excerpts from a slim volume which ends with Beckett rather than with Brecht and points to a practice that in the silence can’t go on but does

At its most fundamental, authentic belief does not concern facts, but gives expression to an unconditional ethical commitment.

– Slavoj Zizek, How to Read Lacan, p. 117

the paradox of surplus-enjoyment at its purest: the more the object is veiled, the more intensely disturbing is the minimal trace of its remainder.

– Slavoj Zizek, ibid., p. 103

The lamella is an entity of pure surface, without the density of a substance, an infinitely plastic object that can incessantly change its form, and even transpose itself from one medium to another … A lamella is indivisible, indestructible, and immortal – more precisely, undead in the sense this term has in horror fiction: not the sublime immortality of the spirit, but the obscene immortality of the ‘living dead’ which, after every annihilation, reconstitute themselves and shamble on. As Lacan puts it, the lamella does not exist, it insists … bear in mind that ‘death drive’ is, paradoxically, the Freudian name for its very opposite, for the way immortality appears within psychoanalysis: for the uncanny excess of life … Freud equates the death drive with the socalled ‘compulsion-to-repeat’ …

– Slavoj Zizek, ibid., p. 63

In contemporary art, we often encounter brutal attempts to ‘return to the real,’ to remind the spectator (or reader) that he is perceiving a fiction, to awaken him from the sweet dream. This gesture has two main forms that, although opposed, amount to the same effect. In literature or cinema, there are (especially in postmodern texts) self-reflexive reminders that what we are watching is a mere fiction, as when the actors on screen address us directly as spectators, thus ruining the illusion of the autonomous space of narrative fiction, or the writer directly intervenes in the narrative through ironic comments. In theatre, there are occasional brutal events that awaken us to the reality of the stage … Instead of conferring on these gestures a kind of Brechtian dignity, perceiving them as versions of alienation, one should rather denounce them for what they are: the exact opposite of what they claim to be – escapes from the Real, desperate attempts to avoid the real of the illusion itself, the Real that emerges in the guise of an illusory spectacle.

– Slavoj Zizek, ibid., p. 59

the disavowed beliefs and suppositions we are not even aware of adhering to ourselves, but which nonetheless determine our acts and feelings.

This is also one of the ways to specify the meaning of Lacan’s claim that the subject is always ‘decentred.’ His point is not that my subjective experience is regulated by objective unconscious mechanisms that are decentred with regard to my self-experience and, as such, beyond my control (a point asserted by every materialist), but, rather, something much more unsettling: I am deprived of even my most intimate subjective experience, the way things ‘really seem to me,’ deprived of the fundamental fantasy that constitutes and guarantees the core of my being, since I can never consciously experience it and assume it.

– Slavoj Zizek, ibid. p. 53