Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Final Project: Slavoj Zezik - The Third Installment by Shorouq Ahmad ( Section 14)

    “Philosophy can’t provide answers, but philosophy can allow us to ask the right questions.”   
- Slavoj Zizek 

This is the third installment of my Final Project on Slavoj Zizek. I’m finding it a little difficult to find one single philosophy that he is known since he is a culture critic – which means he has an opinion on almost everything. This post is a reflection of my thoughts while reading a few of Zizek’s quotes. However, I’d like to emphasize that I do not know the context of these quotes or what he meant – this is just my interpretation.

v  “Technological development has made us more independent from nature and, at the same time, on a different level, more dependent on nature's whims.”

I feel like this statement demonstrates that as we are developing the solutions to our materialistic needs, we are in a way creating problems for our intellectual and mental needs. We seek to be independent, but somehow we don’t want to be completely. Maybe because it separates us from things other than ourselves and makes us feel part of a whole. This reminds me of the philosopher George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, which is an influence on Zizek. He believes that we should consider ourselves part of a bigger whole and not just an individual.

 v  “Even measured by the low standards of conventional wisdom, the old saying, “Don’t just talk, do something!” is one of the most stupid things one can say. Lately we have been doing quite a bit — intervening in foreign countries and destroying the environment. Perhaps, it’s time to step back, think and say the right thing.”

I like this idea; too many times we are concerned with obtaining something that we forget to consider anything else. After we have “stepped back, thought, and said the right thing”, we can do something. But, after doing this I believe it becomes somewhat of a responsibility to act and not just think!

v  “Happiness for me is an unethical category. We don’t really want to get what we think that we want, we want to keep what we want as an object of desire.”

This statement kind of made me look at happiness in another perspective and proposed a few questions in my mind. Maybe happiness is unethical under certain circumstances, of course the classical example is causing others harm for our happiness. But maybe the desire for happiness is what is unethical? Is it selfish to strive for this happiness, should we be striving for someone else’s happiness? After proposing a chain of questions similar to this, I realized I was not keeping the definition of happiness constant, which makes a pointless argument.

v  “It is more satisfying to sacrifice oneself for the poor victim than to enable the other to overcome their victim status and perhaps become even more successful than ourselves.”

I thought this quote may be a reflection of the society we are becoming. I equated sacrificing ourselves to having sympathy towards someone. Does the sympathy we offer really help a victim? It may help mentally, both the victim and ourselves, but in a way it is saying, “I can only have sympathy towards you because I am in a better state.”

v  “I hate writing. I so intensely hate writing -- I cannot tell you how much. The moment I am at the end of one project I have the idea that I didn't really succeed in telling what I wanted to tell, that I need a new project -- it's an absolute nightmare. But my whole economy of writing is in fact based on an obsessional ritual to avoid the actual act of writing.”

 This quote just made me laugh. 

1 comment:

  1. He's one of the most provocative public philosophers out there. I'd rather have a provocateur who makes occasionally-outrageous statements than a technician who never says anything people care to react to.

    But, I still can't fathom the idea of happiness as unethical. Maybe he just agrees with Calvin? - http://jposopher.blogspot.com/2014/12/at-loss-for-words.html