Slavoj Zizek: Domination and Free Choice


Since, in our society, free choice is elevated into a supreme value, social control and domination can no longer appear to infringe on the subject’s freedom – it has to appear as (and be sustained by) the very experience of individuals as being free. There are a multitude of ways in which this un-freedom appears in the guise of its opposite: when we are deprived of universal healthcare, we are told that we are given a new freedom of choice (to choose our healthcare provider); when we can no longer rely on long-term employment and are compelled to search for a new, precarious position every couple of years, we are told that we are given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and discover novel, unexpected creative potentials that lurk in our personality; when we have to pay for the education of our children, we are told that we become ‘entrepreneurs of the self’, acting like a capitalist who chooses freely how he will invest the resources he possesses (or has borrowed) in education, health, travel … Constantly bombarded by so-called ‘free choices’, forced to make decisions for which we are mostly not even properly qualified (or about which we possess inadequate information), increasingly we experience our freedom as what it effectively is: a burden that deprives us of the true choice of change.

—Like A Thief In Broad Daylight: Power in the Era of Post-Humanity – Slavoj Zizek

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