In these troubled times, even the most pessimistic diagnosis of our future ends with an uplifting hint that things might not be as bad as all that, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Yet, argues Slavoj Žižek, it is only when we have admit to ourselves that our situation is completely hopeless - that the light at the end of the tunnel is in fact the headlight of a train approaching us from the opposite direction - that fundamental change can be brought about.
Surveying the various challenges in the world today, from mass migration and geopolitical tensions to terrorism, the explosion of rightist populism and the emergence of new radical politics - all of which, in their own way, express the impasses of global capitalism - Žižek explores whether there still remains the possibility for genuine change. Today, he proposes, the only true question is, or should be, this: do we endorse the predominant acceptance of capitalism as a fact of human nature, or does today's capitalism contain strong enough antagonisms to prevent its infinite reproduction? Can we, he asks, move beyond the failure of socialism, and beyond the current wave of populist rage, and initiate radical change before the train hits?
'One of our best-known living philosophers' Guardian
How do we respond to the refugee crisis - by opening our doors, or pulling up the drawbridge? Both solutions, argues Slavoj Žižek, offer ideological blackmail, and both are wrong. He proposes that instead we see the crisis as an opportunity: a unique chance for Europe to redefine itself and its future.
'Žižek identifies the refugee crisis as one of the major global challenges of our time ... he argues for a politics of solidarity' The Times Literary Supplement
In Trouble in Paradise, Slavoj Žižek, one of our most famous, most combative philosophers, explains how by drawing on the ideas of communism, we can find a way out of the crisis of capitalism.
There is obviously trouble in the global capitalist paradise. But why do we find it so difficult to imagine a way out of the crisis we're in? It is as if the trouble feeds on itself: the march of capitalism has become inexorable, the only game in town.
Setting out to diagnose the condition of global capitalism, the ideological constraints we are faced with in our daily lives, and the bleak future promised by this system, Slavoj Žižek explores the possibilities - and the traps - of new emancipatory struggles.
Drawing insights from phenomena as diverse as Gangnam Style to Marx, The Dark Knight to Thatcher, Trouble in Paradise is an incisive dissection of the world we inhabit, and the new order to come.
'The most dangerous philosopher in the West' - Adam Kirsch, New Republic
'The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged in many decades' - Terry Eagleton
'Žižek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is master of the counterintuitive observation' - New Yorker
Probably the most famous living philosopher, Slavoj Žižek explores the concept of 'event', in the second in this new series of easily digestible philosophy
Agatha Christie's 4.50 from Paddington opens on a train from Scotland to London where Elspeth McGillicudy, on a way to visit her old friend Jane Marple, sees a woman strangled in a compartment of a passing train (the 4.50 from Paddington). It all happens very fast and in a blurred vision, so the police don't take Elspeth's report seriously as there is no evidence of wrongdoing; only Miss Marple believes her story and starts to investigate... This is an event at its purest and minimal: something shocking that happens all of a sudden and interrupts the usual flow of things; something that appears out of nowhere, without discernible causes, and whose ontological status is unclear - an appearance without solid being as its foundation. In Christie's novel, the role of Miss Marple is precisely to de-eventalize the event, to explain it away as an occurrence which fits the coordinates of our normal reality.
A subject for which there is not yet an agreed-upon definition within philosophy, Slavoj Žižek explores the terrain of this contestable term in a series of short chapters that examine everything from the event as political revolution and the rise of a new art form to the event as religious belief and falling in love. Event is a mind-blowing, thrilling, accessible book from arguably our greatest living cultural theorist and philosopher.
Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. The author of many books, he has made contributions to political theory, film theory and theoretical psychoanalysis.
Slavoj Žižek is a Hegelian philosopher, Lacanian psychoanalyst, and political activist. He is international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities and the author of numerous books on dialectical materialism, critique of ideology and art, including Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Trouble in Paradise and, most recently, Against the Double Blackmail.