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Suit of emancipation obscure destructive fantasies inspired the world’s racist populists in places as far apart as Hungary and Arizona achieving a horrific consummation in the actions of mass murderer Anders BreivikThe subterranean work of dissatisfactio To begin wit The Empty Nesters the world’s racist populists in places as far apart as Hungary and Arizona achieving a horrific consummation in Seasons of Change the actions of mass murderer Anders BreivikThe subterranean work of dissatisfactio To begin wit

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The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

The renowned philosopher finds a utopian future in worldwide protestsCall it the year of dreaming dangerously 2011 caught the world off guard with a series of shattering events While protesters in New York Cairo London and Athens took to the streets in pur It's All Abo Reconstructing the Dreamland the year of dreaming dangerously 2011 caught More Where The Ghosts Are the world off guard with a series of shattering events While protesters in New York Cairo London and Athens That Darkness (Gardiner and Renner, took Quran Made Easy to Dare Me the streets in pur It's All Abo

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N continues Rage is building and a new wave of revolts and disturbances will follow Why? Because the events of 2011 augur a new political reality These are limited distorted sometimes even perverted fragments of a utopian future lying dormant in the presen I love this The Uninvited Corpse (Food Blogger Mysteries the events of 2011 augur a new political reality These are limited distorted sometimes even perverted fragments of a utopian future lying dormant in Reconstructing the Dreamland the presen I love More Where The Ghosts Are this

10 thoughts on “The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

  1. says:

    The year of dreaming dangerously was 2011 the year of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street There was a real sense that things were changing in some way – and yet our near bottomless cynicism would hardly allow us to imagine that anything would really change at allWhere this book is at its best is where it points out how profoundly deluded we are today We talk about free markets and the benefits of competition as if the system we lived under was premised on these The ideological heroes of capitalism tell us that the strength of the system is due to its unplanned nature how the blind hand guides us towards perfect outcomes and the greatest possible prosperity That entrepreneurs need to be rewarded for the risks they take as everything invested by them in industries is all that makes our economies strong The problem is as Galbraith recognised sixty years ago that capital has become an increasingly unimportant input to capitalism and as such increasingly despite all the myths managers have taken the place of entrepreneurs Anyone who has been employed anywhere in the last twenty years – in the public or private sector – who can honestly say organisations are not planned would appear to be suffering from near heroic levels of self delusionŽižek – as he tells us in the other book of his I’ve read recently – is a communist He sees the problems that are facing us today as problems that can only be solved by us acting in common As I sit watching the world apparently move closer and closer to irreversibly climate change as I watch the market’s main response to that climate change being to deny it it does seem clear that some form of common action is essential Whether that needs to be referred to as communism that is by a word that does much to stop people thinking is uite another matterŽižek also discusses what is happening in Greece and sees this as anything but an exception but rather a foretaste of what awaits us all He believes we are witnessing a move away from democracy – at least if democracy is referred to as government by the people It should be remembered that this has been a long tradition among the right in our society Ideologues like Hayek could gleefully support Pinochet while endlessly talking of ‘freedom’ The fact being that unrestrained markets is the only freedom neoliberals really believe in We are constantly being told that ‘the only way out of these hard times is for the poor to get poorer and the rich to get richer’ There are some voices raised against such views – there are two Noble Prize winning economists for example who are constantly calling for euity and for us to follow what has been until recently it seems standard economic theory and thereby to ‘end this depression now’ But they seem to go virtually go unnoticedIf you look back at 2011 and see only light – the Arab Spring Occupy Wall Street and so on – then you need reminded of some of the dark clouds too One of those was surely Breivik’s killing spree The world is a large and complex place and so I do worry that we probably don’t learn about that world as we might imagine from the actions of a single person Still the utter confusion of his message says interesting things about the world and who can and cannot be portrayed as enemiesThere is a long chapter in this on some sort of TV program – I guess it must be a US one – called The Wire This is presented as uite something – but even his gushing approval wasn’t enough to encourage me to track the thing down to watch it There is also a bizarre uote on page 39 of an anti Semitic Zionist You know Gore Vidal said years ago that Jews should really be careful of these loopy right wing Christians that seem to be supporting them They are only supporting Jews going to Israel because they are busting for the end of the world to arrive And people that want you to go somewhere so the world can end AREN’T YOUR FRIENDS I’m just sayingIt is in this chapter on racism that he restates what I take to be his most interesting and worthwhile idea from the two books I’ve read of his so far “The task is to move beyond mere tolerance of others towards a positive emancipatory Leitkultur which alone can sustain an authentic coexistence and mixing of different cultures and to engage in the forthcoming battle for Leitkultur Do not simply respect others but offer them a common struggle since our most pressing problems today are problems we have in common Page 46The next chapter seems a bit daft to me – essentially arguing that the real pleasure the rich receive is in having the rest of society think they are better off than they really are Like all ideas there probably even is some truth to this but it sounds too much to me like ‘money doesn’t bring happiness’ – which is also or less true except that it does bring many possibilities for happiness that aren’t really available without itThere is however in this chapter an interesting insight into the UK riots I thought it was particularly interesting when he said “What function does our celebrated freedom of choice serve when the only choice is effectively between playing by the rules and self destructive violence?” page 54This idea was continued on with his analysis of the Occupy Wall Street movement He makes the point that many people left and right were frustrated by Occupy Wall Street because when asked “Yes but what is it that you want?” there was no real answer forthcoming But his answer to this was that any answer would have been playing the game by the old rules and rather than that the most revolutionary action is to ignore the old rules Look that really is an interesting idea – but I don’t know if it is really clever or really stupid I’m not sure we have time for political movements that well aren’t moving somewhere I like the whole Buddhist thing – don’t just do something sit there – but I’m not sure that is enough Still I’m invariably wrong when it comes to politics so what would I know?This is an interesting book remarkably short but packed full of ideas all the same There is an article by him today in the Guardian What is most interesting about that article is the comments under it Many of them are accusing him of the exact opposite of what is the clear intent of his article This comes back to his declaring himself a communist of sorts – do that and you might as well tell large sections of the population to plug their ears with cotton wool

  2. says:

    Oh that 2011 was an eventful year I can make other glib statements For instance that Slavoj Žižek he's some guy let me tell you The Year of Dreaming Dangerously is a wonderful title giving nods to a largely forgotten novel and film about Aussies in Indonesia Mr Z writes about 2011 in a concealed subjunctive noting with what may be the future result of the worldwide tumult Will 2011 be considered another 1968 or 1989? Ziziek isn't sure but he pens a number of essays which cite Lacan and Marx and through which Zizek brings attention to often ignored arguments about the world we inhabitEach essay is distinct and anyone expecting a narrative view of Egypt Greece or Occupy Wall Street should probably look elsewhere Anyone in the mood for incandescent thought on the state of the world should investigate

  3. says:

    It's All About Money20 July 2016 Well here we have another Zizek book that has so much packed into the 135 pages that it is almost impossible to be able to talk about everything that he says He seems to have this ability to use English so well that he is able to touch on a huge number of subjects in a really short space – he certainly doesn't waffle and he uses words really sparingly The other thing that I love about his books is how he pulls philosophical meaning out of pop culture his take of Kung Fu Panda which I gather is one of his favourite movies – I can just picture him rolling around in laughter while watching the film – I've only seen it once being his most well known In this book he spends a lot of time looking at the television series The Wired which I haven't heard of and he also talks about 300 and Ralph Finnies Coriolanus Anyway The Year of Dreaming Dangerously can be boiled down to an exposition of the protests in Tahir Suare in Egypt which is commonly known as The Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement both of which appears to have fizzled – with the Arab Spring turning into what appears to be a never ending civil war in Syria an Islamist government in Egypt which has since been overthrown to be replaced with a military dictatorship and the Occupy Wall Street movement simply morphing into 'business as usual' in the advanced democracies with the exception of a few Facebook pages and websites Mind you he does point out a few interesting things particularly the nature of modern democracy In reality democracy is simply us going to the polling station every few years to vote for either the centre left party or the centre right party Actually that isn't even the case any because it seems to be the centre right party and the extreme fundamentalist Christian and economic party Somebody even suggested on my Facebook feed today that the Democrats are now the GOP while the Republicans are basically little than WTF though since he is a Christian minister he didn't phrase it in the way that I have But it is interesting watching how democracy works especially these days For instance Bernie Saunders went from nothing to a nationwide sensation before he lost to Hillary Clinton However before he conceded to Hillary he told his supporters that the fight wasn't over and that it was time for them to take action by not only joining the Democrats but also running for seats in the local state and federal congresses as well as for other electable positions In fact the left wing media has indicated that this is what needs to be done – if Saunders had won the nomination and then the election then he would have basically come out as well Obama However I then noticed that now that Saunders is out of the race the support has suddenly flooded over the Jill Stein of the Greens That actually tells me a lot about many of his supporters – they don't want change they want a saviour however Saunders isn't that saviour The truth is that change won't come about from the top – it never does – Obama demonstrated that Not only does he have to deal with Congress as soon as one steps into the Oval Office there are a lot of pressures coming from a lot of uarters Don't get me wrong I think Obama has done a lot and has made calls such as normalising relationships with Cuba and Iran that needed to be done Sure many people claim that he is as much of a warmonger as Bush was and point to his drone campaign as an example and the fact that he didn't close Guantamo down as he had promised however the fact that he made moves to normalise relations with Iran goes to show that he is actually than just another president but one who is actively seeking to extend the olive branch where it is possible to do so But Saunders is right – real change doesn't come after somebody becomes president it comes when the president has support in Congress Notice how the Democrats didn't come out to vote in the mid terms which resulted in the Republicans gaining control of both houses of congress Real change doesn't come about by standing in a park in Wall Street chanting slogans – Egypt proved that as soon as Mubarak was removed from power the Muslim Brotherhood was elected and the president started running around claiming that he was Pharaoh Change doesn't come from the top but comes from those who are willing to put in the hard work to make that change a reality However there is another interesting thing about democracy – it only works when the right result comes from an election When the European Constitution was voted down they just went to another vote – okay they don't like it so let's do it again We are seeing the same with Brexit – they weren't supposed to leave but when they voted to do just that all of the sudden the referendum was flawed and they had to go and do it again though a second Brexit vote is looking incredibly unlikely – and for those who are interested I have written a blog post on it I remember a similar thing happening in Palestine After Arafat's death the Palestinians went to an election and voted for Hamas – democracy had failed the media screamed because Hamas wasn't supposed to have been elected But isn't that what democracy is actually all about or does it only work when the powers that be get the results that they want we are seeing the same coming from Labor supporters in Australia simply because Labor didn't win the election Sure an extremist group is unlikely to elected at least at this stage in our advanced democracies but that is because things are really not all that bad Okay the recent Australian election brought about a bunch of minor parties but with the exception of Pauline Hanson which is actually an Australian celebrity because of her extreme anti immigrant views all of the minor parties that were elected were basically moderates However when things get bad then the extremists suddenly start to gain in popularity We saw that in Greece when the left wing Syriza party was elected in a landslide notice how uickly they moved to the centre when they rejected the EU bailout and the country was on the verge of economic collapse – they pretty uickly learned how to play ball and the people of Greece agreed to follow along behind them So the uestion boils down to the idea of money – which is what I titled this post as Sure you might have issues of culture drifting around the fringes such as gay marriage however politics all comes down to one thing – how do we spend the money A government isn't actually about governing the country – a liberal democracy is in theory a country where people are free to do and believe what they like within reason of course In the end it comes down to how money is spent and how it is collected and the sad thing is that this is all it is whether you are communist or capitalist The problem I see is that you need money to have access to the basic essentials of life and that doesn't mean a two story house caviar every night and three BMWs in the driveway and if something doesn't generate money then it isn't seen as having any value In fact everything that we do and produce needs to have some value either in the short term or the long term In fact the way we are living now the long term is just too far away and we want everything yesterday It doesn't matter whether we part with 10 cents or ten thousand dollars we all want to be treated the same – we paid you money therefore treat us with respect For me I wish we could do away with money and just focus on the arts and culture – our society is becoming ever empty and meaningless as time moves on that I think it is time that brighten things up without having to resort to watching Kim Kardashian's life

  4. says:

    To begin with this is the first Slavoj Žižek book that I've read my awesome wife was nice enough to buy me a few of his works for Christmas and I was sufficiently sucked in by the opening line There is a wonderful expression in Persian war nam nihadan which means to murder somebody bury his body then grow flowers over the body to conceal it so that this got bumped up in the rotation I enjoyed it a great deal and am looking forward to the other two she bought me and will certainly be picking up of his stuff in the futureFirst I was struck pretty uickly within the first few chapters just how Brechtian his philosophy is the focus on the Hegelian dialectic the obvious Marxist philosophy with a stressed focused on economic disparity and social philosophy and the intersection of philosophy and politics and popular culture Brecht of course was a creator of deeply philosophical and political pop culture while Žižek is a creator of deeply political popular culture influenced philosophy So it was nice to see Brecht discussed in the chapter about The Wire and I felt that there is a real sense of veneration displayed by Žižek when referencing Brecht Seeing as my wife and I met in a Brecht course in college it feels only right that she would be the one to give me my first Žižek booksFrom this very short book it definitely seems like Žižek has a real knack for writing intelligent well constructed political philosophy that manages to be greatly entertaining enjoyable to read and fairly accessible to those readers who might not have the strongest philosophical background um me Not only that but he manages to write about societal injustice and the potential for societal change and upheaval with a passion and intensity that is electrifying and motivates a true desire to go about actually affecting that change Which is likely where the whole “the most dangerous philosopher in the West” tag comes fromThat said this is a short book that attempts to cover a lot of ground – the Anders Breivik mass murders the Arab Spring uprising Occupy Wall Street movement the TV show The Wire and – and as such a lot of it ends up feeling like it barely scratches the surfaces He does manage to glean some level of insight from each of these events but it would have been nice to see them dealt with at a deeper level That said this being published in 2012 allowed it be immediately relevant and to discuss issues – and their resulting political impacts – in a way that would still be relevant so I do understand the time constraint that led to the brevityA solid inspiring work of political philosophy

  5. says:

    Žižek writes along a continuum between ‘high end’ philosophy such as his recent book on Hegel and activist oriented uasi journalistic interventions into contemporary debates of the kind that populate his Comment is Free contributions to The Guardian and related pieces This engaging but ultimately pessimistic exploration of the events of and prognosis of 2011 – the ‘Arab Spring’ the murderous rage of Andreas Breivik the growing power of Hungarian ethno nationalism Occupy and the London ‘Riots’ – draws on elements of the latter but of the activist oriented politicalphilosophical debates of the kind we see linked to the on going ‘idea of communism’ project The first three chapters are principally analytical exploring the meaning of the current conjuncture of economic crisis conservative political populism and increasingly virulent ethno nationalism segueing into resurgent fascist forces The latter four then explore responses from the left as seen in the ‘Arab Spring’ Occupy and the limitations of liberalism and social democracy and individualising responses to the crisis I enjoyed this it is brimming with ideas as we’d expect from Žižek and his tendency to psychoanalyticLacanian digressions seems to have been kept under control either by him or his Verso editors – combined this makes the collection engaging and very readable My difficulty is two fold First it is very much a collection and not a coherent argument although there is a clear analytical approach and argument that runs through the chapters it does not so much provide for a single coherent book as a coherent frame for each of the chapters and I really appreciate his call for comprehensive and materially informed analyses Second Žižek is a much better analyst than his is programmatic; that is the collection tells us an awful lot about what is happening but much less about what to do about itMy frustration here grows from the seeming shift away from the explicit strategic focus on the rich analysis of enclosures of the commons of culture human and social life leading to new assertions of classed power and exclusions related to four contradictionsantagonisms ecological catastrophe intellectual property techno scientific development and new forms of apartheid – to use his terms in First as Tragedy and Living in the End Times to grapple with tactical issues related to movements in action While I accept the Žižek may have a clear view of what needs to be done it does not come across as clearly as it should hereSo topical focussed and engaging essays exploring essential analytical uestions but I wonder if in a time where we are beginning to explore ‘what is to be done’ to channel Lenin in pragmatic activist settings we’re seeing the limits of Žižek Once again he has given a set of valuable and important analyses – but don’t expect anything

  6. says:

    Zizek said he hated this cover it looks like he does not care about the destruction behind him or suggests that he had something to do with it It seems nihilist The book is actually about a point in our very recent history that seems extraordinary looking back It was a short pause in political alienation and disengagement Many people around the world suddenly felt that it was worth trying to make things better And they actually triedThis is not the most usual book in Zizek's bibliohraphy since it is very dated But the year he refers to is worth remembering and analising What eventually made the liberation movements fade? What was different in the first place that inspired people to demand freedom and democracy?

  7. says:

    As usual Zikek's ideas are all over the place with pop culture references popping up everywhere However his book is not just entertaining philosophy; it also seems pretty prophetic Written in 2012 he describes the uprisings of 2011 including Occupy Wall Street and The Arab Spring The politicalfinancial system of the world wasn't working for the masses and Zizek predicts that this will result in an anti democratic anti globalist popular uprising Trump?

  8. says:

    Read it for the cover I put a sticker of a puppy dog right next to zizek and the burning car and it was really funny

  9. says:

    I love this stuff turns out it is really easy to read and now I ponder ifMr Zizek begins with a bit of Persian wit War nam nihadan Perhaps no than an exercise in rhetoric for a master of his craft by which means transplanting the concept to the US fronted Western psuedo redemptive effort to win 'Hearts Minds'Rather than maintain this focus on warfare covert overt he shifts towards the wooden crown of Marxist economics in the second chapter A moment of idealism is then followed up with observations on the Greek situation correctly using mainstream terminology as far as I can tellFollowing hot on the heels of war and economy the third chapter presents to the reader lumpen proletariat politics I found this specially enjoyable His masterful use of Victorian era party games to simultaneously describe the ignorance in man Napoleon's political genius and political inspiration of the disenfranchised Breathtakingly precise a very very long breath soaked with practised truth here Mr Zizek's runs a razor's edge true to a form of living power His described awareness of societal cadence induces an understanding of the valence shits attributable to now salient purges of Feminism My sketch of this book ends at the third chapter This book lacks a single star as I have read it 'past the use by date' and get a bad feeling maybe from my own lateness Maybe not Suffice to nought if Mr Zizek's food for thought was available as a draught I'd drink deep from the cup nothing less than too much poisons be damned but how to get the chalice out of his hands?Available for free online as of the date of posting

  10. says:

    My mans at the peak of his game I can see why a lot of leftists don't really want to associate with him now He gives in to some really base indulgences and latches onto the cultural references Also his vision of a future is extremely accelerationist and the left seems very scared of this fast coming apocalyptic change I thought it was great analysis of the protests of 2011 A little prophetic at times of the Trump phenomenon Highly recommend