Thursday 1 May 2008

Zen Philosophasty

It has always been a maxim of strategy — not to say, of commonsense — to have a good understanding of what the enemy is thinking, and, most fundamental, to have an understanding of his aims and motives. Still, in some cases, as in the following example from one of Slavoj Žižek’s neophytes, such an understanding, even an inkling, might appear hopeless to attain:
If enacting the revolutionary potential of the anti-synthetic transcendental imagination involves choosing the impossible, then this immediately begs the question: What is the ontological basis for imagining the possibility of an impossible choice? [1]
It may be that, in regarding this kind of radical-revolutionary discourse as primarily an intellectual undertaking, albeit a pretentious or frustrated one, we come to a misunderstanding of it. Rather it may be better that we regard it as having Zen-nonsensical qualities, formulated to empty the revolutionist’s mind of all intelligible thoughts, though leaving his intellectual pretentions intact, such that he might remain unperturbed in the contemplation of the visceral purity of his revolutionary deeds.
.....Well, however it may be, it is true that we all need to suspend our intellects every once in a while so as to rejuvenate our spiritual nerves, and so, to that end, the reader might like to contemplate the sound of one hand slapping Slavoj Žižek’s face.

[1] Charles Wells, “Acts of Freedom: Revolution and Responsibility”, International Journal of Žižek Studies, Vol. 2:1, 2008, p.7


Anonymous said...

"then this immediately begs the question....": aargh.

Anonymous said...

Things haven't changed since at least Schopenhauer's time.

James Higham said...

Purity maybe but hardly visceral.

Anonymous said...

International Journal of Žižek Studies

Frightening that there exists such a publication.

¡Benjaminista! said...

Žižek himself is capable of being very concise and thoughtful at times, even if operating under mad premises. I like his take on official anti-racism:

"Another thing that bothers me about this multiculturalism is when people ask me: 'How can you be sure that you are not a racist?' My answer is that there is only one way. If I can exchange insults, brutal jokes, dirty jokes, with a member of a different race and we both know it's not meant in a racist way. If, on the other hand, we play this politically correct game - 'Oh, I respect you, how interesting your customs are' - this is inverted racism, and it is disgusting."