Slavoj Žižek on Ecology (Examined Life)
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Slavoj Žižek on Ecology (Examined Life)


[Music] this is where we should start feeling at home part of our daily perception of reality is that this disappears from our world when you go to the toilet disappears you flush it of course irrationally you know it’s their internalization and so on but at a certain level of your most elementary experience it disappears from your world but the problem is that trash doesn’t disappear I think ecology the way we approach ecological problematic is maybe the crucial field of ideology today and I use ideology in the traditional sense of illusory wrong way of thinking and perceiving reality why ideology is not simply dreaming about false ideas and so on ideology addresses very real problems but it mystifies them one of the elementary ideological mechanisms I claim is what I call the temptation of meaning when something horrible happens our spontaneous tendency is to search for a meaning it must mean something you know like eh it was a trauma then conservatives came and said it’s punishment for our sinful ways of life and so on and so on even if we interpret the catastrophe as a punishment it makes it easier in a way because we know it’s not just some terrifying blind force it has a meaning it’s better when you are in the middle of a catastrophe it’s better to feel that God punished you then to feel that it last happened if God punished you it’s still a universe of meaning and I think that that’s word ecology as ideology it’s really the implicit premise of Ecology death the existing world is the best possible world in the sense of it’s a balanced world which is dispelled through human hubris so why do I find this problematic because I think that this notion of nature nature is harmonious organic balance reproducing almost living organism which then disturbed perturbed derail through human hubris technological exploitation and so on is I think a secular version of the religious story of the fall and the answer should be not that there is no fall that we are part of nature but on the contrary that there is no nature nature is not a balanced totality which then we humans disturbed nature is a big series of unimaginable catastrophes we profit from them what is our main source of energy today oil what are we aware what is oil oil reserves believes the earth are material remainders of an unimaginable catastrophe are we aware because we all know that oil always always always composed of the remainders of animal life plants and so on and so on can you imagine what kind of unthinkable catastrophe yet to occur on earth so there is good to remember now you call this power on my god 1/2 of a hamburger or rather some cheese sandwich then you can have a muffin and some juice ecology will slowly turn maybe into a new opium of the masses the way as we all know Marx defined religion what we expect from religion is the kind of unquestionable highest authority it’s not work so it is you don’t debate today I claim ecology is more and more taking over this role of a conservative ideology whenever there is a new scientific breakthrough biogenetic development whatever it is as if the voice which warns us not to trespass violate a certain invisible limit like don’t do that it would be too much that voice is today more and more the voice of ecology like don’t mess with DNA don’t mess with nature don’t do it this basic conservative me which is popular about ecology namely spontaneous ideological myth is the idea that we Western people in our artificial technological environment are alienated from immediate natural environments that we should not forget that we humans are part of the living Earth we should not forget that we are not abstract engineers theorists who just exploit nature that we are part of nature that nature is our unfathomable impenetrable the ground I think the date precisely is the greatest name the greatest danger why think about certain obvious paradox we all know in what danger we all are global warming possibility of other ecological catastrophes and so on and so on but why don’t we do anything about it it is I think a nice example of what in psychoanalysis we call disavowal the logic is that off I know very well but I act as if I don’t know for example precisely in the case of ecology I know very well there may be global warming everything will explode the destroyed but after reading a treatise on it what do I do I step out I see not things that I see now behind me that’s a nice sight for me I see nice trees bird singing and so on and even if I know rationally this all is in danger I simply do not believe that this can be destroyed that the color of visiting sites of a catastrophe like Chernobyl you in a way we are not evolutionary we are not wired to even imagine something like that it’s in a way unimaginable so I think that what we should do to confront properly the threat of ecological catastrophe is not all this new age starts to break out of this technological manipulative world and to found our roots in nature but on the contrary to cut off even more this root innate [Music] we need more alienation from our life world from our as it were spontaneous nature we should become more artificial we should develop I think a much more terrifying new abstract materialism a kind of a mathematical universe where there is nothing there are just formulas technical forms and so on and the difficult thing is to find poetry spirituality in this dimension to recreate if not buted an aesthetic dimension in things like this in trash itself that’s the true laughs of the world because what is love love is not idealization every true lover knows that if you really love a woman or a man that you don’t idealize him or her love means that you accept a person with all its failures UPD these ugly points and nonetheless the person’s absolute for you everything like that makes life worth living but you see perfection in imperfection itself and that’s how we should learn to love the world through ecologist laughs all this [Music]

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