hundred dollars

The move from particular finite being to being as such in its totally abstract universality is to be regarded not only as the very first theoretical demand but also as the very first practical one. For when a lot of fuss is made about the hundred dollars, that it does make a difference to my financial state whether I have them or not, still more whether I am or am not or something else is or is not, we can then be reminded that the human being (quite apart from such financial situations in which the possession of a hundred dollars will in fact be a matter of indifference) ought to raise his mind to this abstract universality in which it is in fact indifferent to him whether the hundred dollars, whatever the quantitative relation that they might have to his financial state, are or are not; just as it would be indifferent to him whether he himself is or is not, that is, whether he is or is not in finite life (by which is meant a state, a determinate being), and so on. Si fractus illabatur orbis, impavidum ferient ruinæ, a Roman even said, [Flaccus: Carminum liber tertium. Ode III, verse 7–8. “If the world were to fall to pieces, the ruins would still sustain the undaunted.”] And still more ought the Christian to find himself in this state of indifference.

G.W.F.Hegel 1816 Science of Logic



european legacy

When one says `European legacy’, every self-respectful Leftist intellectual has the same reaction as Joseph Goebbels had to culture as such – he reaches for his gun and starts to shoot out accusations of proto-Fascist Eurocentrist cultural imperialism. However, is it possible to imagine a Leftist appropriation of the European political tradition?

Slavoj Zizek


here’t is


While observing Napoleon on a horse in the streets of Jena after the battle of 1807, Hegel remarked that it was as if he saw there the World Spirit riding a horse. The Christological implications of this remark are obvious: what happened in the case of Christ is that God himself, the creator of our entire universe, was walking out there as a common individual. This mystery of incarnation is discernible at different levels, up to the parent’s speculative judgment apropos a child “Out there our love is walking!”, which stands for the Hegelian reversal of determinate reflexion into reflexive determination – the same as with a king, when his subject sees him walking around: “Out there our state is walking.” Marx’s evocation of reflexive determination (in his famous footnote in Chapter 1 of Capital) also falls short here: individuals think they treat a person as a king because he is a king in himself, while, effectively, he is a king only because they treat him as one. However, the crucial point is that this “reification” of a social relation in a person cannot be dismissed as a simple “fetishist misperception”; what such a dismissal itself misses is something that, perhaps, could be designated as the “Hegelian performative”: of course a king is “in himself” a miserable individual, of course he is a king only insofar as his subjects treat him like one; however, the point is that the “fetishist illusion” which sustains our veneration of a king has in itself a performative dimension – the very unity of our state, that which the king “embodies,” actualizes itself only in the person of a king. Which is why it is not enough to insist on the need to avoid the “fetishist trap” and to distinguish between the contingent person of a king and what he stands for: what the king stands for only comes to be in his person, the same as with a couple’s love which (at least within a certain traditional perspective) only becomes actual in their offspring.

Only one radical conclusion: the problem is not “how to overcome the split”. The split stands for subjectivity: subjectivity is split, gap of negativity. THIS NEGATIVITY IS NOT A PROBLEM, BUT A SOLUTION, it IS already in itself DIVINE. Divine is not the abyssal all-encompassing Substance/Unity behind the multitude of appearances, divine is the negative power of tearing apart the organic unity…

Slavoj Zizek (Hegel – Chesterton: German Idealism and Christianity)


Where is Waldo?



but still you need to predict which train he’ll hop on? or maybe you need to take into account multiple possibilities? or maybe you need to recognize the multiplicity in possibleness, and no longer think in terms of possible outcomes? does waldo have a trajectory? does he have multiple trajectories? does he have “relations”? are there entities that he relates to? (people or trains or cars in this case) what are these waldo-determinations and how is your waldo-recognition part of these determinations?

to the wolves

From Milošević’s seizure of power in Serbia onwards, the only actual chance for Yugoslavia to survive was to reinvent its formula: either Yugoslavia under Serb domination or some form of radical decentralisation, from a loose confederacy to the full sovereignty of its units. Therein, in ignoring this key fact, resides the problem of the otherwise admirable Tariq Ali essay on the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia:

“The claim that it is all Milošević’s fault is one-sided and erroneous, indulging those Slovenian, Croatian and Western politicians who allowed him to succeed. It could be argued, for instance, that it was Slovene egoism, throwing the Bosnians and Albanians, as well as non-nationalist Serbs and Croats, to the wolves, that was a decisive factor in triggering the whole disaster of disintegration.” [Tariq Ali, “Springtime for NATO,” New Left Review 234 (March-April 1999), p. 70.]

First, this argument itself asserts that the responsibility of others is of a fundamentally different nature than that of Milošević. The point is not that “they were all equally guilty, participating in nationalist madness,” but that others were guilty of not being harsh enough towards Milošević, of not unconditionally opposing him at any price. Secondly, what this argument overlooks is how the same reproach of “egoism” can be applied to ALL actors, inclusive of Muslims, the greatest victims of the (first phase of the) war: when Slovenia proclaimed independence, the Bosnian leadership openly supported the Yugoslav Army’s intervention in Slovenia instead of risking confrontation at that early date, and thus contributed to their later sad fate.

There is, however, a more crucial problem that one should confront here. The uncanny detail that cannot but strike the eye in the quote from Tariq Ali is the unexpected recourse, in the midst of a political analysis, to a psychological category: “Slovene egoism” – why the need for this reference which so clearly sticks out? On what ground can one claim that Serbs, Muslims and Croats acted less “egotistically” in the course of Yugoslavia’s disintegration? The underlying premise is here that Slovenes, when they saw the (Yugoslav) house falling apart, “egotistically” seized the opportunity and fled away, instead of – what? Heroically throwing themselves also to the wolves? Slovenes are thus imputed to start it all, to set in motion the process of disintegration (by being the first to leave Yugoslavia) and, on the top of it, being allowed to escape without proper penalty, suffering no serious damage.

Slavoj Zizek & Agon Hamza 2013 From Myth To Symptom: The Case of Kosovo

Continue reading “to the wolves”


In other words, what the subject engaged in a struggle perceives as the enemy, the external obstacle he has to overcome, is the materialization of the subject’s immanent inconsistency: the struggling subject needs the figure of the enemy to sustain the illusion of his own consistency, his very identity hinges on his opposing the enemy, so much so that his (eventual) victory amounts to his own defeat or disintegration. As Hegel likes to put it, in fighting the external enemy, one (unknowingly) fights one’s own essence. So, far from celebrating engaged struggle, Hegel’s point is rather that every embattled position, every taking of sides, has to rely on a necessary illusion (the illusion that, once the enemy is annihilated, I will achieve the full realization of my being). This brings us to what would have been a properly Hegelian notion of ideology: the misapprehension of the condition of possibility (of what is an inherent constituent of your position) as the condition of impossibility (as an obstacle which prevents your full realization)-the ideological subject is unable to grasp how his entire identity hinges on what he perceives as the disturbing obstacle.

Slavoj Zizek 2012 Less Than Nothing, page 200

my question:
— has First World War ended, or is it still going on?


Continue reading “ww1”

phallicism of indebtedness

A certain “negation of negation” is also constitutive of the phallic signifier. That is to say, what makes the phallic signifier such a complex notion is not only that, in it, the symbolic, imaginary, and real dimensions are intertwined, but also that, in a double self-reflexive step which uncannily imitates the process of the “negation of negation,” it condenses three levels: it is (1) *position*: the signifier of the lost part, of what the subject loses and lacks with its entry into (or submission to) the signifying order; (2) *negation*: the signifier of (this) lack; and (3) *negation of negation*: itself the lacking/missing signifier.* The phallus is the part which is lost (“sacrificed” ) with the entry into the symbolic order and, Simultaneously, the signifier of this loss.**

Slavoj Zizek 2012 Less Than Nothing, page 475

— what has phallus to do with debt? credit? finance capital?

example: this presentation about debt movements: <— from 43:40 onwards

* François Balmes, Dieu, le sexe et la verite, Ramonville Saint-Agne: Eres 2007. p. 150.
** Ibid., p. 166.

Continue reading “phallicism of indebtedness”


In a psycho-analysis one learns to interpret propinquity in time as representing connection in subject-matter. Two thoughts which occur in immediate sequence without any apparent connection are in fact part of a single unity which has to be discovered; in just the same way, if I write an ‘a’ and a ‘b’ in succession, they have to be pronounced as a single syllable ‘ab.’ The same is true of dreams.

Sigmund Freud 1899 Interpretation of Dreams, page 265


In the first place, dreams take into account in a general way the connection which undeniably exists between all the portions of the dream-thoughts by combining the whole material into a single situation or event. They reproduce logical connection by simultaneity in time. Here they are acting like the painter who, in a picture of the School of Athens or of Parnassus, represents in one group all the philosophers or all the poets. It is true that they were never in fact assembled in a single hall or on a single mountain-top; but they certainly form a group in the conceptual sense.

Dreams carry this method of reproduction down to details. Whenever they show us two elements close together, this guarantees that there is some specially intimate connection between what correspond to them among the dream-thoughts. In the same way, in our system of writing, ‘ab’ means that the two letters are to be pronounced in a single syllable. If a gap is left between the ‘a’ and the ‘b’, it means that the ‘a’ is the last letter of one word and the ‘b’ is the first of the next one.* So, too, collocations in dreams do not consist of any chance, disconnected portions of the dream-material, but of portions which are fairly closely connected in the dream-thoughts as well.

* [This simile is a favourite one of Freud’s. He uses it above on p. 265 and again in the middle of Section I of the case history of Dora (1905c). It is possibly derived from a lyric of Goethe’s (‘Schwer in Waides Busch’) in which the same image occurs.]

Sigmund Freud 1899 Interpretation of Dreams, page 330


(It is a rule of psycho-analytic technique that an internal connection which is still undisclosed will announce its presence by means of a contiguity – a temporal proximity of associations; just as in writing, if ‘a’ and ‘b’ are put side by side, it means that the syllable ‘ab’ is to be formed out of them.)

Sigmund Freud 1901 Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria






interesting, propinquus is what penguins are: – and then comes prox – fear thy proxy as thyself




by the way, i wonder how these two are different:
(1) propinquity in time & have to be pronounced
(2) temporal proximity & to be formed out of

(2) appears to be the one that can be modelled by a markov chain (statistical method). (1) cannot, because it refers to voice and obligation


“Now, what we consider today possible — just follow the media. On the one hand is technology and sexuality — everything seems to be possible. You can travel to the moon, you can become immortal by biogenetics, you can have sex with animals or whatever. But look at the field of society and economy — there, almost everything is considered impossible. You want to raise taxes a little bit for the rich, they tell you it’s impossible. We lose competitivity. You want more money for healthcare, they tell you, ‘Impossible! This means a totalitarian state.’ Is there something wrong with the world where you are promised to be immortal but they cannot spend a little more for healthcare? Maybe we have to set our priorities straight. We don’t want higher standards of living; we want better standards of living. – SZ at OWS

what is possible and impossible in guinness world records?

watch from 27:30 on —>