Source: In Defense of Slavoj Žižek
Update: We have a short booklet on all this: Samkya_ancient_modern2ax(1) which outlines the histories of the predecessors of the elusive and invariably botched attempts at ‘dialectic’.
Dialectical materialism, before or after Zizek, is useless rubbish for the left now. Wake up. Hegel’s view of history is compelling but doesn’t work, and Marx’s rewrite via economics is very bad science, as was obvious already at the end of the nineteenth century. The canon coasted on its momentum into the era of the Second International until the reality of Stalinism sank in and the whole mystique was shattered. The dialectic has never found a decent defining standard, and doesn’t work as a dynamic in history, although ‘dialectical’ oppositions do appear, obviously. The dynamic of world history is almost impossible to decipher and one can only recommend at the eonic effect, not as a theory, but a periodization to see the mysterious evolutionary fragment that is clearly behind the ‘evolution’ of civilizations.
That attempt by Marx to create a system of economic epochs is so amateurish it is almost embarrassing. And Marx was hardly yet aware of the immense archaeology revolution underway: the world of Sumer, early Egypt, the Neolithic, the Descent of Man, the mysterious ‘Axial age’, the time was not ripe for a foundation of worlld history.
Economics does not drive the evolution of civilization. Historical materialism completely eliminates values, ideal aspects, free will, etc, etc…It is a grotesque and archaic period piece of early scientism when thinkers thought the example of Newton could be applied to all subjects. The results always failed because the higher levels of knowledge don’t fit into the classic canon.
Marxists are hopelessly stuck in this obsolete mess and will never in their current form manage a revolutionary transition.
Those who value the socialist/communist ideal would like to see the subject liberated from Marx fetishism and its cult of personality, bad science and botched predictions.
Zizek is a complete bullshitter peddling a mess of Marx/Hegel pottage that is extravagant and useless. It is impossible to read the cascade of gibberish he peddles as leftist commentary.
The eonic model can help here to abandon the illusions of historical theory, deal in concrete periodizations, and their empirical moments, and to construct socialism as a democracy reinvented in a Commons, etc…
That is, start with the Neolithic, then the first era of higher civilization, then proximate antiquity, and then the rise of the modern era. That’s it. That is all you need. There is no theory to explain this sequence or any proof is a dynamic epochs, but it does look like one. If not we can use it anyway to map civilization which encompasses an immense set of categories, social politics, cultural empiricism, values and religion, philosophy and its history, yogas and their legacy, the enigma of Archaic Greece and ancient Israel, etc, etc…The modern era is a universe in itself and is not defined by capitalism, which is process and not a stage of history. The whole Marxist analysis amputates almost every relevant category in the name of reductionist materialism, now out of date.
Dialectical materialism is a strange echo of ancient subjects rendered into an inaccurate and perilous version of the ‘dialectic’ or triad. Those are interesting subjects but they have been misconstrued to do what they can’t do. Explaining history as the action of triads is a great idea that always failed. There are in any case far better attempts to resolve the dialectic than either Hegel or Marx.
The left is out of time for this useless philosophical toy/luxury: simple logic is enough to construct the foundation of socialism. The idea of recipe, a procedure to do things, is needed to construct socialism. Not the ambitious idiocies of Marx and Hegel.
Source: In Defense of Slavoj Žižek