Zizek on the Internets

June 6, 2009

Busy day today, little time for blogging. In the absence of any real content, y’all should check out this Zizek editorial from a couple years back about the anonymity of the internet. (h/t Will) Interesting reading, even if you don’t much care for Lacanisms. Take a peak:

At the same time, there is the much more unsettling opposite idea of the domination of my screen persona over my “real” self. Our social identity, the person we assume to be in our social intercourse, is already a “mask” that involves the repression of our inadmissible impulses. But it is precisely in the conditions of “just playing” – when the rules regulating our “real life” exchanges are temporarily suspended – that we can permit ourselves to display these repressed attitudes. Take the proverbial impotent shy person who, while participating in a cyberspace interactive game, adopts the identity of an irresistible seducer or sadistic murderer. It is all too simple to say that this identity is just an imaginary escape from real-life impotence. The point is rather that, since he knows that the cyberspace interactive game is “just a game,” he can “show his true self” and do things he would never have done in real-life interactions. In the guise of a fiction, the truth about himself is articulated. The fact that I perceive my virtual self-image as mere play thus allows me to suspend the usual hindrances which prevent me from realising my “dark half” in real life. My electronic id is given wing.

And the same goes for my partners in cyberspace communication. I can never be sure who they are: are they really the way they describe themselves, is there a “real” person at all behind a screen persona, is the screen persona a mask for a multiplicity of people, or am I simply dealing with a digitised entity which does not stand for any “real” person?

One Response to “Zizek on the Internets”

  1. […] been on the case, riffing off of this entertaining Craigslist article. He was also kind enough to mention an old Zizek op-ed I dug up on a similar […]

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