Slavoj Žižek

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Slavoj Žižek

Postby waterchan » Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:54 pm

Slavoj Žižek, my favorite Marxist philosopher, though not really a communist in the conventional sense of the word. I find some of his viewpoints to be remarkably compatible with my understanding of Buddhism.

"Happiness for me is a very conformist category...we don't really want what we think we desire"



Happiness for me is a very conformist category. It doesn't enter the frame.

You have a serious ideological deviation at the very beginning of the famous proclamation of independence -- the pursuit of happiness. There is an important point in psychoanalysis; it is that people do not really want or desire happiness. And I think it is good that it is like that. For example, let's be serious, when you are in a creative endeavour, in that wonderful fervor, "My god, I'm onto something," and so on. Happiness doesn't enter. You are ready to suffer.

Happiness for me is an unethical category. And also, we don't really want to get what think we want. The classical story that I like, the traditional male chauvinist scenario — I am married to my wife, relations with her are cold, and I have a mistress. All the time I dream, "Oh my god, if my wife were to disappear, it would open up new life for me with the mistress." You know what, every psychoanalyst will tell you quite often this happens — when for some reason when the wife goes away, you lose the mistress also. You thought, "This is all I want". When you have it there, it turns out that it was a much more complex situation where what you want is not really to live with the mistress, but to keep her at a distance, as an object of desire about which you dream. And this is not just an excessive situation. This is how things function. We don't really want what we think we desire.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
waterchan
 
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Sereitei

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby binocular » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:43 pm

waterchan wrote:Slavoj Žižek
"Happiness for me is a very conformist category...we don't really want what we think we desire"

Oh well. Downplay happiness into something stupid ... and it won't seem desirable anymore.

It's interestingness that is a conformist category, not happiness. Whether something or someoone is interesting or not is decided by other people, and as such is conformist. Happiness doesn't carry that burden.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby culaavuso » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:02 pm

MN 135: Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta wrote:This is the way leading to discernment: when visiting a brahman or contemplative, to ask: 'What is skillful? What is unskillful? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? What, having been done by me, will be for my long-term harm & suffering? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?'
culaavuso
 
Posts: 824
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby waterchan » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:09 pm

binocular wrote:
waterchan wrote:Slavoj Žižek
"Happiness for me is a very conformist category...we don't really want what we think we desire"

Oh well. Downplay happiness into something stupid ... and it won't seem desirable anymore.

It's interestingness that is a conformist category, not happiness. Whether something or someoone is interesting or not is decided by other people, and as such is conformist. Happiness doesn't carry that burden.


Well, of course he's not talking about the kind of happiness we talk about here. You have to see where he's coming from. When he says "happiness" I don't interpret it as sukha. Happiness as in the "American dream" is rather conformist, is it not?
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
waterchan
 
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Sereitei

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby Dan74 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:00 am

Zizek has a point in that what is commonly desired is often a fantasy rather than something that we will be ready to embrace once given the chance, or even if we do, something that rarely leads to happiness. Sure. On the other hand, there is a blissed-out states of release and fulfillment which is damn nice! And there is a complete release from stress which is the ultimate happiness that we believe in! :woohoo:
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2617
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby fivebells » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:56 pm

I used to really like Zizek, until I heard him give a talk about Buddhism. A lot of what he said about it didn't make sense to me, and I started to wonder about his treatment of subjects I have less knowledge of.
fivebells
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:52 am

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby daverupa » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:47 pm

fivebells wrote:I used to really like Zizek, until I heard him give a talk about Buddhism. A lot of what he said about it didn't make sense to me, and I started to wonder about his treatment of subjects I have less knowledge of.


He says a lot without saying very much at all. His writing reminds me a lot of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in terms of the tangential, loose, out-of-focus scattershot appearance of it. Certain broad, almost archetypal narrative themes can be noticed throughout his works, but coherent narrative and coherent, methodical conclusions are not what he likes to accomplish.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4065
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby Aloka » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:55 pm

daverupa wrote:He says a lot without saying very much at all.


I remember once watching part of one of his videos and unfortunately becoming more fascinated by the number of times he was scratching his head and wiping his nose with his fingers, than in what he was actually saying!

:mrgreen:
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3482
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby waterchan » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:22 pm

fivebells wrote:I used to really like Zizek, until I heard him give a talk about Buddhism. A lot of what he said about it didn't make sense to me, and I started to wonder about his treatment of subjects I have less knowledge of.


That would bother me if he was talking about Buddhism as if he was some sort of authority on it. It's clear that his understanding of Buddhism is mostly based on how D. T. Suzuki allegedly used Zen and the concept of no-self to justify Japan's wars in its age of militarism. So I can enjoy and appreciate his talks without taking his viewpoints on Buddhism seriously. In the same way I can appreciate Cesar Millan's advice on dog discipline without taking his views on women psychology seriously.

Aloka wrote:I remember once watching part of one of his videos and unfortunately becoming more fascinated by the number of times he was scratching his head and wiping his nose with his fingers, than in what he was actually saying!


Maybe it's camera anxiety, or some sort of OCD? I think he once said that those behaviors like wiping his nose often are how he manages to stay composed. I try not to laugh because I don't know how I would act were I on camera. :D
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
waterchan
 
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Sereitei

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby binocular » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:26 pm

I think the real mystery is how come he is so famous!

Why do so many people like him?
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:16 pm

binocular wrote:I think the real mystery is how come he is so famous!

Why do so many people like him?


He is a good populariser of ideas and he has an appealing brand of an eccentric neurotic East-European philosopher. I have not heard him say anything yet that was radically new, but it's still good to hear people discuss these topics.
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2617
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby binocular » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:29 pm

Dan74 wrote:He is a good populariser of ideas and he has an appealing brand of an eccentric neurotic East-European philosopher.

Appealing to whom?
Not to me.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:33 pm

binocular wrote:
Dan74 wrote:He is a good populariser of ideas and he has an appealing brand of an eccentric neurotic East-European philosopher.

Appealing to whom?
Not to me.
And this man's approach is not appealing to you but is appealing to others -- that is a problem?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19192
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby binocular » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:39 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And this man's approach is not appealing to you but is appealing to others -- that is a problem?

Sometimes, when feeling oneself appealed to by a particular public figure is of vital importance for fitting in with a particular group, fitting into which is otherwise vital for one's wellbeing.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Slavoj Žižek

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:53 pm

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And this man's approach is not appealing to you but is appealing to others -- that is a problem?

Sometimes, when feeling oneself appealed to by a particular public figure is of vital importance for fitting in with a particular group, fitting into which is otherwise vital for one's wellbeing.
Fitting in? What are you talking about? Who gives a rat's butt if you like or do not this or that guy? And why would you care if someone does not approve of your liking or not liking some guy? Being a Buddhist is not a matter "fitting in" that I have ever seen. This "fitting in business" seems to be the one note you are playing here repeatedly from one thread to the next.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19192
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am


Return to Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Fruitzilla, mikenz66 and 4 guests