- Title: In Defense of Lost Causes
- Author: Slavoj Žižek
- ISBN: 9781844671083
- Page: 451
- Format: Hardcover
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Is global emancipation a lost cause Are universal values outdated relics of an earlier age In fear of the horrors of totalitarianism should we submit ourselves to a miserable third way of economic liberalism and government as administration In this major new work, philosophical sharpshooter Slavoj i ek takes on the reigning ideology with a plea that we should re approprIs global emancipation a lost cause Are universal values outdated relics of an earlier age In fear of the horrors of totalitarianism should we submit ourselves to a miserable third way of economic liberalism and government as administration In this major new work, philosophical sharpshooter Slavoj i ek takes on the reigning ideology with a plea that we should re appropriate several lost causes, and look for the kernel of truth in the totalitarian politics of the past.Examining Heidegger s seduction by fascism and Foucault s flirtation with the Iranian Revolution, he suggests that these were the right steps in the wrong direction He argues that while the revolutionary terror of Robespierre, Mao and the Bolsheviks ended in historic failure and monstrosity, this is not the whole story There is, in fact, a redemptive moment that gets lost in the outright liberal democratic rejection of revolutionary authoritarianism and the valorization of soft, consensual, decentralized politics i ek claims that, particularly in light of the forthcoming ecological crisis, we should reinvent revolutionary terror and the dictatorship of the proletariat in the struggle for universal emancipation We need to courageously accept the return to this Cause even if we court the risk of a catastrophic disaster In the words of Samuel Beckett Try again Fail again Fail better.
Recent Comments "In Defense of Lost Causes"
Žižek is a hyperkinetic, entertaining writer who seems to bounce off of the walls in his enthusiasm to make his points. This was my first exposure to the Slovene philosopher and I ran into somewhat of a brick wall when the Lacanian dialect became thick and heavy. I ran out of steam just after the chapters on Heidegger, when I realized that I was losing my grasp on where exactly this confusing-but-tantalizing thinker was heading. There were some interesting points being scored off of examinatio [...]
“Ideology is strong exactly because it is no longer experienced as ideology… we feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.” In Defense of Lost causes is a difficult and disparate book. Wait, strike that, it is a rolling expanse of intriguing philosophical situations.Žižek isn't playing a long game as much as gesticulating at a number of possibilities while distinguishing between the smooth and the striated. Such appears to be part and parcel for his oversize [...]
Well. This is definitely something.Zizek is one of the more baffling modern philosophers I've read. It's tough to follow his mental gymnastics. I find myself agreeing totally with him, and then blanching at what he says next. Some of his topics are utterly bizarre - an attempted defense of STALINISM? Seriously? I can't imagine the double-think possible there, if I didn't read it with my own eyes.Zizek is hardly coherent. But he is confounding and challenging, and damn if he isn't interesting, th [...]
Incredible amount of energy- intellectual, verbal, imaginative.An inexhaustible amount of anecdotes, one liners, ribald jokes, historical parallels, ironic reversals by the gallon.That's part of what Zizek is about as a writer and a thinker. He is capable of building up a certain kind of rhetoric and a progression of logic to the extent that you start to go along with him and thenWHAMMO! You realize that he just decided to deconstruct himself back to rejecting his premise outright. The whole poi [...]
I think the time has come to give up on 'In Defense of Lost Causes'. Having worked my way through Living in the End Times and Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism, that's more than enough Žižek for the moment. Instead I will read less obscurantist books of theory and make do with smaller doses of Žižek, for example this Guardian piece in which he claims Donald Trump is really a centrist liberal. As to why I read 120-odd pages then gave up on it for three year [...]
'In Defense of Lost Causes' is Slavoj Zizek's longest and most sustained effort to develop the political consequences of his philosophical work. In a certain sense, this book is a companion volume to 'The Parallax View', and it summarizes and condenses most of Zizek's political writings from the past decade. Zizek offers detailed readings of the events of 20th century politics (from Heidegger's Nazi engagement to the revolutionary--or not--politics of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao), and examines contem [...]
"OK, but where is your hamster—the fetish which enables you to (pretend to) accept reality "the way it is"?One may say we live in a world of contradiction. A struggle of multicultural tolerance vs hateful fundamentalism. Zizek disagrees, seeing both as the underside of the global capital. They are rather paranoiac attempts to find resolution in a world which is popularly understood to level off all differences between cultures. Yet, despite the bickering between these various interests, none p [...]
While Zizek's key weaknesses (a tendency to embark on page-long meanderings from one topic into analogous but wholly different spheres of thinking, cannibalization of earlier books/talks, the reliance on a few crutch anecdotes, etc) again make their appearance in the very political In Defense of Lost Causes, it is one of his better works by far. Seeking to comprehensively judge and learn from the history of communism/radical egalitarianism, Zizek gathers and connects texts from all throughout hi [...]
"Where, then, do we stand today? How can we break out of the crisis of determinate negation and enact a subtraction in its authentic violence?" This book is dense: a cartwheeling cornucopia of topics saturated with philosophical and psychoanalytic references as if the reader was, at the very least, in possession of a BA in Philosophy (I only have a lowly, long-ago minor), and while I could link certain people/theories/historic events (e.g Foucault, Barthes, Freud, Derrida, Hegel, Nietzsche, etc. [...]
(longo suspiro pós-leitura de qualquer material do Žižek, sempre energético, pesado e incômodo)
A rambling, poorly organized book with evidence drawn from everything from movies to pop songs. Despite all this, Zizek summarizes the current zeitgeist better than anyone I've read so far.
Typically Zizek. Entertaining, energetic, and provocative. Of course, Zizek makes excellent points about ideology, applying the dialectic to film criticism and even other philosophers (his section of Heidegger being particularly interesting). He deconstructs how these creations, modes of thought, and interpretations build up around us, creating narratives and myths, creating ideology. Despite the depth of this book and Zizek's abilities as a thinker and critic, I would caution those going into t [...]
I have fake read many books in my life, be it infinite jest or Ulysses, but this book takes the cake. My prof recommended it to me so when I saw it at a bookstore I copped that ish. Idk man its really confounding and you should have a background in Hegelian or laconian philosophy. But I'm guessing the reader is a normal human being so you probably dont, not that it would help. He is the king of taking you down really interesting paths, paths that you believe you support, and then suddenly he wil [...]
After endless looping from Lacan to crude jokes to the dialectic to popular culture, much of which I couldn't make much sense of, I'm left feeling that Zizek is really just trolling us and thinks he's smart enough that we won't, eventually, figure it out.
Having poorly thought out my vacation, I managed to be bookless just prior to taking off. I didn't have time to order a decent book through interlibrary loan. Decent meaning: a book of fiction that had seemed promising based on a review in The New Yorker, London Review, New Yorker Review. Something like that. Alas, I asked around and Oliver suggested Go Go Girls of the Apocalypse.I should have gotten in. I bailed out at the last minutes, to weak to spent nearly 20 clams on a book I'd probably re [...]
Zizek makes a general rule of railing against convention (annoyed with writers blurb on dust jackets he tells us he would like to, for effect put the following on his: “In his free time, Žižek likes to surf the internet for child pornography and teach his small son how to pull the legs off spiders”). He is funny, erudite and provocative in his quest for new arguments within the boundaries of psychoanalysis and European philosophy. He is also at times bordering on unreadable to the layperso [...]
Reading Žižek is a healthy way to maintain a healthy dose of humility: his brain is just too big, and his grasp and use of Lacan goes well beyond my simple understanding of this particular brand of psychoanalysis. This book is concurrently inspiring and provoking in the extreme, and frustrating. It’s inspiration comes from his optimism – whereas so much of the Left is, in the current conjuncture, pessimistic (a point he returns to time and again in his critical assessment of a seeming acce [...]
350 pages of blather--attacks on critics, careful examinations of philosophical rivals, meandering pop culture diatribes--in which 100 or so pages of deep insight have been hidden away. The Zizek Method, such as it is, seems to consist of type type typing away in the hopes of striking gold at least once per chapter. And he does, even if some of these points should be familiar to anyone who has ever read another book by Zizek, watched an interview with Zizek, etc. He's worse than OW Holmes Jr. wh [...]
Before one takes this review too seriously -I didn't finish the text. I ran out of steam about halfway through. On the positive side, the book encapsulates, in a thoroughly engaging, if not particular linear fashion, many of Zizek's recent topics of interest: virtuality; fundamentalism; belief; post 9/11 US ethics; new age spirituality; and so on. Where the work became a bit tiresome is his "defense" of lost causes and philosophical controversies: Foucault's relationship to the Iranian revolutio [...]
If we are effectively to reconceptualize the notion of revolution in the Benjaminian sense of stopping the “train of history” which runs toward a catastrophe, it is not enough just to submit the standard notion of historical process to critical analysis; one should also focus on the limitation of the ordinary “historical” notion of time: at each moment of time, there are multiple possibilities waiting to be realized; once one of them actualizes itself, others are canceled. The supreme ca [...]
"The liberal prohibition on enemies has a very precise implication: if there are no true enemies, that is, if there is no true struggle in politics, then those who really disagree with "us" (with the liberal-democratic hegemony) are not simply our enemies, but must be excluded from the very scope of humanity, with the result that in fighting against them, "anything goes." Paradoxically, the first step in recognizing the humanity of the enemy should thus be to accept fully the unavoidability of t [...]
If ever there was a great example of Deleuze and Guattari's conception of postmodernism as a rhizome, this is it. Ostensibly, the book aims to show how "lost causes" like Nazism, Leninism, Stalinism, and so on provided positive elements in the revolutions of history. Žižek blends high and low cultures effortlessly to create a confusing patchwork where everyone from fundamentalists to liberals are both right and wrong in everything they say and do--hence, the rhizomatic conception of our postmo [...]
I've committed to reading each new book by Slavoj Zizek when it comes out. Less theoretically dense than The Parallax View, this is typical Zizek: a collection of essays on distinct topics.He's good at the keen observation of a political event or an item of popular culture, expressed briefly, illuminated by psychoanalytic or materialist critical theory, with a minimum of technical language. However, his writing tends to have a very predictable rhythm, pace, and density and many of his essays blu [...]
'Lost Causes' is difficult to appreciate as it is an appreciation of the failures of modernism's defining events & attempts at emancipation thru revolutionary action, & their "day after" for Robespierre, Stalin, & especially Mao, who failed twice. While it is tempting to read the book as looking for a victory-in-the-midst of the failure, it is actually the failure itself that is the "right step in the wrong direction." For in every industrial upheaval, disastrous collectivisation, &a [...]
This book was very difficult, but I still enjoyed it a lot. It gives me a warm feeling to realize that I am not the only one for whom "the era of big ideas" is not over. A terrific rebuttal of "post-modern" philosophy. Standard criticisms of Zizek apply - after lambasting the contemporary Left, he never quite proposes his vision for how the Left ought to be. A lot of the pop-cultural references seem like total non-sequiturs. Also, it feels like the chapters of this book could be rearranged into [...]
Started reading this because I had been following Zizek's column and movies and thought I liked him. Subsequently I became aware of fairly right-wing comments he had made about the refugee crisis in Europe and started to lose interest. The fact that this book is packed full of jargon didn't help. Perhaps I am not smart enough to understand his arguments here, but I couldn't help but feel that Zizek has a tendency of purposefully saying things that are contrary to sense for the sake of sounding i [...]
not so much philosophy as cultural critique. this was the first zizek i've read and even though i liked Lost Causes a lot, i find him better in a different medium: youtube clips. His hyper-animation, sheepdog, coke addict tic, excitable nature is endearing in person/television/interview and though it's fine to read, it can slog a bit. I read this specifically to hear what he had to say about Robespierre/Terror and Stalin/Terror, but found myself interested in his theories on Mel Gibson's drunken [...]
Zizek challenges, as usual. In this tome he engages the question of what, then, we ought to do and/or be in this world of ours. The tone ranges from excruciatingly technical to breezy, irreverent, and enamored with popular culture. A few stretches are a slog, and his concluding pages seem strangely rushed or perfunctory, but there are so many challenging ideas here about the way we are and the current system of the world that these are minor quibbles. There's so much to enjoy along the way.One n [...]
I couldn't gain a further insight into 'lacanese', but I managed to get a glimpse of zizek's method of inverting everything and not saying anything (which is smart and cool, but doesn't help him build a cohesive political or philosophical system - in my humble ignorant opinion). Very interesting facts about the French Revolution, Mao, capitalism, an incomprehensible chapter on Badiou, beautiful movie examples (although chosen for their distinct psychoanalytic flavour - again, the particular WAKE [...]
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