Friday, 10 August 2007

Slavoj Žižek and the meaning of freedom

The new paperback edition of Slavoj Žižek’s The Universal Exception has just been released. It includes a new essay with the catchy title, “Some Politically Incorrect Reflections on the Violence in France and Related Matters.” And it also includes a delightful new preface by Žižek, entitled “The Big Other between Violence and Civility.” Drawing on the notion of civility as a free act which is feigned as an obligation, Žižek characterises human freedom as a “feigned necessity” (p. xii). Belonging to a society “involves a paradoxical point at which each of us is ordered to embrace freely, as the result of our choice, what is imposed on us anyway” – this is the “paradox of choosing freely what is already necessary” (p. xv).

3 Comments:

Kyle said...

Ben, I love the fact that some theologians, like yourself, are considering and appropriating Zizek. I am convinced, if he isn't a prophetic "theologian" then he is definitely a prophet. And, in my opinion, a prophet that more theologians need to listen to.

Blessings.

John said...

I commented on Zizek the last time round.
He is just another essentially adolescent left brained talking head---infinitely endless descriptions of the origins and consequences of the current global insanity, with no solutions whatsoever---absolutely none.

He is a "famous" example of the new left brained "authorities" on religion referred to in an essay "Beware of Those Who Criticize But Do Not Practice Religion" by Adi Da--try Google

In fact the inherently dis-sociative, and actively separative, adolescent disposition or asana, that he represents and panders to, is exactly the cause of our current predicament and exactly the asana that has to be understood and grown beyond or transcended if a new culture based on the PRIOR UNITY of humankind is to emerge.

Plus for a profound essay on Freedom please check out:

1. www.dabase.org/freedom.htm

dan said...

I rather enjoyed this quotation from Zizek. It reminds me of a quotation from Baudrillard that I came across in his System of Objects. That quotation runs as follows:

No object is proposed to the consumer as a single variety... what our industrial society always offer us 'a priori', as a kind of collective grace and as a mark of a formal freedom, is choice. This availability of the object is the foundation of 'personalization': only if the buyer is offered a whole range of choices can he transcend the strict necessity of his purchase and commit himself personally to something beyond it. Indeed, we no longer even have the option of not choosing... Our freedom to choose causes us to participate in a cultural system willy-nilly. It follows that the choice in question is a specious one: to experience it as freedom is simply to be less sensible of the fact that it is imposed upon us as such, and that through it society as a whole is likewise imposed upon us... Clearly 'personalization', far from being a mere advertising ploy, is actually a basic ideological concept of a society which 'personalizes' objects and beliefs in order to integrate persons more effectively.

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