Slavoj Žižek - On Ideology

One of the more interesting lessons Hegel's dialectical method has contributed to our understanding of ideas is that ideas carry within them the seeds of their own internal contradictions, and that out of this tension of thesis and antithesis grows a continuous (if punctuated) process of conflicts and resolutions that is repeated indefinitely. According to Hegel, the force driving this process, which he saw as teleological, was Geist (mind, spirit). Marx, for his part, adopted Hegel's dialectical method, but took away the teleological and idealist elements, and argued that the driving force is a combination of material and historical conditions.

While Marxist historical analysis has been discredited in many circles, dialectical materialism is still nevertheless a powerful tool to understand historical, political, cultural and social phenomena, and to make explicit the negative space of shared assumptions we tend to take for granted by virtue of the material and cultural conditions that surround us and to which we unwittingly contribute.

In the following fascinating and humorous talk, philosopher Slavoj Žižek performs an exercise in understanding the dialectics of the unsaid, showing in the process how certain ideological presuppositions, especially capitalistic and consumerist ones, lead us to perpetuate the logic of the current hegemony, which ultimately demands that we treat our own selves, and therefore everyone else (though without realizing it), as commodities to be used and discarded. This commodification is not an accident or unforeseen consequence, but a necessary requirement of the internal logic of the prevailing hegemony. If you've ever read Plato's myth of the cave, this is what our modern cave looks like:




And so on, and so on. :)
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