Slavoj Žižek on Why You’re Never Really Alone With Your Sexual Partner
Slavoj Žižek draws from examples in literature, film, and advertising to explain a phenomenon in which no sexual liaison is complete without a third element — an intruder, something like a fantasy.
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 Žižek: I like this new wave of feminine crime fiction writers who are feminists, but not in the stupid, politically correct way. That feminism isn’t authentic feminism, you know. They don’t have this patronizing attitude like, you know, women should always be passive victims and so on and so on. But even maybe now I’ll say something for that maybe I’m not very popular here. Even better than how she call Gillian Flynn or what is an Irish girl called Tana French. A series of crime fiction taking place in Dublin with more or less the same spirit, the same attitude. A kind of a, if I have to invent some stupid title, a kind of a dark neo-feminist crime thrillers. But no, of the movie that I recently saw, there is a problem. Often a movie attracts me — not attracts me, but gets me to think intellectually. But I don’t really like it as a movie. For example, the one, Her with Joaquin Phoenix. In the film at the end he is the hero together with the girl. I think she’s called Amy. But they are both abandoned by their machines. The big enigma here is, and this is what always attracted me. And this is I think what my mentor in theory, French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, insisted in his crazy theories there is no sexual relationship. Which means we are never alone, me and my partner. There has to be a third element, a fantasy scene, an intruder. It’s only through that mediation of a third element here, in Her they’re operating systems, that sex functions. And then I started to think about other variations of this, like for example, a perfect very intelligently made 20 years old British publicity for beer which is about wonderful ironic repetition of an old fairy tale motif you know. A young girl walks by a stream, sees a frog and, of course, that’s what you do in fairy tales. She picks up and kisses the frog and the frog turns into a prince, charming young man.\r\n
But then the publicity goes on. The charming young man looks at her, kisses her and she turns into a can of beer, you know. That’s what really he wanted, you know. And then I found here in the States a similar, but inverted version. It’s pretty disgusting incidentally publicity for a Taco Bell publicity for something called quesarito, which is quesadilla and burrito — combination of the two. And it’s presented in such an obscene way that if you combine the two it’s really like a penis enwrapped by a vagina. But how is the publicity spot done here? A young guy and a girl seated during lunch break at the table and one has quesadilla, the other burrito. And they look at each other and then you see each person’s dream. Boy looks at her and imagines the future. They start to talk. They get married, have children. Then she looks at him, approaches him in her dream and takes his piece of burrito or whatever, wraps it up so that she gets a kind of a bisexual completing, and just makes a sign and he disappears. It’s similar to that one beer, but what I think is the enigma behind all this is why do we never get just a couple. Why it always have to be some intruder. And the best Hollywood version of this — I ask all the viewers who are watching this now to download — you can download it for free. It’s an American classic movie, Preston Sturges’ Lady Eve where you have the ultimate marriage proposal scene. You have Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck and a horse standing behind them and the horse’s head is always intruding and so on and so on. That’s the mystery of sex. It’s never two. You always need something, an imagined gaze, an element intruding and so on and so on.\r\n
Slavoj Žižek draws from examples in literature, film, and advertising to explain a phenomenon in which no sexual liaison is complete without a third element — an intruder, something like a fantasy. He also dishes out on topics including feminist crime fiction, 20-year-old British beer commercials, and the Taco Bell Quesarito.
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.
I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.
A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.
- A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
- The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
- The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now
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Mathematicians studied 100 billion tweets to help computer algorithms better understand our colloquial digital communication.
- A group of mathematicians from the University of Vermont used Twitter to examine how young people intentionally stretch out words in text for digital communication.
- Analyzing the language in roughly 100 billion tweets generated over eight years, the team developed two measurements to assess patterns in the tweets: balance and stretch.
- The words people stretch are not arbitrary but rather have patterned distributions such as what part of the word is stretched or how much it stretches out.