Writing Last and First Men came from the realization that the marxism-dominated left was both thriving and defunct. If we check out http://marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviewofbooks we see a relatively thriving field of left discourse, but a closer look shows that the core assumptions of a failed marxism are an invariant of otherwise fresh thinking. My effort was to try and use the supercharged model of the so-called macro effect (http://history-and-evolution.ocm) to create a larger historical and evolutionary framework than what we see in historical materialism. The whole dead mass of this legacy of theory is unable to animate the basics of a public interest that once graced the Second Internationale period.
Zizek is coming out with a flood of new books, and I suspect among other things the ‘dominant paradigam’ trying to perpetuate itself given such texts as my own Last and First Men with its novel discussion of the meme of the ‘end of history’. I find it hard to believe that Zizek hasn’t examined this book, so why the discourtesy of not even discussing it? The answer of course is that it challenges all the root assumptions of historical materialism. Plus darwinism. Plus it deals with the 9/11 conspiracy. Plus it tries to propose a new view of historical dynamics, with reference to the issue of evolution.
This is still too far ahead of even mainstream thought, the case of the retarded and frozen thinking of the old marxist left being hopeless I guess.
We will see what Zizek has to say on the end of history and thence his futile, in my book, attempt to refound ‘dialectial materialism‘. Dialectical materialism needs to be left behind: its failure is intrinsic and can’t be repaired with the kind of jargon plus Lacan that Zizek has turned into an interminable spiel.
I think that Zizek’s addiction to French philosophy since Foucault is his undoing. That whole generation has come and gone and it would be good to move on to something better than a muddle of Hegel and Lacan.
We need something like what Last and First Man offers: a serious critique of historical/evolutionary theories
a venue for tackling mathematical economics: marginalism
a way out of Hegelian mysticism, dialectical materialism (one of its bastard offspring), and historical materialism, as such
a view of human free agency that can bring the agent of history into discussions of sociology.
a liberation from darwinian ideology and its social darwinist core
an indifferently broad view of philosophy that can pass easily between materialism, idealism, and Kantian idealism
some way to approach the complexities of human consciousness/self-consciousness and the nature of human transformation
That’s a short list. I think that despite the so-called popularity of Zizek’s material and books the basic thrust of his thinking is marxist nostalgia and apologetics. We need something new at this point, and I think, despite the attempted boycott of LFM the book has already made its point. Indeed it is obvious Zizek running scared here.
Quite apart from anything else all these books from Zizek, so obviously overpriced due to his celebrity, are creating a field far too confusing for a serious movement on the left. I am suspicious. I put Last and First Men out for free. This flood of books by Zizek is an obvious effort to cash in by him and by Verso.
It would be an obvious courtesy to acknowledge the book he is clearly afraid of: Last and First. The tactics of Stalinist ‘I am a celebrity, you don’t even exist’ are going to backfire.