The Illiterate's Notes to The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

Orland 2022-10-23 14:10:10

About "Extreme Space".

In a post-ideological society, we are seen by social authority as subjects of desire, not subjects who need to sacrifice the self to fulfill obligations.

Our common sense thinks that ideology is something that obscures or confuses our intuitive perspective - ideology should be the glasses that distort our perspective. And ideological criticism is the opposite, like taking off your sunglasses so you can finally see things as they really are. As the pessimism of Extreme Space attests, this view is precisely the ultimate illusion: ideology is not simply imposed on us; ideology is our spontaneous relationship to society, how we understand things individually meaning, etc. In a way we are enjoying our ideology.

Breaking out of ideology is painful, and you need to force yourself to do it. You seem to know all too well that you are spontaneously living a lie, and that sunglasses will make you see the truth; but this truth can be painful, and it can shatter many of your fantasies. You must be forced to be free. If you easily believe in involuntary happiness, you will never be free. Freedom hurts.

About The Sound of Music.

The basic point of psychoanalysis is to distinguish between enjoyment and simple pleasures. Pleasure is the pleasure of experiencing dislocation - even if it is pain. And this extra factor interferes with the seemingly simple relationship between duty and pleasure. This is also the space in which ideology, especially religious ideology, is responsible and operates.

If you look at those clever Catholic preachers, if you really try to understand what they're offering you - in this case it's not a ban on sexual pleasure, ironically it's the other extreme - —It's the kind of secretly obscene license you can get. You can do whatever you want under the cover of the divine "big other." This covenant does not belong to the Christian faith itself, it belongs to the Catholic Church as an institution. It is the purest logic of the institution. Again it is the crux of how ideology works: not just the surface message telling you to abstain, suffer, etc., but the hidden hint - to pretend to give up so you can have it all.

People who come to do psychoanalysis today do not feel guilty because of excessive pleasure, not because they indulge in pleasure, which is contrary to their sense of responsibility and morality; on the contrary, they feel guilty because they cannot fully enjoy pleasure, but Because they can't enjoy it.

About Coca-Cola and Kinder Eggs.

Marx emphasized that commodities are never the mere objects of our purchase and consumption. The "commodity" is full of subtleties in the theological and even metaphysical sense, and its existence always reflects an invisible transcendence. Coca-Cola's advertising blatantly refers to this absent, invisible property -- it's not just another actual property of Coke, something that can be described or pinpointed by chemical analysis, these mysterious "underlyings". thing", it is that indescribable "surplus," the purpose and cause of desire.

In so-called postmodern society, pleasure has become a bizarre and perverted responsibility. The paradox of Coke is that when you're thirsty, you drink Coke; the more you drink, the thirstier you get. People's desires are never just for a specific object, what people desire is only the desire itself, a desire to continue to desire. Perhaps the ultimate fear of desire is that when the desire is satisfied, the desire ceases to exist. The ultimate depressive experience is the loss of desire itself.

It’s impossible to go back to the old state of natural consumption — buying something just to satisfy a specific need, like drinking water when you’re thirsty — we’re always going to want more. When Coke gets hot (ewww), it's no longer "real Coke", and this heaven-to-hell transition is exactly the problem. Ice Coke is only attractive when it's being drunk just right; if it doesn't fit that scenario, this can change into shit. This is the basic dialectical logic of commodities - we are not discussing the objective reality of commodities, we are only discussing the elusive added value.

Kinder Eggs: The cool thing about it is that it embodies your desires - under the guise of a plastic toy stuffed into the hollow inside of a chocolate egg. There's an overall neat balance between the two dimensions: when you buy this chocolate egg, you get a free surplus. A chocolate shell cannot just be a drive to perform a deeper peek to the treasure hidden within - like what Plato called agalma, that makes you a valuable person, a commodity a desirable one. Satisfied item. We should aim for the higher object, the object that exists in the object, precisely in order to be able to enjoy its surface. This is the teaching of anti-metaphysics that is difficult to accept.

About A Clockwork Orange and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Ode to Joy is often seen as an ode to humanity, unity and freedom. It has versatility in different situations. It works for every ideology, even on both sides of a tit-for-tat political movement: it can be used as a major celebration in Nazi Germany; a communist song in the Soviet Union; a progressive bourgeois song during China's great cultural revolution, almost the only one that is not Banned Western music; Southern Rhodesia's lyrics were modified as the national anthem during the proclamation of independence in order to delay the abolition of apartheid; the favorite music of the leader of the "Shining Path" organization of the Communist Party of Peru and the far-left guerrillas ; The music of the conference after a party in the Olympic Games won a medal when East and West Germany was not yet unified; now the unofficial Union anthem of the European Union. We can imagine a bizarre scene of great human unity—Osama bin Laden and George Bush are like-minded, Saddam and Castro are brothers, white people and Mao Zedong are like family, and they gather together to sing joyous songs. This is how ideology works: it never has only one meaning, it needs to function as an empty container for all possible meanings. When appreciating these moving works of art, we can feel from the bottom of our hearts that "omg is so moved and profound". But you never know where the depth is - it's actually void. There's a catch, though. A framework like Ode to Joy looks neutral, but it's not.

The general name of ideological propaganda is "the great unity of all nations of mankind" and so on. You should ask: "Is it really all mankind? Everyone? Or are some people excluded?" The bastards agree with this excluded position. The genius of Beethoven is that he has expressed this exclusion on the surface of his music. Suddenly the whole tune becomes a frivolous melody, an absurd rhythm, no longer a sublime beauty. Beethoven is not a cheap chanter of fraternity, humanity or solidarity, freedom, dignity, whatever. The first, and the one that has been erroneously applied to all occasions of formal celebrations up to now - Beethoven clearly identified it as belonging to ideology. Yet the second part tells the real story, of what got in the way of ideology, of the failure of official ideology, of what they failed to bind and tame. That's why Beethoven is doing what seems difficult—he can already practice ideological criticism in purely musical compositions.

About West Side Story.

If the classical ideology works as Marx defines it, "they don't know what they are doing, but they are still doing it", the cynic ideology works like this: "I know very well what I am doing, But I'm still doing it." The paradox is, if you know this, why do it? This is how ideological cynicism works. In fact, they are not as cruel and selfish as they show. They also have their own little dreams. This dream can be many things, even ordinary things.

Take the riots in the UK in August 2011, for example. The standard liberal interpretation: We can't just condemn this riot as gangster smashing and looting, you have to understand how these people live in slums, lacking normal families, proper education or even regular jobs. But this is not enough, because humans are not just products of objective circumstances; we are always left with a little bit of freedom to decide how we subjectively respond to the objective circumstances that define us, how to resist them by building our own universe .

These behaviors show that they are completely dominated by the mainstream ideology, and they are unable to realize the demands of the ideology. So this is a frenzy in the ideological realm of consumerism. Even if we're talking about atrocities that are ostensibly totally unrelated to ideology, I just want to burn down houses and loot things as a consequence of certain social and ideological devices. In this installation, the so-called great ideology of fighting for justice and equality disintegrated, and the ideology that is still in operation, only pure consumerism remains. It's no surprise that protests erupted. Every act of violence is a symbol, something you cannot express in words. Even the most brutal acts of violence are enacting some sort of symbolic stalemate.

About Taxi Driver.

Directs the outbreak of violence towards its extremely suicidal dimension. We are not just confronting and paying attention to a person's distortions and his fragile state of mind, it's still an ideological thing. It is always fantasy that haunts taxi drivers; fantasy is not just a private matter of an individual, it is the material that makes up our ideology. Fantasy is fundamentally a lie, not because "it's fantasy and not reality," but because fantasy masks some gap in consistency. When things are vague and we don't know them clearly, fantasies offer simple answers.

The usual mode of fantasy is to construct a scene—not a scene in which I possess the object of my desire, but a fictional scene in which I am desired by the other. The mission is always to rescue the imaginary victim, yet one real reason the hero's violence is called into question is that the victim is not a mere victim, but in fact enjoys or participates in her in a perverted way. the victimization process. In short, she doesn't want to be saved, she refuses to be saved.

Violence is never abstract violence, it is a bloody intervention in reality to cover up mental weakness, what we call cognitive mapping. You can't see what's going on, where we are.

The taxi driver, who was dying, symbolically pointed a finger gun at his head, making it clear that all violence is fundamentally suicidal. For him, violence should be used and it should be inflicted on himself, directed violence more explicitly within you, to change you, to bind you to the domination of ideology.

About Jaws.

Sharks symbolize alien threats, a metaphor for natural disasters, storms, or threats posed by new immigrants.

We are afraid of everything, new immigrants, attacks from the lower classes, natural disasters: tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, corrupt politicians, big business—basically they can do whatever they want with us. The function of the shark is to bring all these fears together, so we can replace all the fears with a single fear, and our grasp of reality is much easier.

About Triumph of the Will.

The most extreme case of ideology, for example, fascist anti-Semitism, works in exactly the same way. Imagine the situation of the average German populace in the 1930s: social authority, symbolic order telling him you are a German worker or a banker, but nothing practical - what does society want him to do? Why is everything going bad? The way he perceives the status quo is the newspaper, and the newspaper lies. He lost his job because of inflation, he lost his money in the bank, he saw the world go down...what does it all mean?

The earliest dream of fascism - and certainly the dream of all ideologies - is to have a "cake" and eat it. Fascism is fundamentally conservative and requires economic development and a modern industrial revolution; but still a revolution that maintains and even reinforces traditional hierarchical societies. A modern, efficient society, but at the same time subject to the values ​​of social class and not to class antagonisms and other influences. But the fascists found a problem: antagonisms, class struggles and other crises are inherent in capitalism, and modernization, industrialization means the disintegration of old solid relationships, it means social contradictions. Instability is the very basis of how capitalism works. how to solve this problem? You need to produce an ideological narrative that explains that things in society deteriorate not as a consequence of the inherent contradictions of social development, but as a consequence of foreign aggressors: all was well until the Jews infiltrated our society; The healthy way is to get rid of the Jews.

You have a multitude of fears, and this multitude of fears confuses you, and you don't understand what the confusion means. And when you project these multiple fears onto a specific image — the Jew — everything becomes clear. In the ideological system, you need some false and concrete image like this to fix your imagination, and these images can mobilize people.

About The Eternal Jew.

Imagine that ideology is a filter, a frame: when you look at the facts through this frame, everything changes. Not because the frame adds any information, but because it opens up an abyss of suspicion.

Note the paradox of anti-Semitism's portrayal of Jews: they are brilliant on the one hand, and vulgar on the other. This is a typical racism trick. You try to imagine how the other is secretly enjoying orgy and so on, because in racism the other is not just the enemy, he is usually endowed with certain depraved pleasures, or conversely, the other can also be trying to steal The person we enjoy; as the saying goes, the person who gets in the way of our way of life.

Be careful not to fall into the stereotype of total denial, believing that all the elements that make up the Nazi ideological system are archetypes of fascism. Most of the elements that we consider today to be related to fascism have their origins in the labor movement. The idea of ​​marching in large groups, of strict physical discipline as an obligation, were all taken directly by the Nazis from Left Social Democracy. Other core concepts of the Nazi worldview, such as the unity of the people, the question is what kind of people? If the people you mean are the "national community" (volksgemeinschaft), and the enemy automatically becomes a foreign invader, then we become Nazis.

About the "German tank" (Rammstein).

Positioning the ideology is crucial. The smallest elements of Nazi ideology were rendered by German tanks as mere releases of desire. This pleasure must be condensed into small gestures without any precise ideological meaning. What the German tank did was to free these elements from its association with the Nazis, allowing us to enjoy it as it was before it was given ideology. The way to fight Nazism is to enjoy these elements, by suspending the Nazi vision, as absurd as it may seem - dismantle what Nazism means, and you dismantle Nazism from within.

How can these elements be linked to ideology? These elements can be seen as a bribe, ideological bribe and lure us into its edifice. Such bribes can be purely desirous, or they can be explicit discursive elements such as the concept of solidarity, collective discipline, the struggle for individual destiny, etc. These elements do not belong in themselves and are open to different ideological spheres.

About Starbucks and consumerism.

The pure consumerism of the past, where you bought something and then felt guilty, so you had to do something to dissipate your pure, troubling consumerism, like donating money to charity, etc. Starbucks makes you a consumer without having a bad conscience because the price to fight consumerism is already included in the product. Pay a little more, and you're not just a consumer: you're contributing a responsibility—to the environment, to the poor, to the hungry in Africa, and so on. This is the ultimate form of consumerism.

We shouldn't simply object to the kind of contributing responsibility and having fun in mainstream life. In today’s capitalism, on the one hand, we need this kind of capital cycle that can drive us to create benefits, expand, exploit, and destroy nature; on the other hand, we also have ecological needs, which require us to consider the well-being of future generations and our own survival, protect the great nature and so on. There is an irreconcilable contradiction between capitalist expansion and the awakening of ecological consciousness. Responsibility, of course the "perverted" one, is on the side of capitalism. As many analysts have clearly pointed out, capitalism has a religious-like structure that is driven by absolute needs: capital must be constantly circulated, constantly re-produced to expand and multiply, and for this purpose everything can be sacrificed, even Our life, nature. We have a strange unconditional mind-set: a true capitalist is a miser who is ready to sacrifice everything for this perverted obligation.

About "I Am Legend".

Benjamin: We experience the process of history, meaning that we are a part of history - not as we were in it when it happened, but only when we saw that these rubbish wreckages of human culture were almost reintegrated Naturally - only then can we appreciate the meaning of history.

The devastated human world in I Am Legend, the half-empty factories and shops, the broken machines: what we are experiencing at this moment is what psychoanalytic terminology calls "inertia of the real" - beyond meaning silent existence.

Such a situation, such as facing an abandoned airplane in the Mojave Desert, may give us an opportunity to have a truly negative experience. Perhaps without this artistically negative experience, without a moment of bluntness in the face of reality, nothing new could emerge. Perhaps something new can only emerge from failure, from the suspension of the normal functioning of the existing web of life in which we are part. Perhaps this is what we desperately need today.

About the Titanic.

We all know the standard interpretation of the impact of the sinking of the Titanic, not just in movies, but in real events: the sinking had such a strong impact on society because it took place in an era that was still glitzy and glamorous, before it realised that it was going downhill. Waiting in the not too distant future - world wars and so on. But the ruins have other meanings, and that's what makes the wreck of the Titanic on the sea floor so fascinating. Cameron made a similar comment when he planned an expedition to the actual wreck of the Titanic. As these explorers approached the ruins, they had a near-supernatural experience—a forbidden realm where the sacred and the filthy collided. Every efficient political ideological symbol must rely on this petrified enjoyment, just like this frozen spectacle mixed with pain and pleasure.

"Titanic" is the best representation of Hollywood ideology in recent years, because it embodies that looming tension. There are at least three meanings here: the first, please refer to Cameron's Hollywood Marxism - people's ridiculous false sympathy for the underworld. One level up, first-class passengers are evil, arrogant, and cowardly, and the narrative of this passage is continued through a more conservative and reactionary myth. What we should be asking is what role the iceberg played in the development of this love story. Rose is an upper-class girl in mental distress and confusion, with a shattered sense of self; Jack's role is to help her rebuild her ego. This is actually a new version of a cheesy legend: when people in the upper class lose their vitality, they need to connect with the lower class, ruthlessly crush them like vampires, sucking their life energy; after gaining vitality, they return to the original Go to the upper-class life in isolation and undisturbed. *Through this sudden catastrophe, this love story has eternal redemption on an ideal level. We can interpret this disaster as fundamentally a desperate attempt to save the fantasy of eternal true love.

Here we can see how ideology works. Two layers: the magic of accidents and love stories - these are all acceptable to our free progressive minds, but they are all a distraction to open our minds to the real Conservative message: The rich restore themselves by ruthlessly depriving the poor of their dynamism.

[* History often sees that a seemingly catastrophic event saves people or an idea, making it sublime into a myth. The military intervention of the former Soviet army and other Warsaw Pact members in the former Czechoslovakia in 1968 to suppress the "Prague Spring" events - the Czech Democratic Communists tried to introduce a more humane form of socialism. (Zizek believes) Soviet intervention instead saved the dream of the Prague Spring - without Soviet intervention, either the Czech Republic would become an ordinary liberal capitalist country; Like the general fate of reformist communists, communists in power will redefine certain restrictions: "Okay you've had enough trouble, you're free, let's stop, now let's set some rules". The paradox lies precisely in the Soviet intervention, which rescued the illusions about the possibility of another communism. 】


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The Pervert's Guide to Ideology quotes

  • 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.