75 Slavoj Zizek Quotes on Philosophy, Ideology and Capitalism

Born in 1949, Slovene philosopher Slavoj Žižek is famous for his influential thoughts on psychoanalysis, politics and popular culture.

Acquiring degrees from the University of Ljubljana and Paris VIII, Žižek focused on German idealism, French structuralist Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis.

Through writings, teaching and political activity, including a narrow election loss in Slovenia’s 1990 democratic elections, he shaped intellectual discourse.


His acclaimed works like “The Sublime Object of Ideology” challenge prevailing ideas about ideology, the self and society, rejecting notions of hidden meanings and community authenticity while critically engaging with thinkers like Heidegger, Freud and Marx. Žižek’s unique voice, marked by humor and provocative insights, continues to resonate in various academic and cultural circles worldwide.

Here is a list of best quote by Slavoj Zizek handpicked by me.

Best Slavoj Zizek Quotes


Humanity is OK, but 99% of people are boring idiots. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


What we philosophers can do is just correct the questions. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


The more opera is dead, the more it flourishes. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

If you have reasons to love someone, you don’t love them. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

The one measure of true love is: you can insult the other. ~ Slavoj Zizek.


An enemy is someone whose story you have not heard. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

What if culture itself is nothing but a halt, a break, a respite, in the pursuit of barbarity? ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Atheism is not the denial of the existence of God, but having doubts as to whether God is conscious. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

In order to effectively liberate oneself from the grip of existing social reality, one should first renounce the transgressive fantasmatic supplement that attaches us to it. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


Ultimately, we hear things because we cannot see everything. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Words are never ‘only words’; they matter because they define the contours of what we can do. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

You cannot change people but you can change the system so that people are not pushed into doing evil things. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Global capitalism is simply accepted as a fact that you cannot do anything about. The only question is, Will you accommodate yourself to it, or will you be dismissed and excluded? ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Love feels like a great misfortune, a monstrous parasite, a permanent state of emergency that ruins all small pleasures. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

The problem for us is not are our desires satisfied or not. The problem is how do we know what we desire. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Top Slavoj Zizek Quotes

Liberal democracy – as you know, in the old days, we were saying we want socialism with a human face. Today’s left effectively offers global capitalism with a human face, more tolerance, more rights and so on. So the question is, is this enough or not? Here I remain a Marxist: I think not. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


Come on. I don’t have any problem violating my own insights in practice. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

The duty of a politician for me is to be a representative: a politician is not an expert, experts are experts, hired for their expertise. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Those who were still able to write beautiful melodies were kitsch composers like Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky approaches true art not in his numerous beautiful melodies, but when a melodic line is thwarted. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

What if the way we perceive a problem is already part of the problem? ~ Slavoj Žižek.


In Stalinism, everybody was potentially a victim in a totally contingent way. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Why are so many problems today perceived as problems of intolerance, rather than as problems of inequality, exploitation, or injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, rather than emancipation, political struggle, or even armed struggle? ~ Slavoj Žižek.

We Slovenians are even better misers than you Scottish. You know how Scotland began? One of us Slovenians was spending too much money, so we put him on a boat and he landed in Scotland. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

As a Marxist, let me add: if anyone tells you Lacan is difficult, this is class propaganda by the enemy. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

My big fear is that if I act the way I am, people will notice that there is nothing to see. So I have to be active all the time, covering up. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


Communism will win. ~ Slavoj Zizek.

Happiness was never important. The problem is that we don’t know what we really want. What makes us happy is not to get what we want. But to dream about it. Happiness is for opportunists. So I think that the only life of deep satisfaction is a life of eternal struggle, especially struggle with oneself. If you want to remain happy, just remain stupid. Authentic masters are never happy; happiness is a category of slaves. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

The problem for me is not that Schwarzenegger is governor, but the extent to which even politicians who are not actors are functioning like actors. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

I am a good Hegelian. If you have a good theory, forget about the reality. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


It’s bad if we are controlled, but if we’re not, it can be even worse. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn’t give you what you desire – it tells you how to desire. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Often, the worst way to become a prisoner of a system is to have a dream that things may turn better, there is always the possibility of change. Because it is precisely this secret dream that keeps you enslaved to the system. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

The fantasy which serves as a support for the figure of the Stalinist Communist is therefore exactly the same as the fantasy which is at work in the Tom and Jerry cartoons. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


See you either in hell or in communism. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

True universalists are not those who preach global tolerance of differences and all-encompassing unity, but those who engage in a passionate struggle for the assertion of the Truth which compels them. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

We usually speak of the Jewish-Christian civilization perhaps, the time has come, especially with regard to the Middle East conflict, to talk about the Jewish-Muslim civilization as an axis opposed to Christianity. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

We feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Our biological body itself is a form of hardware that needs reprogramming through tantra like a new spiritual software which can release or unblock its potential. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


The force of universalism is in you Basques, not in the Spanish state. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

You can be a fanatical millennialist religious mystic, and you are, in a certain way, not outside of ideology. Your position can be that of perfectly describing the data and nonetheless your point is ideological. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

I am what you might call abstractly anti-capitalist. For instance, I am suspicious of the old leftists who focus all their hatred on the United States. What about Chinese neo-colonialism? Why are the left silent about that? When I say this, it annoys them, of course. Good! ~ Slavoj Žižek.

In Fascism, if you were a Jew, you were simply killed. Nobody had the idea of arresting Jews and torturing them to confess the Jewish plot. Because in Fascism, you are guilty for your whole being. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


When I really love someone, I can only show it by making aggressive and bad-taste remarks. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

But in a radically atheist universe, you are not only responsible for doing your duty, You are also responsible for deciding what is your duty. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

My instinct as a philosopher is that we are effectively approaching a multicentric world, which means we need to ask new, and for the traditional left, unpleasant questions. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

You could say, in a vulgar Freudian way, that I am the unhappy child who escapes into books. Even as a child, I was most happy being alone. This has not changed. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Postcolonialism is the invention of some rich guys from India who saw that they could make a good career in top Western universities by playing on the guilt of white liberals. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

While just looking, we are always hunting among objects, looking for what we desire or fear, endeavoring to recognize some pattern; on the other hand, objects themselves always stare back, vie for our attention, throw at us their lures and endeavor to entrap us. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


Thinking begins when you ask really difficult questions. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Fascism is relatively easy to explain. It is a reactionary phenomenon. Nazism was some bad guys having some bad ideas and unfortunately succeeding in realizing them. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Famous Slavoj Zizek Quotes

We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom- war on terror and so on-falsifies freedom. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

I may still be a kind of a Marxist but I’m very realistic, I don’t have these dreams of revolutionists around the corner. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


I secretly think reality exists so we can speculate about it. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

For the multiculturalist, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants are prohibited, Italians and Irish get a little respect, blacks are good, native Americans are even better. The further away we go, the more they deserve respect. This is a kind of inverted, patronizing respect that puts everyone at a distance. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Who dares to strike today, when having the security of a permanent job is itself becoming a privilege? ~ Slavoj Žižek.

True power does not need arrogance, a long beard and a barking voice. True power strangles you with silk ribbons, charm, and intelligence. ~ Slavoj Zizek.

It is more satisfying to sacrifice oneself for the poor victim than to enable the other to overcome their victim status and perhaps become even more successful than ourselves. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


The ultimate lesson of The Interpretation of Dreams: reality is for those who cannot sustain the dream. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

The horror of Communism, Stalinism, is not that bad people do bad things – they always do. It’s that good people do horrible things thinking they are doing something great. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Without the communist oppression, I am absolutely sure I would now be a local stupid professor of philosophy in Ljubljana. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

The true ethical test is not only the readiness to save the victims, but also – even more, perhaps – the ruthless dedication to annihilating those who made them victims. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Inspirational Slavoj Žižek Quotes

It’s not the same thing: coffee without cream or coffee without milk. What you don’t get is part of the identity of what you get. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


I agree with Sophocles: the greatest luck is not to have been born – but, as the joke goes on, very few people succeed in it. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

I think that the task of philosophy is not to provide answers, but to show how the way we perceive a problem can be itself part of a problem. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

You can be an extreme materialist, thinking that economic development ultimately determines everything; then you are truly ideological. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

For me, ideology is defined only by how the coordinates of your meaningful experience of the world, and your place within society, relate to the basic tensions and antagonisms of social orders. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

The minimum necessary structuring ingredient of every ideology is to distance itself from another ideology, to denounce its other as ideology. ~ Slavoj Žižek.


We need useless theory more than ever today. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

The threat today is not passivity, but pseudo-activity, the urge to be active, to participate, to mask the Nothingness of what goes on. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

As soon as we renounce fiction and illusion, we lose reality itself; the moment we subtract fictions from reality, reality itself loses its discursive-logical consistency. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

Ideology today is unfreedom which you sincerely personally experience as freedom. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

A typical guy who buys organic food doesn’t really buy it in order to be healthy; he buys it to regain a kind of solidarity as the one who really cares about nature. He buys a certain ideological stance. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

We’re not dreamers. We’re awaking from a dream turning into a nightmare. We’re not destroying anything. We’re watching the system destroy itself. ~ Slavoj Žižek.

So these were the 75 top Slavoj Zizek quotes on Life, Philosophy, Ideology and Capitalism.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Ringo Starr quotes and Louis Zamperini quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar