[Muvi] Examined Life (2008): Slovaj Žižek on Ecology as Religion

An excerpt by Slovaj Žižek from the 2008 documentary in Examined Life   (English voice with Traditional Chinese subtitles)

I admit that right as I watch this excerpt I am not totally getting what he is coming from and where he is going at. But I will attempt to put my understand back in his mouth and paraphrase/interpret the idea like in below:

A freshwater aquatic and terrestrial food-web.

Žižek says, what we need is a more radical form of abstract materialism, according to which we should welcome the rubbish and all the craziness in our ecological system altogether, embracing our identity as their creator. Environmentalism is a myth, contends Žižek: it dispenses with all the nasty aspects of the reality of nature (e.g., the cruelty of natural selection and of natural catastrophes) and virtualizes an illusionary human universe where sins do not disappear but instead appear to be absent by not being allowed to present.

For Žižek, there is no perfect original state of nature that we human can or should ever dream of returning to. The best of the possible worlds, as we believe that our universe is, is still as imperfect as it can possibly be. Human beings are not the only ones to blame for causing its imperfections. Instead, just like we profit from the petroleum–which is indeed a gift through the craziness of nature– for the sustainment and advancement of our technology, the real practical philosophy toward which we need to drive our humanity is a kind of industrial ecology and of material environmentalism. Namely, we are not to live anymore in a self-deceiving way as if the trash is not part of our lives; we are not to cut the pollutions away from our inhabited space. Instead, we must dwell among both of them we are to recognize that both pollutions and civilizations are what we inevitably impose onto the nature, just as the nature rewards us with both its wonderful resources as well as horrible disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions). Only in this way, we might stop creating a false god out of the nature (like postmodern resurgence of New Age Spirituality does), and learn to be fully responsible for the civilizations that civilized us.

As such,  Žižek’s word sounds provocative and polarizing as always, and once again he elaborates his critical spirit against the « charitable capitalism »in First As Tragedy, Then As Farce: why live under a controlled evil and pretend that everything is going to be automatically fixed and tomorrow will be better?

Publicités