This Mute Presence Beyond Meaning

Slavoj Žižek, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, 2012

[On the “redemptive value” of post-castrophe movies like I Am Legend] We see the devastated human environment, half-empty factories, machines falling apart, empty stores. What we experience at this moment, the psychoanalytic term for it would have been the inertia of the real — this mute presence beyond meaning. What moments like confronting planes in the Mojave desert bring to us is maybe a chance for an authentic passive experience. Maybe without this properly artistic moment of authentic passivity nothing new can emerge. Maybe something new only emerges through the failure, the suspension of properly functioning of the existing network of our life. . . . Maybe this is what we need more than ever today.

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