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Re: Badiou and Zizek against democracy

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  • irvhal
    Jim, I might have done better to have used modernity , or even cybernetics, to describe the capital concentration and mass production characteristic of
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 2, 2011
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      Jim,

      I might have done better to have used "modernity", or even cybernetics, to describe the capital concentration and mass production characteristic of developed states, "capitalist" and "socialist" alike. And modernity's acquisitive economic man, whose Being is enframed by consumerism, indeed tends to trump other modes like conservation, commmunity or identity.

      Irvin

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
      >
      > Irvin,
      >
      > Thank you for your post.
      >
      > I agree that capitalism does seem to be closely identified with mass production and in both the capitalist West and the former communist East, various individuals and groups seem (or seemed) to be immune from accountability to the ordinary citizen.
      >
      > Whether it is possible to create a system of checks and balances so no individual or group became privileged over the rest of the society, whilst maintaining the mechanisms for mass production, I am not sure.
      >
      > The original Marxist ideas that make sense to me are (first) "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" and (second) the idea that all the workers on the production line as well as the designers and managers should share equally in the money made from the sale of the mass-produced product.
      >
      > Whether or not these ideas could be realized without the state nominally "owning" all the enterprises – again I'm not sure.
      >
      > As well as capitalism being tied up with mass-production, our own current version of capitalism essentially involves consumerism.
      >
      > I guess most on the left would seek to change the conditions of mass-production, but for myself (and generally those who are involved with Green politics), the way to overthrow capitalism is by undermining the general belief amongst Westerners that the Good Life is the life of maximal consumption.
      >
      > Whilst Westerners remain hell-bent on consuming more and more, I cannot see any possibility of a challenge to the sort of capitalism we have now. Perhaps as the oil runs out, more and more people may come to see that the simple pleasures of life are actually more pleasant than those pleasures delivered by mass-produced modern technology.
      >
      > Jim
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "irvhal" <i99hj@> wrote:
      > >
      > > I too disagree with Zizek's passage. But what is modern "capitalism" but concentrated tecno-resources necessary for mass production? And can't the very distinction between state and private capital sometimes be tenuous, since even the "private" corporate entity is a privileged licensee of the state, and both state and private entities enjoy varied immunities for their acts -- be it sovereign immunity for the state or tort immunity for shareholders beyond their investment? The rub is who decides what resources are marshalled and how they're distributed. Zizek apparently doesn't like what he sees or gets, and regards himself part of an aggrieved though selfless (or super-virtuous) minority.
      > >
      > > Irvin
      >
    • Mary
      What troubles me is Zizek s apparent disregard and dissatisfaction for individual and/or community based actions. Yes, when a zillionaire goes green and
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 3, 2011
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        What troubles me is Zizek's apparent disregard and dissatisfaction for individual and/or community based actions. Yes, when a zillionaire goes green and philanthropic, we should be sceptical. However, when Zizek scorns an authentic identity who practices conservation and community and equates the latter's guilt by association with the former's perpatration, he's wrong, in my opinion. Here again, however, Zizek's hyperbole could be intended to make this very distinction.

        Loren Eiseley wrote, "The group ethic as distinct from the personal ethic is faceless and obscure. It is whatever its leaders chose it to mean; it destroys the innocent and justifies the act in terms of the future."

        And from Auden's SEXT, a non-secular title even Zizek might appreciate:

        [...]
        The crowd does not see (what everyone sees)
        a boxing match, a train wreck,

        a battleship being launched,
        does not wonder (as everyone wonders)

        who will win, what flag she will fly,
        how many will be burned alive,

        is never distracted
        (as everyone is always distracted)

        by a barking dog, a smell of fish,
        a mosquito on a bald head:

        the crowd sees only one thing
        (which only the crowd can see)

        an epiphany of that
        which does whatever is done.
        [...]

        Eisely again, "Progress secularized, progress which pursues only the next invention, progress which pulls thought out of the mind and replaces it with idle slogans, is not progress at all. It is a beckoning mirage in a desert over which staggers the generations of men. Because, man, each individual man among us, possesses his own soul, and by that light must live or perish, there is no way by which Utopias--or the lost Garden itself--can be brought out of the future and presented to man. Neither can he go forward to such a destiny. Since in the world of time every man lives but one life, it is in himself that he must search for the secret of the Garden."

        Zizek seems to critique secular atheism and fundamentalism in terms of how they accommodate modernity (scientism and questionable capital) if it suits their avowed agendas. They cling to an agnostic capitalism or prosperity doctrine in which God or Fate favors the prosperous. My issue with him is that he seems to equate movements with individuals. Perhaps he's right on.

        Auden continues:

        Whatever god a person believes in,
        in whatever way he believes,

        (no two are exactly alike)
        as one of the crow he believes

        and only believes in that
        in which there is only one way of believing.

        Few people accept each other and most
        will never do anything properly,

        but the crowd rejects no one, joining the crowd
        is the only thing all men can do.

        Only because of that can we say
        all men are our brothers,

        superior, because of that,
        to the social exoskeletons: When

        have they ever ignored their queens,
        for one second stopped work

        on their provincial cities, to worship
        The Prince of this world like us,

        at this noon, on this hill,
        in the occasion of this dying.

        Yes, it's an overtly Christian poem, easy to see how Auden feels the distinct human capacity for "observance," the ability to hope and imagine, alone and with others. Many philosophers and psychoanalysts recognize we understand ourselves by gazing into the mirror of others, as confusing and unpleasant as it is. Zizek appears to belong to this tradition.

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "irvhal" <i99hj@...> wrote:
        >
        > Jim,
        >
        > I might have done better to have used "modernity", or even cybernetics, to describe the capital concentration and mass production characteristic of developed states, "capitalist" and "socialist" alike. And modernity's acquisitive economic man, whose Being is enframed by consumerism, indeed tends to trump other modes like conservation, commmunity or identity.
        >
        > Irvin
        >
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Irvin,
        > >
        > > Thank you for your post.
        > >
        > > I agree that capitalism does seem to be closely identified with mass production and in both the capitalist West and the former communist East, various individuals and groups seem (or seemed) to be immune from accountability to the ordinary citizen.
        > >
        > > Whether it is possible to create a system of checks and balances so no individual or group became privileged over the rest of the society, whilst maintaining the mechanisms for mass production, I am not sure.
        > >
        > > The original Marxist ideas that make sense to me are (first) "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" and (second) the idea that all the workers on the production line as well as the designers and managers should share equally in the money made from the sale of the mass-produced product.
        > >
        > > Whether or not these ideas could be realized without the state nominally "owning" all the enterprises – again I'm not sure.
        > >
        > > As well as capitalism being tied up with mass-production, our own current version of capitalism essentially involves consumerism.
        > >
        > > I guess most on the left would seek to change the conditions of mass-production, but for myself (and generally those who are involved with Green politics), the way to overthrow capitalism is by undermining the general belief amongst Westerners that the Good Life is the life of maximal consumption.
        > >
        > > Whilst Westerners remain hell-bent on consuming more and more, I cannot see any possibility of a challenge to the sort of capitalism we have now. Perhaps as the oil runs out, more and more people may come to see that the simple pleasures of life are actually more pleasant than those pleasures delivered by mass-produced modern technology.
        > >
        > > Jim
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "irvhal" <i99hj@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > I too disagree with Zizek's passage. But what is modern "capitalism" but concentrated tecno-resources necessary for mass production? And can't the very distinction between state and private capital sometimes be tenuous, since even the "private" corporate entity is a privileged licensee of the state, and both state and private entities enjoy varied immunities for their acts -- be it sovereign immunity for the state or tort immunity for shareholders beyond their investment? The rub is who decides what resources are marshalled and how they're distributed. Zizek apparently doesn't like what he sees or gets, and regards himself part of an aggrieved though selfless (or super-virtuous) minority.
        > > >
        > > > Irvin
        > >
        >
      • irvhal
        One further idea I have here is that Grandiose Constructions -- Zizek s or otherwise -- founder against man s varying views of happiness. Us intellectuals tend
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 9, 2011
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          One further idea I have here is that Grandiose Constructions -- Zizek's or
          otherwise -- founder against man's varying views of happiness. Us intellectuals
          tend to prefer "higher" interests to "vulgar" things like trucks or athletics
          (though not sex), and some of us find the Red State commoner as much an obstacle
          as Stalin did the Ukrainian. But the Anglo-Saxon tradition knows better,
          preferring incrementalism to revolution. Hence the concern with constraining
          authority from Magna Carta to the present, and the American concept of each
          man's pursuit of a happiness all his own. And how marvelous the great
          Anglo-Saxon institution of trial by jury, which stands between any encroachment
          of that ideal and the State.

          Irvin



          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@...> wrote:
          >
          > What troubles me is Zizek's apparent disregard and dissatisfaction for individual and/or community based actions. Yes, when a zillionaire goes green and philanthropic, we should be sceptical. However, when Zizek scorns an authentic identity who practices conservation and community and equates the latter's guilt by association with the former's perpatration, he's wrong, in my opinion. Here again, however, Zizek's hyperbole could be intended to make this very distinction.
          >
          > Loren Eiseley wrote, "The group ethic as distinct from the personal ethic is faceless and obscure. It is whatever its leaders chose it to mean; it destroys the innocent and justifies the act in terms of the future."
          >
          > And from Auden's SEXT, a non-secular title even Zizek might appreciate:
          >
          > [...]
          > The crowd does not see (what everyone sees)
          > a boxing match, a train wreck,
          >
          > a battleship being launched,
          > does not wonder (as everyone wonders)
          >
          > who will win, what flag she will fly,
          > how many will be burned alive,
          >
          > is never distracted
          > (as everyone is always distracted)
          >
          > by a barking dog, a smell of fish,
          > a mosquito on a bald head:
          >
          > the crowd sees only one thing
          > (which only the crowd can see)
          >
          > an epiphany of that
          > which does whatever is done.
          > [...]
          >
          > Eisely again, "Progress secularized, progress which pursues only the next invention, progress which pulls thought out of the mind and replaces it with idle slogans, is not progress at all. It is a beckoning mirage in a desert over which staggers the generations of men. Because, man, each individual man among us, possesses his own soul, and by that light must live or perish, there is no way by which Utopias--or the lost Garden itself--can be brought out of the future and presented to man. Neither can he go forward to such a destiny. Since in the world of time every man lives but one life, it is in himself that he must search for the secret of the Garden."
          >
          > Zizek seems to critique secular atheism and fundamentalism in terms of how they accommodate modernity (scientism and questionable capital) if it suits their avowed agendas. They cling to an agnostic capitalism or prosperity doctrine in which God or Fate favors the prosperous. My issue with him is that he seems to equate movements with individuals. Perhaps he's right on.
          >
          > Auden continues:
          >
          > Whatever god a person believes in,
          > in whatever way he believes,
          >
          > (no two are exactly alike)
          > as one of the crow he believes
          >
          > and only believes in that
          > in which there is only one way of believing.
          >
          > Few people accept each other and most
          > will never do anything properly,
          >
          > but the crowd rejects no one, joining the crowd
          > is the only thing all men can do.
          >
          > Only because of that can we say
          > all men are our brothers,
          >
          > superior, because of that,
          > to the social exoskeletons: When
          >
          > have they ever ignored their queens,
          > for one second stopped work
          >
          > on their provincial cities, to worship
          > The Prince of this world like us,
          >
          > at this noon, on this hill,
          > in the occasion of this dying.
          >
          > Yes, it's an overtly Christian poem, easy to see how Auden feels the distinct human capacity for "observance," the ability to hope and imagine, alone and with others. Many philosophers and psychoanalysts recognize we understand ourselves by gazing into the mirror of others, as confusing and unpleasant as it is. Zizek appears to belong to this tradition.
          >
          > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "irvhal" <i99hj@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Jim,
          > >
          > > I might have done better to have used "modernity", or even cybernetics, to describe the capital concentration and mass production characteristic of developed states, "capitalist" and "socialist" alike. And modernity's acquisitive economic man, whose Being is enframed by consumerism, indeed tends to trump other modes like conservation, commmunity or identity.
          > >
          > > Irvin
          > >
          > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
          > > >
          > > > Irvin,
          > > >
          > > > Thank you for your post.
          > > >
          > > > I agree that capitalism does seem to be closely identified with mass production and in both the capitalist West and the former communist East, various individuals and groups seem (or seemed) to be immune from accountability to the ordinary citizen.
          > > >
          > > > Whether it is possible to create a system of checks and balances so no individual or group became privileged over the rest of the society, whilst maintaining the mechanisms for mass production, I am not sure.
          > > >
          > > > The original Marxist ideas that make sense to me are (first) "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" and (second) the idea that all the workers on the production line as well as the designers and managers should share equally in the money made from the sale of the mass-produced product.
          > > >
          > > > Whether or not these ideas could be realized without the state nominally "owning" all the enterprises – again I'm not sure.
          > > >
          > > > As well as capitalism being tied up with mass-production, our own current version of capitalism essentially involves consumerism.
          > > >
          > > > I guess most on the left would seek to change the conditions of mass-production, but for myself (and generally those who are involved with Green politics), the way to overthrow capitalism is by undermining the general belief amongst Westerners that the Good Life is the life of maximal consumption.
          > > >
          > > > Whilst Westerners remain hell-bent on consuming more and more, I cannot see any possibility of a challenge to the sort of capitalism we have now. Perhaps as the oil runs out, more and more people may come to see that the simple pleasures of life are actually more pleasant than those pleasures delivered by mass-produced modern technology.
          > > >
          > > > Jim
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "irvhal" <i99hj@> wrote:
          > > > >
          > > > > I too disagree with Zizek's passage. But what is modern "capitalism" but concentrated tecno-resources necessary for mass production? And can't the very distinction between state and private capital sometimes be tenuous, since even the "private" corporate entity is a privileged licensee of the state, and both state and private entities enjoy varied immunities for their acts -- be it sovereign immunity for the state or tort immunity for shareholders beyond their investment? The rub is who decides what resources are marshalled and how they're distributed. Zizek apparently doesn't like what he sees or gets, and regards himself part of an aggrieved though selfless (or super-virtuous) minority.
          > > > >
          > > > > Irvin
          > > >
          > >
          >
        • josephson45r
          Though I plan a more thorough examination of Zizek s ideas, my cursory and preliminary one indicates someone who is not opposed to individual responsibility,
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 10, 2011
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            Though I plan a more thorough examination of Zizek's ideas, my cursory and preliminary one indicates someone who is not opposed to individual responsibility, state, law, or science. As any salty philosopher he troubles, reverses, and challenges their status quo in order to help actualize more efficacious versions. After at least seven millenia, a radical discussion of incrementalism versus revolution is certainly valid. Although judging by the current misunderstanding of all these (concepts, institutions, and approaches) for addressing the fundamental human requirement of a safe, healthy environment in which to freely pursue livelihood and meaning for the common good, it is probably too late. The prevalence of malaise or violence in many societies seems due to these very failures. It is never not time to consider how Spirit unfolds and enfolds Form according to a necessity we do not recognize.

            Another unproven impression I have of Zizek is that he attributes the failure of Marxism as the failure to adequatley apprehend and aggressively approach the Fragile Absolute in each another, that Marx omitted this, Hegel's crucial concept, in the unfolding and fulfillment of human history. Whichever system/society exploits at the expense of this Absolute does it at their peril.

            "What is the Absolute? Something that appears to us in fleeting experiences—say, through the gentle smile of a beautiful woman, or even through the warm caring smile of a person who may otherwise seem ugly and rude. In such miraculous but extremely fragile moments, another dimension transpires through our reality. As such, the Absolute is easily corroded; it slips all too easily through our fingers and must be handled as carefully as a butterfly." (The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For? by Slavoj Zizek)

            Mary

            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "irvhal" <i99hj@...> wrote:
            >
            > One further idea I have here is that Grandiose Constructions -- Zizek's or
            > otherwise -- founder against man's varying views of happiness. Us intellectuals
            > tend to prefer "higher" interests to "vulgar" things like trucks or athletics
            > (though not sex), and some of us find the Red State commoner as much an obstacle
            > as Stalin did the Ukrainian. But the Anglo-Saxon tradition knows better,
            > preferring incrementalism to revolution. Hence the concern with constraining
            > authority from Magna Carta to the present, and the American concept of each
            > man's pursuit of a happiness all his own. And how marvelous the great
            > Anglo-Saxon institution of trial by jury, which stands between any encroachment
            > of that ideal and the State.
            >
            > Irvin
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@> wrote:
            > >
            > > What troubles me is Zizek's apparent disregard and dissatisfaction for individual and/or community based actions. Yes, when a zillionaire goes green and philanthropic, we should be sceptical. However, when Zizek scorns an authentic identity who practices conservation and community and equates the latter's guilt by association with the former's perpatration, he's wrong, in my opinion. Here again, however, Zizek's hyperbole could be intended to make this very distinction.
            > >
            > > Loren Eiseley wrote, "The group ethic as distinct from the personal ethic is faceless and obscure. It is whatever its leaders chose it to mean; it destroys the innocent and justifies the act in terms of the future."
            > >
            > > And from Auden's SEXT, a non-secular title even Zizek might appreciate:
            > >
            > > [...]
            > > The crowd does not see (what everyone sees)
            > > a boxing match, a train wreck,
            > >
            > > a battleship being launched,
            > > does not wonder (as everyone wonders)
            > >
            > > who will win, what flag she will fly,
            > > how many will be burned alive,
            > >
            > > is never distracted
            > > (as everyone is always distracted)
            > >
            > > by a barking dog, a smell of fish,
            > > a mosquito on a bald head:
            > >
            > > the crowd sees only one thing
            > > (which only the crowd can see)
            > >
            > > an epiphany of that
            > > which does whatever is done.
            > > [...]
            > >
            > > Eisely again, "Progress secularized, progress which pursues only the next invention, progress which pulls thought out of the mind and replaces it with idle slogans, is not progress at all. It is a beckoning mirage in a desert over which staggers the generations of men. Because, man, each individual man among us, possesses his own soul, and by that light must live or perish, there is no way by which Utopias--or the lost Garden itself--can be brought out of the future and presented to man. Neither can he go forward to such a destiny. Since in the world of time every man lives but one life, it is in himself that he must search for the secret of the Garden."
            > >
            > > Zizek seems to critique secular atheism and fundamentalism in terms of how they accommodate modernity (scientism and questionable capital) if it suits their avowed agendas. They cling to an agnostic capitalism or prosperity doctrine in which God or Fate favors the prosperous. My issue with him is that he seems to equate movements with individuals. Perhaps he's right on.
            > >
            > > Auden continues:
            > >
            > > Whatever god a person believes in,
            > > in whatever way he believes,
            > >
            > > (no two are exactly alike)
            > > as one of the crow he believes
            > >
            > > and only believes in that
            > > in which there is only one way of believing.
            > >
            > > Few people accept each other and most
            > > will never do anything properly,
            > >
            > > but the crowd rejects no one, joining the crowd
            > > is the only thing all men can do.
            > >
            > > Only because of that can we say
            > > all men are our brothers,
            > >
            > > superior, because of that,
            > > to the social exoskeletons: When
            > >
            > > have they ever ignored their queens,
            > > for one second stopped work
            > >
            > > on their provincial cities, to worship
            > > The Prince of this world like us,
            > >
            > > at this noon, on this hill,
            > > in the occasion of this dying.
            > >
            > > Yes, it's an overtly Christian poem, easy to see how Auden feels the distinct human capacity for "observance," the ability to hope and imagine, alone and with others. Many philosophers and psychoanalysts recognize we understand ourselves by gazing into the mirror of others, as confusing and unpleasant as it is. Zizek appears to belong to this tradition.
            > >
            > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "irvhal" <i99hj@> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Jim,
            > > >
            > > > I might have done better to have used "modernity", or even cybernetics, to describe the capital concentration and mass production characteristic of developed states, "capitalist" and "socialist" alike. And modernity's acquisitive economic man, whose Being is enframed by consumerism, indeed tends to trump other modes like conservation, commmunity or identity.
            > > >
            > > > Irvin
            > > >
            > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
            > > > >
            > > > > Irvin,
            > > > >
            > > > > Thank you for your post.
            > > > >
            > > > > I agree that capitalism does seem to be closely identified with mass production and in both the capitalist West and the former communist East, various individuals and groups seem (or seemed) to be immune from accountability to the ordinary citizen.
            > > > >
            > > > > Whether it is possible to create a system of checks and balances so no individual or group became privileged over the rest of the society, whilst maintaining the mechanisms for mass production, I am not sure.
            > > > >
            > > > > The original Marxist ideas that make sense to me are (first) "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" and (second) the idea that all the workers on the production line as well as the designers and managers should share equally in the money made from the sale of the mass-produced product.
            > > > >
            > > > > Whether or not these ideas could be realized without the state nominally "owning" all the enterprises – again I'm not sure.
            > > > >
            > > > > As well as capitalism being tied up with mass-production, our own current version of capitalism essentially involves consumerism.
            > > > >
            > > > > I guess most on the left would seek to change the conditions of mass-production, but for myself (and generally those who are involved with Green politics), the way to overthrow capitalism is by undermining the general belief amongst Westerners that the Good Life is the life of maximal consumption.
            > > > >
            > > > > Whilst Westerners remain hell-bent on consuming more and more, I cannot see any possibility of a challenge to the sort of capitalism we have now. Perhaps as the oil runs out, more and more people may come to see that the simple pleasures of life are actually more pleasant than those pleasures delivered by mass-produced modern technology.
            > > > >
            > > > > Jim
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "irvhal" <i99hj@> wrote:
            > > > > >
            > > > > > I too disagree with Zizek's passage. But what is modern "capitalism" but concentrated tecno-resources necessary for mass production? And can't the very distinction between state and private capital sometimes be tenuous, since even the "private" corporate entity is a privileged licensee of the state, and both state and private entities enjoy varied immunities for their acts -- be it sovereign immunity for the state or tort immunity for shareholders beyond their investment? The rub is who decides what resources are marshalled and how they're distributed. Zizek apparently doesn't like what he sees or gets, and regards himself part of an aggrieved though selfless (or super-virtuous) minority.
            > > > > >
            > > > > > Irvin
            > > > >
            > > >
            > >
            >
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