“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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Come on Slavoj, Let's Do a Thing

If you've been reading this for a bit you'll know that I've had my issues with Žižek over the whole Buddhist unpleasantness.

But Slavoj, whom I invited to CU Boulder in 2000, shares a lot more with me than he doesn't.

For instance, I bet that in every situation involving thought that he finds himself in, Slavoj occupies (usually deliberately, like me) the position of the devil. We are disruptors who like to lob grenades and walk away while people rush around yelling.

Ecology without Nature was written from an explicitly Žižekian sort of a space, not necessarily in terms of the precise ideas, but definitely in terms of the stance. Which is definitely why Slavoj really liked it. He went around the world in 2007 to 2009 pretty much saying “ecology without nature” all the time, cause I'd sent him a copy.

That book was definitely a devil sort of a move. I literally got stalked and physically threatened for writing that one. Seriously...

Even my defense of Buddhism against Žižek is Žižekian. I'm saying in Nothing that if you're really going to champion Buddhism, you're going to want to embrace the dreaded New Age crystal loving, navel gazing “narcissism.”

So I'm writing this book about humans and it's saying all kinds of naughty things, like we are humans, we are the human species and all that. I'm writing it with a view to finding out whether we can expand communist theory (theories, really) to include nonhuman beings. Answer: yes! For a while I was thinking no, but I figured out how to say yes this year and I'm really happy about it.

Of course you have to make a few teensy weensy concessions :) Or communist theory can just fade quietly away... take your pick :)

So Slavoj, it's time for us to do some gigs together, no? I promise I won't be like Judith Butler. I call things by their names. They just aren't your granddaddy's things...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Slavoj would be better situated amongst the Republican debaters or between Cameron and Corbyn. Non humans have always been communists, perhaos systems theory communists, with or without the theory/critical theory. What took Harry Potter's evil twin in Dallas (a compliment!) so long on that one?

Loved the Finnish post below.