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r.i.p., vaclav havel

December 19, 2011

In honour of Vaclav Havel’s passing this weekend, here’s Slavoj Zizek’s 1999 review of John Keane’s book, Vaclav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts:

Attempts to Escape the Logic of Capitalism

In the spirit of full-disclosure, half-way through the review, I found myself thinking, “Wow, that’s pretty genius,” being impressed by the way Zizek’s analysis (influenced by a combination of Hegel, Marx, and Lacan, among other things) actually helped to broaden my admittedly poor understanding of the hows and whys some of these events took place, while at the same time raising, and then connecting them to, questions I’ve been struggling with myself recently.

The conclusion reached by Zizek at the very end, however, doesn’t satisfy me; and I wonder whether that’s because I’m unconsciously worried that ‘the direct ethical foundation’ of my own politics (arising out of my Buddhist practice, and influenced by a mixture of radical liberalism, Marxism, and Plato) will ‘sooner or later turn into its own comic caricature,’ or whether there’s something missing here, as if I intuit the bulk of his analysis pointing in a slightly different direction, but am unable to articulate precisely what that direction is (although, I suspect it’s probably mainly the former).

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