Psychoanalysis is less merciful than Christianity. Where God the Father forgives our ignorance, psychoanalysis holds out no such hope. Ignorance is not a sufficient ground for forgiveness since it masks enjoyment; an enjoyment which erupts in those black holes in our symbolic universe that escape the Father's prohibition.
Today, with the disintegration of state socialism, we are witnessing this eruption of enjoymnet in the re-emergence of aggressive nationalism and racism. With the lid of repression lifted, the desires that have emerged are from from democratic. To explain this apparent paradox, says Slavoj Žižek, socialist critical thought must turn to psychoanalysis.
For They Know Not What They Do seeks to understand the status of enjoyment within ideological discourse, from Hegel through Lacan to these political and ideological deadlocks. The author's own enjoyment of “popular culture” makes this an engaging and lucid exposition, in which Hegel joins hands with Rossellini, Marx with Hitchcock, Lacan with Frankenstein, high theory with Hollywood melodrama.
“The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged from Europe in some decades.” — Terry Eagleton
“Slavoj Žižek, the Giant of Llubljana ... provides the best intellectual high since Anti-Oedipus.” – Voice Literary Supplement
About the Author:
Slavoj Žižek is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Social Studies in Ljubljana. His books include Mapping Ideology, The Sublime Object of Ideology, The Indivisible Remainder: Essays on Schelling and Related Matters, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Lacan (But were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock), The Plague of Fantasies, The Fragile Absolute, and The Ticklish Subject. He is the editor of Verso's Wo Es War Series.