History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Zizek off the deep end

November 2nd, 2014 · No Comments

The Hegel that emerges in Žižek’s writings thus bears little resemblance to the idealist philosopher who features in standard histories of thought. Hegel is commonly associated with the idea that history has an inherent logic in which ideas are embodied in practice and then left behind in a dialectical process in which they are transcended by their opposites. Drawing on the contemporary French philosopher Alain Badiou, Žižek radicalizes this idea of dialectic to mean the rejection of the logical principle of noncontradiction, so that rather than seeing rationality at work in history, Hegel rejects reason itself as it has been understood in the past. Implicit in Hegel (according to Žižek) is a new kind of “paraconsistent logic” in which a proposition “is not really suppressed by its negation.” This new logic, Žižek suggests, is well suited to understanding capitalism today. “Is not ‘postmodern’ capitalism an increasingly paraconsistent system,” he asks rhetorically, “in which, in a variety of modes, P is non-P: the order is its own transgression, capitalism can thrive under communist rule, and so on?”


It is a bit peculiar to quote John Gray on Zizek, but cogent information on the subject is actually rare.

This passage, if it is fair to Zizek, is an all or nothing bet against reality, and in the casino of samsara the sure bet is a big loser: too much borderline philosophy in the ‘impossible’ legacy of Hegel.

It is very peculiar that Marx passed through the great age of Hegel’s downfall, only to sneak the subject back in, now delivered to the world of the postmoderns, Lacan, Badiou and Zizek.

There are two simple issues here: the problems with marxism as a theoretical subject.
: the futility of creating a practical graduate to ‘logic’ in the permutations of dialectic.

I speak here from experience: I have seen new age movements rise and fall in the unfounded ventures to replace logic. It never works. The yogis of the nondual transcend logic via a samadhic consciousness, but this has usually gone beyond thought itself. Ouspensky in Tertium Organon also tried to do this. But noone has ever properly explained dialectical logic, or true triadic logic. Confusing the two is an Hegelian pitfall.

These ventures express the secret hopes for men of the future, but at this point it is a disservice to muddle the thinking of those who need a practical path past capitalism as an economic system.
I question whether capitalism is better analyzed by a system of paralogic. The dialectic is a strange ornament of marxism, but what has it contributed to real praxis? In every generation men have stumbled into non-dual thinking for moments of evanescent insight, but we can’t at this point consign theory to this tendency from the unconscious.
In any case, it is the wrong battle to fight the mysticism of Hegel: the larger issue is the place of historical materialism as essentially reductionist scientism. Hegelian mystifications are not the solution. A larger framework of philosophy as an historical subject can damp out the trek through the mountains of madness and assist the practical debriefing of Hegel/Marx.

I lived with students of Ouspensky plying this mysterious hope for a future translogic for man. The result of even the far more comprehensive triadic logic of such sufis is still in the realm of wrong thinking. The Hegelian dialectic as a subject is confused by being two things: a valid reckoning of dual arguments, and a muddle extending this into a false version of triadic logic. The two are quite different, and equally misunderstood by all.

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