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Event: Philosophy in Transit [Kindle Edition]

Slavoj Žižek
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description


His prose is irrepressible, sometimes bonkers but never boring (New Statesman)

Product Description

Probably the most famous living philosopher, Slavoj Žižek explores the concept of 'event', in the second in this new series of easily digestible philosophy

Agatha Christie's 4.50 from Paddington opens on a train from Scotland to London where Elspeth McGillicudy, on a way to visit her old friend Jane Marple, sees a woman strangled in a compartment of a passing train (the 4.50 from Paddington). It all happens very fast and in a blurred vision, so the police don't take Elspeth's report seriously as there is no evidence of wrongdoing; only Miss Marple believes her story and starts to investigate... This is an event at its purest and minimal: something shocking that happens all of a sudden and interrupts the usual flow of things; something that appears out of nowhere, without discernible causes, and whose ontological status is unclear - an appearance without solid being as its foundation. In Christie's novel, the role of Miss Marple is precisely to de-eventalize the event, to explain it away as an occurrence which fits the coordinates of our normal reality.

A subject for which there is not yet an agreed-upon definition within philosophy, Slavoj Žižek explores the terrain of this contestable term in a series of short chapters that examine everything from the event as political revolution and the rise of a new art form to the event as religious belief and falling in love. Event is a mind-blowing, thrilling, accessible book from arguably our greatest living cultural theorist and philosopher.

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. The author of many books, he has made contributions to political theory, film theory and theoretical psychoanalysis.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 632 KB
  • Print Length: 213 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612194117
  • Publisher: Penguin (30 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #64,583 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Event 31 Mar. 2014
In Penguin’s Philosophy in Transit series, four leading philosophers have been tasked with discussing brand new ideas that challenge the reader to pause and contemplate the idea of transit. Using travel as a metaphor throughout, each of the stylish and thought-provoking Philosophy in Transit books is designed to allow readers to engage with brand new philosophical ideas relevant to the modern age. In Event, the second book in the series, Slavoj Zizek examines what an “event” really is and asks big questions about how things are connected and whether anything really qualifies as “new”.

According to Zizek, an event can run the gamut from an occurrence that shatters ordinary life to a radical political rupture, from a transformation of reality to a religious belief, and from the rise of a new art form to an intense experience like falling in love. As Zizek says, with such a myriad of definitions available, there is no choice but to take a risk and begin the journey towards understanding the concept of an “event”, a journey that Zizek likens to that undertaken by Elspeth McGillicuddy in Agatha Christie’s 4:50 from Paddington.

Elspeth McGillicuddy is the innocuous old lady friend of Miss Marple who happens to be glancing out of the train window at just the right time to see a murder committed. The whole thing happens in an instant and, her view having been obscured by the train window, no one except Miss Marple believes her. For Slavoj Zizek, the experience of Elspeth McGillicuddy is the very epitome of an “event” – “something shocking, out of joint, that appears all of a sudden and interrupts the usual flow of things.”

This is a nice, almost straightforward introduction to the subject matter of Event but things do rapidly become more complicated.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No more events 16 Mar. 2014
By J A R P
The work concludes with a diagnosis - which is just as much a pointless warning - that the history of progressive liberation is being erased from the historical record; our society is starting to think that the French Revolution and the twentieth century's aspirations and events never actually meant anything and therefore never really happened.

It also concludes with some remarks about the disappearance of the dignified and rational public space for argument and discussion; the private space of wierdnesses and perversity is slipping into the once honour-bound public market place, with people posting their private photographs - even of their sex life - onto on-line social sites, making comments (such as this one here) which can be as personal and wacky as possible - with no public rules and politenesses to govern them. This privatising of the public space is apparent in the world outside the internet - in our culture as a whole.

How can a society progress or argue or decide, if there is no responsible public space for events to happen on?

The question is fine by me. I agree that it is disastrous. But on a personal note, wouldn't it be a good thing if it were true that 'The Twentieth Century did not happen' in artistic matters, I mean painting. For me, there was no painting in that century; there wasn't much music, either.

We should probably start again - with something like a Western Buddhist culture. Zizek has a growing dislike of Buddhism and yoga. As far as I'm concerned, his dislike of meditative techniques is due to his preference for revolts and Marxism; but they won't achieve anything again in the West as they have done in the past.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear Exposition of a Complex Metaphysical Concept. 17 May 2014
By The Peripatetic Reader - Published on
All one has to do is read the Wikipedia article on “Event” to see that it can be quite a complex concept. The great value of Slavoj Zizek’s new book is that he brings unnecessary conceptualizations down to earth, and provides and discusses concrete examples of the Event and its relevance to everyday life with his characteristic aplomb, wit and incisiveness.

In the beginning portions of the book Zizek gives several examples of and definitions to an “Event.”

• Something shocking, out of joint, that appears all of a sudden and interrupts the usual flow of things

• Something that emerges seemingly out of nowhere, without discernable causes

• an appearance without solid being as its foundation.

The Event appears as political occurrences. Zizek gives the example of the Fall of Mubarak and Tahrir Square. Along the same lines, while he did not give these examples, The Assassination of President Kennedy or 9/11 could also qualify as “Events.”

What distinguishes the “Event” form ordinary happenings is that with an Event it is difficult if not impossible to differentiate the cause from the effect leading to the Event. Alan Watts once gave an example of the Event. Imagine, he said, watching a snake travel through the slit of a wooden fence. First you see, he said, the head, then the body, and finally the tail. This is an incorrect perception, because a snake is an entire Event, one whole reptile. In the same way, Zizek writes, cause and effect cannot be separated in an Event — it simply IS. They are distinct and discrete anomalies which veer outside the normal course and go against the grain.

He also gives examples from the arts. The Film Noir is an Event, for example. While an Event is an occurence which shapes society, it is clear from this example that the undercurrents of society can also inform and bring about the Event.

According to Zizek the character and parameters of Events differ based on the context or system they are found. Zizek discusses the Event found in religious, or philosophical systems, and with examples from the arts and psychology.

This is a short book, but it is a thought-provoking and stimulating read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Calls it as he sees it... 2 Jan. 2015
By Noone Inparticular - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yes, he does repeat himself; yes, he meanders; yes, he jumps from topic to topic; yes, he is politically incorrect; yes, he is sometimes difficult to understand; yes, he is totally uncritical about Lacan, but Žižek is still one of the most interesting reads in today’s barren field of philosophy. He will make you think, and he will make you laugh. And “Event” is definitely one of his most accessible (and short) books. Žižek does not try to hide or sugarcoat his left leanings. He is sincere, he is critical (which is philosopher’s duty), and he calls the bulls*** (one of his favorite words) when he sees it. And there's plenty to be called out these days...
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book If you want to understand Lacan's psychoanalysis Zizek ... 20 Nov. 2014
By Duy Q. Vu - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good book
If you want to understand Lacan's psychoanalysis Zizek is one the authors to read about that topic. Another way is to look at the South American school. Due to his background there's inevitably some influence from Marx or Engels. useful if you want to understand novel authors such as Murakami, Ozeki.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mallarme already knew 11 Sept. 2014
By Victor A. Grauer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
"The retrospective eventing of the event will never constrain the projective momentum of the moment."


A toss of the dice will never abolish chance.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Event" of the year 5 Oct. 2014
By Mathew Klickstein - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Zizek at his best. Period.
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