Slavoj Žižek: 'I’m Not Afraid of This New World'
Google is just a privatized NSA; the powerful are continuously trying to control the weak. Slavoj Žižek may have some misgivings about our brave new world, but that doesn't mean he's going to buckle beneath the weight of unnecessary fears.
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.\r\n
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.\r\n
Slavoj Zizek: I have nothing against a company offering me to freeze my sperm, eggs, or whatever. I just would like to see the context. In principle, why not? I don’t buy this totally paranoiac attitude, you know, that this is just another means of control, manipulation, and so on and so on. My God, we are entering a new era, if we want it or not, where having children and so on will be totally denaturalized. The problem is not shall we do it or not. The problem is under what conditions who will control it and so on and so on. To be even more precise I am not a fan of Facebook and Apple and so on and so on. I agree with Julian Assange who compared Google in a wonderful metaphor recently to just privatized NSA, you know. I agree with all these. I’m not saying that the solution is not simply to remain stuck. Then we are acting like old European social democracy. To remain stuck in the golden era of welfare state or era of human rights. We cannot avoid it. We have to accept that this is happening and will be happening more and more.
The way out is not simply to say don’t do it, to just prohibit it. If nothing else, if we don’t do it, others will be doing it like crazy. So, you know, we have to confront the problem. But no basically I know of the great anxieties, problems, new forms of control, but it’s also new forms of freedom. This is why I always emphasize that Internet and all this new digital stuff, it’s a very ambiguous phenomenon, but it’s the field of struggle. New forms of enslavement, but at the same time new incredible forms of freedom. We have to accept the fight with no nostalgia for old allegedly more authentic communities or whatever. I’m not afraid of this new world.
Google is just a privatized NSA; the powerful are continuously trying to control the weak. Slavoj Žižek has plenty of misgivings about our brave new world, but that doesn't mean he's going to buckle beneath the weight of unnecessary fears. The age of big Internet opens the door to new forms of enslavement, but also new forms of freedom. The key is to approach the issues about our new era head-on rather than simmering or cowering. We have to accept that these things are happening and not fearfully avoid the tough, inevitable conversations privacy, freedom, and humanity.
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