Slavoj Žižek

„Is It Still Possible to Be a Hegelian Today?“ (video available now)

The Slowenian Philosopher Slavoj Žižek made a lecture on Hegel in Dahlem Humanities Center/ “Free University Berlin”/ “Freie Universität Berlin”.
31.03.2011, 19:00 
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The guest philosopher was invited in the “Freie Universität Berlin”/FU Berlin/, by Dahlem Humanities Center…

Even If you don’t fully share his perception and philosophy, listening to this man was a relish!  A relish for the mind! All the more, having in mind the pathetic display, our “philosophers” of his generation are making today; either serving tyrants or
disseminating their gospels of hate and vengeance.

The man is a display of authentic thought in action, on stage for demonstration; speaking with all his body and temperament. He reminded me of one young philosopher, – killed by the military regime in the 80s struggling for a better Ethiopia, who was fugitive while talking and discussing; may be an attribute of real philosophers!

Audi Max (Henry Ford Bau, the biggest hall of the university ) was full of young people and some old University-staff; tight including the Foyer upstairs. It looked like one of the teach-ins in the troubled days of the 70s… I would guess 500-700 men and women. There were hardly any guest public intellectuals during the recent past, who were visited by such a mass of young people! Even the South African Nobel peace laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu during his University “Award for Freedom”  (clip) could not attract as much attendee as Slavoj Žižek did.

Slavoj Žižek appeared in his accustomed T-shirt/Pullover. After a short unspectacular greeting in German, he said in a joke…to make his position/”Weltanschauung”  at the outset clear, 
” Sorry my German is insufficient, I have to use the language of Imperialism”…
As soon as he begins with his thoughts, in his brilliant fugitive way, he just takes control of your attention so that you have to participate in the process of his thoughts, developing his lecture on the move; out of the notes he seems to improvise in the air and at the moment.  Any “gentleman „ even  if he happens to be  uncomfortable in the non-elegant appearance of the “professor”, looking  at Zizek’s accustomed  T-shirt-Pullover,  may be forced to take part immediately in this process.  – He would say; a demonstration of the Hegelian dialectics of content and form, here, with content taking over the supremacy!
*
After more than 60 minutes uninterrupted discourse on the Theme; ” Is it still possible to be Hegelian?”; declaring or interpreting almost every philosopher or artists he mentioned  to be in effect a Hegelian in disguise,  including spiritual leaders like Jesus and “god” himself in absentia, incapable of saving his own “Son” from suffering,  delegating the problem to humanity etc. etc.  even with a reprimand that Hegel himself was not “Hegelian” enough; and interpreting  Marx for not “inversing” Hegel but accusing him of being less “Hegelian” than he could have been, but a condition Hegel couldn’t help…..living in the era of small manufactures, without the development of science  as we know it today  and “Capital” just  in the period of its initial birth….leaving the challenge for Marx to help him later in  political economy…and we today are left with the legacies  of the Adorno’s  etc…to reflect more on “globalization”….
*
I would say, He, as a materialist, even went so far to conclusively declare the supremacy of “thinking” to “action” in post modernity!

He said, „Still placated in the Humboldt University today, we have to inverse that famous message of Marx, “Philosophers have interpreted the world, the point is to change it”. A point which made us too keen for action has to be reversed again: “politicians have changed the world; the point is however now, to think it all over again and make it better.” (Paraphrased)
*

For him, it seemed that,
THE CONTEMPORARY NEW HEGELIAN amounts to be:
“THE CLASSICAL HEGEL x THE SECULAR INTERPRETATION OF CHRISTIANITY (love your enemy etc.) x THE INCLUSIVE DOCTRINE OF ISLAM x THE YOUNG MARX x KIERKEGAARD’S REPETETION + DELEUZE’S DISGUISED HEGLIANISM COMBINED TOGETHER WITH A FURTHER REFLECTION OF THE RIGHT EMERGING OUT OF THE MANY WRONGS; ALWAYS RESULTING IN THE BEAUTIFUL “UNKNOWN” – THE NEVER EXHAUSTED CONTINGENCY OF NEW REALITIES” (take x as interacting with).
*
The man is simply a demonstration of thinking per se. I enjoyed every second!
Just for your imagination to anticipate the scope of his proceedings…I would simply note (unstructured) some of the concepts, ideas and persons which crossed his mind and lips (hoping that the lecture will be available sometime in the future, at least in Audio to share it with the internet-public).

Adorno, Schoenberg, Music
Heinrich von Kleist
Kierkegaard, existentialism

Repetition
Dosteyevsky
Jesus, god, contingency
Nature, culture, nurture, education….
Imperialism
Terrorism,
Starbucks and African solidarity,
Even our solidarity sold in the commodity
Congo,
Catholicism
Deleuze, who didn’t know that he is a Hegelian.
Wagner, Tristan und Isolde
Adultery Love and marriage,
Sexuality, psychoanalysis
Freud
Kant,
Brecht,
Heisenberg
Bohr and Quantum Physic, the split experiment
Stephen Hawkins, searching for the Absolute
God
Hegel and the Absolute, negation of the negation etc.
The French revolution, Jacobins,
terror – antiterrorism,
the wrongs – and its cherubs the corrects etc.
Kafka,
Rabbis,
children games, battle games with the unknown end etc.
The Russian Rabi and Communism – two reasons to leave-(joke)
the Japan disaster; Atomic reactors, environment, ecology…
and  what not..
The right out the wrong, , emergence etc.
Russia and communism
our past, the present …
etc.
may be almost all philosophers and intellectuals are in his minds, all like what he coined  in a joke as:
All “from Plato to NATO…”
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HIS MESSAGE WAS MORE OR LESS:-

Think!  Think! Dare to Contemplate! And “THEY” will be afraid of “YOU”! High Time to think! Up to now, we were too keen to change the world…
*
After an hour and a half, accompanied by an uninterrupted applause, he left with the comment,

“Save your Applause for later. Don’t worry, we will force you to applaud too, when we radical leftist come to power!” suggesting “think before you applaud”!
I.e. we can never be perfect.  The point is to be open for all contingencies; i.e. the unknown is beautiful
*
In a Word,

-the man has A beautiful MIND, worth attending and contemplating on what he has to say and convey!

-the man conveys some hope of the “second” wave of enlightenment coming to salvage our contemporary troubled humanity!
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Just for the intermediate period (the video/audio publication of his speech) here is a related Reference:
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