Book Review: Less Than Nothing by Slavoj Zizek


Nikoli Weir, Reporter

Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism, is a big book. That may be an understatement. It is over a thousand pages of original contributions to the study of the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, with a touch of Jacques Lacan and his unique interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis. The main premise of the book is contained within the title: reality is less than nothing. Reality is only sustained by the illusion of it that exists; beneath the illusion, there is a hole, a fundamental lack that can never be satisfied. 

Through various journeys into the worlds and works of different philosophers, Slavoj Žižek weaves Lacan into Hegel, with a touch of Marx, to show us that at the heart of existence, there is a fundamental contradiction, a rift. In Žižek’s own words, “the most elementary figure of dialectical reversal resides in transposing an epistemological obstacle into the thing itself (what appears to us as our inability to know the thing indicates a crack in the thing itself, so that our very failure to reach the full truth is the indicator of truth).”