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Book Review The world according to Zizek

Heaven in Disorder
by Slavoj Zizek
O/R Books £17

THE book’s title is taken from a quote by Mao Zedong: “There is great disorder under heaven; the situation is excellent.”

However, as Zizek explains, the challenges we face in the 21st century are unprecedented and the situation is far from excellent (as could be the future) unless a unified movement arises to address issues such as global poverty, climate change, the Covid pandemic, political apathy and other social ills.

Much depends on how we act. Zizek writes: “Therein lies the task of the left – to translate brewing discontent into a viable programme for change.”

He also criticises the lack of unity across the left as he proposes solutions to address these problems while advocating the need to develop new ways of thinking to survive growing threats.

Throughout his book Zizek takes aim at both the left and the right wings of the political spectrum, including virtue signallers and altruists whose good intentions paper over the cracks of a problem and cause more harm than good.

Whether or not you agree with Zizek, his ideas are worthy of consideration and encourage us to reflect upon our own views and actions.

Some of the book’s chapters are a little heavily laden with philosophy as Zizek references and develops the ideas of numerous thinkers, including Marx, Mao, Hegel, and Lacan.

However, persevering through these parts of the book is worth the effort to gain an insight into Zizek’s views and suggestions for building a fairer world so that humanity can survive through this century.

 

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