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Annotated captions of Slavoj Žižek on Examined Life in English

Last Modified By Time Content
leeoliveira 00:25
00:29

[Man] This is where we should start feeling at home.

leeoliveira 00:32
00:36

Part of our daily perception of reality...

leeoliveira 00:36
00:39

is that this disappears from our world.

fparaggio 00:39
00:44

When you go to the toilet, shit disappears. You flush it.

fparaggio 00:44
00:49

Of course rationally you know it's there in canalization and so on,

fparaggio 00:49
00:52

but at a certain level of your most elementay experience,

fparaggio 00:52
00:57

it disappears from your world.

fparaggio 00:58
01:04

But the problem is that trash doesn't disappear.

fparaggio 01:04
01:06

I think ecology-

fparaggio 01:06
01:09

The way we approach ecological problematic...

fparaggio 01:09
01:13

is maybe the crucial field of ideology today.

fparaggio 01:13
01:19

And I use ideology in the traditional sense of illusory

fparaggio 01:19
01:23

wrong way of thinking and perceiving reality.

fparaggio 01:23
01:28

Why? Ideology is not simply dreaming...

fparaggio 01:28
01:31

about false ideas and so on.

fparaggio 01:31
01:35

Ideology addresses very real problems, but it mystifies them.

fparaggio 01:35
01:39

One of the elementay ideological mechanisms, I claim,

fparaggio 01:39
01:44

is what I call the temptation of meaning.

fparaggio 01:44
01:47

When something horrible happens,

fparaggio 01:47
01:50

our spontaneous tendency is to search for a meaning.

fparaggio 01:50
01:54

It must mean something. You know, like AIDS. It was a trauma.

fparaggio 01:54
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Then conservatives came and said it's punishment...

fparaggio 01:57
02:00

for our sinful ways of life, and so on and so on.

fparaggio 02:00
02:05

Even if we interpret a catastrophe as a punishment,

fparaggio 02:05
02:08

it makes it easier in a way...

fparaggio 02:08
02:12

because we know it's not just some terrifying blind force.

fparaggio 02:12
02:14

It has a meaning.

fparaggio 02:14
02:16

It's better when you are in the middle of a catastrophe.

fparaggio 02:16
02:22

It's better to feel that God punished you than to feel that it just happened.

fparaggio 02:22
02:26

If God punished you, it's still a universe of meaning.

fparaggio 02:26
02:36

And I think that that's where ecology as ideology enters.

fparaggio 02:53
02:56

It's really the implicit premise of ecology...

fparaggio 02:56
02:59

that the existing world...

fparaggio 02:59
03:02

is the best possible world,

fparaggio 03:02
03:05

in the sense of it's a balanced world...

fparaggio 03:05
03:09

which is disturbed through human hubris.

fparaggio 03:09
03:12

So why do I find this problematic?

fparaggio 03:12
03:16

Because I think that this notion of nature-

leeoliveira 57:25
57:30

nature as a harmonious, organic,

leeoliveira 57:30
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balanced, reproducing, almost living organism,

leeoliveira 57:35
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which is then disturbed, perturbed,

leeoliveira 57:40
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derailed through human hubris, technological exploitation and so on,

leeoliveira 57:44
57:48

is, I think, a secular version of the religious story of the Fall.

leeoliveira 57:48
57:54

And the answer should be- not that there is no fall- that we are part of nature,

leeoliveira 57:54
57:57

but on the contrary, that there is no nature.

leeoliveira 57:57
58:01

Nature is not a balanced totality which then we humans disturb.

leeoliveira 58:01
58:04

Nature is a big series...

leeoliveira 58:04
58:06

of unimaginable catastrophes.

leeoliveira 58:06
58:11

We profit from them. What's our main source of energy today? Oil.

leeoliveira 58:11
58:13

What are we aware- What is oil?

leeoliveira 58:13
58:18

Oil reserves beneath the earth are material remainders...

leeoliveira 58:18
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of an unimaginable catastrophe.

leeoliveira 58:21
58:25

Are we aware- Because we all know that oil- oil- oil is-

leeoliveira 58:25
58:29

oil is composed of the remainders of animal life,

leeoliveira 58:29
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plants and so on and so on.

leeoliveira 58:31
58:35

Can you imagine what kind of unthinkable catastrophe...

leeoliveira 58:35
58:37

had to occur on Earth?

leeoliveira 58:37
58:39

So that is good to remember.

leeoliveira 58:57
59:00

No. You call this porn? My God.

leeoliveira 59:06
59:11

You can have a half of a hamburger. There is some cheese sandwich.

leeoliveira 59:11
59:14

Then you can have a muffin and some juice.

leeoliveira 59:21
59:25

Ecology will slowly turn, maybe,

leeoliveira 59:25
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into a new opium of the masses...

leeoliveira 59:29
59:32

the way, as we all know, Marx defined religion.

leeoliveira 59:33
59:39

What we expect from religion is a kind of an unquestionable highest authority.

leeoliveira 59:39
59:42

It's God's word, so it is. You don't debate it.

leeoliveira 59:42
59:44

Today, I claim,

leeoliveira 59:44
59:49

ecology is more and more taking over this role...

leeoliveira 59:49
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of a conservative ideology.

leeoliveira 59:52
59:57

Whenever there is a new scientific breakthrough- biogenetic development, whatever-

leeoliveira 59:57
59:59

it is as if the voice...

leeoliveira 59:59
1:00:04

which warns us not to trespass,

leeoliveira 1:00:04
1:00:06

violate a certain invisible limit...

leeoliveira 1:00:06
1:00:09

like, "Don't do that. It would be too much."

leeoliveira 1:00:09
1:00:14

That voice is today more and more the voice of ecology.

leeoliveira 1:00:14
1:00:16

Like, "Don't mess with D.N.A.

leeoliveira 1:00:16
1:00:18

Don't mess with nature. Don't do it"-

leeoliveira 1:00:18
1:00:21

this basic conservative...

leeoliveira 1:00:21
1:00:26

partly ideological mistrust of change.

leeoliveira 1:00:26
1:00:28

This is today ecology.

leeoliveira 1:00:30
1:00:33

Another myth which is popular about ecology-

leeoliveira 1:00:33
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namely a spontaneous ideological myth-

leeoliveira 1:00:37
1:00:41

is the idea that we Western people...

leeoliveira 1:00:41
1:00:44

in our artificial technological environment...

leeoliveira 1:00:44
1:00:50

are alienated from immediate natural environments-

leeoliveira 1:00:50
1:00:52

that we should not forget...

leeoliveira 1:00:52
1:00:56

that we humans are part of the living Earth.

leeoliveira 1:00:56
1:01:01

We should not forget that we are not abstract engineers,

leeoliveira 1:01:01
1:01:04

theorists who just exploit nature-

leeoliveira 1:01:04
1:01:10

that we are part of nature, that nature is our unfathomable, impenetrable background.

leeoliveira 1:01:10
1:01:15

I think that that precisely is the greatest danger.

leeoliveira 1:01:15
1:01:20

Why? Think about a certain obvious paradox.

leeoliveira 1:01:20
1:01:24

We all know in what danger we all are-

leeoliveira 1:01:24
1:01:29

global warming, possibility of other ecological catastrophes and so on and so on.

leeoliveira 1:01:29
1:01:32

But why don't we do anything about it?

leeoliveira 1:01:32
1:01:35

It is, I think, a nice example...

leeoliveira 1:01:35
1:01:40

of what in psychoanalysis we call disavowal.

leeoliveira 1:01:40
1:01:43

The logic is that of, "I know very well,

leeoliveira 1:01:43
1:01:47

but I act as if I don't know."

leeoliveira 1:01:47
1:01:50

For example, precisely,

leeoliveira 1:01:50
1:01:54

in the case of ecology, I know very well there may be global warming,

leeoliveira 1:01:54
1:01:57

everything will explode, be destroyed.

leeoliveira 1:01:57
1:02:02

But after reading a treatise on it, what do I do?

leeoliveira 1:02:02
1:02:07

I step out. I see- not things that I see now behind me-

leeoliveira 1:02:07
1:02:09

that's a nice sight for me-

leeoliveira 1:02:09
1:02:12

I see nice trees, birds singing and so on.

leeoliveira 1:02:12
1:02:17

And even if I know rationally this is all in danger,

leeoliveira 1:02:17
1:02:22

I simply do not believe that this can be destroyed.

leeoliveira 1:02:22
1:02:27

That's the horror of visiting sites of a catastrophe like Chernobyl.

leeoliveira 1:02:27
1:02:30

You- In a way, we are not evolutionarily-

leeoliveira 1:02:30
1:02:34

We are not wired to even imagine something like that.

leeoliveira 1:02:34
1:02:36

It's in a way unimaginable.

leeoliveira 1:02:36
1:02:39

So I think that what we should do...

leeoliveira 1:02:39
1:02:44

to confront properly the threat of ecological catastrophe...

leeoliveira 1:02:44
1:02:46

is not all this New Age stuff...

leeoliveira 1:02:46
1:02:50

to break out of this technological manipulative mold...

leeoliveira 1:02:50
1:02:53

and to found our roots in nature,

leeoliveira 1:02:53
1:02:57

but, on the contrary, to cut off even more these roots in nature.

leeoliveira 1:03:07
1:03:11

We need more alienation from our life-world,

leeoliveira 1:03:11
1:03:14

from our, as it were, spontaneous nature.

leeoliveira 1:03:14
1:03:17

We should become more artificial.

leeoliveira 1:03:27
1:03:31

We should develop, I think, a much more terrifying new abstract materialism,

leeoliveira 1:03:31
1:03:35

a kind of a mathematical universe where there is nothing.

leeoliveira 1:03:35
1:03:39

There are just formulas, technical forms and so on.

leeoliveira 1:03:39
1:03:44

And the difficult thing is to find poetry,

leeoliveira 1:03:44
1:03:46

spirituality, in this dimension...

leeoliveira 1:03:48
1:03:51

to recreate-if not beauty- then aesthetic dimension...

leeoliveira 1:03:52
1:03:55

in things like this, in trash itself.

leeoliveira 1:03:55
1:03:57

That's the true love of the world.

leeoliveira 1:03:57
1:04:00

Because what is love? Love is not idealization.

leeoliveira 1:04:02
1:04:07

Every true lover knows that if you really love a woman or a man,

leeoliveira 1:04:08
1:04:12

that you don't idealize him or her.

leeoliveira 1:04:12
1:04:16

Love means that you accept a person...

leeoliveira 1:04:16
1:04:20

with all its failures, stupidities, ugly points.

leeoliveira 1:04:20
1:04:24

And nonetheless, the person's absolute for you.

leeoliveira 1:04:24
1:04:28

Everything life- that makes life worth living.

leeoliveira 1:04:28
1:04:32

But you see perfection in imperfection itself.

leeoliveira 1:04:32
1:04:38

And that's how we should learn to love the world.

leeoliveira 1:04:38
1:04:41

True ecologist loves all this.