[lit-ideas] Re: SoS-a sideways view

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2006 09:54:56 -0700 (PDT)

--- Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> John,
> I didn't know anything about Zizek and so looked him
> up on Wikipedia and
> then Amazon.com.  One paragraph from a review of his
> The Puppet and the
> Dwarf, purportedly about the "core" of Christianity,
> had one paragraph that
> caught my eye: "The basic attitude of the book is
> fueled by contempt for
> opportunistic liberals, academics, and
> intellectuals, in short, the Last
> Man, who drinks decaf and jogs to stay fit, and make
> a habit of demanding
> the highest ethical ideals from society KNOWING full
> well society cannot
> possibly deliver. Zizek's venom is aimed at the fact
> that this very
> impossibility allows intellectuals without any real
> moral commitment to
> wallow smug [in] their safe, cushy university jobs
> and still feel good about
> themselves for having demonstrated a nobler social
> conscience: A life
> devoted to speaking dangerously with all the
> possibility of danger (and
> caffeine) removed."

*Slavoj Zizek is a well-known, if not iconic,
Slovenian philosopher who for years was at the center
of poststructuralism, postmodernism or whatever was
currently fashionable in Europe. Very successful in
his academic career, I believe, and I don't think he
has ever faced any dangers greater than maybe drinking
his coffee with real coffeine. He is an very
intelligent man but not exactly the first person who I
would think has the credentials to heap scorn at
someone else's intellectual or moral relativism.

> I've got to order that book.  Thanks, John.

*I hope that you don't get disappointed. You may find
some interesting things there but don't expect any
sort of Cleant Eastwood.
> Your snippet from a dialogue between Chance & Zizek
> didn't seem nearly as
> promising.  

*Actually I found it mildly promising. I am currently
reading Hegel's Lectures on Philosophy of History (at
a somewhat leisurely pace) and it strikes me that
Hegel might have some pointers for moving beyond the
historicist/metaphysicist conundrum. At the very
least, for Hegel, an intense awareness that
philosophical questions are always asked within a
particular historical context does not in any way
imply that they are not worth asking. The answers 
given, while never definitive (or perhaps because of
that) represent valid and necessary stages / moments
in the unfolding of the Spirit toward a realization of
its own truth. Will try to elaborate on this when I
have finished the text.


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