more thoughts on zizek

The last third of Zizek's exercise in thought is full of examples and jokes. These little anecdotes explain his thoughts will and are followed by a close analysis that illuminates their deeper meaning. However, we don't have a basis for the analysis as we did not read Lacan, who I take to be some sort of psychoanalyst in the vein of Freud. The anecdotes, therefore, seem to be touching upon something profound, but I only understood the surface value of these lessons. I actually enjoyed reading the anecdotes as they were a happy reprieve from the Lacan vector field/graph creation of Zizek.

What is the meaning of life? Go… I think the madman's paradox (160) hits it on the head. The conscript's purpose in life is the search for the right piece of paper. The search is his purpose and therefore he generates all of his meaning in that search. Once he finds the right piece of paper, he no longer has a purpose and his life seems meaningless. Once they, being the higher officers, realize what he has been searching for they can't allow him to leave the army. Life is all about the search, not actually reaching the end.

"You must not run too desperately after happiness, because if you do you might overtake it and happiness will remain behind you…" (173) This idea is impossible; you can't run past happiness, you can only retreat from it. If, for argument's sake, happiness is what everyone is trying to achieve, then being anything but happy is necessarily less than happy, not more than happy. Once you reach happy you can't fly past it, you have to retreat from it. Now I understand that this quote is saying that some people achieve happiness and don't realize it, but I think they have sunk to a permanent state of "less than happy" rather than a state of "more than happy". I guess that also means I don't agree with Zizek's interpretation of jouissance.

"Beyond the [illusion], there is nothing but this nothing itself, 'nothing' which is the subject." (195) Sounds kinda like a show about nothing… I don't have an issue with nothing being a subject because the negation of anything is something, the negation of anything. There is something to found in nothingness (silence or blankness). Nothing is never really nothing. I think that last sentence makes sense which is the cool part.