Quora Answer: What have been Slavoj Zizek’s great insights?

Oct 18 2014

Zizek and Badioiu are a pair. Zizek used to defer to Badiou all the time now he is trying to define himself against Badiou. In my opinion Zizek is the deeper philosopher. But if you consider Zizek without Badiou in the background I don’t think it is possible to understand him. They are both Lacanian Analysts thus they are both grounding their philosophies in very different ways. Badiou is the philosopher of the Event of the Arising of the Ultra One out of the Multiple into the Set. For Badiou the Set is the basis for Ontology, and he prides himself on actually understanding Set Theory. Unfortunately his theory that Sets are the basis of Ontology is wrong because there are multiple possible foundations for Mathematics rather than just one. Ultra one i.e. the first particular to arise from the multiple that is one. The multiple is pure heterogeneity, pure difference, pure incommensurability. Sounds a bit like the Unconscious, No? Zizek takes a more direct route to the unconscious by interpreting Lacan via Hegel, and Hegel via Lacan. His insight is that Ideology works like the unconscious as it shapes our ideas and thoughts. Ideology is the social unconscious. And when we think we are living in a non-ideological age after the many wars over ideology in the last century, where capitalism seems to have won in the end, this is the most ideological time, not non-ideological. The reason to reduce Lacan to Hegel is that Hegel had the idea of the Social as Spirit and so in that context we can blow up the ideas of Lacan about the Structural and Semiotic unconscious to be a theory about society and its unconscious, its blindspots. For instance the idea that when we buy a cup of Coffee at Starbucks we are being sold an ecological story with it, and we buy that. In other words ecological sensitivity has become a way of selling commodities and we do not question that when we hear it from corporations. Zizek is good at turing all our ideas upside down and making their opposites make sense. This is a way of making us question our presuppositions which cannot be all bad.

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