Fuck you! You have to come up with the good idea!
Here, Zizek is speaking about EGS, The European Graduate School based in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. In explaining why he likes working at EGS, Zizek contrasts it with “the worst American way” of teaching, in which professors help students find a direction of study. He says that when students come to him and ask him for direction he simply says, “Fuck you! You have to come up with the good idea!”
Now, I have certainly benefited from the guidance of my teachers at every step of my education. And when I first heard this clip it put me off a little, especially because I have entertained thoughts of studying cultural theory and philosophy. Yet, there are days when I wake up and realize precisely that I still don’t have a direction; I still don’t know what I want. That’s when the wisdom of Zizek’s words hit home. There comes a time when a person has to stop relying on surrogates to suggest where to go and what to do. Sometimes you have to find out who YOU are and what YOU want, by yourself.
In roughly rejecting students’ overtures, Zizek refuses the role of a god and takes on the role of a mirror.
So thanks Zizek! I will come up with a good idea, and when I do I will steal your job.
What is it that you want?