Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hype - Formulas for Attracting Attention

hype 1 (hp) Slang

1. Excessive publicity and the ensuing commotion: the hype surrounding the murder trial.
2. Exaggerated or extravagant claims made especially in advertising or promotional material: "It is pure hype, a gigantic PR job" (Saturday Review).
3. An advertising or promotional ploy: "Some restaurant owners in town are cooking up a $75,000 hype to promote New York as 'Restaurant City, U.S.A.'" (New York).
4. Something deliberately misleading; a deception: "[He] says that there isn't any energy crisis at all, that it's all a hype, to maintain outrageous profits for the oil companies" (Joel Oppenheimer).
tr.v. hyped, hyp·ing, hypes

To publicize or promote, especially by extravagant, inflated, or misleading claims: hyped the new book by sending its author on a promotional tour.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

No! THAT is Disgusting!

from Science Report
There’s a reason that we have a physical reaction to men like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anthony Weiner, and John Edwards. There’s a reason why we can dismiss the death of Osama bin Laden with a, “he got what he deserved”, but seethe with hatred for someone like Dominique Strauss-Khan. It’s the same reason that liberals look at photos of Rush Limbaugh or Mitt Romney and become inflamed in the same way that conservatives may physically react to pictures of President Barack Obama. Our perceptions guide our moral and physical “disgust centers” in our brains, and often, those two neural networks overlap.

The widespread use of fMRI (functional magnetic imaging) has allowed researchers to watch as sensory stimuli literally “light up” various areas of the brain, which has lead to some very illuminating understandings of how our brains actually work. One of those areas, our “moral” center, is actually closely connected to the area of our brain in which physical revulsion is located. In other words, according to our brain circuitry, morality and disgust are closely related.

To illustrate this, researchers have conducted a commonplace study in which pairs of individuals are given $100 to share. However, only one of the individuals has the ability to decide how the cash is divided among them, with the other person having the ability to accept or reject the offer. If the offer is accepted, they both get the money. If the offer is rejected, they both get nothing. If the deal is rejected, fMRI scans show that the person rejecting the offer shows pronounced activity in the disgust center of the brain. Generally, any deal that offered the second person less than 43% of the pot was rejected, meaning the “rejecter” turned down a free $43 simply because the other person was going to get $57; a moral judgement that triggers feelings of physical disgust.

Jonathan Haidt, of the University of Virginia, told TIME, “There is literal disgust and moral disgust, and the two overlap. Betrayal, hypocrisy, certain kinds of baseness trigger the brain's moral response." In fact, so powerful is this mechanism in our brains that we even physically respond to witnessing someone else get cheated. The more honorably the victim responds to being taken advantage of, the more visceral our reactions are. In the case of John Edwards, who had an illegitimate child with his mistress while Elizabeth Edwards was dying of cancer, makes the bile rise in the back of the throat because we are powerfully morally reactive, and subsequently disgusted, by the behavior. In a sense, our physical reaction to those things which we deem immoral, serve to gird our moral code and make us even more morally reactive.

Perhaps this explains the vehemence and apparent inflexibility with which some, those who believe they are in the moral right, pursue their own personal, political, and social agendas. If we understand that the physical reaction is just a trick of brain chemistry, we may be able to approach moral questions more objectively, and more reasonably.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Shame and the Revenge of the Re-Animated Partial Object

A recent discovery of a parasite at a London fish market is the embodiment of this particular conception of the lamella at its purest. The cymothoa exigua, a small parasitic crustacean, was found inside the mouth of a red snapper fish. The isopod had attached itself to the artery under the fish’s tongue and drained the blood until the organ atrophied, whereupon the tiny parasite effectively replaced the fish’s tongue. Remarkably, the cymothoa exigua does not cause any other damage to its host and, in addition to performing all the standard duties of a tongue, actually relieves strain on the host fish’s circulatory system. Although the BBC article which initially reported the incident is careful to reassure its readers that “the creature does not pose any threat to humans and only attaches itself to fish tongues” (par. 7), one cannot help but imagine a Cronenbergian future where such paradoxically ‘benign parasites’ become fashionably healthful accessories, and where a slightly improved circulatory system warrants offering one’s tongue as a Kafkian ‘undead wound’ to a disgusting parasitic crustacean. Indeed, the scenario bears a strong resemblance to an early sequence from David Cronenberg’s 1975 film Shivers (They Came from Within). In this sequence, two doctors discuss the creation of “imitative parasites” which, much like the red snapper’s isopod, act as an alternative to organ transplants, ultimately ‘improving’ the organ that they colonize. We again return to what may be termed ‘the cultural studies lamella’ par excellence: an organ that enlists the services of the subject only to supersede his false sense of autonomy, strip him of control, and essentially “find its way” (Žižek 1996 par. 34) at the expense of the unified, ‘total’ subject which it infects.
How disgusting!
...given that Levinas connects the subjective deadlock or “radical impossibility of fleeing oneself to hide from oneself, the unalterably binding presence of the I to itself” experienced in shame as identical to the subject’s encounter with nausea. The means by which these analogous affections impact the subject and his self-conception are of particular interest to Žižek, whose primary interpretation of the lamella is dependent on the disorienting disgust and nausea which it inspires (the so-called “disgust with Life” or “disgusting substance of enjoyment”) (Žižek 2005: 142, 1995: 206). In other words, the disarming ‘closeness’ of our selves to our bodies which occurs at the moment of nausea (when we are compelled to expel the unbearable pain of our insides), ultimately reaffirms our “revolting and yet unsuppressible presence to ourselves” (Agamben 1999: 105). Nausea as such constitutes an intestinal overtaking (a literal ‘revolt(ing)’) or organic supremacy that renders us suddenly and traumatically aware of our bodily and psychic limitations. As Levinas emphasizes:
Nausea posits itself not only as something absolute, but as the very act of self-positing: it is the affirmation itself of being. It refers only to itself, is closed to all the rest, without windows onto other things. Nausea carries its centre of attraction within itself (Levinas 2003:68).
This definition of nausea, taken up and developed by Giorgio Agamben in Remnants of Auschwitz:
The Witness and the Archive, should be read alongside of Agamben’s own description of shame: Shame] is nothing less than the fundamental sentiment of being a subject, in the two apparently opposed senses of this phrase: to be subjected and to be sovereign. Shame is what is produced in the absolute concomitance of subjectification and desubjectification, self-loss and self- possession, servitude and sovereignty
Fundamentally, shame is “what is most intimate in us” (Agamben 1999: 105), revealing not “our nothingness but the totality of our existence” (Levinas 2003: 65), while simultaneously emptying us of the very subjectivity it forces us to recognize.
Christine Evans, "M. Hommelette’s Wild Ride: Lamella as a Category of Shame"

Friday, June 21, 2013

Purity of Essence

General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: [very nervous] Lord, Jack.

General Jack D. Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: I... no, no. I don't, Jack.

General Jack D. Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen... tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first... become... well, develop this theory?

General Jack D. Ripper: [somewhat embarassed] Well, I, uh... I... I... first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.

General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I... I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.

General Jack D. Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh... I do not avoid women, Mandrake.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No.

General Jack D. Ripper: But I... I do deny them my essence.

The Jouissance of Reading Morrisson

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Wherever responsibilities are sought, it is usually the instinct of wanting to judge and punish which is at work. Becoming has been deprived of its innocence when any being-such-and-such is traced back to will, to purposes, to acts of responsibility: the doctrine of the will has been invented essentially for the purpose of punishment, that is, because one wanted to impute guilt. The entire old psychology, the psychology of will, was conditioned by the fact that its originators, the priests at the head of ancient communities, wanted to create for themselves the right to punish--or wanted to create this right for God. Men were considered "free" so that they might be judged and punished--so that they might become guilty: consequently, every act had to be considered as willed, and the origin of every act had to be considered as lying within the consciousness (and thus the most fundamental counterfeit in psychologicis was made the principle of psychology itself).
- Nietzsche, "Twilight of the Idols"


“The real political task in a society such as ours is to criticize the workings of institutions that appear to be both neutral and independent, to criticize and attack them in such a manner that the political violence that has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them.”
― Michel Foucault

Monday, June 17, 2013

Law Breakers and Unwritten Rules

What really binds a community, what really tells people that they are members of the same group is not their knowing what laws to follow but their knowing what laws to break. Attachment to community comes about through identification with the suspension or transgression of the law.
- Slavoj Zizek, "Metastases of Enjoyment"

Friday, June 14, 2013

Laws (& Geographies) of Desire

. . . the advent of Law entails a kind of ‘disalienation’: in so far as the Other itself appears submitted to the ‘absolute condition’ of Law, the subject is no more at the mercy of the Other’s whim, its desire is no more totally alienated in the Other’s desire. . . In contrast to the ‘post-structuralist’ notion of a law checking, canalizing, alienating, oppressing ‘Oedipianizing’ some previous ‘flux of desire,’ Law is here conceived as an agency of ‘disalienation’ and ‘liberation’: it opens our access to desire by enabling us to disengage ourselves from the rule of the Other’s whim.
- Slavoj Zizek, "For They Know Not What They Do"

But, there is a twist. The liberating aspect of law is both a “symptom” and implicated in yet another set of arbitrary, punishing demands, those of the superego. First, the image of the omnipotent Other to whose whim one is subject is a fantasy. It is a way for the subject to avoid acknowledging that its desire can’t be satisfied, to avoid facing the fact that the Other doesn’t have the ability to give it what it wants. In Hobbes' state of nature, it simply is not the case that one could have everything one desired were it not for the rights of others. As Hobbes acknowledges, desire is itself always in motion, ceaseless, beyond satisfaction. Law intervenes, then, as “a way for the subject to avoid the impasse constitutive of desire by transforming the inherent impossibility of its satisfaction into prohibition: as if desire would be possible to fulfil if it were not for the prohibition impeding its free reign.” The sovereign (for Hobbes) guarantees desire not simply by restraining others but by commanding restraint in general. Law lets the subject think it could get what it wants were it not for law’s prohibition. So, here law lets the subject avoid the impossible Real of its desire. Our attachment to law, then, is a symptom in that it is a way for us to secure our desire (that is to say, the space for it, not the object of it) by avoiding confrontation with the impossibility of fulfilling it.
- Jodi Dean, "Zizek on Law"

Angola State Prison

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Christian Ethic

A performance for the subject supposed to believe?
The two notions, that of the subject supposed to believe and that of the subject supposed to know, are not symmetrical since belief and knowledge themselves are not symmetrical: at its most radical, the status of the (Lacanian) big Other qua symbolic institution, is that of belief (trust), not that of knowledge, since belief is symbolic and knowledge is real (the big Other involves, and relies on, a fundamental "trust"). The two subjects are thus not symmetrical since belief and knowledge themselves are not symmetrical: belief is always minimally "reflective," a "belief in the belief of the other" ("I still believe in Communism" is the equivalent of saying "I believe there are still people who believe in Communism"), while knowledge is precisely not knowledge about the fact that there is another who knows. For this reason, I can BELIEVE through the other, but I cannot KNOW through the other. That is to say, due to the inherent reflectivity of belief, when another believes in my place, I myself believe through him; knowledge is not reflective in the same way, i.e. when the other is supposed to know, I do not know through him.
- Slavoj Zizek, "The Interpassive Subject"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Desire from the Edge of Empire

Shades of Callimachus, Coan ghosts of Philetas
It is in your grove I would walk,
I who come first from the clear font
Bringing the Grecian orgies into Italy,
and the dance into Italy.
Who hath taught you so subtle a measure,
in what hall have you heard it;
What foot beat out your time-bar,
what water has mellowed your whistles ?

Out-weariers of Apollo will, as we know, continue their
Martian generalities,
We have kept our erasers in order.
A new-fangled chariot follows the flower-hung horses;
A young Muse with young loves clustered about her
ascends with me into the aether, . . .
And there is no high-road to the Muses.

Annalists will continue to record Roman reputations,
Celebrities from the Trans-Caucasus will belaud Roman celebrities
And expound the distentions of Empire,
But for something to read in normal circumstances?
For a few pages brought down from the forked hill unsullied?
I ask a wreath which will not crush my head.
And there is no hurry about it;
I shall have, doubtless, a boom after my funeral,
Seeing that long standing increases all things
regardless of quality.
And who would have known the towers
pulled down by a deal-wood horse;
Or of Achilles withstaying waters by Simois
Or of Hector spattering wheel-rims,
Or of Polydmantus, by Scamander, or Helenas and
Their door-yards would scarcely know them, or Paris.
Small talk O Ilion, and O Troad
twice taken by Oetian gods,
If Homer had not stated your case!

And I also among the later nephews of this city
shall have my dog's day,
With no stone upon my contemptible sepulchre;
My vote coming from the temple of Phoebus in Lycia, at Patara,
And in the mean time my songs will travel,
And the devirginated young ladies will enjoy them
when they have got over the strangeness,
For Orpheus tamed the wild beasts
and held up the Threician river;
And Citharaon shook up the rocks by Thebes
and danced them into a bulwark at his pleasure,
And you, O Polyphemus? Did harsh Galatea almost
Turn to your dripping horses, because of a tune, under Aetna?
We must look into the matter.
Bacchus and Apollo in favour of it,
There will be a crowd of young women doing homage to my palaver,
Though my house is not propped up by Taenarian
columns from Laconia (associated with Neptune and Cerberus),
Though it is not stretched upon gilded beams;
My orchards do not lie level and wide
as the forests of Phaecia,
the luxurious and Ionian,
Nor are my caverns stuffed stiff with a Marcian vintage,
My cellar does not date from Numa Pompilius,
Nor bristle with wine jars,
Nor is it equipped with a frigidaire patent;
Yet the companions of the Muses
will keep their collective nose in my books,
And weary with historical data, they will turn to my dance tune.
Happy who are mentioned in my pamphlets,
the songs shall be a fine tomb-stone over their beauty.
But against this ?
Neither expensive pyramids scraping the stars in their route,
Nor houses modelled upon that of Jove in East Elis,
Nor the monumental effigies of Mausolus,
are a complete elucidation of death.

Flame burns, rain sinks into the cracks
And they all go to rack ruin beneath the thud of the years.
Stands genius a deathless adornment,
a name not to be worn out with the years.
- Ezra Pound, "Homage To Sextus Propertius - I"

A Critique of Pure Desire

The true Law/Prohibition is thus not imposed "by virtue and reason," i.e. by an agency external to itself, but by desire itself - Law IS desire.

Kant=Sade, breaking the deadlock

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Sacrifice

What, then, is the sacrifice? What is a priori false about it? At its most elementary, sacrifice relies on the notion of exchange: I offer to the Other something precious to me in order to get back from the Other something even more vital to me (the "primitive" tribes sacrifice animals or even humans so that Gods will repay them by enough rainfall, military victory, etc.) The next, already more intricate level is to conceive sacrifice as a gesture which does not directly aim at some profitable exchange with the Other to whom we sacrifice: its more basic aim is rather to ascertain that there IS some Other out there who is able to reply (or not) to our sacrificial entreaties. Even if the Other does not grant my wish, I can at least be assured that there IS an Other who, maybe, next time will respond differently: the world out there, inclusive of all catastrophes that may befall me, is not a meaningless blind machinery, but a partner in a possible dialogue, so that even a catastrophic outcome is to be read as a meaningful response, not as a kingdom of blind chance... Lacan goes here a step further: the notion of sacrifice usually associated with Lacanian psychoanalysis is that of a gesture that enacts the disavowal of the impotence of the big Other: at its most elementary, the subject does not offer his sacrifice to profit from it himself, but to fill in the lack in the Other, to sustain the appearance of the Other's omnipotence or, at least, consistency. Let us recall Beau Geste, the classic Hollywood adventure melodrama from 1938, in which the elder of the three brothers who live with their benevolent aunt (Gary Cooper), in what seems to be a gesture of excessive ungrateful cruelty, steals the enormously expensive diamond necklace which is the pride of the aunt's family, and disappears with it, knowing that his reputation is ruined, that he will be forever known as the ungracious embezzler of his benefactress - so why did he do it? At the end of the film, we learn that he did it in order to prevent the embarrassing disclosure that the necklace was a fake: unbeknowst to all others, he knew that, some time ago, the aunt had to sell the necklace to a rich maharaja in order to save the family from bankruptcy, and replaced it with a worthless imitation. Just prior to his "theft," he learned that a distant uncle who co-owned the necklace wanted it sold for financial gain; if the necklace were to be sold, the fact that it is a fake would undoubtedly be discovered, so the only way to retain the aunt's and thus the family's honor is to stage its theft... This is the proper deception of the crime of stealing: to occlude the fact that, ultimately, THERE IS NOTHING TO STEAL - this way, the constitutive lack of the Other is concealed, i.e. the illusion is maintained that the Other possessed what was stolen from it. If, in love, one gives what one doesn't possess, in a crime of love, one steals from the beloved Other what the Other doesn't possess... to this alludes the "beau geste" of the film's title.17 And therein resides also the meaning of sacrifice: one sacrifices oneself (one's honor and future in respectful society) to maintain the appearance of the Other's honor, to save the beloved Other from shame.


While men sacrifice themselves for a Thing (country, freedom, honor), only women are able bto sacrifice themselves for nothing. (Or: men are moral, while only women are properly ethical.) And it is our contention that this "empty" sacrifice is the Christian gesture par excellence: it is only against the background of this empty gesture that one can begin to appreciate the uniqueness of the figure of Christ.
-Slavoj Zizek, "Death's Merciless Love"

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


The effect of distancing or estranging a spectator through means within the form or content of a text that challenge basic codes and conventions, and therefore mainstream ideological expectations. The term, drawn from the French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, and connected with the “alienation effect” theorized and practiced by German Marxist poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, has been used by film theorists in discussions of the possibilities and limitations of using cinema to challenge mainstream ideological and institutional structures. Formally, distantiation may be achieved by such things as obvious jump cuts, glaring lighting, violating the 180 degree rule, etc. Narratively, the film may employ absurd, arbitrary, and/or non-linear story lines. Distantiation may be achieved through characterization by creating characters that audiences can neither identify with nor mindlessly loathe. A key question within film theory concerning distantiation is whether a film can achieve its intended political effect simply by being formally alienating without being directly political, particularly in today's post-modernist cinema, when shocking innovation has become part of the standard palette employed by Hollywood directors.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Beginning in the late sixties, however, Lacan focuses his attention more and more on drive as a kind of "acephalic" knowledge which brings about satisfaction. This knowledge involves no inherent relation to truth, no subjective position of enunciation-- not because it dissimulates the subjective position of enunciation, but because it is in itself nonsubjectivized, or ontologically prior to the very dimension of truth (of course, the term ontological becomes thereby problematic, since ontology is by definition a discourse on truth). Truth and knowledge are thus related as desire and drive: interpretation aims at the truth of the subject's desire (the truth of desire is the desire for truth, as one is tempted to put it in a pseudo-Heideggerian way), while construction provides know- ledge about drive. Is not the paradigmatic case of such an "acephalic" knowledge provided by modern science (2)which exemplifies the "blind insistence" of the (death) drive? Modern science follows its path (in microbiology, in manipulating genes, in particle physics) heedless of cost--satisfaction is here provided by knowledge itself, not by any moral or communal goals scientific knowledge is supposed to serve. All the "ethical committees" which abound today and attempt to establish rules for the proper conduct of gene-manipulation, of medical experiments, etc. -- are they ultimately not desperate attempts to reinscribe this inexorable drive-progress of science which knows of no inherent limitation (in short: this inherent ethic of the scientific attitude) within the confines of human goals, to provide it with a "human face," a limitation? The commonplace wisdom today is that "our extraordinary power to manipulate nature through scientific devices has run ahead of our faculty to lead a meaningful existence, to make human use of this immense power." Thus, the properly modern ethics of "following the drive" clashes with traditional ethics whereby one is instructed to live one's life according to standards of proper measure and to subordinate all its aspects to some all-encompassing notion of the Good. The problem is, of course, that no balance between these two notions of ethics can ever be achieved. The notion of reinscribing scientific drive into the constraints of the life-world is fantasy at its purest--perhaps the fundamental fascist fantasy. Any limitation of this kind is utterly foreign to the inherent logic of science--science belongs to the real and, as a mode of the real of jouissance, it is indifferent to the modalities of its symbolization, to the way it will affect social life.
- Slavoj Zizek, "Desire: Drive = Truth: Knowledge"

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bring on the Post-Modern Age!

Excited by the road ahead,
Not looking back to succor sure,
Savoring both the journey and destination,
Youth seeks newness for discovery’s sake alone.

On the way to a new way
By a route now freely chosen,
Youth thinks not of kin nor reputation;
Rules and roles are quickly, glibly dropped.

Chance encounters serve as friendship,
Family, shelved icons once called home;
Life is becoming a game of personal recovery
From the scarring ravages of Youth’s free choice.

In moments of terror, of despair at life beyond repair,
In moments of elation, newfound love or hope awakened,
And moments of remembrance wistfully visited when alone,
Youth finds himself in those dreams that belong only to the young.

Longings, finally, for a reconnection
To faith, age-old mandates, heart-felt support,
Bring Youth at last home to welcoming hearth
And to long-forgotten family love rediscovered.
-Bonnie Manion, (first published in Small Brushes)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Eros vs. Agape

The Greek word agape is often translated "love" in the New Testament. How is "agape love" different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is self-sacrifice. Unlike our English word “love,” agape is not used in the Bible to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Nor does agape mean “charity,” a term which the King James translators carried over from the Latin. Agape love is unique and is distinguished by its nature and character.

Agape is love which is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself. The apostle John affirms this in 1 John 4:8: “God is love.” God does not merely love; He is love itself. Everything God does flows from His love. But it is important to remember that God’s love is not a sappy, sentimental love such as we often hear portrayed. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely (us!), not because we deserve to be loved, but because it is His nature to love us, and He must be true to His nature and character. God’s love is displayed most clearly at the cross, where Christ died for the unworthy creatures who were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), not because we did anything to deserve it, “but God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The object of God’s agape love never does anything to merit His love. We are the undeserving recipients upon whom He lavishes that love. His love was demonstrated when He sent His Son into the world to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and to provide eternal life to those He sought and saved. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for those He loves.

In the same way, we are to love others sacrificially. Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us, or even hate us, as the Jews did the Samaritans. Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own. But this type of love does not come naturally to humans. Because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of producing such a love. If we are to love as God loves, that love—that agape—can only come from its true Source. This is the love which “has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us” when we became His children (Romans 5:5). Because that love is now in our hearts, we can obey Jesus who said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another” (John 13:34). This new commandment involves loving one another as He loved us sacrificially, even to the point of death. But, again, it is clear that only God can generate within us the kind of self-sacrificing love which is the proof that we are His children. “By this we have known the love of God, because He laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). Because of God’s love toward us, we are now able to love one another.
- Source

It's telling that Zizek, on the other hand, defines agape as "political love", instead of a "love for G_d" as Christians define it. We've all heard the phrase "separation of Church and State". So how do we separate "politics" from State if one's politics is their religion? The purpose of "life" should not be "self-sacrifice for the State." The State, should not be our "body without organs." THAT is how we should perceive our actual "bodies." In other words, if we're to have "purpose", it is to be self-directed. If we are to practice self-sacrifice, let it be for causes that we personally would and ultimately DO choose to sacrifice ourselves for, and NOT some externally decided and defined "Master's" cause.