Slavoj Zizek – First Tragedy, then Farce

You know, there is still part of me that would like for the ideals of “liberal democracy” and “cultural capitalism” to “work out.” I appreciate the privilege that is afforded to me by having relatability with the “leisure class.” I wish we could all just “get along” in the relative state of comfort that I enjoy. One of the conceits of the Status Quo is that there is a status quo. While, as Zizek points out, in the 2oth century there has been a larger part of the world population living in relative prosperity, this degree of general prosperity is made possible by the and socio-ecological devastation of large portions of the world. So, the status quo is not something to rebel against because it is boring and unimaginative, rather it is something that is dynamic, the maintenance of which is a violent process, a sort of entropy machine, in which we are implicated.  One of Zizeks major critiques of progressive groups in cultural capitalism is that there is no thinking past the capitalist assumption. So, the question becomes, “how can we use capital to give every one, including the earth, the rudiments of a ‘fair shot’ in our global-society?”

A couple years ago, when the “green movement” really got its legs with Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, there was this sense, like, “we can do this!  we just have to  turn off our lights and recycle and buy organic food when possible and ride bikes more and really start to look into alternate energy…and hey there’s a lot on $$$ to be made while we’re at it!” This was not long ago, but I think that we already view these sorts of measures with a great deal of cynicism.  Although, I do not agree with Zizek that true organic apples are the same as gmo apples, both in nutrition and overall interaction with the ecology, I do think that if the same apples were sold at grocery store and one was labeled organic and the other was not, the grocery store would sell more of the ones labeled organic.

Such practices have continued to take off, more than ever before, and not to imply that there isn’t a common sense to some of these easy answers, but as we approach the physical and conceptual limits of what-it-is that our society is based on, the half measures brought about by incremental institutional change seem like using a canoe paddle to stop an aircraft carrier that is careening out of control (to paraphrase Terrence McKenna). Zizek points out that communism is not a viable answer to capitalism either, rather he intimates that there is no practical application of throw back ideology can maintain the failing assumptions of our status quo. This puts us squarely in the human predicament of being literally, philosophically, and scientifically beyond the edge of certainty . So, what do we do, what’s next? There is nobody more well suited to ask and explore this question than you.

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