Joseph's Reviews > The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity

The Puppet and the Dwarf by Slavoj Žižek
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's review
Sep 03, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction, religion-spirituality

Zizek is nothing if not a man of paradoxes. How else to explain this Marxist materialist atheist using little understood elements of Lacanian psychoanaysis to get to the true kernel (as he calls it) of Christian belief? As always, Zizek uses every possible random association in his brain to explain the subject at hand (primarily, Paul's radical reimagining of the individual's relationship to the law) and conversely, uses the subject at hand to talk about everything under the sun. Things under the sun: Hegel, Lacan, Heidegger, the failure of imagination of left-wing politics in recent years, etc. Don't be surprised if you find references to the movie Aliens, Kierkegaard, old bawdy Balkan wife jokes, and some French candy that translates roughly to nigger-heads (still on the shelves!) all on the same page.

The odd thing is, he manages to pull it together most of the time. Of course, you have to wade through pages of dense deconstructionist indecipherability to get to the moments of blindingly original insight, but he is an European academic, after all. My favorite section: Zizek quotes the Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton basically saying God was the original atheist when he forsook himself (Christ, but you know, same thing)on the cross and had an earth shattering lapse of faith. Zizek then goes on to speculate God was taking a step up, not down, by becoming human:

"What if eternity is a sterile, impotent, lifeless domain of pure potentialities, which, in order fully to actualize itself, has to pass through temporal existence? What if God's descent to man, far from being an act of grace toward humanity, is the only way for God to gain full actuality, and to liberate Himself from the suffocating constraints of Eternity?


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