Saturday, March 31, 2012

Zizek and the philosophy of biology

THIS post had me reflecting on a few figures that I was looking into recently: Lynn Margulis, Marjorie Grene, and Grace De Laguna.

Highlights of the post:

The key idea Lynn Margulis is known for is symbiogenesis.  Symbiogenesis obviously takes the word symbiosis as its root.  Symbiosis is simply defined as two organisms living together that are different from each other.  Margulis writes “Different types of organisms stick together to make a third kind of organism. This fusion is not random."

Zizek writes about Varela and Margulis in The Parallax View.  Zizek taking a cue from Schelling when he states that nature is horrifying and antagonistic.  Nature should never be looked at as some kind of whole in perfect balance.  There is no balance in nature, nature is an imbalance, novelty exists because of the contradiction between expansion and contraction.    

Zizek writes that Lynn Margulis’s ideas and the “evolutionary cognitivist” is the standard metaphysical “enigma of the relationship between chaos and order, between the multiple and the One, between parts and whole”.   Of course a materialist must contend that there is a fissure in being itself that will lead to subjectivity.

Zizek isn’t done with Margulis’s ideas.  He of course uses these ideas to explain his ideas of subjectivity or the hard kernel of subjectivity.  Zizek states that a consistent self is only virtual; and that “it’s an inside that only appears from the outside”.