The Pervert's Guide to Ideology Quotes

  • Slavoj Zizek: I'm maybe freezing to death, but you will not get rid of me; all the ices in the world cannot kill a true idea.

  • Slavoj Zizek: "They Live" from 1988 is definitely one of the forgotten masterpieces of the Hollywood Left.

  • Slavoj Zizek: In Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" a shark starts to attack people on the beach. What does this attack mean? What does the shark stand for? There were different, even mutually exclusive answers to this question. On the one hand some critics claimed that obviously the shark stands for the foreign threat to ordinary Americans. The shark is a metaphor for either natural disaster, storms or immigrants threatening the United States citizens and so on. On the other hand it's interesting to know that Fidel Castro, who loves the film, once said that for him it was obvious that "Jaws" is kind of a leftist, Marxist film and that the shark is a metaphor for brutal, big capital exploiting ordinary Americans. So, which is the right answer? I claim none of them and at the same time all of them.

    [0:38:50-0:40:12]

  • Slavoj Zizek: Pretend to renounce and you can get it all.

  • Slavoj Zizek: Freedom hurts.

  • Slavoj Zizek: I already am eating from the trashcan all the time. The name of this trashcan is ideology. The material force of ideology - makes me not see what I'm effectively eating. It's not only our reality which enslaves us. The tragedy of our predicament - when we are within ideology, is that - when we think that we escape it into our dreams - at that point we are within ideology.

  • Slavoj Zizek: When you put the glasses on - you see dictatorship in democracy. It's the invisible order which sustains your apparent freedom.

  • Slavoj Zizek: It may appear irrational because why does this guy - reject so violently to put the glasses on? It is as if he is well aware that spontaneously he lives - in a lie. That the glasses will make him see the truth - but that this truth can be painful. Can shatter many of your illusions. This is a paradox we have to accept.

  • Slavoj Zizek: In our post-modern, how ever we call them, societies - we are obliged to enjoy. Enjoyment becomes a kind or a weird perverted duty.

  • Slavoj Zizek: The paradox of Coke is that you are thirsty - you drink it but, as everyone knows - the more you drink it the more thirsty you get. A desire is never simply the desire for certain thing. It's always also a desire for desire itself. A desire to continue to desire. Perhaps the ultimate horror of a desire is - to be fully filled-in, met - so that I desire no longer. The ultimate melancholic experience is the experience - of a loss of desire itself.

  • Slavoj Zizek: If the classical ideology functioned in the way - designated by Marx in his nice formula - from Capital Volume One: "Sie wissen es nicht, aber sie tun es." "They don't know what they are doing, but they are none the less doing it." Cynical ideology functions in the mode of - "I know very well what I am doing, but I am still none the less doing it."

  • Slavoj Zizek: The German philosopher Walter Benjamin - said something very deep. He said that we experience history, - what does it mean for us to be historical beings, - not when we are engaged in things, when things move, - only when we see this, again, - rest waste of culture being half retaken by nature, - at that point we get an intuition of what history means.

  • Slavoj Zizek: We usually think that military discipline - is just a matter of mindlessly following orders. Obeying the rules. You don't think you do what is your duty. It's not as simple as that. If we do this, we just become machines.

  • Slavoj Zizek: The truly disturbing thing about The Dark Knight - is that it elevates lie into a general social principal, - into the principal of organisation - of our social political life. As if our societies can remain stable, - can function, only if based on a lie. As if telling the truth, and this telling the truth - embodies in Joker means distraction. Disintegration of the social order.

  • Slavoj Zizek: This is an old conservative wisdom - asserted long ago by philosophers from Plato - especially, and then Immanuel Kant, Edmond Burke and so on and so on. This idea that the truth is too strong. That a politician should be a cynicist who, - although he knows what is true, tells to ordinary people what Plato called 'a noble fable' - a lie.

  • Slavoj Zizek: One of the great platitudes - which are popular today - when we are confronted with acts of violence - is to refer to Theodore Dostoievsky's - famous statement from 'The Brothers Karamazov': "If there is no God then everything is permitted. "

  • Slavoj Zizek: It is precisely: if there is God, that everything is permitted - to those who not only believe in God - but who perceive themselves as instruments, - direct instruments of the divine will. If you posit or perceive or legitimise yourself - as a direct instrument of the divine will - then of course all narrow petty moral considerations - disappear. How can you even think in such narrow terms - when you are a direct instrument of God? This is how so-called religious fundamentalists work, - but not only them.

  • Slavoj Zizek: I think Kafka was right when he said that - for a modern secular non-religious man - bureaucracy, state bureaucracy is the only remaining - contact with the dimension of the divine. It is in this scene from 'Brazil' - that we see the intimate link - between bureaucracy and enjoyment. What the impenetrable omnipotence of - bureaucracy harbours - is divine enjoyment. The intense rush of bureaucratic engagement - serves nothing. It is the performance of it's very purposelessness - that generates an intense enjoyment - ready to reproduce itself forever.

  • Slavoj Zizek: Hysteria is what? Hysteria is the way - we question our social, symbolic identity. What is hysteria at it's most elementary? It's a question addressed at the authority which - which defines my identity. It's: "Why am I what you are telling me that I am?" In psychoanalytic theory, hysteria is much more - subversive than perversion. A pervert has no uncertainties while again - the hysterical position is that of a doubt - which is an extremely productive position. All new inventions come from hysterical questioning.

  • Slavoj Zizek: One of the big problems of all great - revolutionary movements of the 20th century - such as Russia, Cuba or China, - is that they did change the social body - but the egalitarian communist society was never realised. The dreams remained the old dreams - and they turned into the ultimate nightmare. Now what remains of the radical left - waits for a magical event - when the true revolutionary agent will finally awaken. While the depressing lesson of the last decades is that - capitalism has been the true revolutionising force. Even as it serves only itself.