In his essay “Robespierre, Or, the ‘Divine Violence’ of Terror”, Zizek writes,

In today’s ‘post-deconstructionist’ thought…, the term ‘inhuman’ has gained new weight, especially in the work of Agamben and Badiou. The best way to apporach it is via Freud’s reluctance to endorse the injunction ‘Love thy neighbor!’– the temptation to be resisted here is the ethical domestication of the neighbor as the abyssal point from which the call of ethical responsibility emanates. What Levinas thereby obfuscates is the monstrosity of the neighbor, a monstrosity on account of which Lacan applies to the neighbour the term Thing [das Ding], used by Freud to designate the ultimate object of our desires in its unbearable intensity and impenetrability… In a properly dialectical paradox, what Levinas, with all his celebration of Otherness, fails to take into account is not some underlying Sameness of all humans but the radically ‘inhuman’ Otherness itself: the Otherness of a human being reduced to inhumanity, the Otherness exemplified by the terrifying figure of the Muselmann, the ‘living dead’ in the concentration campus. (xiii-xiv)

While I’m not great enthusiast of Levinas, passages such as this, scattered throughout his work, irritate the hell out of me. Am I alone in suspecting that he’s never read a single word of Levinas? Certainly the above remarks suggest that this is the case.

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