31 Aug 2010

Žižek 'How Marx invented the symptom'

I enjoy Žižek, don't always understand him and don't always agree with him. He is great, fun and very stimulating. Just been reading 'How Marx invented the symptom' from his first book to be translated into English, The Sublime Object of Ideology.

He combines Lacan and Marx, noting that Lacan suggests the psychoanalytic concept of the 'symptom' was invented by Marx.

I am not in a position to summarise the article but do give it a read.

Two insights though.

1) Belief befor belief.

The individual does not have belief in say Catholicism or Socialism but because they wish to believe they go through the rituals, by carrying out the

rituals they then gain belief. Practice leads, as Marx suggests to a change in consciousness, the twist here is that one wants to change consciousness.

2) The contradiction between the 'forces' and 'relations' of production

It is not, according to Žižek, that Marx believes that the contradiction between 'relations' (the method of ownership to vulgarise) and forces of production, limits the expansion of industrial development but that within capitalism the constant contradiction drives production.

Well these two insights interested me but they are largely marginal to the main argument.

I think politics should be enriched with a bit of theory and humour, or all you get is the Miliband brothers.

Enjoy your symptom, take a look at Žižek, I think while much escapes me he writes very clearly about very subtle and complex 'stuff'.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

On point number 1 from Žižek I can confirm. Started studying with Jehovah's Witnesses in 1989, but was not really convinced until brow beaten into attending meetings. The latter was key, and regularised my what was called 'building-up' in the faith. Baptized 1995, married 1997, left in 2003 after a few years exposure to history of the movement from the internet and it's hypocrisy and also the realisation of the twisted nature of a too heavy emphasis on 'ministry service' (another ritual) to the detriment of parachial and real Christian feeling. I am now a Green socialist, and athiest and a practictioner of T'ai Chi.(all ritually of course).

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