - The New Republic )
Zizek analyzes the end of the world at the hands of the “four riders of the apocalypse.” There should no longer be any doubt: global capitalism is fast approaching its terminal crisis. Slavoj Zizek has identified the four horsemen of this coming apocalypse: the worldwide ecological crisis; imbalances within the economic system; the biogenetic revolution; and exploding social divisions and ruptures. But, he asks, if the end of capitalism seems to many like the end of the world, how is it possible for Western society to face up to the end times? In a major new analysis of our global situation, Slavok Zizek argues that our collective responses to economic Armageddon correspond to the stages of grief: ideological denial, explosions of anger and attempts at bargaining, followed by depression and withdrawal.
After passing through this zero-point, we can begin to perceive the crisis as a chance for a new beginning. Or, as Mao Zedong put it, “There is great disorder under heaven, the situation is excellent.” Slavoj Zizek shows the cultural and political forms of these stages of ideological avoidance and political protest, from New Age obscurantism to violent religious fundamentalism. Concluding with a compelling argument for the return of a Marxian critique of political economy, Zizek also divines the wellsprings of a potentially communist culture—from literary utopias like Kafka’s community of mice to the collective of freak outcasts in the TV series Heroes. .
Living in the End Times with Slavoj Zizek
Political theorist and psychoanalyst Slavoj Zizek has been called “The Elvis cultural theory” and “The most dangerous philosopher in the West”. By using a blend of psychoanalytic theory, political philosophy, jokes, and Hitchcock film references, Zizek has published over 30 books of philosophy. His criticisms have focused on everything from global capitalism to Islamic fundamentalism. Accordingly, his main target is dominant forms of political ideology—which he has criticized through discussions of chocolate laxatives, Ridley Scott’s film “Alien”, and the structure European toilets. Though, despite his frequent “off the wall” references, the philosopher is dead-serious about his stances.
Recently, Zizek hosted an engaging television documentary in the Netherlands, in which he discuses—through his critical perspective—current geo-political conflicts, global warming, and the financial crisis, among other relevant topics.
In the spirit of bringing challenging perspectives to current events, NJP has provided the full television show, here, in video clips. [Note: only the intro is in Dutch, the remaining program is in English].
Zizek begins with a critique of the current economic crisis, citing it as the crisis of “liberal democracy”, itself.

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