torsdag, februari 16, 2012

Žižek om utbildning

"You know who told me the best story? The British Marxist, Terry Eagleton. He told me that 20 or 30 years ago he saw a big British Marxist figure, Eric Hobsbawm, the historian, giving a talk to ordinary workers in a factory. Hobsbawm wanted to appear popular, not elitist, so he started by saying to the workers, “Listen, I’m not here to teach you. I am here to exchange experiences. I will probably learn more from you than you will from me.” Then he got the answer of a lifetime. One ordinary worker interrupted him and said, “Fuck off! You are privileged to study, to know. You are here to teach us! Yes, we should learn from you! Don’t give us this bullshit, ‘We all know the same.’ You are elite in the sense that you were privileged to learn and to know a lot. So of course we should learn from you. Don’t play this false egalitarianism.”

Again, I think there is a certain strategy today even more, and I speak so bitterly about it because in Europe they are approaching it. I think Europe is approaching some kind of intellectual suicide in the sense that higher education is becoming more and more streamlined. They are talking the same way communists were talking 40 years ago when they wanted to crush intellectual life. They claimed that intellectuals are too abstract in their ivory towers; they are not dealing with real problems; we need education so that it will help real people—real societies’ problems. And then, again, in a debate I had in France, some high politician made it clear what he thinks and he that time in France there were those demonstrations in Paris, the car burnings. He said, “Look, cars are burning in the suburbs of Paris: We don’t need your abstract Marxist theories. We need psychologists to tell us how to control the mob. We need urban planners to tell us how to organize the suburbs to make demonstrations difficult.”

But this is a job for experts, and the whole point of being intellectual today is to be more than an expert. Experts are doing what? They are solving problems formulated by others. You know, if a politician comes to you, “Fuck it! Cars are burning! Tell me what’s the psychological mechanism, how do we dominate it?” No, an intellectual asks a totally different question: “What are the roots? Is the system guilty?” An intellectual, before answering a question, changes the question. He starts with, “But is this the right way to formulate the question?”"

- Slavoj Zizek, "intervjuad" i the Harward Crimson.

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