abstract art, a systems view

Slavoj Zizek, “Living in the End Times”

with 5 comments

Slavoj Zizek’s book “Living in the End Times” reminds me of a film, where the plot is pre-figured metaphorically in the opening titles. Everything in the book is prefigured in the introduction. Then, on second and third reading I notice that the book is a system, each part connected to others in a non-linear way. And it is wonderful, and difficult to put down (in many senses of the term) even though it certainly isn’t an easy reader, not in my book anyway.

It’s main thesis is that Global Capitalism is coming to an end and the responses to this “news of difference” can be categorised according to Kubler-Ross’s  grief curve:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These five stages become Zizek’s structure for the book.

I love his reading of Ephesians 6:12 translating “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against leaders, against authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual wickedness in the heavens” into today’s language as “Our struggle is not against actual corrupt individuals, but against those in power in general, against their authority, against the global order and the ideological mystification which sustains it”

(Another recent post about Zizek’s book can be found here)


Written by Andy Parkinson

August 11, 2011 at 7:20 am

5 Responses

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  1. Very interesting post and a book I want to read. Thanks for this.

    Deborah Barlow

    August 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

  2. Thanks for this post, I am currently slogging through this book – It is pretty incredible in its depth and pull from so many sources. I am enjoying the education, thanks for your thoughts.


    August 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  3. I’m generally impressed by what I’ve read of the book so far. I’m almost up to “The Architectural Parallax” interlude, which is what I’m primarily reading the book for. As a Marxist and student of architectural history, Zizek will have to measure up to Adorno (“Functionalism Today”), Bloch, and especially Manfredo Tafuri, to say nothing of Lissitzky, Ginzburg, etc. The best writers on architecture I’ve found are Tafuri, Vladimir Paperny, and recently Owen Hatherley. I must say that I find some of Jameson’s architectural interpretations frankly perverse. Very disappointing. Hopefully Zizek is better on architecture. I tend to like the man even if I find some of his Marxism problematic.

    Anyway, after some heavy factographical pounding I try to leave off the first excerpt from my thesis with as riveting a finish as I can manage. Hope you enjoy!

    Ross Wolfe

    August 12, 2011 at 12:59 am

  4. That book I was telling you about is called ‘The Enigma of Capital’.


    August 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm

  5. […] the final section of Zizek’s book “Living in the End Times”, (see previous blog post), having surveyed the responses to the anticipated end of global capitalism, under the headings: 1) […]

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