Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, December 1, 2014

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

This is the second installment of my series of posts for my final project on Slavoj Zizek. In this post I will be analyzing and commenting on what I have observed from his personality and philosophy. As I stated in my first post, he is an intriguing figure, although I do not agree with all of his views- I do agree with some. However, I believe that even if you don’t agree with something it doesn’t mean that it is not worth your time.

Analyzing Zizek’s Personality:

Zizek is quite different from ordinary philosophers. I feel like he is always astonished repeatedly – even by the same thing - and has a sense of wonder and excitement. He reminds me a little of a child, always exploring, endlessly questioning, and always changing his mind as well as contradicting himself. His thought process in reckless, it takes me a couple of times to comprehend what he is saying. However, many times he states the obvious, but in such a fashion that it does not seem obvious. I feel like this is one of his greatest strengths – making the obvious interesting. As he puts it:

"I don't give clear answers to even the simplest, most direct questions, I like to complicate issues. I hate simple narratives. I suspect them. This is my automatic reaction."

He seems to speak not concerned with his audience, but rather speaking because he has a passion for it. My first impression of Zizek was that he always has something to say. Often you hear him say, “ And so on…” I believe this is his way of controlling his thoughts because he realizes that he could talk for ages and not run out of words. Not many have this ability of self-realization. Zizek has strong views – of which he contradicts at times himself – but his two views that intrigued me were his views on misanthropy and romance that I will be discussing below.

Misanthropy vs. Optimism:

His View:
Zizek seems to be and doesn’t mind identify himself as a misanthrope. A misanthrope is defined to be someone who dislikes humankind, and avoids human society. He says that a certain type of misanthropy is much better than this cheap optimism. I find that from listening to Zizek speak and researching his views, he is a little negative toward humanity. 

My View:
            I agree with Zezik to an extent. This “ certain type” of misanthropy seems to be a better solution than being ignorant to the situation. I believe that we should be realistic and assess the situation according to the facts we observe. However, at the same time misanthropy is not a solution. I believe in being positive, however, what I like about his negativity is that it does not infringe on his ability to find solutions to problems. I guess to summarize my view, too much optimism is not good, & too much negativism isn’t either. We should strive to find the perfect balance.


I feel like the quote in the picture contributes to his view on optimism. Often we focus on finding a solution to a problem that we forget to consider solving what has caused it in the first place. As Zizek puts it, even when we solve a problem, we are still in the same environment that created it. 


Here are a few quotes & video clips by Zizek that I believe portray his view on love and romance.

  • “The one measure of true love is: you can insult the other.”

v “If you have reasons to love someone, you don’t love them.” 

  •  “Love is not idealization. A true Lover knows that if you really love a woman or a man, that you do not idealize him or her. Loves means that you accept a person, with all its failures, stupidities, ugly points and nonetheless the person is absolute for you, everything that makes life worth living, that you see perfection in imperfection itself. And that is how we should learn to love the world.”

  •  “ I say love you more than anything else. In this quite formal sense, love is evil.” – I thought this statement was important because it shows his constant contradiction, which he doesn’t have a problem admitting.

          I must admit, after researching Zizek I would not have expected him to have such a strong opinion when it comes to such a matter – or maybe just not publicly. However, I now realize that since he is a culture critic it makes complete sense. After all love is one of the biggest parts that consumes cultures. His view on romance and love is quite unique. I’m not sure I agree with everything he believes, but then again he doesn’t even agree with himself at times. I have emphasized his tendency to contradict himself quite a few times if you have noticed. This is because I feel like as much as he is always speaking about his disregard for culture he can’t help but desire to experience the culture he critics.

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