the free slave
September 24, 2013, 3:10 pm
Filed under: departure lounge | Tags: , , ,

Zizek improves on Chesterton: true that worry about one’s life can freeze us; but an overstatement that self reflection enslaves:

We may say broadly that free thought is the best of all the safeguards against freedom. Managed in a modern style the emancipation of the slave’s mind is the best way of preventing the emancipation of the slave. Teach him to worry about whether he wants to be free, and he will not free himself.

G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

One can … claim like Chesterton that the abstract freedom to think (and doubt) actually prevents actual freedom. But is the subtraction of thinking from acting, the suspension of its efficiency, really as clear and unequivocal as that?

Slavoj Zizek, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, Introduction