The Optimism of Melancholia

Slavoj Zizek: Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, I think, it’s a basically, I’m not kidding, optimistic film, even as we know at the end the planet Melancholia hits the earth, we all die.  But I find something beautifully poetical in the attitude of the main person, Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst, no, this inner peace, how she accepts this. 

I claim that we should not read this as kind of a pessimism.  “Oh, we all die.  Who cares?”  No, if you really want to do something good for society, if you want to avoid all totalitarian threats and so on, you basically should go . . . we should all go to this, let me call it--although I’m a total materialist--fundamentally spiritual experience of accepting that at some day everything will finish, that at any point the end may be near.  I think that, quite on the contrary of what may appear, this can be a deep experience which pushes you to strengthen ethical activity.

The result of this experience is not, “Oh, the end may be near, so let’s kill, let’s just enjoy,” and so on.  No, it’s the opposite.  Again, paradoxically, I claim it’s not a superficially but profoundly optimistic film. 

Interviewed by Megan Erickson
Directed / Produced by 
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

 

 

The philosopher on why Melancholia is actually an optimistic movie.

NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

What would happen if America defaulted on its debt?

Sure we know it would be bad, but what do all of these scary numbers really mean?

Politics & Current Affairs
  • At the press time, the value was $21.7 trillion dollars.
  • Lots of people know that a default would be bad, but not everybody seems to get how horrible it would be.
  • While the risk is low, knowing what would happen if a default did occur is important information for all voters.
Keep reading Show less