Less Than Nothing: Hegel And The Shadow Of Dialectical Materialism
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
For the last two centuries, Western philosophy has developed in the shadow of Hegel, an influence each new thinker struggles to escape. As a consequence, Hegel’s absolute idealism has become the bogeyman of philosophy, obscuring the fact that he is the defining philosopher of the historical transition to modernity, a period with which our own times share startling similarities.
Today, as global capitalism comes apart at the seams, we are entering a new period of transition. In Less Than Nothing, the product of a career-long focus on the part of its author, Slavoj Žižek argues it is imperative we not simply return to Hegel but that we repeat and exceed his triumphs, overcoming his limitations by being even more Hegelian than the master himself. Such an approach not only enables Žižek to diagnose our present condition, but also to engage in a critical dialogue with key strands of contemporary thought—Heidegger, Badiou, speculative realism, quantum physics, and cognitive sciences. Modernity will begin and end with Hegel.
freedom,” and this is why his theology is the first modern theology and perhaps the only one—Hegel’s, of course, being the alternative. It qualifies as the first modern theology because it contains a potential for overcoming the antagonism between freedom and religion. Fichte conceives of the concept of God in such a way that, by definition, God cannot impose any restriction upon freedom. God is manifestation, and manifestation takes place in free self-reference. For this reason, it is
medium of the expression of spirit—brings art a certain freedom, allowing it to stand on its own. Is this not the very definition of the birth of modern art proper, as a practice no longer subordinated to the task of representing spiritual reality? The way abrogation relates to sublation is not in terms of a simple succession or external opposition: not “first you eat, then you shit.” Defecation is the immanent conclusion of the entire process: without it, we would be dealing with the
he hears (hallucinates) non-existing voices.67 In contrast to both these stances, a pervert uses the voice or gaze as an instrument, he “does things” with them. (2) The couple gaze and voice should also be linked to the couple Sach-Vorstellungen and Wort-Vorstellungen: the “representations-of-things” involve the gaze—we see things, while the “representations-of-words” involve the voice (“vocal images”)—we hear words. (3) Furthermore, the gaze and the voice are linked, respectively, to
CD Die Partei hat immer Recht: Eine Dokumentation in Liedern, Amiga, BMG 74321394862. 66 I rely here on Paul-Laurent Assoun, Leçons psychanalytiques sur le regard et la voix, Vols. 1 and 2, Paris: Anthropos 2001. 67 This difference can also be linked to the difference between the inability to act and the passage à l’acte: the hysteric position involves a blocked act, procrastination, oscillation, empty gestures (which function like “acting out,” a theatrical gesture
(self-determination) in contrast to being-determined-by-the-other. In this precise sense, life (even at its most elementary, as a living cell) is the basic form of true infinity, since it already involves the minimal loop through which a process is no longer simply determined by the Outside of its environs but is itself able to (over)determine the mode of this determination and thus “posits its presuppositions.” Infinity acquires its first actual existence the moment a cell’s membrane starts to