Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism
For the last two centuries, Western philosophy has developed in the shadow of Hegel, whose influence each new thinker tries in vain to escape: whether in the name of the pre-rational Will, the social process of production, or the contingency of individual existence. Hegel’s absolute idealism has become the bogeyman of philosophy, obscuring the fact that he is the dominant philosopher of the epochal historical transition to modernity; a period with which our own time shares startling similarities. Today, as global capitalism comes apart at the seams, we are entering a new transition. In “Less Than Nothing”, the pinnacle publication of a distinguished career, Slavoj Zizek argues that it is imperative that we not simply return to Hegel but that we repeat and exceed his triumphs, overcoming his limitations by being even more Hegelian than the master himself. Such an approach not only enables Zizek to diagnose our present condition, but also to engage in a critical dialogue with the key strands of contemporary thought – Heidegger, Badiou, speculative realism, quantum physics and cognitive sciences. Modernity will begin and end with Hegel.