ABOLISHING FREEDOM

 

Hearing the speech through a certain empty-signifier last Friday, one that seemed to stuff itself with solipsistic “truth” that shifts and slides with opposition, a future vision that speaks only of a grubby business-like self interest, I was thinking about this signifier as the ultimate capitalist master signifier.

Apparently in Alcoholic’s Anonymous they say that you have to reach ‘rock bottom’ before you can start the process of the 12 steps. You have to see the full extent of your miserable situation before embarking on the process of sifting through the endless lies that you’ve told to your loved ones and yourself and start to become part of the world again. 

In a similar vein they say that it is easier for people to imagine some kind of apocalypse than to see some change to the social order but maybe the apocalypse, rather than being in the future, has already happened and we need to see the moment when it happened.

In Frank Ruda’s book “Abolishing Freedom – A Plea for a Contemporary Use of Fatalism” he makes the claim that the signifier ‘freedom’ has lost it’s true meaning and that it has been appropriated by the capitalist discourse. In some ways even the signifier ‘free speech’ has lost it’s true meaning. We just find ourselves as an enunciated subject, a mouth piece for some capitalist mantra –

“Free to face the world…”

“The will of the people …”

“America first …”

Slogans that the capitalist discourse guzzles and spews in it’s endless and obsessional looping addictions. An example of the way freedom has picked up a phoney meaning you see when instead of saying to the alcoholic, you are free to drink and therefore you are free to give up at any time; the kind of wisdom that is sometimes fobbed off on an alcoholic or chain smoker, the truth of the matter is that there is no freedom in the choice of being a chain smoker/ alcoholic or not … The moment of freedom was just before the first cigarette or the first drink … only then you can be given the free choice – ‘You’re free to take this cigarette now and smoke it, but if you do you will be addicted for the rest of your life.’

Heidegger and then Lacan knew the dangers of reductionism in language and that the future bottle or cigarette would be the gadget – this gadget that we hold in our hand. The gadget that reduces knowledge of being a human subject to slogans contained by 140 characters.

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