Food for Thought

Think about the strangeness of today’s situation: 30, 40 years ago we were still debating what the future will be: communist, capitalist, fascist, whatever.  Today, nobody even debates these issues.  We all silently accept global capitalism is here to stay.  On the other hand, we are obsessed with cosmic catastrophes, the whole of life on earth disintegrating because of some virus, because of an asteroid hitting the earth and so on.  


So the paradox is that it’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism.  Which means that we should reinvent utopia, but in what sense?  There are two false meaning of utopia: one is this old notion of imagining this ideal society which we know will never be realized; the other is the capitalist utopia in the sense of new perverse desires that you are not only allowed but even solicited to realize.  

The true utopia is when the situation is so without issue, without the way to resolve it within the coordinates of the possible, that out of the pure urge of survival you have to invent a new space.  Utopia is not a free imagination.  Utopia is a matter of innermost urgency.  You are forced to imagine it, it is the only way out, and this is what we need today.

– Slavoj Zizek (Geez magazine, Spring 2012)


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