An Imbecile’s Guide to Zizek

“…the antiphilosopher Lacan is a condition of the renaissance of philosophy. A philosophy is possible today only if it is compatible with Lacan.”

– Alain Badiou, Manifesto for Philosophy

Somewhere between the idiot and the moron lies that strange negativity Zizek names the imbecile, a creature that knows he does not know; yet, who knows that in knowing this he knows more than he should know. He tells us that Less Than Nothing is neither a guide for the perplexed, nor a fully explicated encyclical of Hegel’s system, but is rather The Imbecile’s Guide to Hegel, adding insult to injury. Yet, if the truth be known, by a Lacanian reversal, this guide is not so much about Hegel as it is about that imbecile who is its guide and explicator: Zizek himself; or, that self-reflecting nothingness that purports to carry the name of Slavoj Zizek.

“So what does a becile know that idiots and morons don’t?” asks Zizek. He relates the fictional account of Galileo who in the moment of renouncing his greatest triumph and discovery of the truth of our Universe mutters the words “Eppur si muove” (“ And yet it moves”), after recanting before the Inquisition his theory that the Earth moves around the sun. The reality of this fiction or the fiction of this reality only underpins the truth of such a precarious movement. One that acknowledges that even if I renounce this truth to save my life from an Inquisition, that the truth as truth shall prevail. The powers that be,  those who would pretend to enforce their static model of falsehood upon us, will in themselves be the harbingers of the force of the truth they deflect and expunge,  as the truth of a future which is always moving toward us. They themselves will be forced to accept such hard truth, acknowledge that this new science has uncovered new narratives of creation, ones that go beyond their own cherished religious fictions, yet incorporate its strange forms even as it outstrips them and lays them bare to the very forces they fear: the void and the abyss of freedom.

Less Than Nothing endeavors to draw all the ontological consequences from this eppur si muove. Here is the formula at its most elementary: “moving” is the striving to reach the void, namely, “things move,” there is something instead of nothing, not because reality is in excess in comparison with mere nothing, but because reality is less than nothing. (Kindle Locations 292-295).

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