After giving some thought to this most raveling inquisition, it is interesting to know that Zizek, in his book “Living in the End Times,” proposes a critical view of the falling democracy due to the simple behaviors and decisions made by humanity. In this case, his form of an apocalypse isn’t so much based on the concept of global warming or any other natural disaster that most people have concerned themselves with but rather, it is based on the underlying work done by our government…Us. Of course, he attempts to raise this concern in his book more like a warning in terms that most people will misinterpret or just plain ignore, provided its complicated structure of deliverance. Similarly, in understanding the idea of “the ending” via Kermode in his book, “The Sense of an Ending,” it appears that the having a sense of an ending comes from attempting to make sense of life. Just as life has a beginning for everyone (birth) it also has an end (death) however the in between (time) is the essence that makes us vulnerable to the mere idea that all we have ahead for us is the concept of an “ending.” Kermode proposes that our mind is the perception we have of the world and the world is the reality we live that enables our perceptions to develop one entity, or a whole. Conclusively, Zizek and Kermode demonstrate how people create these “ways of life”, in order to fit within society, yet they overlook that which makes life slow down, leading to an ultimate ending. This suddenly may be the reason(s) behind our learned self-helplessness to not making the effort for change within our fallen society because our minds are too consumed with attempting to have a sense of self. Despite the wonderful brain busting modern forms of understanding “The Apocalypse” or “The End,” that most people fear, it is my deepest curiosity to understand the GOAL of these literature creations. Does Zizek provide a “cure” to his idea of communism rising from our mere democratic ways of life? Or does Kermode enable us to contemplate on the wonders of life as it is rather than life as it should be? In other words, given that most of the clear knowledge of these supposed endings, what is there left to do? Do we continue watching the “end” proceed or do we do something about it? If so, what is there to do? Thus, the real question is, “Does ‘the END’ really exist?”
|—||Colson Whitehead’s novel, Zone One (p. 249)|
“So here we are in the middest, and like Richard reinventing the world from inside a prison.” – Frank Kermode, The Sense of and Ending, p. 164
Our imagination is a place that confines us from that of reality. Despite its mere difference from what we actually experience, it still serves as a major entity of who we are and about the world we live in. Similar to the idea that reality and fiction serve as an entity and compliment one another to form one entity, the imagination is one entity that we possess in which creates a prison-like world. In other words, the prison-like world that is being referred to is the altered creation of life that the mind invents, ultimately leading it to be part, or become, the reality in our perspectives. The perspectives that lead us to take a common idea and create our own from it; to create our own reality of what it means compared to what other people believe it may be. For example, take the words behaviour and behavior, although they are the same thing, some might argue that it makes more sense to be spelled one way than the other. The endings in the word itself produce similar sounds that may sound correct yet produce to different perspectives of the way the word is spelled. Thus, the prison-like world is all in our minds such that it confines us to the creation of our world from reality, though this reality might be different from that of someone else. As further stated by Kermode,
“Even if it were true that the forms which interest us were merely the architecture of our own cells (and it is never quite true) we should have to make allowances for the act that they do, after all, please us, even perhaps bless us” (p. 165).
In alliance, our minds are the solitary confinement that is like an engine that produces the concept of a ‘sense of an ending’ allowing us to partake in the common, concords, of what the End is. However, as we attempt to understand what the apocalypse others are referring to, we create our own story like apocalypse and tell them or write them or draw them out.
Similarly, in Whitehead’s, Zone One, he produces not only a world of post apocalyptic features but zombie like social classes among individuals affected by a plague responsible for the apocalypse. Further, he illustrates a confounding character, Mark Spitz, with history that may be of his character or that of another. Considering that Mark Spitz is character that is somewhat mysterious until discovering that he himself suffers from a disorder created by Whitehead for the purpose for the novel as Post Apocalyptic Stress Disorder (PASD), we can assume that the life he lived may have been created by a warped mindset of the character himself. To lay this out more distinctively, throughout the novel, we are given very limited details about the main character’s past life and then suddenly find that he has PASD. Could it be that the Stragglers are those individuals who were severely affected by the apocalypse to the point of developing psychological disorders? Since these people were never really classified as dead, yet were just their “so-called lives” one day at a time. Does that classify Mark Spitz as a straggler, or lesser-developed straggler? For instance, he is constantly being referred to as Mark Spitz a famous swimmer such that, “If Mark Spitz was alive, there had to be others” (Zone One, p. 242). In other words, the comparison of Mark Spitz the real person to the main character of the story depict a falsely hidden message which may support the idea that Mark Spitz the character is somewhat “not alive” or stuck in between being in a false world, like a straggler or skel, within his very own mind. Therefore, the way he perceives his own life could be imaginary compared to what the others, including the readers, perceive his life. Thus making this a supportive factor to the concept that our imagination imprisons us into solidary confinement to what the reality really is.These questions circulate within my mind, as the created story line becomes my imaginative reality. As Kermode would suggest, the experience of reading this literary creation, we are just captivated to the point were we find ourselves in the world of our prison, our imagination, taking us on a further journey into what we make of it.
It is as we almost become part of the story by making it a reality in our minds with questions such as, what if? What if this happened in our immediate reality? Questions that are produced by our own minds and supported by the creation of others are what Kermode attempts to convey by stating,
“If you imagine yourself being shot, your body being rolled away in a barrow by soldiers, you are cheating yourself by substituting for your own body someone else’s, or perhaps an impersonal dummy. Your own death lies hidden from you” (p. 161).
This refers to the immediate playing and configuring imagination in our minds. Thus, supporting that our minds have the power to in prison us in a fictional reality in which we take part in on an individual basis; differing them from other’s fictional reality.
In the end, “a sense of an ending” is a sense produced by the individual that is motivated or supported by an idea placed in the universe by others. The ending is nothing but the imprisonment of our minds as we create our fictional reality regardless if through words said, written, or illustrated.
“We may, by mean of it, come to understand something of the way the world shapes itself in the mind of true poverty” (Kermode, p. 157).
“But the world a novel makes (and La Nausée makes) is unlike the world of our common experience because it is created and because it has potency of a humanly imaginative creation.” – Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending, p. 137-138.
Kermode describes the difference of reality and fiction as part of our human process. In other words, the concept of the difference between fiction and reality ultimately lead to a created reality that was once fiction in our lives, whether it is a novel or a fiction in our minds. This is a creation that consumes our own sense of a real life as it takes over our own thoughts and beliefs of what is fact rather than fiction. In other words, our mind is a powerful organ that assists us in helping us understand the world around us. It helps us make sense of what we, individually, on our own, cannot do. The process of making sense of our world leads us to begin to think of possibilities, since the world itself is such a large thing to grasp. The universe, if we would like to call it that, is far to complex for a simple human organ such as US. Due to this fact, we tend to find peace in our reality only by convincing ourselves that what we should believe is what is real. However, what is real is always something that has been manipulated by the innovative, or creative, part of our minds. For instance, as we continue moving forward in life, we expect that life and death have their inherit relationship, such that if there is life then death is shortly awaiting. It is the end of our beginning that consumes us and takes over what we really believe to the point that we begin to believe and accept that was once a false reality to us. Similarly, when we consider the concept of the Mind and the Brain, we may automatically assume that these are one of the same things (although many people might disagree). This is the power of the mind to consume us and take over to sit and think that the mind is in fact the brain rather than a separate entity of it.
The dissonance of reality and fiction is the incompatibility between that which is created by us and that which is created by our fiction. In other words, there is a considerable amount of assumption that the end of times is inherent based on time, and now we automatically assume that there are ends to every beginning rather than there are new beginnings to every beginning. This is what the power of the mind can explain. That if we create a fictional world beyond our grasp, just as the universe is, then we assume that we must create a reality to that fictional world allowing it to become part of us, a part of our daily reality, in the form of literature or real life. Moreover, we become the characters in fictional novels in our minds and then trick ourselves in being like those characters. Just like every novel has an end to the character, we too assume that our self character, we, also have an end. However, as a reality check, there is never a true ending to a fictional reality because the characters are never fully concluded. The dissonance between our fiction that we create and the reality that becomes part of our lives is inevitably the mere assumption that unsettles us, the idea that there soon will be an end to our beginning.
As conclusion to this everlasting idea, fiction and reality are two of the same things to us. Fiction is the created form of what we internally may desire to be part of our real life. This is influenced by our existence and experience with life in social or psychological aspects. Whereas, Reality is created by this creativism that we believe is true. Such that, if our fictional life is somewhat related to our real life, then it must be real. It is then when we run into a crisis that these two elements, fiction and reality, become dissonant to one another. In simple terms, when we realize that the reality of our lives is strongly empowered by our fictional mentality, we freak out in trying to understand what was real and what wasn’t, but then becomes too complex for even our minds to untangle and we become accepting of it. This is the power of the mind, separate from our brain, but influential enough to become part of who we are.
“We continue to assume, as people always have done, that there is a tolerable degree of conformity between the disconfirmed apocalypse and a respectably modern view of reality and the powers of the mind.” – Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending, p. 100
In this section, “The Modern Apocalypse,” of Kermode’s, The Sense of an Ending, we explore the concept of modernism of the apocalypse that hold character in what we perceive now as an apocalypse as it changes according to our current time frame. Kermode proposes a different form of the sense of an ending, which is viewed as a sense of crisis. As we continue our efforts in making sense of the world, we tend to encounter events that enable us to assume are more important than anyone else’s experiences such that ONE person’s crises are pre-eminent in comparison to others (p.94). This perspective enables, more like disables, a person to assume a particular thought as more important, more worrisome, more extravagant than other people surrounding them. However, imagine this same mindset to every single person around you. The idea of a ‘Modern Apocalypse’ is thus that which we attempt to create within our minds providing a character to the phrase apocalypse itself. We create our own apocalypse as a fictional character by giving it life and giving it a reason to happen. However, when we realize that our thoughts were only deceiving us we experience yet another form of “the end of the world” for us we then experience another crises. According to Kermode, “the moments we call crises are ends and beginnings” (p. 96). In other words, we, people, are not only, melodramatic but extravagant and creative individuals in search for meaning in their lives constantly advancing their perceived character of an apocalypse.
In terms of approaching the view of our created modern apocalypse, Kermode also states that, “The fiction of transition is our way of registering the conviction that the end is immanent rather than imminent…” (p. 101) announcing that our life has a transitional period and that this transition is inherent of what is to be expected rather than what will happen. In other words, the crises that we create that forms our apocalyptic character is a part of a system in time. This is supported by the concept that Yeat, according to Kermode, proposes as, “Reality is, in this expression, the sense we have of a world irreducible to human plot and human desire for order” (p. 105). This is somewhat related to Carl Rogers’ idea of personal psychology in which he describes the “Real Self” and the “Ideal Self” model of in/congruity. This model proposes that the person has a “Real Self” in which they actually are who they are in terms of their mindset in their lives. On the other hand, a person also possesses an “Ideal Self” which is the person one desires or would like to be. If you were to look at these two concepts in a vendiagram, where there are two overlapping circles with the “Real Self” in one circle and the “Ideal Self” is in the other circle. The closer the two circles are, the more congruent the person is and the further apart the circles are are the more incongruent the person is. Thus this creates a conflict, or crisis in this matter that the person is unable to help on a personal level. We tend to have two images of the self, which are inherent yet when our “Real Self” and “Ideal Self” are not in agreement with one another; we experience a sense of crisis in our lives (Fortunately, this imbalance can be treated with therapy). In relation to what Kermode speaks about as a modern form of apocalypse, it appears that he is referring to the concept that the “Sense of and Ending” is a creation of our imagination in an effort to make sense of our lives. To find that which creates balance in our socially ordered world but yet creating a “false image” of the future based on our experience of the past. Trying to interpret the transition between the “Present” and the “Future,” or “Real Self” and “Ideal Self” yet creating a crisis of our own.
Conclusively, as poets can use their minds, imagination, to create works of an apocalypse in their heads they and place it on paper, we are also guilty of doing so. We attempt to overuse our minds and create this false understanding of what the end would look like and begin to believe in ourselves. This occurs as a natural form of searching for meaning or understanding ourselves and the world around us, ultimately leading us to run into a crisis that we perceive as an apocalypse. Thus, the apocalypse is a made up character in our minds that are revealed as the truth based on our ability to accept this as a form of reality within our minds. No wonder why they say that our mind is a lot more powerful than we think.
“In tragedy the cry of woe does not end succession; the great crises and the ends of human life do not stop time.” – Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending, p. 89.
Time is counter to what we know as “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.” It is the substance of a different mode in life; the concept that life goes on and unlike time, life of humans is not everlasting or eternal. In the third chapter titled “World Without End or Beginning” of Kermodes, The Sense of an Ending, he illustrates the concept of time in life and the separate spheres of time that guide our interpretations of what is expected. According to Kermode,
“the answer to Mutability is that the creation is deathless, but the last stanzas explain that this is not to grant them the condition of being-for-ever” (p. 76).
In other words, life is expected to change, whether it is for the good or for the worse, nevertheless creation is always changing, having no ending but still not “being-for-ever” or eternal. These are the laws of time, and time as life to what we stand by. The metaphysical experience of life is apart from that which we are actually set to experience.
However, there is more to this concept of time, it is the influence of a “third kinda time between time and eternity” (p. 80).
Kermode takes his readers through the ‘in-between’ of time and the actuality of time by conveying the difference of interval concept of an “End” or, as we know it, an Apocalypse. An apocalypse is a fictional creation that helps to escape the undesirable frames of life that lead to the disarray of time. The time of apocalypse is only created to stray away from the meaning of eternal life, or endless time. Thus, the interval time frame keeps us in a loop of attempting to understand the differences of past, present and future as they are or as they will be. Kermode states that,
“creation, for [St. Augustine], is a concept inseparable from that of mutability, of which time is the mode” (Kermode, p. 69).
Time is the way in which something is regarded to do, it is a function that is set to continue despite the possible downfall of humanity. Thus, it is clear that the cycle of the “End” is different to the “End” we perceive. It is more of the lapse of times in between in which keep us from moving forward. It regards the idea of kairos time in which Jesus also operated by. The concept that time comes as it may, whenever it may be, and that is something we cannot control. As stated in the chapter,
The kairos arrives, the moment when at last the time is free, by means of divine peripeteia, by accidental judgments and purposes mistook; we cannot make ready for it simply by ‘ taking the long view’” (p. 88).
The time loop in which is being spoken of here is that which we cannot help or change, rather just allow it to change. An example of this is in the world of Zone One by Colson Whitehead in which the world is infested by a plague turning people into zombies. These people live in a time in between time where the living are living and the dead are dead but the zombies are those infected with the plague but are metaphorically dead. The space in which the time lapses within the story, taking a glimpse of the past in comparison to the future brings to life the idea of time being eternal, but our time being non deathless.
Ultimately, there are large descriptions of time as we have been familiar with, however the concept of time without an ending has granted a specific type of life we should expect. Although the idea of and “End” is near for most, there is never an “End” for many others. This is the concept of expected change and the idea of a “third kinda time” that is proposed by Kermode. Life is forever only due by time.
‘From this the poem springs: that we live in a place that is not our own, and much more, nor ourselves and hard it is, in spite of blazoned days’ (p. 64).
As we embark on our daily routines, the invisible fictions we live in constantly change before us without recognition. Although this may be true, the fact of the matter is we tend to become part of that fiction as a part of our understanding of time, whether it be as something that comes as expected (kairos) or time as a manner expected to happen (chronos). It is the start that has an end and the end that is followed by the middle, yet is cloaked in the reality of unreal events. Kermode proposes that fiction is a sense of imagination to escape from reality. Sometimes the fictions that we create can remain in which we then reach of a level of myth. Kermode further states that,
“Fictions can degenerate into myths whenever they are not consciously held to be fictive” (p. 39).
In other words, a myth, which an assumption of past and present beliefs that are “operated in diagrams of ritual,” can be developed if the imagined life that one creates is not fully accepted or acknowledged as part of the imagination. This supports the concept that when people create an imagined understanding of the future and the END of the future and fail to realize that it may be but a mind concept, they make it their false reality which then is acknowledged as a myth.
Just as we tend to memorize our past and focus on what we see in the present, we tend to jump to expectations of the future. Similarly to the every beginning has an end ideology, this fiction of life and time become a salient object for humans. We are concerned to what we cannot see. We expect a frame of PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE although our FUTURE, future of humanity, is not fathomable and we begin to imagine the reality of time. We tend to move from thinking in kairos time and live life by chronos time, making everything a definite. But similarly, according to Kermode, “Myths are the agents to stability, fictions the agents of change” (p. 39). To a literal sense, Myths become a pattern of “unsure” but believed rituals in our daily lives whereas fictions are imagined and changeable based on our daily lives.
Similarly representing the salient concept of having a back, middle and front (past, present and future), in the story Zone One by Colson Whitehead, it is depicted that the Zombie-like people who are referred to as “skels” are individuals living with the plague rather than being dead. Then there are the survivors who are those living without the plague and are physically normal and do not feed on other human beings. Thus, in the story, there are the outers and in-betweens, the survivors (people who are alive), the skels (people who are plagued) and the dead (people who were killed or died; no longer living; lack of life). This novel shows the literary fictions that must have been composed from imagination but yet is related to real life on earth because we expect a change in our future, meaning we expect an end to our beginning and thus attempt to understand what are possible options for that end to our beginning. In this case the end is referred to as a change in our world in which a large body of people will experience plague leaving the rest to fend on their own and avoid contacting the plague for survival. A change in the future where not everything and everyone is as it was in the past, but now the present is the future gradually leading to a an end.
Ultimately, the concept of fiction derives from our imagination of attempting to make sense of what may be real. It is the temporary sight of what we physically do not see but what is mentally unfathomable. Our mind enables us to create a perception far too complex to be reality but yet allows us to feel and become part of that thought. Thus, just as fictions and myths are counter to one another, operating life by kairos or chronos have separate outcomes. These outcomes are what we make of them and the End is an outcome of fictions we wish to see.
Naïve appears to be another term that resembles ignorance only in a sugar coated fashion which serves as a negative stigmatism placed upon a person, or people. Although one person may refer to the other as “naïve” it does not make it true that they are not naïve themselves. Instead, it gives that person the upper hand because they smacked down the idea of curiosity or lack of knowledge a person inherently has. Regardless of intentions one person has toward the other, it is clear that being ignorant is to reference someone as being naïve making the person ignorant and naïve as well. This may be the concept of “making sense of our lives,” learning about ignorance yet being oblivious to what is actually knowledge for the sake of lacking ignorance.
With every beginning there is an end and if this is the truth then every ending has a beginning. The beginning of mankind on earth is clearly unknown which can mean the end of mankind, or life, as we know it, is also clearly unknown. So how can we be so sure that the apocalypse is the end of the world? The “end” has become but a fictional/ artificial interpretation of life…making us naïve to the false reality of a circulatory government. We are all guilty of being naïve to what we should realize but fail to accept that that is truth, which then enables us to be naïve. In other words, we create a cycle of what our lives should be in an effort to create balance, either individually or socially. It is much similar to a defense mechanism in which we try to ignore the concept of being wrong only to stand on one end and be seen as a person with knowledge, rather it is pride that blinds us from the knowledge that allows us to flourish out of ignorance. The “end” or “Apocalypse” is part of a cycle that we falsely create to maintain balance with reality. Does that mean that true is false and false is true? Frank Kermode cites in his book, The Sense of an Ending, the concept that Focillon proposed, “a perpetual calendar of human anxiety,” which serves as an example of our continuous search for an end to a beginning that is definitely unknown. In other words, this concepts means to express that we, humans, tend to develop a time frame in which we “THINK” the world will come to an end and we believe in that “THOUGHT” so much that is becomes our reality, our culture, our lifestyles, making us naïve to the truth. The circulatory idea brought here is that this has happened more than just once or twice, but multiple times searching for the truth and waiting to see what happens. Furthermore, Kermode states that,
“and when we refuse to be dejected by disconfirmed predictions we are only asserting a permanent need to live by the pattern rather than the fact, as indeed we must” (p. 11).
This indicates that our “sense of an ending” ultimately becomes reality after one event to another event in time which we then begin to think is the actual end.
Similarly, in the film 12 Monkeys the story illustrates how the cycle of an apocalyptic mentality repeats itself, going nowhere, although the character attempts to change the future. Yet the character has no “whole” memory of the past. Not succeeding in such goal, the balance of living in a false reality remains in place, never moving and or never changing. However the plot of the movie is what Kermode attempts to illustrate with the “perpetual calendar of human anxiety.” We place ourselves in a predicament of believing in one apocalyptic reality and then move on to another reality of the first one failed, like a cycle, only because we naïvely believe that every beginning has an end. But picture this, if the character travels through time to fix the past, how do is it so sure that the character actually is not continuously traveling through time and continues the same route, the same cycle, as the previous one if he never gets the opportunity to live through the first? This is appears to be the underlying message of the film, that the character who attempts to fix the apocalypse from occurring because in reality it will just create a new apocalypse to fix because our concept of ending is inevitable. Closely looking at this, Kermode states in his book,
“Later, tragedy itself succumbs to the pressure of ‘demythologizing’; the End itself, in modern literary plotting loses its downbeat, tonic-and-dominant finality, and we think of it, as the theologians think of Apocalypse, as immanent rather than imminent” (p. 30).
In other words, an apocalypse is thus something that is bound to happen not something that is about to happen. We should wait for the “END” to arrive rather than become naïve to what we believe is an “END” falsifying our reality or sense of self as portrayed in the film.
Furthermore, Zizek closes his argument of Living in the End Times by describing the “acceptance” of global capitalism by the naïve society of people through capitalistic consumerism. He mentions that,
“you cannot even drink a cup of coffee or buy a pair of shoes without being reminded that your act is overdetermined by ecology, poverty, and so on” (p. 375).
He is referring to the act of “cultural capitalism” in which consumers are blindly tricked into consumption of a product because they feel part of an ideological commitment. One example that he gives is the “ethical capitalism,” which is when a production company like TOMS shoes advertises that with every pair of shoes that YOU purchase, they donate a pair to of new shoes to a child in need. Ultimately, enabling the consumer to believe that they are doing something good for the greater society through their purchase, eliminating guilt for their expenses and to allow them to feel as if they were making a global difference. This business strategy blinds consumers from the underlying message of a circulatory experience, that as they consume more of these shoes, they are wearing clothing produced by other less fortunate workers in China, Argentina, and Ethiopia. The actual production of the product, TOMS, is not so much disabling the people from making a better impact on the world, but also blinding them from the truth. This is another example of how naïve or ignorant we are to reality that ultimately drives us around in a circle. Similar to Kermode’s idea of a making sense of our own lives all the while being naïve of what the actual intentions are of accepting a certain truth or reality of events in the world we tend to be naïve to the consumerism.
Ultimately, we are all perpetrators of ignorance that is immanent of finding a sense of who we are, creating our End. We run in circles looking for the inevitable or creating the circle of the inevitable without realizing it. We are consumers of ourselves and of consumption itself such that we bring ourselves in the face of the “END.” Whether it is the end of a capitalistic world as Zizek proposes or the end of a ourselves creating the end but having no end. The concept that every beginning has an end may be true to a certain extent, but should not be too much of importance to something we are not sure of that may have a beginning. We are the double-blinded naïve society; the only society there is.
“There is no continuity between this new ‘post-traumatic’ subject and its old identity: after the shock, it is literally a new subject which emerges” (Zizek, p. 294).
When a person is confronted or faced with a life threatening experience and live to share that experience with others, they have lost the life before they were exposed to that traumatic experience. For instance, the quote by Zizek illustrates how the person loses himself or herself at the traumatic event in which they are always haunted by this particular place and time. There is something that happens to humans when we are “forced” to react abruptly to a traumatic experience and that is the loss of “who you are,” always in a battle to fight off that event, to forget about it. This is known as a defense mechanism that our minds allow us to do in order to avoid such harm to our psyche. However, if the event is too much of an impact, it breaks the barrier that we resist and enables us to experience the downfall of our barrier walls. Symbolically, this relates to the concept of the apocalypse we are yet to encounter. The media has placed a large effort in focusing on the end of times, which involve the natural disasters of earth, but these things are not in our control. Although we continuously think about the falling apart earth that we live on, we become helpless in attempting to change that, since our capitalistic values enable us to live and survive in this world. Ultimately, the story here is that we have been confronted by the reality that the global climate change is happening and happening at a fast pace to which can inevitably destroy us, Humans, and any living creature that is part of this ecological environment. No wonder we stress about the bigger picture, we have no control over it. This is the point of loss of identity. After hearing about the end of the world and the threat that our human behaviors of capitalistic mannerisms have placed upon ourselves, we have lost the sense of what society was before this apocalyptic introduction. As a defense, we begin to ignore what “could” be the reality of our large consumption and begin to ignore what is important to us. Thus, what Zizek appears to be illustrating by this quote is that, after the bombshell of Global Warming was tossed at us, we are no longer the same subjects, rather a different perspective is placed on us and thus we have a different views of the apocalypse, whether it is good or bad.
Furthermore, Zizek goes on and states that,
“…the old personality is not ‘sublated’ or replaced by a compensatory formation, but thoroughly destroyed – destruction itself acquires a form, becomes a (relatively stable) ‘form of life’” (p. 296).
In other words, when we have experienced a drastic change or destruction we become used to that form of life, a new life. Meaning the death of our reality becomes a new reality just as McCarthy illustrates in The Road, where all that they used to know is no longer existent after their apocalyptic experience. For instance, the people in the story have adapted to eating humans rather than eating animals because there are no other creatures living, they are all extinct. Although the world in this story is dead, the mentality of survival remains the same, capitalism is the driving force for the bad people in the story to consume all that they can, including humans. The bad people exploit of these people and eat them. This is another “form of life” after death, after the fall of a previous world, a fall of life. Ultimately, this fall of society can resort to people becoming psychologically impaired to the point that what was normal is no longer existent and what was known as unethical is now the normal. Similarly, Zizek would refer to this as “lost its substance” because it has lost the meaning of survival and capitalism to another level of “common decency,” as mentioned by Zizek (p. 326).
All in all, the loss of identity refers to the idea of LOSING OUR VALUES in humanity to obtain our sequence of survival despite the severity of our global conditions. Although few people have acknowledged that the change in our climate is due to our global capitalist consumption, the majority remains ignorant of such harm only to satiate their most humanly basic greed, or needs, as they would refer to them. Finding a balance would mean to give up some of their wealth, by the most micro percentage, to prevent our world from reaching the ZERO POINT. After many have been shocked, traumatized, by the gradual destruction of our ecosystem and life on earth, we have now changed and lost ourselves in dwelling on this issue rather than figuring out a solution. The balance is out of order. The rich remain rich and the poor, well, they are out of the game…all the while the middle class, they are just there. This is the fall of our capitalistic society, the fall of our Identities, the fall of humanity and the self-helplessness that people are facing or will face (causing the demeaning feeling of depression).
It is critical to understand that our surroundings tend to have simple hidden messages, sometimes they are a bit more complex than we imagine. Within a large and complex universe it is difficult to clearly see all of these messages or meanings that life just becomes so challenging we fail to understand it all. In accordance to this, Zizek mentions the idea of “Parallax Gap” to demonstrate that some things are worth paying close attention to. However, considering that Parallax, in itself is the obvious change of something, but this goes beyond just the obvious. It is more than just what we think we see and what we actually see.
“things get interesting when we notice that the gap is inscribed into the ‘real’ building itself – as if the building, in its very material existence bears the imprint of different and mutually different and mutually exclusive perspectives” (pg. 244-245).
It can be assumed that Zizek uses the concept of architecture, as a representation of something structured and massive to the human eye yet is elusive to the naked eye allowing us to see one perspective at a time. It serves as a metaphor for the current idea of what makes our society function in a structured capitalistic government. In this case, the building represents the government with such fine designs on one side and some other designs on the other. One person standing on one side of the building will see a more illicit picture whereas the other person standing on the other side would see a more shadowed feature of the building thus allowing these two individuals to not be able to capture the fullest structure or meaning of the building, “the government.” We are unable to see the entire building with one stare and if we see every corner of the building that means we would have had to walk around it, still only seeing one part of it at a time. Furthermore, Zizek follows with,
“the parallax gap is the inscription of our changing temporal experience when we approach and enter a building” (p. 245).
The perplexity of our perspectives are messages that are faltered, not revealed to us, in our daily lives gradually losing the sight of what is real or right.
Similarly, in The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the messages that are underlined in the story illustrate the struggle to find a place in a post apocalyptic world with a father and son. The story serves as a major metaphor of the reality of life and a fallen capitalistic government. For instance, the father and son are “carrying the fire,” according to man in the story, the fire is symbolic for the ideal social structure of a new beginning. It is hope for a brand new world that the son will use to pass on when the time is available to them. Furthermore, the cannibalism of people on the story are the elite of people within a society who consume more than they should to the point of disregarding all other human living forms. They begin to eat people for their survival without considering the underlying emotions and physical trauma that these people may experience while they are being tortured. This represents the perspectives of life that are hidden subtly in our everyday lives that we are just so overtaken by. We tend to see the outside of these things and yet fail to understand the meaning of it all. This is what Zizek is attempting to deliver and help us understand in the form of Hidden Messages and this is what The Road represents in a different level.
As a final example, the article by Adam Gopnik, The Big Reveal, he states that, “Revelation is a highly colored picture of the present, not a prophecy of the future.” With this said, he goes on in describing the hidden messages of the bible and the book of revelations that was written by John who lived among the turmoil in the Asia Minor. Given John’s personal experience the book of revelation was written by John to illustrate the current happenings of the region in which he resided in but yet did not really mean that the exact same thing would happen to people many years later. In other words, this particular writing of the book of revelation is a depiction of John’s perspective of what was going on at the time. However, this functions as an example of what sort of “war” like end will occur within our structured society if we continue to ignore the deep meaning and understanding of our so-called government. For instance, does liberty really mean freedom in the United States or is the message there just for appearance of the ultimate purpose of the government? The course of the underlying messages that are revealed to us everyday tend to be overshadowed somehow by our human desire to continue on with our lives for a daily fulfillment of basic needs.