Albert Camus, in his otherwise hopelessly outdated The Myth of Sisyphus, is right to emphasize that suicide is the only real philosophical problem -

The myth of postmodernity

This brings us back to the possibility of a mythical structure in modernity, when even philosophy itself becomes reflexive in two consecutive stages. First, with the Kantian critical turn, it loses its 'innocence' and incorporates the questioning of its own conditions of possibility. Then, with the 'postmodern' turn, philosophizing becomes 'experimental', no longer providing unconditional answers, but playing with different 'models', combining different approaches which take their own failure into account in advance - all we can properly formulate is the question, the enigma, while answers are simply failed attempts to fill in the gap of this enigma.


Perhaps the best illustration of the way this reflexivity affects our everyday experience of subjectivity is the universalized status of addiction: today, one can be 'addicted' to anything - not only to alcohol or drugs, but also to food, smoking, sex, work. . . . This universalization of addiction signifies the radical uncertainty of any subjective position today: there are no firm predetermined patterns, everything has to be (re)negotiated again and again. And this goes even as far as suicide. Albert Camus, in his otherwise hopelessly outdated The Myth of Sisyphus, is right to emphasize that suicide is the only real philosophical problem - when, however, does it become so? Only in modern reflexive society, when life itself no longer 'goes by itself", as a 'nonmarked' feature (to use the term developed by Roman Jakobson), but is 'marked', has to be especially motivated (which is why euthanasia is becoming acceptable). Prior to modernity, suicide was simply a sign of some pathological malfunction, despair, misery. With reflexivization, however, suicide becomes an existential act, the outcome of a pure decision, irreducible to objective suffering or psychic pathology This is the other side of Emile Durkheim's reduction of suicide to a social fact that can be quantified and predicted: the two moves, the objectivization quantification of suicide and its transformation into a pure existential act, are strictly correlative.''

Slavoj Zizek, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?: Five Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion




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Bartleby, the Scrivener: “I would prefer not to.
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