2014-08-01

Liberty to Spy


Slavoj Zizek suggested (The Plague of Fantasies, 1997) that the fear of the other actually derives from some sort of jealousy, from imagining that the other might be enjoying more or better than us, differently, or, what would be worse, in an inconceivable way... Thus, although we would pretend indifference and respect for the other's freedom to enjoy his own way, in fact we would desire to know how he enjoys. Or, as René Girard would say, desire needs at least three, not just a subject and an object, but also a competitor. This undeclared desire would explain the fundamental hypocrisy regarding the notion of liberty. Liberty would be in fact just a mask to hide the real desired liberty: that of getting to know the other's enjoyment, but in such a way that he would not recognize our jealousy. The liberty would be then liberty to know what in fact does not concern us, voyeuristic liberty, liberty to spy.  

Image after Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty (1886) in New York Harbor [ua-fu/fd] and NASA's Middle East satellite image [pd-fu/fd].