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Event: Philosophy in Transit Kindle Edition
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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.Read more ›
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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