[Reading] ➽ The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity ➳ Slavoj Žižek – Higo2cam.info

The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity Mind melting philosophy Zizek is a controversial theorist of literature, film, and pop culture whose areas of expertise range from rigorous philosophy, through political science, and most interestingly, Lacanian psychoanalysis This book, which is both very technical and unusually readable, reads like an interdisciplinary discussion on theology viewed through every conceivable lens He looks at theology through the eyes of Hegel, Lacan, and Marx and finds an intrinsic subversive core at the center of Christian though Zizek is a controversial theorist of literature, film, and pop culture whose areas of expertise range from rigorous philosophy, through political science, and most interestingly, Lacanian psychoanalysis This book, which is both very technical and unusually readable, reads like an interdisciplinary discussion on theology viewed through every conceivable lens He looks at theology through the eyes of Hegel, Lacan, and Marx and finds an intrinsic subversive core at the center of Christian thought The author s aim is to argue that not merely that the subversive kernel of Christianity is accessible also to a materialist approach my thesis is much stronger it is accessible only to a materialist approach to be a true dialectical materialist, one should go through the Christian experience This is exactly the kind of absurd thesis that Zizek is often criticized for and occasionally dismissed over, but it is irresistibly provocative, and deliberately worded to be so Throughout the book, he uses elaborate chunks of theory to prove his point, and uses illustrations from pop culture not just to back up his arguments, but also to make allot of theesoteric theory Hegel s dialectical view of reality is carried to the limit here, and Lacan is often incomprehensible unless you know the specific sense in which he uses normal words and are familiar with his neologisms accessible to any reader who enjoys thinking The most frustrating thing about Zizek, as far as his critics are concerned, is the extent to which he takes previous thinkers out of context, and the extent to which he reads against the text In this book, it s apparent that he does these things knowingly, half jokingly, and often with mind blowing results Although the points made about theology and the phenomenon of belief in general are intriguing, and worth reading the book for, the best part for me was watching the author s subversive thought process in action starting with sources that are ostensibly diametrically opposed to his thesis and abstracting the intellectual gems specific patterns of thought, so to speak from their content, and using them to subvert their authors and advance his own thesis The result feels like a strange mix of entertaining pop philosophy and the Socratic Method After reading this book a couple times, I feel like I have a stronger understanding of many of the thinkers he cites As for his thesis, it is an interesting perspective, and I think anyone who is interested in religion in general should read it if only for the points he makes about the nature of belief and the structure of religious morality You d think an old leftist atheist writing on Christianity wouldn t have much to say beyond the tired old pseudo Nietzschean stuff we ve all heard before Think again Zizek attempts to understand Christianity on its own terms rather than find or poke holes in its edifice Zizek has an excellent take on what makes the Christian project so special and why New Age Western Buddhism and privileging of the Other by way of Levinasian Judaism fall short of truly radical thinking.Essentially, the t You d think an old leftist atheist writing on Christianity wouldn t have much to say beyond the tired old pseudo Nietzschean stuff we ve all heard before Think again Zizek attempts to understand Christianity on its own terms rather than find or poke holes in its edifice Zizek has an excellent take on what makes the Christian project so special and why New Age Western Buddhism and privileging of the Other by way of Levinasian Judaism fall short of truly radical thinking.Essentially, the thrust of his arguments hinge on Love and Christ that it was by introducing difference into the world that which causes so much antagonism that Love was is possible That, in Himself, God is incomplete Only by introducing temporality could eternity be realized if Adam had chosen obedience to God, there would have been no sin and no Law there also would have been no love Adam s sin is redeemed by Christ But what was the significance of the coming of Christ Had the material world changed Not so much It was the introduction of a revelatory perspective We rise from the Fall not by undoing its effects, but in recognizing the longed for liberation in the Fall itself The true event, that time in the future which we may jokingly refer to as revolution weather, will never come insofar as it is already here, waiting for its recognition In Christ, we realize our Salvation which has merely been misrecognized as the Fall of man This sort of revelation is what founds new schools of thought, which rejuvenates and reconfigures the idea of what is possible in society.Zizek makes the point in what other religions do we find God himself in self doubt It is preposterous to think that I can identify myself with the divine bliss only when I experience the infinite pain of separation from God do I share an experience with God Himself Christ on the Cross Thus, what was a pure God in Judaism becomes fractured in Christianity, a split in God Himself which provides an opening for Love The fact that Christ was the last Adam properly explains the infinite joy beneath the deceptive, caricaturesque surface of guilt and renunciation What follows is Zizek s reversal of Dostoyevsky s famous saying from Crime and Punishment, Without God everything is permitted No, rather, With God everything is permitted Without God, there is simple cause and effect, a menacing give and take This, of course, is a complicated idea On the one hand, the name of God allows for the justification of heinous crimes it also allows for divine interruptions in the lifeworld such as forgiveness and silence, among many of the finest things known to humankind.In Lacanian terms of course this fracturing that provides an opening for Love is analogous to the imagination, which tears into the fabric of the real Against Kant, the real is not some horrible nothingness behind the veil Through Hegel, it is the horror of speculation that the veil conceals something terrifying that is the true veil, that last veil to be cast aside we must pass through the night of the world in order to realize a different order Language does not name or designate noumenal objects as much as it digs a hole into the real opening up a space for the visible, creating a dimension of the seen and unseen In this light, the unity of the Trinity is the pain of the real, the permanent separation between Christ and God, the Holy Ghost.In the beginning of the book, Zizek promotes the Love through subtraction of Christianity against the popular Western Buddhist notion that to find Enlightenment, one turns inwardly to an all effacing nothingness, essentially a withdrawal This withdrawal actualizes as a rather pathetic acceptance that the world is what it is, that essentially nothing changes In such a state, one prefers the serenity of the void Could this ever be Love For Zizek, no, not properly speaking, as Love is that stubborn privileging of what one conditional thing over all other conditional things The Buddhist stance is one of indifference as a result of distancing yourself from passions, while Christian love introduces difference, articulating love through a violent imagination which privileges one object against others by tearing it out of its context.This has consequences for activism Truly radical thought can only be based on Love, this elevation of an idea which violently tears it from its context, its truth lying in its perspective As a result, true knowledge is only accessible from an interested partial position Truth is a perspective, provided its interested The truth is the truth of the perspectival distortion, not something pure which is sullied by a one sided argument.Apart from all this Zizek, by examining Bataille, has a great bit on transgression, that cuddly thing, is not longer effective when the Father tells you not only to enjoy yourself like a capitalist hedonist, but to tell you how it went afterwards such is the society we are living today The true way forward would involve escaping from the law of transgression or a romance of the moment of rupture, and realize the Law for what it is that which intervenes, destabilizes, and is essentially excessive This echoes what I have heard Zizek remind his readers time and time again sure, we know about revolution but what about the morning after I plead ignorant on matters of Theology, and on most things, as a matter of fact but this was an incredible journey, nevertheless Zizek is hilarious People call him a rock star philosopher My first exposure to him was a YouTube video in which he, twitchy and sweaty, monologued about shit Take that literally.Zizek is a bit like Foucault in his approach, in that he jumps around talking about whatever he s interested in and just so happens to be an expert in all of it His arguments are a good dealtethered that foucault s, though, so that s a plus.The Puppet and the Dwarf is all about the secret ideology of Christia Zizek is hilarious People call him a rock star philosopher My first exposure to him was a YouTube video in which he, twitchy and sweaty, monologued about shit Take that literally.Zizek is a bit like Foucault in his approach, in that he jumps around talking about whatever he s interested in and just so happens to be an expert in all of it His arguments are a good dealtethered that foucault s, though, so that s a plus.The Puppet and the Dwarf is all about the secret ideology of Christianity, or in Zizek s words, the perverse core He makes arguments like, What if God became Christ not because we were so inferior, but because he was jealous of our mortality A lot of his arguments sound kind of dumb, but when he gets into the nitty gritty of parsing them out, they become enticing.I could follow maybe 70% of this book The problem is that these arguments are enticing, and I want to be able to share and think about them, but Zizek s mind is so complex that I lost the ability to capture and communicate the points of his book almost immediately after I finished reading it So that s a bummer It doesn t help that the dude is incredibly unfocused That characteristic makes for some great tangents about movies, candy, advertisements, pop culture in general, Nietzsche, etc., but it also makes the thread of his arguments nearly impossible to follow.But if you want to have your mind blown and not be sure exactly why afterwards, this is the book for you Zizek is getting at something real and insane here, in his own eclectic way Also, the book jacket author photo alone is well worth the price of admission I m still reading Zizek but I can t wait until I m finished to comment a little I forgot, until I saw him on youtube Zizek on Love , that I saw the documentary Zizeka couple years ago at the Siskel Filmcenter I was enthralled with his energy and passion Also, how comfortable he was to be himself I didn t see his eccentric habits as contrived I ve just started reading this book, but I appreciate Zizek s courage to put his ideas out there even if they re not completely thought through yet I m still reading Zizek but I can t wait until I m finished to comment a little I forgot, until I saw him on youtube Zizek on Love , that I saw the documentary Zizeka couple years ago at the Siskel Filmcenter I was enthralled with his energy and passion Also, how comfortable he was to be himself I didn t see his eccentric habits as contrived I ve just started reading this book, but I appreciate Zizek s courage to put his ideas out there even if they re not completely thought through yet, because he leads you into new territory Whether I end up agreeing with his ideas or not, he incites a rebellious spirit in me to venture beyond what s already been thought about This, I believe, is what a philosopher should be doing leading the way into unexplored thought Zizek, if his concepts appear messy and unformed, at least he is right in the ,bact of thinking I m looking for others who have something to say about his work since I m new to it So far the responses I ve got in person are simply one that consisted of mostly laughter and another that was WOW I want to give this 5 stars, because, like all or at least many Zizek books, it is eminently intellectually vast and poignant in the most fascinating ways and eminently entertaining as well What Zizek lacks is the rigor of some of his intellectual forebears I m thinking about Hegel here While Hegel was never easy to read by almost anyone s standards, one thing he never lacked was rigor and structure This book, like all of Zizek s books, feels like a tidal wave of learning and erudition blast I want to give this 5 stars, because, like all or at least many Zizek books, it is eminently intellectually vast and poignant in the most fascinating ways and eminently entertaining as well What Zizek lacks is the rigor of some of his intellectual forebears I m thinking about Hegel here While Hegel was never easy to read by almost anyone s standards, one thing he never lacked was rigor and structure This book, like all of Zizek s books, feels like a tidal wave of learning and erudition blasting you from all corners But, after thinking about it some, one is hard pressed to put one s finger on the real point of the book This is due in part to the fact that to really understand Zizek s argument s , one must have a certain working knowledge of, at the very least Lacan, and ideally Hegel as well as Kant and throw Schelling and Adorno and Horkheimer yes, a strange triad in for good measure This is, of course, not something easy to come by But, even with said knowlege, Zizek s books feel like stories without a real climax, or perhaps with many climaxes On the last page of this book, Zizek writes, The real point of this book is To me, that reeks of a college essay in serious need of a re write The problem is that pretty much every book he writes sort of feels like this If Zizek would have opted for some of the rigor of Hegel at the expense of becoming a bitboring of a writer, I d take it Zizek is well into his writing career and it is clear that these sort of stream of consciousness books without clear connections from one chapter to another is something that is going to stop I m sure his publishers will print whatever he tosses on their desk And I will continue to read Zizek with both affection and awe And I ll keep reading Lacan and Hegel so I can understand Zizek But I will not stop thinking that Zizek Can Do Better This book was so good, I began reading it again from the beginning as soon as I finished I m really glad I had tackled In Defense of Lost Causes first, since it prepared me with the lingo and some of the Lacanian basics Many of the points made in fact, some of the same sentences from Lost Causes appeared first in Puppet and the Dwarf This is because Zizek is always makingor less the same points or maybe just point, singular Not exactly hostile to my religion of Christianity th This book was so good, I began reading it again from the beginning as soon as I finished I m really glad I had tackled In Defense of Lost Causes first, since it prepared me with the lingo and some of the Lacanian basics Many of the points made in fact, some of the same sentences from Lost Causes appeared first in Puppet and the Dwarf This is because Zizek is always makingor less the same points or maybe just point, singular Not exactly hostile to my religion of Christianity the perverse of the title is not the same as perverted , it nevertheless diverges irreconcilably from my own beliefs around chapter 7 But what a wild ride until that point Definitely got me to look at Paul in a new light Immediately after reading this book I read it again This week I finished reading it for the third time I don t have the prerequisite knowledge to truly understand this book I think I ll read his book on Lacan since Lacan seems to be the person who has influenced him the most Why did I read this book three times while mastering perhaps half the ideas in the book What I do understand is profound, entertaining and thought provoking Some day, unless I run out of time, I ll try again to underst Immediately after reading this book I read it again This week I finished reading it for the third time I don t have the prerequisite knowledge to truly understand this book I think I ll read his book on Lacan since Lacan seems to be the person who has influenced him the most Why did I read this book three times while mastering perhaps half the ideas in the book What I do understand is profound, entertaining and thought provoking Some day, unless I run out of time, I ll try again to understand this author This perhaps, is also the most important ethics lesson of the twentieth century we should abandon all ethical arrogance and humbly acknowledge how lucky we are to be able to act ethically.The Puppet and the Dwarf is dear i ek at his best I do favor his political and cultural projects Those other sorties into ontology and associated Hegelian Lacanian practices tend to baffle me The point of departure here is a stand against the vulgar and boring atheism of Richard Dawkins and Christopher This perhaps, is also the most important ethics lesson of the twentieth century we should abandon all ethical arrogance and humbly acknowledge how lucky we are to be able to act ethically.The Puppet and the Dwarf is dear i ek at his best I do favor his political and cultural projects Those other sorties into ontology and associated Hegelian Lacanian practices tend to baffle me The point of departure here is a stand against the vulgar and boring atheism of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens I can see that Atheism remains self evident telling the believer that such is horseshit isn t very productive and not that interesting, not anyanyway.What proceeds is a series of approaches to the Epistles of St Paul and how the framing nature of Genesis and the Passion are necessary to further the narrative It is this anxiety between the Law especially of Christianity s Jewish predecessors and Love results in a sort of anxiety This allows its excesses, its forays, its forbidden indulgence in the Pagan i ek ties this in nicely with Tolkien s middle earth chronicles Somewhere down the road, through the fables of Job and the atheistic recriminations of Jesus on the cross, we arrive at the effective foible of Mutually Assured Doctrine it succeeded precisely because we are such irrational agents Here s to the holidays and merry matters left unsaid One Of Our Most Daring Intellectuals Offers A Lacanian Interpretation Of Religion, Finding That Early Christianity Was The First Revolutionary CollectiveSlavoj Zizek Has Been Called An Academic Rock Star And The Wild Man Of Theory His Writing Mixes Astonishing Erudition And References To Pop Culture In Order To Dissect Current Intellectual Pieties In The Puppet And The Dwarf He Offers A Close Reading Of Today S Religious Constellation From The Viewpoint Of Lacanian Psychoanalysis He Critically Confronts Both Predominant Versions Of Today S Spirituality New Age Gnosticism And Deconstructionist Levinasian Judaism And Then Tries To Redeem The Materialist Kernel Of Christianity His Reading Of Christianity Is Explicitly Political, Discerning In The Pauline Community Of Believers The First Version Of A Revolutionary Collective Since Today Even Advocates Of Enlightenment Like Jurgen Habermas Acknowledge That A Religious Vision Is Needed To Ground Our Ethical And Political Stance In A Postsecular Age, This Book With A Stance That Is Clearly Materialist And At The Same Time Indebted To The Core Of The Christian Legacy Is Certain To Stir Controversy


About the Author: Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj i ek is a Slovene sociologist, philosopher, and cultural critic He was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia then part of SFR Yugoslavia He received a Doctor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Ljubljana and studied psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII with Jacques Alain Miller and Fran ois Regnault In 1990 he was a candidate with the party Liberal Democracy of Slovenia for Presidency of the Republic of Slovenia an auxiliary institution, abolished in 1992 Since 2005, i ek has been a member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts i ek is well known for his use of the works of 20th century French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan in a new reading of popular culture He writes on many topics including the Iraq War, fundamentalism, capitalism, tolerance, political correctness, globalization, subjectivity, human rights, Lenin, myth, cyberspace, postmodernism, multiculturalism, post marxism, David Lynch, and Alfred Hitchcock In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pa s he jokingly described himself as an orthodox Lacanian Stalinist In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now he described himself as a Marxist and a Communist.


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