I think the tide is turning for Zizek and he should learn to ‘cut his spiel’ and redirect energy to a new one. I know from experience how this works: I once in prior youth got a form of interminable ‘spiel’ from being a fan of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake: reams of punny-funny pages of stuff that some actually said sounded like Finn again. The solution: turn off the spigot. It’s a leaky faucet. Self-sustaining discourse flow is a sign of verbal hypnosis. Zizek’s corpus represents a considerable reservoir of energy: reinvest in some new project for the left.
And, I fear, dialectical materialism is a derelict hard to let go of. Zizek seems to think this can challenge even string theory (actually the latter seems like another math spiel). It can’t.
The mystique is similar to what many new agers now suffer from: the ‘law of three’-itis of students of Gurdjieff. It is remarkable that a series of successive delusive ‘non-dual’ discourse languages have appeared in the course of civilization. It may mean we should mutate into coneheads that have their own version of this, but til then we should graduate back from dialectic into ordinary discourse, to rest the brain. Hegel is a very hard thinker to understand, and it remains to be seen how we can transcend the two Kantian legacies: Hegel and Schopenhauer. The latter is probably more practical to start.
In fact, I think the old left’s philosophy is shot. I have criticized the left’s tendency to ‘dialectical drivel’. The question of the dialectic, what to say of dialectical materialism, is increasingly obscurantist. The real key to dialectic needs to be found as the subject is put on the sidelines as a research project. We need simple projects in plain prose and a wariness at both ‘bad theories’ and ‘bad Hegelian regurgitation’. The left must overcome its fear of idealism to the point of starting over with Kant and asking for the real significance of Kantian ‘phenomenon/noumenon’. The left has made its point of concentration the dissolution of German classical philosophy in the realm of Feuerbach. That’s not the way to do it.
Take the core praxis of Marx/Engels and take it from there, skipping the dialectic, and dialectical materialism.
My Last and First Men suggests a way to rest the brain with a near comic book version of the onset of marxism. We can’t be attempting the endless oulala game of dialectical profundity. At this point it is over the barricades. Forget philosophy for a moment.