The Parallax View (book)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Parallax View (2005) is a book by Slavoj Žižek in which he stages confrontations between idealist and materialist understandings of various aspects of ontology. One such confrontation between idealism and materialism is expressed in Lacanian terms between an idealism's purported ability to theorize the All versus a Materialism's understanding that an apparent All is really a non-All. His penchant for staging a confrontation between idealism and materialism leads him to describe his work in such paradoxical terms as a "materialist theology." Žižek offers that reality is fundamentally open and a materialist "minimal difference" - the gap that appears in reality between a reductionist description of physical process and one's experience of existence - is the real of human life and the crucial domain that an ontology must attempt to theorize. Žižek equates the gap with the Freudian death drive, as the negative and mortifying "thing that thinks." Although biological psychology might one day be able to completely model a person's brain, there would still be something left over that could not be explained, and this something corresponds precisely with the Freudian death drive. It is the death drive precisely, which takes this role, not the pleasure principle, thus it is the negative aspect of consciousness that breaks and offers judgement on the unrepresentable totality. Žižek points to the fact that consciousness is opaque. A primary characteristic of consciousness is that you can't ever know if a thing is really conscious or merely mimicry.

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