101+ Slavoj Žižek Quotes On Critical, Provocative And Subversive

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Top 10 Slavoj Žižek Quotes (BEST)

  1. The threat today is not passivity, but pseudo-activity, the urge to "be active", to "participate", to mask the Nothingness of what goes on.
  2. If you have reasons to love someone, you don’t love them.
  3. I already am eating from the trash can all the time. The name of this trash can is ideology. The material force of ideology makes me not see what I am effectively eating.
  4. Love feels like a great misfortune, a monstrous parasite, a permanent state of emergency that ruins all small pleasures.
  5. Love is what makes sex more than masturbation. If there is no love even if you are really with a partner you masturbate with a partner.
  6. Thinking begins when you ask really difficult questions.
  7. Atheism is not the denial of the existence of God, but having doubts as to whether God is conscious.
  8. Ideology is a certain unique experience of the universe and your place in it, to put it in standard terms, which serves the production of the existing power relations and blah blah blah.
  9. The ultimate lesson of The Interpretation of Dreams: reality is for those who cannot sustain the dream.
  10. The horror of Communism, Stalinism, is not that bad people do bad things -- they always do. It's that good people do horrible things thinking they are doing something great.

Slavoj Žižek Image Quotes

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quote by Slavoj Žižek

Thinking begins when you ask really difficult questions. — Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj Žižek Short Quotes

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  • A spectre is haunting Western academia (...), the spectre of the Cartesian subject.
  • We need useless theory more than ever today.
  • When I really love someone, I can only show it by making aggressive and bad-taste remarks.
  • What if culture itself is nothing but a halt, a break, a respite, in the pursuit of barbarity?
  • Undoubtedly [Beethoven's] music often verges on kitsch
  • The more opera is dead, the more it flourishes.
  • The force of universalism is in you Basques, not in the Spanish state.
  • It's bad if we are controlled, but if we're not, it can be even worse.
  • Words are never 'only words'; they matter because they define the contours of what we can do.
  • I secretly think reality exists so we can speculate about it.

Slavoj Žižek Famous Quotes And Sayings

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Why are so many problems today perceived as problems of intolerance, rather than as problems of inequality, exploitation, or injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, rather than emancipation, political struggle, or even armed struggle? — Slavoj Žižek

A German officer visited Picasso in his Paris studio during the Second World War. There he saw Guernica and, shocked at the modernist «chaos» of the painting, asked Picasso: «Did you do this?» Picasso calmly replied: «No, you did this!» — Slavoj Žižek

quote by Slavoj Žižek

Thinking begins when you ask really difficult questions. — Slavoj Žižek

Often, the worst way to become prisoner of a system is to have a dream that things may turn better, there is always the possibility of change. Because it is precisely this secret dream that keeps you enslaved to the system. — Slavoj Žižek

When we are shown scenes of starving children in Africa, with a call for us to do something to help them, the underlying ideological message is something like: "Don't think, don't politicize, forget about the true causes of their poverty, just act, contribute money, so that you will not have to think! — Slavoj Žižek

For the multiculturalist, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants are prohibited, Italians and Irish get a little respect, blacks are good, native Americans are even better. The further away we go, the more they deserve respect. This is a kind of inverted, patronising respect that puts everyone at a distance. — Slavoj Žižek

A typical guy who buys organic food doesn't really buy it in order to be healthy; he buys it to regain a kind of solidarity as the one who really cares about nature. He buys a certain ideological stance. — Slavoj Žižek

The fact that a cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland—a small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth—can bring to a standstill the aerial traffic over an entire continent is a reminder of how, with all its power to transform nature, humankind remains just another species on the planet Earth. — Slavoj Žižek

What Americans don't want to admit ... is that not only is there not a contradiction between state regulation and freedom, but in order for us to actually be free in our social interactions, there must be an extremely elaborated network of health, law, institutions, moral rules and so on. — Slavoj Žižek

What if the Soviet intervention was a blessing in disguise? It saved the myth that if the Soviets were not to intervene, there would have been some flowering authentic democratic socialism and so on. I'm a little bit more of a pessimist there. I think that the Soviets - it's a very sad lesson - by their intervention, saved the myth. — Slavoj Žižek

The minimum necessary structuring ingredient of every ideology is to distance itself from another ideology, to denounce its other as ideology. — Slavoj Žižek

Liberal democracy - as you know, in the old days, we were saying we want socialism with a human face. Today's left effectively offers global capitalism with a human face, more tolerance, more rights and so on. So the question is, is this enough or not? Here I remain a Marxist: I think not. — Slavoj Žižek

I almost stopped teaching entirely. The worst thing for me is contact with students. I like universities without students. And I especially hate American students. They think you owe them something. They come to you ... Office hours! — Slavoj Žižek

Probably never in human history did we live in a society in which, at the microlevel of personal behavior, our lives were so strongly regulated. — Slavoj Žižek

The problem for me is not that Schwarzenegger is governor, but the extent to which even politicians who are not actors are functioning like actors. — Slavoj Žižek

Without the communist oppression, I am absolutely sure I would now be a local stupid professor of philosophy in Ljubljana. — Slavoj Žižek

You can be a fanatical millennialist religious mystic, and you are, in a certain way, not outside of ideology. Your position can be that of perfectly describing the data and nonetheless your point is ideological. — Slavoj Žižek

There is an old joke about socialism as the synthesis of the highest achievements of the whole human history to date: from prehistoric societies it took primitivism; from the Ancient world it took slavery; from medieval society brutal domination; from capitalism exploitation; and from socialism the name. — Slavoj Žižek

True universalists are not those who preach global tolerance of differences and all-encompassing unity, but those who engage in a passionate struggle for the assertion of the Truth which compels them. — Slavoj Žižek

Fascism is relatively easy to explain. It is a reactionary phenomenon. Nazism was some bad guys having some bad ideas and unfortunately succeeding in realizing them. — Slavoj Žižek

I - and I still consider myself, I'm sorry to tell you, a Marxist and a Communist, but I couldn't help noticing how all the best Marxist analyses are always analyses of a failure. — Slavoj Žižek

In Stalinism the tragedy is that its origin is some kind of radical emancipatory project. In the origins you had a kind of workers' uprising; the true enigma is how this project of emancipation went so wrong. — Slavoj Žižek

For me, ideology is defined only by how the coordinates of your meaningful experience of the world, and your place within society, relate to the basic tensions and antagonisms of social orders. — Slavoj Žižek

This proletarianization of the lower salaried bourgeoisie is accompanied by an excess in the opposite direction: the irrationally high pay of top managers and bankers, a level of remuneration that is economically irrational since, as investigations in the US have demonstrated, it tends to be inversely proportional to the company's success. — Slavoj Žižek

You can be an extreme materialist, thinking that economic development ultimately determines everything; then you are truly ideological. — Slavoj Žižek

We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom- war on terror and so on-falsifies freedom. — Slavoj Žižek

For me, Stalinism was even a greater philosophical problem than Nazism. Under Nazism, if you were a Jew, you were simply killed, no questions asked, you had nothing to prove. Under Stalinism, of course, most [victims] were on trial for false accusations; most of them were not traitors. There is one interesting feature: that they were tortured or through some kind of blackmail forced to confess to being traitors. — Slavoj Žižek

In the electoral campaign, President Bush named as the most important person in his life Jesus . Now he has a unique chance to prove that he meant it seriously: for him, as for all Americans today, "Love thy neighbor!" means "Love the Muslims!" OR IT MEANS NOTHING AT ALL. — Slavoj Žižek

We usually speak of the Jewish-Christian civilization - perhaps, the time has come, especially with regard to the Middle East conflict, to talk about the Jewish-Muslim civilization as an axis opposed to Christianity. — Slavoj Žižek

The liberal idea of tolerance is more and more a kind of intolerance. What it means is 'Leave me alone; don't harass me; I'm intolerant towards your over-proximity. — Slavoj Žižek

On the information sheet in a New York hotel, I recently read: 'Dear guest! To guarantee that you will fully enjoy your stay with us, this hotel is totally smoke-free. For any infringement of this regulation, you will be charged $200.' The beauty of this formulation, taken literally, is that you are to be punished for refusing to fully enjoy your stay. — Slavoj Žižek

Come on. I don't have any problem violating my own insights in practice. — Slavoj Žižek

Confucius was not so much a philsopher as a proto-ideologist: what interested him was not metaphysical Truths but rather a harmonious social order within which individuals could lead happy and ethical lives. He was the first to outline clearly what one is tempted to call the elementary scene of ideology, its zero-level, which consists in asserting the (nameless) authority of some substantial Tradition. — Slavoj Žižek

What interests me is the following paradox: of how, precisely in our liberal societies, where no one can even imagine a transcendental cause for which to die, we are allowed to adopt a hedonistic, utilitarian, or even more spiritually egotistical stance - like, the goal of my life is the realization of all my potential, fulfillment of my innermost desires, whatever you want. — Slavoj Žižek

The true ethical test is not only the readiness to save the victims, but also - even more, perhaps - the ruthless dedication to annihilating those who made them victims. — Slavoj Žižek

As soon as we renounce fiction and illusion, we lose reality itself; the moment we subtract fictions from reality, reality itself loses its discursive-logical consistency. — Slavoj Žižek

The fantasy which serves as a support for the figure of the Stalinist Communist is therefore exactly the same as the fantasy which is at work in the Tom and Jerry cartoons. — Slavoj Žižek

You could say, in a vulgar Freudian way, that I am the unhappy child who escapes into books. Even as a child, I was most happy being alone. This has not changed. — Slavoj Žižek

We should not oppose something just because it was appropriated by the wrong guys; rather, we should think about how to reappropriate it. — Slavoj Žižek

Ideology today is unfreedom which you sincerely personally experience as freedom. — Slavoj Žižek

The duty of a politician for me is to be a representative: a politician is not an expert, experts are experts, hired for their expertise and so on. — Slavoj Žižek

What is the Absolute? Something that appears to us in fleeting experiences--say, through the gentle smile of a beautiful woman, or even through the warm caring smile of a person who may otherwise seem ugly and rude. In such miraculous but extremely fragile moments, another dimension transpires through our reality. As such, the Absolute is easily corroded;it slips all too easily through our fingers and must be handled as carefully as a butterfly — Slavoj Žižek

The same rightists who decades ago were shouting, 'Better dead than red!' are now often heard mumbling, 'Better red than eating hamburgers. — Slavoj Žižek

I am what you might call abstractly anti-capitalist. For instance, I am suspicious of the old leftists who focus all their hatred on the United States. What about Chinese neo-colonialism? Why are the left silent about that? When I say this, it annoys them, of course. Good! — Slavoj Žižek

It is more satisfying to sacrifice oneself for the poor victim than to enable the other to overcome their victim status and perhaps become even more succesfull than ourselves — Slavoj Žižek

What if the way we perceive a problem is already part of the problem? — Slavoj Žižek

I agree with Sophocles: the greatest luck is not to have been born - but, as the joke goes on, very few people succeed in it. — Slavoj Žižek

We feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom. — Slavoj Žižek

The problem for us is not are our desires satisfied or not. The problem is how do we know what we desire. — Slavoj Žižek

There is an initial modesty in Liberalism. Liberalism was not originally a doctrine of "man is the king." No, it was a very modest attempt to build a space where people could live together without slaughtering one another. — Slavoj Žižek

Who dares to strike today, when having the security of a permanent job is itself becoming a privilege? — Slavoj Žižek

The problem with kitsch is that it is all too profound, manipulating deep libidinal and ideological forces, while true art knows how to remain at the surface, how to subtract it's subject from it's deepest context of historical reality. The same goes for contemporary art, where we often encounter brutal attempts to return to the Real, to remind the spectator or reader that he is perceiving a fiction, to awaken him from a sweet dream. — Slavoj Žižek

Humanity is OK, but 99% of people are boring idiots. — Slavoj Žižek

I hate writing. I so intensely hate writing - I cannot tell you how much. The moment I am at the end of one project I have the idea that I didn't really succeed in telling what I wanted to tell, that I need a new project - it's an absolute nightmare. But my whole economy of writing is in fact based on an obsessional ritual to avoid the actual act of writing. — Slavoj Žižek

Those who were still able to write beautiful melodies were kitsch composers like Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky approaches true art not in his numerous beautiful melodies, but when a melodic line is thwarted. — Slavoj Žižek

In Stalinism, everybody was potentially a victim in a totally contingent way. — Slavoj Žižek

Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction. — Slavoj Žižek

I think that the task of philosophy is not to provide answers, but to show how the way we perceive a problem can be itself part of a problem. — Slavoj Žižek

I think Kafka was right when he said that for a modern, secular, nonreligious man, state bureaucracy is the only remaining contact with the dimension of the divine; the impenetrable omnipotence of bureaucracy harbors is divine enjoyment. It is the performance of its very purposelessness that generates an intense enjoyment, ready to reproduce itself forever. — Slavoj Žižek

Global capitalism is simply accepted as a fact that you cannot do anything about. The only question is, Will you accommodate yourself to it, or will you be dismissed and excluded? — Slavoj Žižek

What we philosophers can do is just correct the questions. — Slavoj Žižek

Are we all not, when we sit in the cinema, in the position of humans in The Matrix, tied to chairs, immersed in the spectacle run by a machine? However, a more appropriate allegory is that of the viewer himself: beneath the illusion that we "just look" at the perceived objects from a safe distance, freely sliding along them, there is the reality of the innumerable ties that bind us to what we perceive. — Slavoj Žižek

When authority is backed up by an immediate physical compulsion, what we are dealing with is not authority proper (i.e. symbolic authority), but simply an agency of brute force. — Slavoj Žižek

I may still be a kind of a Marxist but I'm very realistic, I don't have these dreams of revolutionists around the corner. — Slavoj Žižek

My instinct as a philosopher is that we are effectively approaching a multicentric world, which means we need to ask new, and for the traditional left, unpleasant questions. — Slavoj Žižek

With Lenin it was always a substantial commitment. I always have a certain admiration for people who are aware that somebody has to do the job. What I hate about these liberal, pseudo-left, beautiful soul academics is that they are doing what they are doing fully aware that somebody else will do the job for them. — Slavoj Žižek

But in a radically atheist universe, you are not only responsible for doing your duty, You are also responsible for deciding what is your duty. — Slavoj Žižek

We Slovenians are even better misers than you Scottish. You know how Scotland began? One of us Slovenians was spending too much money, so we put him on a boat and he landed in Scotland. — Slavoj Žižek

Postcolonialism is the invention of some rich guys from India who saw that they could make a good career in top Western universities by playing on the guilt of white liberals. — Slavoj Žižek

Did Wagner really accomplish the first step towards the kitschy 'fetishization' of music that reaches its apogee in classical Hollywood? — Slavoj Žižek

In order effectively to liberate oneself from the grip of existing social reality, one should first renounce the transgressive fantasmatic supplement that attaches us to it. — Slavoj Žižek

I believe in clear-cut positions. I think that the most arrogant position is this apparent, multidisciplinary modesty of "what I am saying now is not unconditional, it is just a hypothesis," and so on. It really is a most arrogant position. I think that the only way to be honest and expose yourself to criticism is to state clearly and dogmatically where you are. You must take the risk and have a position. — Slavoj Žižek

Zionism itself has paradoxically come to adopt some antisemitic logic in its hatred of Jews who do not fully identify with the politics of the state of Israel. Their target, the figure of the Jew who doubts the Zionist project, is constructed in the same way as the European antisemites constructed the figures of the Jew – he is dangerous because he lives among us, but is not really one of us. — Slavoj Žižek

As a Marxist, let me add: if anyone tells you Lacan is difficult, this is class propaganda by the enemy. — Slavoj Žižek

The ultimate goal of radical politics is gradually to displace the limit of social exclusions, empowering the excluded agents (sexual and ethnic minorities) by creating marginal spaces in which they can articulate and question their identity. Radical politics thus becomes an endless mocking parody and provocation, a gradual process of reidentification in which there are not final victories and ultimate demarcations — Slavoj Žižek

[T]aking the Third into account does not bring us into the position of pragmatic consideration, of comparing different Others; the task is rather to learn to distinguish between false conflicts and the true conflict. For example, today's conflict between Western liberalism and religious fundamentalism is a false one, since it is based on the exclusion of the third term which is its truth: the Leftist emancipatory position. — Slavoj Žižek

There is a contradiction between market liberalism and political liberalism. The market liberals (e.g., social conservatives) of today want family values, less government, and maintain the traditions of society (at least in America's case). However, we must face the cultural contradiction of capitalism: the progress of capitalism, which necessitates a consumer culture, undermines the values which render capitalism possible — Slavoj Žižek

While just looking, we are always hunting among objects, looking for what we desire or fear, endeavoring to recognize some pattern; on the other hand, objects themselves always "stare back," vie for our attention, throw at us their lures and endeavor to entrap us. — Slavoj Žižek

I planted some jokes in my wedding. Like, the organizers asked me to select music. So when I approached wife at the ceremony, they played the second movement from Shostakovich's 10th Symphony, which is usually known as the "portrait of Stalin." And then when we embraced, the music that they played was Schubert's "Death and the Maiden." I enjoyed this in a childish way! But marriage was all a nightmare and so on and so on. — Slavoj Žižek

Our biological body itself is a form of hardware that needs re-programming through tantra like a new spiritual software which can release or unblock its potential. — Slavoj Žižek

In Fascism, if you were a Jew, you were simply killed. Nobody had the idea of arresting Jews and torturing them to confess the Jewish plot. Because in Fascism, you are guilty for your whole being. — Slavoj Žižek

My big fear is that if I act the way I am, people will notice that there is nothing to see. So I have to be active all the time, covering up. — Slavoj Žižek

Life Lessons by Slavoj Žižek

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  1. Slavoj Žižek emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and self-reflection in order to uncover the hidden ideological structures that shape our lives.
  2. He encourages us to challenge our preconceived notions and to question the status quo in order to create a more just society.
  3. He also encourages us to think beyond the dichotomies of left and right, and to recognize the complexity of our social and political realities.

In Conclusion

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