Good afternoon. Today’s guest is
philosopher Slavoj Zizek. Welcome. Thank you. -Do you prefer to be
called ‘Slovenian’ philosopher? Or do you think philosophers aren’t
defined by nationality? No. I think that philosophy is the most
peaceful way for taking distance from one’s
own identity. This doesn’t mean that you have to become
a masochist, ashamed of yourself. But you most intimately experience your
identity as something arbitrary. Yes, I am a Slovene. But this is
arbitrary. I could be… something else. You opened an interesting subject.
Patriotism. What do you think about it? What is patriotism to you? A virtue?
Or evil, as stated by the Praxis school? They took it from Kant. That making
a common thing from any particularity is evil in itself. Like making
nationality a virtue. Of course I am against violent
patriotism, and so on… [But to me this simple abstract
contrast is superfluous.] e.g. Only if you hate your nation
you are a true universal subject. To me something else
matters more. That is, that you don’t except the dogma:
my nation, good or bad. That you have some basic
demands for your nation. We could say: if this is my nation,
if I am a part of it, then I demand from it higher ethical
standards than I do from other nations. Like a good father. A good father is much stricter towards
his son than towards other people. Forgive my indiscretion. But from our
last talk I gathered you dislike children. But people close to you say otherwise.
What are you like as a father? You have a son… My younger son is twelve.
-You take him abroad… On the level of everyday nonsense:
swearing, obscenities… This doesn’t concern me.
He can do what he wants. But I am very strict when it comes
to two things. Studying, school and so on.
He must learn to work. And personal relations. No arrogance,
racism etc. Everything else is permitted. Since his father is a critic of capitalism,
will he become a capitalist? When he was only six years old
he gave me a beautiful short lesson. How we communist are stupid, how we
don’t see that if all people are equal, then no one will work. Inequalities are
necessary, competition, and so on… At the age of six? -Yes. He gave me his
first spontaneous lesson on neoliberalism. Against the idea of communism.
-What brought you to Zagreb? You are here often.
What are your memories of Zagreb? I remember it well from the ’60s
and early ’70s when I was very young. You had on Gundulièeva street
a very good bookshop. With philosophical works in all main
languages. German, English, French… For us in Ljubljana, Zagreb was a city where more
theory was being done than in Slovenia. I had this attitude then. And even today
I have the same respect. For example. What is happening
in Croatia today – I’m not idealising Croatia… But this trial against your former PM
Sanader, and all that… Something like that is unfortunately
not possible in Slovenia today. We Slovenes were arrogant
in the beginning of 1990. We thought we were the most developed
post-socialist country and so on… But I think, in essence, we
lost twenty years. Today we have nothing to
juxtapose against Croatia or any other ex-Yugoslav
country. This is interesting, since it’s coming from
someone who lived in Slovenia some time. Tonight you are going to lecture at the festival.
What can people expect from you? Last year you said to the organizer,
Srecko Horvat, to raise the price of tickets, and let us see if these new-born communists
will pay for them 100 to 200 kuna. Is lecturing still a challenge? Of course that was a bad joke.
I think… Twenty, thirty years ago the idea
of Marxism, specifically communism, was an idea of a simple solution:
Class struggle, abolish capitalism, it will get better… Today, for me, the return to the tradition
of communism and socialism is a way to fully understand the
complexity of the situation. A Marxist for me is not someone who
offers simple solutions, but someone who is ready to analyse
the solutions that are today offered. Example: Europe. Political and economic solutions in
Europe. How will they fail? How old problems only reproduce through
these pseudo-solutions. So according to you, a Marxist is every
other Croat or Slovene. All see it doesn’t work. Or perhaps even more people feel
like this. But they are not all Marxists. Yes. But this is a start.
To understand that in the framework of what is offered on the market
of ideas, for example… What do we have? We have
the so-called neoliberal option. Which is more dangerous than is
usually recognized. The neoliberal option is becoming more
and more openly sceptical about democracy. Today we have expert [financial] governments.
In Italy, Greece, maybe in Spain … …So, to be sceptical towards this.
At the same time to be sceptical towards the return of a powerful nation state.
That is, towards the new right-wing anti-immigrant populism.
And then even more. I think we should question the old
model of the welfare state. Can you explain? -The social state.
What we see today is a crisis of the social state. We cannot simply return to this ideal.
And most people didn’t realise this. How deep is the crisis. We all want
to preserve what we remember was part of the social state. Basic equality,
universal healthcare, cheap education… The presumption of the classical
social state, the way the social state combines
these elements with capitalism… This time has passed. Capitalism is going it’s way.
It cannot be simply returned back to the framework of the social state.
We must start thinking from scratch. Five years ago you were my guest.
We made a profile of you. Which we will show again.
So I can ask you what has changed since then. We will be back in three minutes. War in Iraq, totalitarianisms,
crisis of ideologies, disintegration of Yugoslavia,
pornography, Hitchcock’s movies, pop culture, Tom and Jerry…
This are the subjects which interest the infamous Slovene,
and one of the greatest intellectuals of our time. Although unkept, bearded and
immersed in books and thoughts, he is not a stereotypic philosopher.
His lectures in Europe and America are cultic events.
He is the author of renowned books. They call him “the Balkan
controversial philosopher.” He married a young Argentinian model,
and now appears in yellow press headlines. One is certain. Beside “Laibach”, Zizek
is the most known Slovene cultural export. He is first and foremost Zizek,
and then a Slovene. [He is more important than Slovenia.]
Not one Slovenian sportsman can come even close to him.
Is there anything else in Slovenia? He earned his PhD in Ljubljana,
started the psychoanalytical school, but in the beginning of 1990 he
took on politics. In 1990 he ran for the presidency of
Slovenia. He didn’t take politics seriously. [He is not interested in
classical political activity, but is intellectually interested
in secret service.] [He never got into the world
of computer games.] … the same with Cold War.
This one is more dissident. You are an agent who helps some stupid
dissidents, but are caught by the KGB. This is not good.
This one is the real thing! His statements are never politically
correct. He has attracted the rage of many people.
From feminists to European leftists. He has pictures of Stalin and Lenin
in his flat. Only to provoke guests. With Zizek you never know whether he is
serious or just waiting for your reaction. The price for this is that
many people consider me a fool. And they use this against me.
“He’s a clown, a buffoon…” It doesn’t bother me. I’m truly insane.
I live in a world of my own. I don’t go to coffee-houses…
I ignore everything. I have my world. I read, watch movies,
write. And this is enough for me. He is among 25 most important living
intellectuals. Many say that he made
“pop” from philosophy. That he talks about the end of capitalism
and the Da Vinci Code with the same zeal. That being a “star” is more important
to him than serious philosophy. Slovenia is a small and funny country.
Like Croatia. And Slovenes are angry with Zizek
and because of his success. He has great problems
at the Faculty of Philosophy in Ljubljana. Because he is successful, smart,
and people read his books. [He provoked (in Slovenia and here)
anger, envy…] I think Slavoj is not a star,
but an anti-star. Stars are interested in VIP things, but he wears Lufthansa socks
and a watch from a magazine. Because of him Americans learned
to pronounce “Ž”. He understands his popularity
in Marxist terms. He uses it to propagate his ideas.
He sees a chance for provocation in everything. You know what you can do?
A nice manipulation. I love it. Take one of my responses,
but manipulate with it. For example. I said “I don’t know,
perhaps…” But you add a question: should we kill
the Jews or Arabs. “I don’t know, perhaps…” This is the basic manipulation. How do you feel when you
see yourself on TV? You said to me that you weren’t happy with our
previous talk. Because of yourself, you said, not me. I meant it literary. I wasn’t able to
say what I wanted to because of myself. This is traumatic for me. People don’t believe me,
but those documentaries about me… Pervert’s guide to the cinema etc…
I haven’t seen any of them. You must believe me.
-How do you deal with your stardom? How do you benefit from it?
Mick Jagger says it makes easier to get drugs. What do you get
from being a star? Nothing. I try to avoid it.
I appear in public less and less. For example. For the last few years,
if we forget all those political books and talks, I have been writing a book
about Hegel like crazy. Which came out ten days ago.
My Stalinist plan was to to write one thousand pages. I’ve surpassed my plan.
The book has 1038 pages. This gives me pleasure,
more than everything else. Did it tire you out?
-No. It was a real pleasure. You gave an interview for The Guardian.
They asked you if you are involved with Lady Gaga. How did you provoke such a question?
Do such questions tire you? Absolutely. But this is so
tragicomical… Believe it or not, I don’t know
a single song of Lady Gaga. In matters of Pop music I am
a conservative of my generation. I still think that everything in pop and rock
happened between 1965 and 1975. With few exceptions, like
Ramstein in Germany… Everything beyond that is
not interesting. I am also a modern conservative
when it comes to art. I don’t believe in all these new
post-modern inventions. I think the first great wave of
modernism came with Schoenberg in music, Kandinsky in art,
Kafka and Beckett in literature, and so on… If you ask me who are my favourite
writers, I will say the “Holy trinity”: Samuel Beckett … not Joyce, he is too
pretentious … Kafka, and Andrei Platonov. He is (Platonov) the quintessential
Soviet writer. These three are all that interest me.
I am very confined. I don’t want to know too much. What about other writers, like Ionesco,
Dostoevsky, Tolstoy… OK, Ionesco is not a classic. Ionesco is for me a question of
racism. I love Romania. Maybe it is not right when I put
Ionesco into this line, along with Mircea Eliade, Emil Cioran…
Romanian intellectuals who are popular in the West, but when you look at their career before
they emigrated, you can see they were all fascists,
on the far-right. Mircea Eliade was, for example, a member
of the extreme fascist organization, till he died. This Romanian Iron Guard was too radical
even for the fascist dictator Antonescu. What do you think about
the Romanian cinema (film)? This is better. If you mean the
Romanian new wave. But this will be more interesting
to your viewers. The Romanian movies,
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and others, represent an argument why we must not
fight against cultural globalization. There is this open space. Globalization
isn’t just watching Hollywood blockbusters. Globalization opens room for small nations
to achieve their moment. Now is the moment for Romanian cinema,
Iranian cinema despite political circumstances, Taiwan cinema, Korean cinema etc. But not only in movies.
Also in serious music, criminal detective novels. Phenomenon of Scandinavian novels.
Not only Henning Mankell. Take the very small country
of Iceland: Arnaldur Indridason. A world hit, great detective novels.
And so on… We should not take the view
that globalization is endangering us. No! Globalization is a great
opportunity for small nations like ours. I think that the real victims of cultural
globalization will be… the great superpowers of the second kind:
France, Germany etc. They are losing. They are becoming
equal to the small nations. But from an idealistic point of view
they shouldn’t be afraid of losing. They are getting Romanian films.
This is not loss for an intelligent German. From a nationalistic point of view…
If you talk to some of my leftist friends from France, they all think something terrible is happening.
That such a great nation should learn English. They feel extremely offended. I received a letter form a viewer. He says:
If Zizek is among 100 leading intellectuals, he is not obliged to say:
“No, I am not, you’ve made a mistake.” [*Don’t understand what he’s saying, sorry.]
And since the 1 % owns the world economy, it is logical that 1 % of those intellectuals
support the former in some way. You wouldn’t want to support
that 1 %, would you? What do you think about these
categories they put you in? All these categorizations are crazy. This is one thing. I don’t want to think about
whether I have my place on the list or not. I wish to say something different…
-The viewer concluded like this. The problem is not only the thieves,
but also the police. Inspector Zizek should return his badge. He thinks you should return your badge
because you criticize the system without telling how to destroy it. If I remember correctly,
the first one on the list is Noam Chomsky. This means that the list is very unusual.
Who knows how representative it is. Something else is bothering me here. And this is not a commercial
strategy to me. To me, this is the same debate
as the one about the canons of literature. Leftist have always criticized western canon.
Saying it doesn’t begin with Sophocles, Homer… But against this cultural imperialism
we must open up to other traditions… But we live in the world of canon.
There will always be stupid lists. The more the culture becomes
globalized, I think, the more does it’s influence condense
in a few great names. And I think we should fight
for who will these names be. So I have no illusions here.
It’s easy to say I should return my badge. My problem is the following:
who will receive my badge? I am not sure if this would be a
subversive gesture. It would be much more interesting if this badge,
which means nothing, opened the door to public media. For example. So I could on occasion publish a
commentary in Le Monde, Guardian, New York Times – – where (NYT) I am not on good terms
because of the Zionist lobby, as far as I know. Isn’t it my duty to say: So what?!
I have the opportunity and I will use it. This is a classic story. Saloon position:
to criticize and take the money from capitalists. I have no problem with this.
I am a Leninist here. Do you know what he said? A capitalist will sell you…
how do you say… “rope” A noose to hang him with. I think it is far to easy to say that
you are a [collaborator] if the systems is paying you. It is not true. In this way
you can discredit everything. Are those who do not play this game fools?
-No, no! It depends how you play it. What you do with this open space?
My goal is clear. Despite my clown act. To make people start thinking. I always repeat this.
What is threatening us? Not only that we don’t have answers
to problems. We don’t even have a clear image
of what problems are. This is our duty.
To [stir] people. For example.
The crisis in Greece. There are three mainstream stories
in the media. About Greece. The German story: Lazy Greeks wasted money,
didn’t develop productively. We must press on them. The Greek story, a nationalistic story.
With which I likewise disagree. This is another occupation. Hitler did it
with his army, now the banks are doing it. And then the most disgusting story.
The humanitarian story. Greece is being treated like a third world
country. “Kids there don’t have medicine”… Something is happening. But all the stories
from the media are untrue. What is really happening in Greece?
This is the problem. We must show how Greece is not
an exception. Greece is a symptomatic European
[problem]. Capitalism is in crisis, it doesn’t know
what to do. We can talk about that. I think… This is not a Marxist thing.
Even conservative commentators, who I greatly respect, admit it.
That we are nostalgic about old times. When we leftist thought that there exists
a secret illegal rulling-class elite, that is pulling all the strings
and keeps things in it’s hands. I think that the ruling class
is losing it’s role. It’s no more competent to rule. You think the problem is in the system,
not in the individual at the top? Absolutely! Just to finish.
Under the cover of solving the crisis, Greece is undergoing experimental model of
dictatorship from international financial system, radical decomposition
of the welfare state, and so on… Greece is a possible destiny
for all of us. Forget that racist nonsense about
Greeks being lazy… There is no easy solution.
But people must see the problem. Yes, the system! That is why I think
we should care for the fate of “Occupy Wall Street”. What do you think about this movement?
-I have no ideal. They have no answer. The character of
this movement is in some implicit comprehension. What comprehension? So far…
And now I can respond to your [piece] about me. When did things change? In the past I may have
appeared crazy because of my Marxism, but today we know that capitalism is
in crisis. And this is characteristic. Up till two, three years ago, protests were usually
“one issue movements”. Concentrated on one thing. Against racism, war in Iraq, whatever…
But now we have a movement, which questions the capitalist system
as such. How much is this movement marginalized?
[A person would think capitalism can be fixed.] The movement is not a massive one. Of course it isn’t. It is a shame we don’t have
10 hours of time, speaking like F. Castro. Wait, wait! What movement is massive?
In Egypt, at the peak of protests, when the masses were gathered on
Tahrir square. There were only a few percent. But they determined the dynamics.
Let me tell you about my experience. Two days after I had a speech in the
Zuccotti Park in New York, when I as a consumer went to the store
to buy some DVD movies, I was recognized by a Wall Street banker.
He’s seen me on TV. He said to me privately, almost illicitly:
“I am a banker. Very rich… But I agree with what you said there.”
Meaning, he didn’t cooperate [in the protest]. But on a certain level he felt sympathetic
with those people there. Many ordinary people said the same.
“We know. We don’t have time to protest…” But they had some basic sympathy [solidarity].
“It’s good that they protest. They stand for all of us.” Are you as a philosopher satisfied with the fact
that people did get the heart of the problem, but after they had screamed and protested
and perhaps quarrelled with the police, they went to have a beer…
-I agree with you totally. I always repeat this. I am indifferent
towards great sublime moments … And then 10 years later having a beer
and talking nostalgically about our protest. For me, the basic question is
what will be the morning after. When we wake up after a night of drinking.
I am not completely hopeless. Let’s not expect the impossible.
This is just the great beginning. Four, five years ago no one would have taken
upon himself to be the beginning of mass movement. So, capitalism is in crisis. And… even more
important… second point… Implicit realization. That is to say, that
democracy, our institutional system of democracy, is not enough. That the current
democratic system is not powerful enough to engage the economic crisis.
This is clear in Italy, Spain, Greece. People protest, then we have elections.
We get a new government. And people keep protesting further
and further… This is a very radical picture.
-[What are the alternatives?] You are not in favour of direct democracy?
It is considered as a way to solve the crisis of capitalism. If I had asked you what the solution is,
you would say you don’t know. But you can talk about
direct democracy. Why are you against it? Direct democracy can be practised
only on a local level. In a factory or a small community.
And… I would also add… Under extraordinary conditions. But this cannot last forever. People sooner or later want to return
to the normal reproduction of everyday life. The key question for me is:
What remains of the sublime moments then? That is why… and now comes
the bad news… That is why I am brutally realistic.
Not only am I sceptical about direct democracy, I also think that we should, within limits,
return back from Marx to Hegel. To rehabilitate, perhaps not the State,
but a powerful trans-national organization. We need to stop with stories against
alienated mega-representative structures. [This is a form of centralization.]
-Absolutely! I think that all the problems we are facing today,
for example ecology…. I don’t follow any dogma.
Let the market do what it will where it can. Of course, I am in favour of taxing
some products more… But when you have a problem like Fukushima,
you cannot solve it with taxation. What is happening today? Some parts of the
world are becoming desert, Siberia in Russia… These are global problems.
Everybody admits it. Do you know what they are planning today?
Something terrible. Technical term is “geoengineering”.
Enormous, gigantic, direct interventions in nature. For example. Releasing millions of tons
of fine iron dust into the atmosphere. In order to prevent sun rays…
And all that… But do we understand how gigantic are these
interventions? What can happen? It can be successful,
but the consequence can be… The operation will be successful
but we will all die. I don’t understand your point.
-A! The point is… Such powerful actions,
which surmount any singular national state, will require new, centralized, forms of
decision-making. Without it, we are lost. Friends tell me
that this is the way to new totalitarianism. No! It is necessary. The problem is how to
do it without new totalitarianism. Without a new Stalin? -Yes.
This is the problem. My experience from the communes,
when I was young… I am sorry to have to disappoint my friends.
But all these direct, local democracies sooner or later produce a new “leader”.
-Is this in human nature? [People seek all the time,
like those on Wall Street, a new leader. Because they wish to return
to normal life. And don’t want to vote every day.] Here I am not an absolute pessimist.
I don’t think this is our destiny. But it is a first reaction. Is this implicit?
In my new book I talk about the Spanish Indignados. They say: “we don’t trust the political class,
not only the Right. They are all corrupt…” But then they have demands. If they don’t
believe anyone, for whom are those demands? Evidently they refer to a certain unknown “x”.
Who will be this “x”? They must trust someone. -Even if this
person does not exist yet. They call for someone. Now that there are new demonstrations in Spain,
they went a little further, luckily. Now there is an authentic motive.
“No one will do it instead of us.” “Either we organize ourselves,
or nothing.” You said ten minutes ago that you cannot be
seen on certain TV stations because of Zionist lobby. The New York Times! -What do you think about
the statement made by Günter Grass, in which he said that the Israeli nuclear strength
threatens world peace? What has changed in the world since
he wrote that poem. My reacting to his poem was somewhere
in between. On the one hand, I remain a dogmatic
in a positive sense. I think that Anti-Semitism is an ideology
par-excellence. The zero level of ideology. Anti-Semitism is unacceptable in
every form. There is no compromise in the sense…
They are stupid leftists, let’s allow them a little Anti-Semitism
to organize their revolt. When they attack the Jews, we all know
that they mean the capitalists. No, no! This is totally unacceptable. But I am worried about something else. And this is for me
the heart of the problem today. Let me say something about
a very interesting traumatic person, Breivik. To me he is not a madman.
He thinks very consistently. You know, that killer…
-We must first define what is “mad”. OK, continue. -Yes. No, no. Yes.
No, no. With “madness” I mean some sort of asocial, pointless thinking.
He is not mad in the sense that… If you read his manifesto,
he gives a consistent presentation, which is in essence acceptable to the whole of
European scene of the populist anti-immigrant Right. What interests me about him is this.
On the one side he is an Anti-Semitism. He admits it openly. USA have 6 million
Jews. They must lower their number… He is for limiting the influence of Jews
in the West. Now comes the interesting part. In the Middle East, he totally
supports the Zionist project. Israel as a state is the first line of
defence against Muslim totalitarianism. Here we have a paradox of
Zionistic Anti-Semitism. Here I am an Anti-Semite,
there I am for the Zionist project. He is not an exception.
-Isn’t that inconsistency… Wouldn’t that mean he is… crazy?
If this paradox is in his manifesto, then something is wrong with him.
-No, no! His logic is consistent. It’s not madness. Logic is the following.
Jews must be eliminated [like an element without roots
that gets everywhere] and [at the same time] we must give
them their own national state. This is a consistent answer.
This is also the answer of the American radical right. For example, Glenn Beck, the commentator
for the popular American station Fox News. The same paradox. He is pro-Zionist,
but an anti-Semite at the same time. That is why he was fired from Fox News. What makes me sad… Is that
some political players in Israel accept this game. Supporting their
politics against Palestine means so much to them, that they are willing to implicitly accept…
“OK, you can be a little anti-Semite, if we can treat Palestinians
as our Jews.” This worries me. Returning back to Grass. Do you agree with him
that Israel is a greater danger to world peace than Iran? I don’t think Israel is a danger in
this sense. Let’s be perfectly clear. I actively support the Palestinians.
Last year I was in Ramala. With my Jewish friends, I organized
a cinema school. I support the boycott of
Israeli state institutions… But the whole argument about who
threatens who is a pseudo problem to me. A think the fundamental problem is in that
we must understand the problem of the West bank as a problem of colonization. It is a new
attempt at colonization. It is very important that we don’t
run into anti-Semitism. With all the critique of the state of Israel,
we must not elevate them to the level of a central figure of evil today.
-You think that was Grass’s mistake? Yes. This is my problem.
Then, naturally, we must ask the question, why should Israel be worse than
Syria (Asad), Iran. Iran is, again, a complex problem.
The key moment for me was the last election. When… Mousavi. Who is a remnant
emancipatory potential of the Khomeini revolution. Here I am a naive leftist.
Khomeini revolution wasn’t just a fundamentalist coup. Proof. A year and a half after Khomeini’s victory
there were inner struggles and purges in order for the fundamentalist to finally win.
But the emancipatory line remained alive, and surfaced again with Mousavi.
Iran is a wonderful country. Intellectually highly developed. To give a narcissistic
example. I have 10 books translated into Persian. Two years ago I wrote a public manifesto,
in which I supported Mousavi. The result. Two translators of my books
were immediately arrested. Tragic story. But you do see the point?
I don’t like Grass’s formulation of the problem. You think it’s a simplification?
-Well. Sometimes simplifications are needed. But not in this way. Something is happening
in Iran. There are positive movements. What has happened in Tunis, Egypt, Libya?
Were we expecting too much from the Arab spring? How do you comment on what remained of
the Arab spring? -Nothing unexpected has happened. Like with Occupy Wall Street, it was clear
that we had an authentic explosion. Which was a form of… -Revolt.
-No! A miracle. A wonder. Remember how we in the West were sceptical?
We thought the only way for the Arabs to rise was anti-Semitism, nationalism, religion.
Something we thought impossible happened. A secular protest for democracy,
without anti-Semitism… You said that the emancipatory character of
the Khomeini revolution transformed into a dogmatically religious one. -It didn’t
transform. It was a brutal struggle. Thousands of people were killed.
The potential was destroyed. The same is happening in Egypt.
What is happening there? Let me tell you. An obscene pact between the army
and the Muslim brotherhood. The deal is… In Marxist terms. The army
gets to keep its political power, the Muslim brotherhood
gives ideological supplements. Is this better than Mubarak?
-Not necessarily. But something has opened.
I wouldn’t underestimate it. An extremely explosive organization
of civil society. Trade unionists, women, students…
an explosion of civil society. And the work must go on. Your new book is called
“Living in the end times”. You claim interesting times are ahead.
-In the Chinese sense. When you really hate someone, you wish for him that he lived in
interesting times. What does it mean to live in
interesting times? I am not a catastrophist in this
new age sense. 2012, end of the world. I simply claim that on many levels
we are asymptotically approaching a zero point. Ecology for example. We can discus
whether global warming is true or not, but it is obvious that we are approaching
a certain limit. It doesn’t go to infinity. Second example. The logic of capital.
Banks, intellectual property, and so on… [It will not continue indefinitely.]
-Yes. The system is becoming insane. A conservative economist from the USA
gave me this idea. Take, not Bill Gates, but Zuckerberg, from facebook. That a guy
can become a billionaire in two years means that the minimal connection between
wealth and [one’s] work is lost. The system in insane.
-[There is no Gauss curve?] Furthermore. Biogenetics.
Don’t underestimate it. Futuristic vision of direct control over
people’s brain. All secret agencies and state organizations
are doing it. One example. After the talk, your viewers can
search on google for “DARPA”. D-A-R-P-A This is CIA’s project. They are publicly
looking for cooperators. The idea is in the following. When someone becomes,
as we once said, mentally [ideologically] unacceptable. A fundamentalist or whatever…
Let’s analyse his brain to find out what is going on in there
when he gets one of his ideas. Then the problem is no longer
in the intellectual discussion. If you are a fundamentalist,
how should I [convince] you. The problem is how to directly, with
biochemistry, vibrations, intervene in your brain, in order for you to un-fundamentalize.
-Some sort of lobotomy? -Yes! And what is sad is that this is being
done openly. Nobody asks the question… What is going on here? A sort of,
in socialist terms, movement of conviction. It is treated as a physiological problem.
It is no longer… “Oh, you live in an illusion.
How can I convince you?” Again. There are many sad phenomena
on the level of this. Today’s perspective of biogenetics and cognitive
sciences is a direct naturalisation of the brain. Direct influence on the brain. Direct control.
Again. If we don’t do something about it, who knows where will we end.
And other things… Is communism the solution?
You’ve already said that 50 year old solutions are not the answer today. -Yes! That is why…
-But you end your book with… It is worth the fighting for, because our struggle
is not against present corrupt individuals, but against the [supremacy] – a Croatian
expression – against those in power, against authority, global order
and ideological mystification which [….] You know who you quoted?
I am very thankful that you did. My paraphrase of a great quote from
St Paul. He says there are no “blacks and whites”…
-No! That is a different quote. He says, our enemy are not the people,
but … he uses a beautiful expression… the dirty side of heavenly powers…
I’m not sure. Let me answer your question… The question was… One thing is to
criticize the system, but how can we change it? This is Marx’s 11th thesis on Feuerbach.
What answer can Zizek provide? Is your answer: only to think?
-Above all, I wouldn’t accept this. For me it is more an ideological estimate
to say, if you don’t have a concrete answer, then you should not criticize. Be quiet.
No! Today we are in a situation… Why this doesn’t work? Because it’s not that
we know the problem, but don’t have an answer. I think we don’t understand the
real dimensions of the problem. We must analyse… For example, as you said.
The current economical crisis. What is it? Is it, as the church tells us,
only a moral problem? Meaning, we need more financial morals,
perhaps more regulation of the banking system. Or is it a problem of capitalism,
where only some reorganization is needed? That is, the problem of the deformation of capitalism.
Or is it a problem of capitalism itself. If we are to be ready for a solution, we must make things clear. Good. -But to answer your question.
The beginning is always the same. We are now in empty space.
Answers of the 20th century are not good. Naturally… The meaning of Occupy Wall Street
is to open up new spaces. So we can start thinking.
Nobody can guarantee that we will find a solution. My understanding is the following… If we do nothing,
then I am a pessimist. I always repeat this. My formula are the following two things.
a) The real utopia is not in… “Oh, you are trying to change society.” The real utopia is in thinking that with a little
compromise things can go on indefinitely. No! I wouldn’t want to live in a society that is rising,
and will become a reality if things go on like they have been going on for the last
20, 30 years. And second, b). Communism, for me,
as I wrote in the last few pages of my book… Communism has less positive answers
than it has problems. Our problems today, ecology, intellectual
property, biogenetics, new apartheid, new walls …
All are problems of communism. In the sense that they are problems of something
communal that is losing the character of commons, because it is being privatized.
And so on, and so forth. We must end the show.
-Communism is the name of the problem today. Do you think you were more clear today
than five years ago? No. But as an old Stalinist, I will tell you that
in socialism self-critique is the “movens” of progress. I will remain self-critical.
But I admire you. A broadcast like this one, that
you have in Zagreb, is not possible in Slovenia. Sadly. Good. Thank you. I have a final,
unfavourable question. How much does the way you speak, and your
tics, limit you in conversation with other people? You said yourself that some may call you a fool,
crazy. How much does it limit you, when someone says “Ah, forget Zizek,
he is from another place”? It gives me a certain amount of peace.
What is important to me is – This is the other side of me…
That you won’t see in the media… – that I am a part of very serious
philosophical discussions. I think that very important things are
going on in philosophy. All this post-modern historicism,
relativism etc., are coming to an end. A new era of philosophy
is beginning. I am a part of this. This means something to me.
I would like to do something important there. You said that when you finish the book
on Hegel, you will be able to die freely. You’ve finished the book.
You are not keen to die, I presume? Like always, I am unhappy with my book
and am writing a new one. Thank you for being here.
-Thank you. It was truly a pleasure to be here. That is all, viewers. We have a “denial”
from a previous broadcast. Perhaps Zizek will be strongly denied,
as he says. Till then, goodbye. [This has nothing to do with
Zizek, so … yeah …] [Bye]