I used to be a bit skeptical about the praise that the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek received among the younger generation of casual armchair philosophers. After all, it’s hard not to be distracted by the man’s random movements and random composition of words into sentences that at times contradict the sentences that precede it.
However, now I am beginning to understand and admire the man. He embodies the best of what a philosopher can be in the 21st century: one who provides no answers, a few rare questions, but mostly just makes us think:
Now, my favorite part of that Charlie Rose interview is Zizek’s “analysis” of the movie Titanic. It captures brilliantly what I’ve always saw as the fundamental flaw in that love story. That love always felt to me as the kind of love that would not outlast the Titanic trip were it not to sink:
That there is what Zizek does well: reveals the absurdity of topics, events, people that somehow feel a bit sacred and yet not at all. For example, he is fascinated with Stalin and claims that the failure of communism in the Soviet Union is much more complex than, for example, the failure of fascism in Germany. Again, he provides no answers, but explains quite brilliantly that the reasons for its failure are not trivial. Again, he asks good questions, and provides no answers. That is the role of the 21st century philosopher.