“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Thing Zizek Said That I Liked

From Graham's blog:

Žižek responded in particular to the following statement:
“He never discusses poverty, inequality, war, finance, childcare, intolerance, crime, education, famine, nationalism, medicine, climate change, or the production of goods and services, yet he takes himself to be grappling with the most pressing social issues of our time. He is happy to leave the world to burn while he plays his games of philosophical toy soldiers.”
Žižek began by asking, with delicious sarcasm: “How dare I write a book about Hegel without discussing childcare?”

Ian and I have been running into this quite a lot. People want you to make sure your philosophy is painted in easily recognizable dayglo ethics and politics.

This isn't necessarily a new phenomenon. 

Imagine Plato having to go up against the clepsydra maker for the grant money. How the heck would he talk about the “impact” of his philosophy to people who want immediate results. 

On the other hand, it does seem as if, like hip hop album sleeves in the early 90s, we are caught in a doldrums of namechecking, or rather issue-checking, as Žižek says.

Just doing philosophy without that is in itself a political act. Why on earth should its “impact” be immediately visible to the people who think they want that?

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