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Zizek, S. (2004). What can Psychoanalysis Tell us About Cyberspace?. Psychoanal. Rev., 91(6):801-830.
   

(2004). Psychoanalytic Review, 91(6):801-830

What can Psychoanalysis Tell us About Cyberspace?

Slavoj Zizek

The Informational Anorexia

Today, the media constantly bombard us with requests to choose, addressing us as subjects supposed to know what we really want (which book, clothes, TV program, place of holiday…)—“press A, if you want this, press B, if you want that,” or, to quote the motto of the recent “reflective” TV publicity campaign for advertisement itself, “Advertisement—the right to choose.” However, at a more fundamental level, the new media deprive the subject radically of the knowledge of what he wants: They address a thoroughly malleable subject who has constantly to be told what he wants, i.e., the very evocation of a choice to be made perform-atively creates the need for the object of choice. One should bear in mind here that the main function of the Master is to tell the subject what he wants—the need for the Master arises in answer to the subject's confusion, insofar as he does not know what he wants. What, then, happens in the situation of the decline of the Master, when the subject himself is constantly bombarded with the request to give a sign as to what he wants? The exact opposite of what one would expect: It is when there is no one here to tell you what you really want, when all the burden of the choice is on you, that the big Other dominates you completely, and the choice effectively disappears, i.e., is replaced by its mere semblance. One is tempted to paraphrase here Lacan's well-known reversal of Dostoyevski (“If there is no God, nothing is permitted at all”): If no forced choice confines the field of free choice, the very freedom of choice disappears.

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