New videos DAILY: https://bigth.ink/youtube
Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge
Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and Event: A Philosophical Journey Through a Concept.
Žižek received his Ph.D. in Philosophy in Ljubljana studying Psychoanalysis. He has been called the “Elvis of philosophy” and an “academic rock star.” His work calls for a return to the Cartesian subject and the German Ideology, in particular the works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. Slavoj Žižek’s work draws on the works of Jacques Lacan, moving his theory towards modern political and philosophical issues, finding the potential for liberatory politics within his work. But in all his turns to these thinkers and strands of thought, he hopes to call forth new potentials in thinking and self-reflexivity. He also calls for a return to the spirit of the revolutionary potential of Lenin and Karl Marx.
Slavoj Zizek: You know, happiness is for me a very conformist category. It doesn’t enter the frame. You have a serious ideological deviation at the very beginning of a famous proclamation of independence — you know, pursuit of happiness. If there is a point in psychoanalysis, it is that people do not really want or desire happiness, and I think it’s good that it is like that.
For example, let’s be serious: when you are in a creative endeavor, in that wonderful fever–“My God, I’m onto something!” and so on–, happiness doesn’t enter it. You are ready to suffer. Sometimes scientists–I read history of quantum physics or earlier of radiation–were even ready to take into account the possibility that they will die because of some radiation and so on. Happiness is, for me, an unethical category.
And also, we don’t really want to get what we think that we want. The classical story that I like, the traditional male chauvinist scenario: I am married to a wife, relations with her are cold, and I have a mistress, and all the time I dream, “Oh my God, if my wife were to disappear . . . ,” I’m not a murderer, but let us say, “it would open up new life for me with the mistress.” You know what every psychoanalyst will tell you quite often happens? That then, for some reason, wife goes away, you lose the mistress, also.
You thought this is all I want. When you had it there, you found out that it was a much more complex situation, where what you want is not really to live with the mistress but to keep her at a distance as an object of desire about which you dream. And this is not just an excessive situation. I claim that this is how things function. We don’t really want what we think we desire.
ABOUT BIG THINK:
Big Think is the leading source of expert-driven, actionable, educational content — with thousands of videos, featuring experts ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Nye, we help you get smarter, faster. Subscribe to learn from top minds like these daily. Get actionable lessons from the world’s greatest thinkers & doers. Our experts are either disrupting or leading their respective fields. We aim to help you explore the big ideas and core skills that define knowledge in the 21st century, so you can apply them to the questions and challenges in your own life.
Other Frequent contributors include Michio Kaku & Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Michio Kaku Playlist: https://bigth.ink/kaku
Bill Nye Playlist: https://bigth.ink/BillNye
Neil DeGrasse Tyson Playlist: https://bigth.ink/deGrasseTyson
Read more at Bigthink.com for a multitude of articles just as informative and satisfying as our videos. New articles posted daily on a range of intellectual topics.
Join Big Think Edge, to gain access to a world-class learning platform focused on building the soft skills essential to 21st century success. It features insight from many of the most celebrated and intelligent individuals in the world today. Topics on the platform are focused on: emotional intelligence, digital fluency, health and wellness, critical thinking, creativity, communication, career development, lifelong learning, management, problem solving & self-motivation.
BIG THINK EDGE: https://bigth.ink/Edge
If you’re interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner, Executive Interviews: https://bigth.ink/licensing