SLAVOJ ZIZEK QUOTES

Slovenian Marxist philosopher (1949- )

Who dares to strike today, when having the security of a permanent job is itself becoming a privilege?

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

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Why are so many problems today perceived as problems of intolerance, rather than as problems of inequality, exploitation, or injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, rather than emancipation, political struggle, or even armed struggle?

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, Living in the End Times

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Ideology today is unfreedom which you sincerely personally experience as freedom.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, interview, New Statesman, Oct. 8, 2013

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Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn't give you what you desire -- it tells you how to desire.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema

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I already am eating from the trash can all the time. The name of this trash can is ideology. The material force of ideology makes me not see what I am effectively eating.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

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While just looking, we are always hunting among objects, looking for what we desire or fear, endeavoring to recognize some pattern; on the other hand, objects themselves always "stare back," vie for our attention, throw at us their lures and endeavor to entrap us.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, Enjoy Your Symptom!: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out

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As the experience of our post-political liberal-permissive society amply demonstrates, human Rights are ultimately, at their core, simply Rights to violate the Ten Commandments. "The right to privacy" -- the right to adultery, in secret, where no one sees me or has the right to probe my life. "The right to pursue happiness and to possess private property" -- the right to steal (to exploit others). "Freedom of the press and of the expression of opinion" -- the right to lie. "The right of free citizens to possess weapons" -- the right to kill. And, ultimately, "freedom of religious belief" -- the right to worship false gods.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, The Fragile Absolute: or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For?

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Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism

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Tags: reality


I think that the task of philosophy is not to provide answers, but to show how the way we perceive a problem can be itself part of a problem.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, lecture, "Year of Distraction"

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More and more crucial today are specialized markets, and in this sense, I think that it's even more interesting to see how trends which were originally meant to be subversive or critical can be perfectly reappropriated and sold for consumption. Ecological food, organic food, green products, and so on--this is one of the key niche markets today. Let's take a typical guy who buys organic food: he doesn't really buy it in order to be healthy; he buys it to regain a kind of solidarity as the one who really cares about nature. He buys a certain ideological stance. It's the same way as if you have stonewashed jeans, you don't really buy it for the jeans, but you buy it to project a certain image of your social identity. So again, you are not buying a product, you are buying a certain social status, ideology, and so on.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, interview, The Believer Magazine, Jul. 2004

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Words are never "only words"; they matter because they define the contours of what we can do.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

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Tags: words


Think about the strangeness of today's situation. Thirty, forty years ago, we were still debating about what the future will be: communist, fascist, capitalist, whatever. Today, nobody even debates these issues. We all silently accept global capitalism is here to stay. On the other hand, we are obsessed with cosmic catastrophes: the whole life on earth disintegrating, because of some virus, because of an asteroid hitting the earth, and so on. So the paradox is, that it's much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, Zizek!

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Love is what makes sex more than masturbation. If there is no love even if you are really with a partner you masturbate with a partner.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, interview, HARDtalk, Jan. 12, 2010

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Tags: love


What is the Absolute? Something that appears to us in fleeting experiences--say, through the gentle smile of a beautiful woman, or even through the warm caring smile of a person who may otherwise seem ugly and rude. In such miraculous but extremely fragile moments, another dimension transpires through our reality. As such, the Absolute is easily corroded; it slips all too easily through our fingers and must be handled as carefully as a butterfly.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why Is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For?

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Word is murder of a thing, not only in the elementary sense of implying its absence -- by naming a thing, we treat it as absent, as dead, although it is still present -- but above all in the sense of its radical dissection: the word "quarters" the thing, it tears it out of the embedment in its concrete context, it treats its component parts as entities with an autonomous existence: we speak about color, form, shape, etc., as if they possessed self-sufficient being.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, Enjoy Your Symptom!: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out

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Tags: words


When authority is backed up by an immediate physical compulsion, what we are dealing with is not authority proper (i.e. symbolic authority), but simply an agency of brute force.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, Enjoy Your Symptom!: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out

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Tags: authority


What if culture itself is nothing but a halt, a break, a respite, in the pursuit of barbarity?

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, Living in the End Times

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Tags: culture


This proletarianization of the lower salaried bourgeoisie is accompanied by an excess in the opposite direction: the irrationally high pay of top managers and bankers, a level of remuneration that is economically irrational since, as investigations in the US have demonstrated, it tends to be inversely proportional to the company's success.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

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Marx described the mad, self-enhancing circulation of capital, whose solipsistic path of parthenogenesis reaches its apogee in today's meta-reflexive speculations on futures. It is far too simplistic to claim that the spectre of this self-engendering monster that pursues its path disregarding any human or environmental concern is an ideological abstraction and that behind this abstraction there are real people and natural objects on whose productive capacities and resources capital's circulation is based and on which it feeds like a gigantic parasite. The problem is that this "abstraction" is not only in our financial speculators' misperception of social reality, but that it is "real" in the precise sense of determining the structure of the material social processes: the fate of whole strata of the population and sometimes of whole countries can be decided by the "solipsistic" speculative dance of capital, which pursues its goal of profitability in blessed indifference to how its movement will affect social reality.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, Violence: Six Sideways Reflections

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Tags: capitalism


We need useless theory more than ever today.

SLAVOJ ZIZEK, "Slavoj Zizek: I am not the world's hippest philosopher!", Salon, Dec. 29, 2012

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Tags: theory