Video: Slavoj Žižek discusses freedom and love with the Guardian

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Slavoj Žižek's take on freedom was never going to be common-sensical, so it's perhaps no suprise that he begins his recent Guardian Comment is Free video in typically paradoxical style. To be truely free, for Žižek, would involve "the state taking care of things, not only without my choice, but even without me knowing about them."


True freedom is certainly not the ability to do what ever you like. Using the example of a conversation he had with Nationalists in the former Yugoslavia, he sees this fully-permissive form of freedom at the heart of right-wing fundamentalism. The problem of fundamentalism is the entwinement of no freedom and this "false freedom" - the freedom to do whatever you want to whoever you want.

Žižek, the "pathetic old romantic", sees love as the highest form of freedom. Love involves dedicating yourself to one other person, and in doing so renouncing the freedom to choose yoru sexual partner. Love necessarily involves a fall into it, whereby something unexpected occurs which fundamentally alters yourself and the other. This is true freedom which is not merely freedom to do as you please but freedom as a break or rupture from the normal state of things.

To view the entire video, visit the Guardian website.

Žižek's two most recent books, Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation for Dialectical Materialism and Comradely Greetings: The Prison Letters of Nadya and Slavoj (with Nadya Tolokonnikova), are both available to purchase from the Verso wesbite.