[-empyre-] Zizek While-U-Wait

Christina McPhee christina112 at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 10 06:40:59 EST 2008

Hi all,

While staying up late last night waiting -almost endlessly-- for  
Photoshop to render a commercial photo project my mind strayed to the  
languishing list, and
meanwhile a newsflash from lacan.com caught my eye.  Zizek is in his  
usual Cassandra-esque top form:   I thought
if anyone wants to check it out, this essay has some interesting  
things to claim about traumatic landscapes and what they (don't) mean,  
and what is the function
of visual art (the image anyway) in this 'ecology of fear' (pace Mike  

(guests coming soon, this weekend...........)


> Part 1 - http://www.lacan.com/zizecology1.htm
> Part 2 - http://www.lacan.com/zizecology2.htm

Here is Zizek Raw:

from lacan.com

> This need to discover a meaning is crucial when we are confronting  
> potential or actual catastrophes, from AIDS and ecological disasters  
> to holocaust: they have no "deeper meaning." The legacy of Job  
> prohibits us such a gesture of taking a refuge in the standard  
> transcendent figure of God as a secret Master who knows the meaning  
> of what appears to us as meaningless catastrophe, the God who sees  
> the entire picture in which what we perceive as a stain contributes  
> to global harmony. When confronted with an event like the holocaust  
> or the death of millions in Congo in the last years, is it not  
> obscene to claim that these stains have a deeper meaning in that  
> they contribute to the harmony of the Whole? Is there a Whole which  
> can teleologically justify an event like the holocaust? Christ's  
> death on the cross thus means that one should drop without restraint  
> the notion of God as a transcendent caretaker who guarantees the  
> happy outcome of our acts, the guarantee of historical teleology -  
> Christ's death on the cross is the death of this God, it repeats  
> Job's stance, it refuses any "deeper meaning" that obfuscates the  
> brutal real of historical catastrophes.
> And the lesson of ecology is that we should go to the end here and  
> accept the non-existence of the ultimate big Other, nature itself  
> with its pattern of regular rhythms, the ultimate reference of order  
> and stability.
> However, this lack of the big Other does not entail that we are  
> irrevocably caught in the misery of our finitude, deprived of any  
> redemptive moments. In his The Cattle Truck, Jorge Semprun reports  
> how he witnessed the arrival of a truckload of Polish Jews at  
> Buchenwald; they were stacked into the freight train almost 200 to a  
> car, traveling for days without food and water in the coldest winter  
> of the war. On arrival all in the carriage had frozen to death  
> except for 15 children, kept warm by the others in the centre of the  
> bundle of bodies. When the children were emptied from the car the  
> Nazis let their dogs loose on them. Soon only two fleeing children  
> were left:
>     The little one began to fall behind, the SS were howling behind  
> them and then the dogs began to howl too, the smell of blood was  
> driving them mad, and then the bigger of the two children slowed his  
> pace to take the hand of the smaller... together they covered a few  
> more yards... till the blows of the clubs felled them and, together  
> they dropped, their faces to the ground, their hands clasped for all  
> eternity.
> One can easily imagine how this scene should be filmed: while the  
> soundtrack renders what goes on in reality (the two children are  
> clubbed to death), the image of their hands clasped freezes,  
> immobilized for eternity - while the sound renders temporary  
> reality, the image renders the eternal Real. It is the pure surface  
> of such fixed images of eternity, not any deeper Meaning, which  
> allows for redemptive moments in the bleak story of the Shoah.


> Part 1 - http://www.lacan.com/zizecology1.htm
> Part 2 - http://www.lacan.com/zizecology2.htm

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