Notes on seeing Slavoj Zizek in Amsterdam last night

After the courage of hopelessness: Notes on seeing Slavoj Zizek in Amsterdam last night

I just got back from hearing Slovoj Zizek speak, passionately, in Amsterdam at the Westerkerk (Church) and feel happy to report that he kept up his reputation, as one of the most important public intellectuals of our time, etc...witty, challenging and comprehensive...etc. Now, forgive me as i mangle some of his thoughts together with my own. These are  loose notes, please do forgive my blunders.

My recollections are splintered as you might expect, and also further fragmented from the rather dull Q & A period, and distractions from the other panel members, respect due. Zizek himself seemed like an Alien from another planet at times, when he referenced 'V for Vendetta' he baffled others on the panel, as if they were not aware of the novel? maybe i miss-read their response? And so Zizek's comment about wanting to know what happened after the revolution, or what a 'V for vendetta 2' would portray, was lost on the rest of the panel. I would have said 'Jerusalem!' that is what happens after the revolution. The punchline echoed the sentiment of 'what happens the day after?' and how does the revolutionary event change the day to day perception of the people? how can the changes be sustained over time?

Zizek talked on Ecology, and on catastrophe of the ecological variety, and its relationship with global capitalism. And was critical of the carry-on-regardless attitude of those who make token gestures like recycling, buying organic food and bio diesel, without addressing the deeper causes face on, and at the root. The root being whatever Zizek's complex analysis of capitalism is. I like the phrase the rich have all the money and the poor have none.

He spoke of the symptom often being misread as the cause. And he constructively criticised the left for these symptomatic solutions to problems, that now have glaringly obvious foundations. Interesting 'Simtome' is a word used by Lacan, and Zizek borrowed from James Joyce, used to illustrate this 'sypmtom for cause error.'

For example, he described how, paradoxically, it is the far-right party in Poland that recently created Worker's Union rights, which traditionally you might associate with the left. And examples of how in fact, the so called unelected in Brussels, of the European Union, have so far averted far worse humanitarian disasters than we currently see around us, by intervening over fully legitimised elected parties, such as the aforementioned in Poland, so to avert openly racist, xenophobic and homophobic policy. Zizek points out, to his horror, that the voting people, for the most part across Europe are against immigration and integration, preferring insular and right leaning political parties and leaders. The decision by Angela Merkel to go ahead and open the gates to the immigrants, against the popular will of the German voting public, is another example of this kind of overpowering of the will of the people by executive order, but here in favour of progressive ideas, to help refugees, in this example, or to curb xenophobia in the other.

The message on Brexit is similar. The will of the voting public in Europe is right leaning, democracy has led to those with the most hatred and ignorance going to the polls and winning. (my words and emphasis) The left, left shocked, without a strategy or alternative to democracy (myself included). Okay, we have Bernie Sanders in the U.S, and Corbyn in the UK. What is to be done?
I think that the UKIP movement and the Leave campaign were always an old guard conservative Trojan horse, designed to bring back the old classicist, racist, rather greedy, capitalist Tories, back into the control room, with a new flavor of xenophobia, oh and some good old hatred of the poor, the vulnerable, mentally and/or physically disabled, those on welfare, artists, and more or less anybody that is not them.

This forces me to reconsider the idea i have clung to for a while, concerning open source democracy and representative democracy. And to think about a constitutional framework as a kind of safe guard, at a transnational, global scale, which prevents the violation of basic human rights. (um, sounds a bit like a global world order, whoops) To be defined, and with luck expanded upon. I agree that democracy is a mean bitch, and reminded of the quotes "never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups" and "monarchy is rule by one imbecile, democracy by 500 imbeciles"

At one point Zizek said that if most white people were to hear how he talks with his black friends, they would be appalled and understand his lack of political correctness. He touched on the subject of Zionism and right wing conspiracy theories, and used Anders Brevic as an example of an openly right wing Zionist. He went on to point out that some conspiracy theorists propose that there is a Judeo Muslim conspiracy behind the turmoil in Europe and the near east. Another Zionist conspiracy. I have heard Zizek on a previous occasion mention these wild conspiracy theories, but adding how in the past 12 months such wild conspiracies are surfacing within the mainstream political sphere. Full on crazed far right white supremacy at it's most toxic and devoutly blinded. Others have recently traced the rise of the American trumpism to 4chan message boards and the likes of Alex Jones, helping to perpetuate fantastical conspiracies about the 'global elites' the 'globalists' and their attempt to create prison planet earth.  

Some of the most stimulating parts of his talk were those where he quoted and improvised on Sloterdijk, who should have been on the panel but had an accident up a mountain. he talked of the new anthropocene period, where humanity can no longer ignore its footprints all over the face of the planet. And that these boots are powered by capitalist expansion, commodification and complete ignorance to the ecological threats upon us. Furthermore, Zizek pointed out some cruel Hegelian reversals, where for example, the fixed hole in the Ozone layer of Antarctica, in fact has helped increase rates of global warming due to the greenhouse effect.

And gives an all to familiar example of a company capitalizing on newly uncovered, dry land, revealed due to melting ice caps in Greenland. The company imply that this new green land, in green land is green land, to mean green - ecologically friendly.
I would add is that this land should be a graveyard commemorating the destruction of the natural environment over the last 500 years of industrialization and progress.

I was fascinated to hear him discuss his friends in America and their computer studies, or research into the predictive abilities of computers versus the abilities of humans, with regards to questions such as will this marriage or relationship last. The computer program is fed a whole array of data sets stretching back in time, and calculates the approximate scenario. The punchline here is that the computer program increasingly knows you, better than you know you. (related software has been disrupting the stock market too, according to Zizek, due to producing better stock predictions than highly payed wall street stock analysts.

I imagine this is due to the susceptible nature of humans, emotions, desires, complexes, delusions and amplifications, improvisations, which all lead to spur of the moment decisions, which in fact are rarely representative of the longer game perspective, habits, activities, changes. Zizek also joked that perhaps this is the way to get rid of Gert Wilders, with computers like this. I am reminded of an unanswered question i have, why are our politicians, world leaders and communicators not wired up to a simple lie detector? or some such device to monitor for bullshit, in real time? here is direct democracy connected to a hierarchy of values based on an verifiable. transparent field. Call it a Bushit detector in Honor of the master of Bullshit George W. Bush. Catalogue name: Nightmare Bushit' Whirl.

Zizek said words to the effect that if you don't address the likes of Gert Wilder's, and Le Pen, then what else are you standing for? This is the fight for Europe. To figure out our common ground, and shared weirdness, and basically agree to tolerate each other. Respect my atheism because of it, not in spite of it, in response to a religious argument, along the lines of respect my beliefs because...not in spite of.

The term spaceship earth jumped out at me, in the context of the work of Peter Sloterdijk, due to its use by Buckminster Fuller. Although i have yet to look into Sloterdijk's use of the term, i hope it related to Fuller's all-around-the-world synergy and shared resources. Zizek mentioned that in the future countries will need to figure out temporary land loans, in the wake of ecological crisis, and other unforeseen problematic relations between sovereign states in times of dire catastrophe.

I can simply image solving the refugee crisis by giving a certain people, defined by their homelessness, land, perhaps only temporarily, but under a sovereign agreement. Ending the status of immigrant and native. I mean, if people are not living on the land (i.e the billions of square meters on earth currently not occupied by humans, but capable of sustaining a life of relative comfort) why not let them?

I think that's enough memory exercise from me. I'll close by saying that above all Zizek seemed kind and forgiving, open for debate and for new date, open to change his mind on things. I found this very refreshing, i hope he continues on his current trajectory.

--Steve Fly
25/03/2017 - 02.35 a.m

Zizek Lacan Joyce Wilson

Wilson, Joyce, Lacan, Zizek.

By Steve Fly

"The term "sinthome" (French: [sɛ̃tom]) was introduced by Jacques Lacan in his seminar Le sinthome (1975–76). According to Lacan, sinthome is the Latin way (1495 Rabelais, IV,63) of spelling the Greek origin of the French word symptôme, meaning symptom. The seminar is a continuing elaboration of his topology, extending the previous seminar's focus (RSI) on the Borromean Knot and an exploration of the writings of James Joyce. Lacan redefines the psychoanalytic symptom in terms of his topology of the subject.--

[some first thought best thought notes]

Slavoj Zizek will lecture later this evening here in Amsterdam. Over the last 48 hours since learning this, and buying a ticket, I've been formulating questions, and blowing my own mind without loosing my head i hope. Joyce, Lacan, Zizek, Wilson, oh my!

Here i will simply connect some threads between Joyce, Lacan, Wilson and Zizek, and show how they are in resonance. And why this is important, at least to me.

A quick web search for Joyce, Lacan and Zizek, explicitly, kicks up the works of Sheldon Brivic, who seems to have already explored every nook and cranny of why James Joyce, and Finnegans Wake in particular resonance with Lacan, and so by osmosis, Zizek. As far as i know Brivic does not mention Wilson in his works. Why should he? Zizek already has an article published on Joyce, here:

Due to the sheer number of peer reviewed and published works about Joyce, there's not much left that cannot be linked to the great Irish poet. Every writer and work since Joyce, seems to have been influenced by him. He's like a literary equivalent of Einstein who permanently transformed his field. Be that as it may, in 2017 who is reading Joyce, and Einstein, for that matter? is it relevant to the new digital village of social networking, and the explosion of visual media, film, games, vr, ar, mr?

Wilson, due to his early adoption of the technique of using contemporary pop cultural examples to illustrate deeper philosophical principles about society, and that hover perpendicular to any left/right axis, provide a strong 'aesthetic' link between the American Joycean, social philosophers informed by Lacan, and the contemporary continental philosophers, rolled up in Zizek.

For me, the similarities between Wilson and Zizek, deserve closer examination. If you like Zizek, i think you'll enjoy Wilson. Maybe i am living in a cultural vacuum and everybody has read Robert Anton Wilson, indeed, the fans of Zizek i know are mostly from the tribes of Wilson. Perhaps i'd like to hear from the critics of Wilson, and his socio-psychology?

I think the term Guerrilla ontologist fits Zizek as it fit RAW. The term ontological anarchist may also be applicable in the sense of poetically charged intellectual discourse. All these characters have been labelled dangerous thinkers too.

I think Wilson and Zizek could agree on many principles, historic, philosophical, socio-psychological and political. And, perhaps most importantly, upon their share sharp witted, often satirical bent toward language. Althoug Zizek is not best described as a satirist at all.

Wilson often repeated the general relativity principle, also developed by Lacan and Joyce, together with a long list of philosophers before them (Hegel, Russel, Kant, etc.) that in a nutshell, i think is best described by the statements: 'the map is not the territory' 'the menu is not the meal' and the principle that the language (symbol systems) you use, and that construct your waking environment, help determine your apprehension of the universe, of all things. This is nothing new, i admit. But new understandings within physics, and quantum entanglement support many of the principles Wilson put forward in his books since 1959, and his essay 'Joyce Tao' Wilson explicitly recommended the symbol systems of James Joyce, Aleister Crowley and Albert Einstein in both his non-fiction, and fictional works.

The real fun stuff here seems to lie in the prospect, to me, of Zizek unravelling Wilson's literary styles and hologrammic prose to discover a familiar upbeat dialectical political language of resistance together with Lacanian, symbolic and meta symbolic satire. I imagine the perverts guide to Illuminatus Trilogy! as a Sundance Film Festival smash.

Wilson used international banking cartels, obscure religious sects within religious sects and the history of the warfare between secret societies to drive home these 'brain exercises' and philosophical exercises, in which, i believe he was forcing his readers to think. Wilson, in my opinion, underneath his brilliant fictional hologrammic style of writing, was pushing almost precisely what i think Zizek promotes, or a part of what he is doing. Encouraging you to question everything, especially authority.

Arm yourself with self-augmented tools of perception. Learn to understand 'negative thinking' 'quantum psychology/entanglement' and 'cognitive biases' plus how the arts, film, poetry, painting, can extend these armaments to reach the others, to extend outside of your own limited perceptions. And together with the study of symbol systems (semiotics), ideogrammic method, sigil magick, graffiti and computer code, informed by the history of psychoanalysis, pivoting around Lacan, touching Wilhelm Reich, Jung and Wolfgang Pauli.

Joyce and Wilson have a lot to say about Synchronicity, and more specifically in the context of quantum mechanics and perceptual studies (cognitive studies, neuro-science etc.) See Wilson book 'Coincidance' 1988.

How would Zizek interpret the illuminati conspiracy and the historical trajectory of symbolic language within secret societies? Opration mind fuck, and CIA mind control informed by post-modernist 'halls of mirrors' Are both Wilson, Zizek, and Lacan? generally in step with Karl Popper's principles from 'The Open Society and it's enemies? how about principles of minarchy (or smallest possible government)

How do their ideas about economics fair up together? does Wilson's interest in the economic work of Silvio Gessel, and C.H Douglas, and Lysander Spooner resonate with Zizek? where do they differ. Does Zizek rate Dr Timothy Leary, and his 8 circuit model of consciousness, or such socio-psychological models?

How does Zizek view the psychedelic psychoanalysts? those like Stan Groff and Alan Watts to a degree, Leary and Wilson and Kessey and Lilly? if they can agree that reality is self-augmented by the symbol systems you communicate and signify with, then how does the psychedelic experience fit into this equation? And how does symbolic Magick fit into such an equation, and here we come to Wilson's famous experiments in 1973 of mixing up the two. LSD plus crowleyan enochian magick, worked for him. Although with the fall out of high weirdness.

Now, Alan Moore implores all artists to realize they are better magicians than they think, and vice verso. Art and Magic are almost interchangeable terms, to Alan, and to Dr Wilson. Would Zizek agree that Magick, specifically enochian Magick is a functional performance by example of Lacanian principles, and of the the underlying principles of 'quantum entanglement' which in some sense describes the ancient concept of sympathetic magic. (spooky action at a distance?)

My extension and idea for you to consider, is to construct an international magickally charged street art campaign - the totality of each location as perceived by the artist, informed by Lacan, psychotherapy, Jungian symbolism, Occult symbolism and current street art and graffiti (Banksy, Space Invader, Jimmy Cauty, MauMau). In the tradition of Hakim Bey's poetic terrorism. Exercising the dialectical phantoms and turning the tables, resolving opposites, breaking-inn, to leave a gift, filling in street potholes anonymously. Also the standard practise of distributing free food, books, music, texts, open servers, etc. Voluntary association and simply being an undeniable force for good.

To apply the sharpest most undeniably beautiful highly-charged symbolic messages in your environment can bring the charged symbol system off the page, and out of a book or computer, into the shared outside environment. This, a new linguistically charged design intervention, anonymous, beautiful, relative. Powered by the artistic and disciplined 'resolution of opposites', in resonance with the quantum world and the psycho-social environment. Now i digress.

Is Finnegans Wake probably the best performance by example, of Lacan's philosophy of language and perception? How is James Joyce, and his global epic relative to us today? who else, other than yourself (Zizek) Wilson and Joyce can find the fun in all of this fossilised poetry? what else qualifies as a tale of the tribe, in your opinion, a global epic including history, a complex of languages, yet once more informed by semiotics, psychoanalysis and modern pop cultural tropes? I would argue 'Jerusalem' by Alan Moore! Who demonstrates he is equally well versed in semiotics as any scholar from any institution or university faculty, plus historian, plus world class story teller, a mixture hard to beat in a universe augmented by the metasymbolic 'mythos' of human imagination. As with the works of Wilson. Here are a number of texts on Lacan and Joyce, and Zizek.

Please take a look and reconsider some of the above. And please excuse all my mistakes and flights of fancy.

--Steve Fly

"Reality is whatever you can get away with.--Robert Anton Wilson.

"What does Lacan's thesis on "Joyce-the-symptom" aim at? Joyce's famous statement that he wrote Finnegans Wake in order to keep literary historians busy for the next 400 years has to be read against the background of Lacan's assertion that, within a psychoanalytic cure, a symptom is always addressed at the analyst and as such points forward towards its interpretation. The "modernism" of Joyce resides in the fact that his works, at least Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, are not simply external to their interpretation but, as it were, in advance take into account their possible interpretations and enter into dialogue with them.--Zizek,

All thinking people oppose terrorism

one year after Brussels was bombed
London was struck by a thoughtless coward
one man with a knife
and a car and a familiar agenda
to cause a spree of terror in the minds of the people
across the mediasphere through
targeting random people
in whatever fundamentalist reality tunnel
this fucker inhabited

all thinking people oppose terrorism
the chaos of the indiscriminate
attacks so devilish in simplicity
a desperate act from a lonely suicidal
maniac driven by who knows what
kind of a broken mind?

all thinking people oppose terrorism
that species of violence and will
to kill based on inflicting a lasting fear
here, in the simplicity, lies the terror
any car and any knife could
take any human life!
both the terrorists and the state are
clear in agreement about that

all thinking people oppose terrorism
but differ on their way to stop it
and on why it started, and, what
else and who else are to blame,
violence united in violence
violence and terrorism know no
nation or religion or race or sex
be indiscriminate in equal condemnation
of terrorism and violence, and war
think different.

all thinking people oppose terrorism
stop the war stop the killing stop
the robbery stop the lies,
oppose the causes of hatred and
the demonization of entire cultures
oppose the use of theistic
terminology such as 'evil'
which plays into the hands of the devil
that master of distraction, obfuscation
and fear mongering

all thinking people oppose terrorism
some people finacially support it
keeping hands clean
selling arms to unstable lunatics to
inflict terror in another land
terror by another brand
the terrorismometer is broken

all thinking people oppose terrorism
some say that false flags are waving
terror as a set-up and a pretext for
cultural division, increase in
state powers and surveillance and
racial profiling and security investment
sheep dipped dupes and manchurian
candidates and strange coincidences
intelligence operations and....and....but

all thinking people oppose terrorism
and so explode with the opposite
everyday love bombing and attacking hate
with thermonuclear peace weapons
killing softly with his song
an unquestionable force for good
with the power of forgiveness blazing

all thinking people oppose terrorism
and should resist the rush to revenge
resist the urge to hate
let the violence become the exclusive
signiture of terrorism
all violence is degrading to the human
stop the wheels stop the killing and the
mockery and the fighting talk
and spare a thought for the victims
and their friends and families and join them
with opposing terrorism
everywhere everywhen.

"All thinking people oppose terrorism both domestic & international but one should not be used to cover the other.--Amiri Baraka

These programs were never about terrorism: they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power.”--Ed Snowdon.