What does Slovenian Marxist philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek think about the Greek bailout extension?
The ongoing EU pressure on Greece to implement austerity measures fits perfectly what psychoanalysis calls the superego. The superego is not an ethical agency proper, but a sadistic agent, which bombards the subject with impossible demands, obscenely enjoying the subject’s failure to comply with them. The paradox of the superego is that, as Freud saw clearly, the more we obey its demands, the more we feel guilty. Imagine a vicious teacher who assigns his pupils impossible tasks, and then sadistically jeers when he sees their anxiety and panic. This is what is so terribly wrong with the EU demands/commands: they do not even give Greece a chance — Greek failure is part of the game …
That is what the EU establishment finds so disturbing about the Syriza government: it admits debt, but without guilt. Syriza got rid of the superego pressure … This is why I profess a deep respect for Syriza’s struggle. The very fact that they persist makes us all free: we all know that as long as Syriza is there, there is a chance for all of us.
So there you have it. Syriza gives the people hope. But they still probably lost this round with their creditors.
Žižek, for the uninitiated, is a professor of philosophy and psychoanalysis at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and is one of the more well-known academic philosophers living today. He often writes and comments in the mainstream press: the New York Times, the Guardian, ect.
This isn’t his first post on the Greek debt crisis. Before the elections in January he wrote for In These Times about the “urgent necessity of a Syriza victory in Greece.” He wrote that the only “true solution” for Greece was to “gather the courage and write the debt off,” which could only be done by Syriza.
It’s not clear from the last two weeks that even Syriza has the will to do that.
(via Matt Levine )