‘Long Live the Dialectic’, Long Live the Nothing:
Steven Connor, in the Times Literary Supplement, sums up the major importance of Slavoj Žižek’s ”everlasting gobstopper of a book” Less Than Nothing. In a single paragraph, Connor explains Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit as the ‘engorgement’ of Spirit through the dialectical movement of history (spirit meets its negative antagonist in the form of matter or the material world and responds by both preserving and overcoming both thesis and antithesis through the process of sublation), the principle of the postmodernist reaction to it (denouncing the Hegelian dialectic as one of several totalising conceptions of the world that it rejects) and finally Žižek’s critical thrust that manages to:
both discredit postmodernist arguments in their dependence on a dishing of Hegel, and to endorse the objections to totality that are key to those postmodernist arguments.
For Žižek, History is not about a teleological progress toward the absolute consolidation of Spirit, but rather about its self-division or „the inherent self-distancing of the One itself”.
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