‘Disorder Under Heaven’ A Masterclass with Slavoj Žižek

Presented by Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in 2019, audio recordings by Backdoor Broadcasting Company.

Our situation is dangerous, there are uncertainties and elements of chaos in our environment, in international relations, in biotechnology, in sexual relations… But it is here that we should remember Mao’s old motto: “There is great disorder under heaven, so the situation is excellent!”

Let’s not lose nerve, let’s exploit the confusion as a chance to propose a new radical vision.

In January 2019, an international team of scientists proposed “a diet that says can improve health while ensuring sustainable food production to reduce further damage to the planet.” We are talking about a radical reorganization of our entire food production and distribution – so how do we do it? Is it not clear that a strong global agency is needed with the power to coordinate such measures? And does not such an agency point in the direction of what we once called “Communism”? And does the same not hold for other threats to our survival as humans? Is a similar global agency not also needed to deal with the exploding problem of refugees and immigrants, with the problem of digital control over our lives? Let’s not be afraid to tackle the problem of the new order that the ongoing disorder is calling for.

“Was Antigone a man? Masculinity and other toxic entities.”

Monday, 29th April

“Nomadic proletarians? No, thanks!”

Tuesday, 30th April


Slavoj Žižek, Like A Thief In Broad Daylight: Power in the Era of Post-Human Capitalism, Chapter 1

*Art picture is the frontispiece (engraving) of Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s Herbarium Diluvianum (1723, second edition). The picture shows in the background on the right Noah’s ark; in the front there are mussels and shells that will soon be sedimented after the deluge waters have disappeared. (Zentralbibliothek Zurich.)

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