Žižek 2

More generally, Žižek does seem quite taken with possibilities for a redemptive use of violence (see for example this essay by Adam Kirsch – I’m aware that his supporters find this piece a hatchet job, but haven’t (yet) seen anything that convinces me it is not at least on the right track).

Simon Critchley’s thoughts on the same subject – Žižek and violence – are also worth reading.

The title of Žižek’s talk this time is “Buddhism Naturalized,” which makes me even more hesitant to attend. For some years now he has been attacking buddhism in ways that suggest he has little understanding of it. Many have demonstrated this already. Here’s an example of where he’s coming from, in the same interview just quoted from:

Buddhism is the predominant ideology in the west now. It plays a very conformist function. It makes you feel good in global capitalism. I read an analysis why all the top managers in the US like to practice Zen and all. Because things are so confusing now with one speculation you can lose billions of dollars in a minute. The only thing that can explain this is Buddhism which says that everything is an appearance and be aware of the inner reality and all that. You are dealing with just fake appearance. The tradition[al] European thinking doesn’t help in explaining the world in a flux. This new age Buddhism gives authenticity to global capitalism. That’s why Dalai Lama is popular in Hollywood. I hope he is aware of what kind of game he is playing there, maybe he is not aware. He is providing them a cheap spiritual path so that you can basically go on with your life — seducing, sex orgies, drugs, earn money — but it gives you a feeling that I am aware I am not really that. It helps you to normalize and neutralize the schizophrenia we live in.

There are soooo many things wrong and even bizarre about his understanding here that it would take something probably essay-length to do justice to it. So I have to decide whether or not I want to listen to two hours along those lines, maybe in the end asking a question which … probably wouldn’t be engaged with. Basically – grinding my teeth!

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