“Sometimes he is very evil, I love him.”


The Hegel that Zizek loves is not the not the good patriot, not the philosopher brought to Berlin by Frederick William III to reconcile democrats to absolute rule, not the consoling thinker who showed how the apparent contingency of events concealed the inner logic of history. The Good Hegel is, to paraphrase Isaiah Berlin, a kind of hedgehog—a stubborn dialectician for whom every event, no matter how momentous or accidental, can be reduced to the cosmic three-step dance of thesis, antithesis, synthesis: “The Hegelian dialectic is like a processing machine which indifferently swallows up and processes all possible contents, from nature to history, from politics to art, delivering them packaged in the same triadic form.” The Hegel that Zizek loves is much like Zizek himself: a relentless iconoclast, a restless wordsmith, an inventive thinker with a hatred of received wisdom, an underminer of conventionally acknowledged truths. Zizek’s Hegel is a kind of cosmic prankster.

more from Adam Jasper at Bookforum here.