Zizek on love

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tbieter
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Zizek on love

Post by tbieter »

Philosophy Now has, rightly, ignored Zizek. A search of the magazine's past issues yields only two instances of him being mentioned.

In his analysis of the concept of neighbourly love, contemporary philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek poses the question ‘who is the neighbour?’, and concludes that the injunction to ‘love thy neighbour’ and correlative preaching about universal love, equality and tolerance, are ultimately strategies to avoid encountering the neighbour in all their vulnerability, frailty, obscenity and fallibility: “it is easy to love the idealized figure of a poor, helpless neighbour, the starving African or Indian, for example; in other words, it is easy to love one’s neighbour as long as he stays far enough from us, as long as there is a proper distance separating us. The problem arises at the moment when he comes too near us, when we start to feel his suffocating proximity – at this moment when the neighbour exposes himself to us too much, love can suddenly turn into hatred” (Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out, p.8). Thus the popularity of humanitarian causes lies in their inherent paradox, whereby one can ‘love’ from a distance without getting involved. Žižek offers a pertinent challenge: “‘Love thy neighbour!’ means ‘Love the Muslims!’ OR IT MEANS NOTHING AT ALL!” (etext).

"Most of all, he can't stand students. "Absolutely. I was shocked, for example, once, a student approached me in the US, when I was still teaching a class – which I will never do again – and he told me: 'You know, professor, it interested me what you were saying yesterday, and I thought, I don't know what my paper should be about. Could you please give me some more thoughts and then maybe some idea will pop up.' Fuck him! Who I am to do that?"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2012/ ... ple-boring
RickLewis
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Re: Zizek on love

Post by RickLewis »

Two friends of mine - both of them excellent philosophers - went, separately, to a lecture Zizek gave in London two or three years back. They didn't know each other and I didn't realize they were going to the lecture until afterwards, when they emailed me with their opinions about the lecture and about Zizek. One thought Zizek was brilliant and exciting and the other was enraged and sarcastic, and said his time had been completely wasted. I was really surprised that they could have such diametrically opposed views of the same experience.

For what it is worth, the one who disliked Zizek was a former Romanian emigre who particularly objected to Zizek's professed Marxism.

When I get a chance I'd like to hear one of his lectures myself. There are some videos on the internet, of course, and I think there was a film about Z as well, but I'd like to hear a straightforward lecture by him.

(p.s. I think this thread, being philosophical, should be in the General Philosophical Discussion area rather than the Lounge - I hope you won't mind if I move it.)
tbieter
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Re: Zizek on love

Post by tbieter »

RickLewis wrote:Two friends of mine - both of them excellent philosophers - went, separately, to a lecture Zizek gave in London two or three years back. They didn't know each other and I didn't realize they were going to the lecture until afterwards, when they emailed me with their opinions about the lecture and about Zizek. One thought Zizek was brilliant and exciting and the other was enraged and sarcastic, and said his time had been completely wasted. I was really surprised that they could have such diametrically opposed views of the same experience.

For what it is worth, the one who disliked Zizek was a former Romanian emigre who particularly objected to Zizek's professed Marxism.

When I get a chance I'd like to hear one of his lectures myself. There are some videos on the internet, of course, and I think there was a film about Z as well, but I'd like to hear a straightforward lecture by him.

(p.s. I think this thread, being philosophical, should be in the General Philosophical Discussion area rather than the Lounge - I hope you won't mind if I move it.)
Moving the thread is OK with me.

If Zizek can't stand students he certainly should not be a teacher.

Isn't attentively listening to the "other" a discharge of the duty of respect, of the duty to do justice to the other?

A practicing lawyer is taught to listen attentively to the prospective client. He is taught that the client's problem is the most important problem in the client's world. Even if the problem, objectively, is trivial, the lawyer never tells the client that his problem is unimportant. He just goes forth and solves the problem without fanfare, often with just a phone call or letter to other party to the problem.

When I was in the county attorney's office, street people, many with mental illness, would come in for help with a problem. As the youngster in the office at the time, the secretaries would direct them to me. I would often solve the problem with just a phone call or a letter. The person would obviously be greatly relieved and very grateful.

One guy, John, began coming to me about every other month for advice. The secretaries would address him as "Mister" and would give him an appointment for the following day. They would go out of their way to show him respect. After about nine months of our brief private meetings, he was "John" not "Mister", and I was called "Tom."

One day after lunch I was returning to the office with a couple of lawyers. I noticed that John and his companions were approaching us on the sidewalk. At about 10 feet, I called out: "John, how the hell are you?" We stopped, chatted briefly, and then passed on. I heard John say to his companions: "That's Tom. He's the county attorney. He's my friend."

Relative to students' questions, the Great Zizek ought to do some serious reading (Not just Marx) and reflection on the notions respect, justice, conversation, relation, and friendship. And before he is admitted to the premises of any university in the West, he should humbly listen on bended knee to Professor Oakeshott: http://www.amazon.com/Voice-Liberal-Lea ... =oakeshott
Lynn
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Re: Zizek on love

Post by Lynn »

tbieter wrote:If Zizek can't stand students he certainly should not be a teacher.
Unless he has particularly sadistic leanings towards both himself and students, I agree teaching is probably not for him. I feel uncomfortable interacting with people -give me a PC in a darkened room and I'm happy - so teaching is my idea of hell although under family pressure I almost did it but recanted - unlike my two similar minded friends, yes both sadists :twisted: .

In spite of my awkwardness, I have been complimented on my people skills and customer care, which just goes to shows how conditioning yourself to smile eventually works over the years :lol:. I also have to admit though that I have made a few good friends with customers and colleagues alike, although I still cannot break from my conditioning to call customers with appellations by their first name, even when asked to 'call me Bobby, that's my name'. I feel like Bernard in 'Yes Minister' :lol:. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_Minister.

I would like to also add that not all teachers or lecturers are sadists. Many can be very inspirational and helpful even if students are disinterested or ungracious (added just incase as I never know who may be reading this in the future :wink:).
tbieter
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Re: Zizek on love

Post by tbieter »

Lynn wrote:
tbieter wrote:If Zizek can't stand students he certainly should not be a teacher.
Unless he has particularly sadistic leanings towards both himself and students, I agree teaching is probably not for him. I feel uncomfortable interacting with people -give me a PC in a darkened room and I'm happy - so teaching is my idea of hell although under family pressure I almost did it but recanted - unlike my two similar minded friends, yes both sadists :twisted: .

In spite of my awkwardness, I have been complimented on my people skills and customer care, which just goes to shows how conditioning yourself to smile eventually works over the years :lol:. I also have to admit though that I have made a few good friends with customers and colleagues alike, although I still cannot break from my conditioning to call customers with appellations by their first name, even when asked to 'call me Bobby, that's my name'. I feel like Bernard in 'Yes Minister' :lol:. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_Minister.

I would like to also add that not all teachers or lecturers are sadists. Many can be very inspirational and helpful even if students are disinterested or ungracious (added just in case as I never know who may be reading this in the future :wink:).
When Professor Loren Lomasky ( http://www.virginia.edu/philosophy/Lomasky.htm ) was at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Sharon, a close friend, and I took a course from Lomasky. During the course, Sharon's 14-year-old daughter died. She was in a car with her friends. Only Sharon's daughter died; the others received minor injuries in the roll-over. Sharon grieved terribly. Later, she told me that at that terrible time she was walking down the hall on her way to class. Lomasky approached her. When they met, he just hugged her. He didn't say anything, and he walked on. She said that that hug really comforted her at the time, much more than any words would have achieved.

In contrast to Zizek (the new communist man), I would argue that Professor Lomasky's response to Sharon's suffering was a humane act and a spontaneous product of his Jewish family upbringing and Western liberal arts education.

Lynn, you sound like you just prefer the traditional solitude of the scholar and true conversation to teaching in today's school system. You probably would make a good tutor in a small class setting. There is nothing wrong with that preference in my view.
Lynn
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Re: Zizek on love

Post by Lynn »

tbieter wrote:In his analysis of the concept of neighbourly love, contemporary philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek poses the question ‘who is the neighbour?’, and concludes that the injunction to ‘love thy neighbour’ and correlative preaching about universal love, equality and tolerance, are ultimately strategies to avoid encountering the neighbour in all their vulnerability, frailty, obscenity and fallibility: “it is easy to love the idealized figure of a poor, helpless neighbour, the starving African or Indian, for example; in other words, it is easy to love one’s neighbour as long as he stays far enough from us, as long as there is a proper distance separating us. The problem arises at the moment when he comes too near us, when we start to feel his suffocating proximity – at this moment when the neighbour exposes himself to us too much, love can suddenly turn into hatred” (Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out, p.. Thus the popularity of humanitarian causes lies in their inherent paradox, whereby one can ‘love’ from a distance without getting involved. Žižek offers a pertinent challenge: “‘Love thy neighbour!’ means ‘Love the Muslims!’ OR IT MEANS NOTHING AT ALL!” (etext).
Having read the accompanying Guardian article, it appears to me that he does practice what he preaches - fearful of fleeting intimacy, restricting close relationships and then purging them from his life when they end. And no friendly chit-chat with students :lol: .
tbieter wrote:Lynn, you sound like you just prefer the traditional solitude of the scholar and true conversation to teaching in today's school system. You probably would make a good tutor in a small class setting. There is nothing wrong with that preference in my view.
Thank you for your kind words.
duszek
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Re: Zizek on love

Post by duszek »

It is for students to decide whether they want Zizek to be their teacher or not.

Nietzsche despised the reader as such and said it bluntly.
And still millions of readers devour his writings passionately.

Oscar Wilde appreciated a good enemy. I agree, an enemy can teach you interesting things indirectly.
Pluto
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Re: Zizek on love

Post by Pluto »

I think Zizek is good and important in his talk of film as ideology. Saying Kung-fu Panda is heavy on the ideology is extremely prescient and helpful in thinking about the now. And he is open on religion.

http://soundcloud.com/resonance-fm/24-h ... -15th-2012
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