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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Rollin' In It: Celebrating the Tyranny of Freedom

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How much is that AGENT in the window? Lol #BlackFriday #AsSeenOnTV: image via Ming-Na Wen @MingNa, 28 November 2014

Americans now live in a time and a place in which freedom and autonomy are valued above all else and in which expanded opportunities for self-determination are regarded as a sign of the psychological well-being of individuals and the moral well-being of the culture.


Shoppers Kelly Foley, Debbie Winslow and Ann Rich use a smartphone to look at a competitor’s prices whilst in a Target store in South Portland, Maine on Black Friday: photo by Robert F Bukaty/AP via The Guardian, 28 November 2014

This article argues that freedom, autonomy, and self-determination can become excessive, and that when that happens, freedom can be experienced as a kind of tyranny.

Women flip through a coupon book at Toys R Us in New York on Black Friday: photo by Andrew Burton via The Guardian, 28 November 2014

The article further argues that unduly influenced by the ideology of economics and rational-choice theory, modern American society has created an excess of freedom, with resulting increases in people's dissatisfaction with their lives and in clinical depression.

Who has taken advantage of our @PennySkateboard deal for #BlackFriday so far: image via Tilly's @Tillys, 28 November 2014

One significant task for a future psychology of optimal functioning is to deemphasize individual freedom and to determine which cultural constraints are necessary.

Customers at the tills of a Walmart store in Bentonville, Arkansas on Black Friday: photo by Gunnar Rathbun/Invision for Walmart via the Guardian, 28 November 2014

text: Self-Determination: The Tyranny of Freedom (Abstract): Barry Schwartz, American Psychologist, 2000

I camped out overnight for #Black Friday! Took this shot with my iPhone from the parking lot: image via John Sowers @johnsowers , 28 November 2014

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Britain doesn't need #Black Friday. Sadly, since it's a materialistic consumer-fest driven by greed, it's here to stay
: image via Archbishop Cranmer @His_Grace, 28 November 2014
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Cosby Show 50% off today. #black friday #billcosby: image via jean-luc bilodeau @jblives, 28 November 2014


Anonymous said...

The tyranny of true!

Elmo St. Rose said...

Here's the nightmare about
America's financial collapse:
you are in Walmart at 10PM seeing people buy stuff they don't need
with money they don't have, and
then......the checks stop.

Hazen said...

Headline in the local paper on Black Friday morn: ‘Police Presence Brings Some Calm To Early Shopping Chaos’. There, see, you don’t need a Ferguson or an Oakland to bring out the cops. Never doubt for a single McMinute that this is an authoritarian society, or that we live under a totalitarian system, in a corporatized police state.

Just shop, goddamnit, or else . . . 

In future, consumer fraud will mean pretending to buy stuff when you really can’t . . . because your credit card is maxed out and your cash is zero and shoplifting isn’t an option because the cameras of The Panopticon have you always and everywhere under their baleful glare.

TC said...

We don't shop, exactly -- I mean, we've never set foot in any of the highclass emporia pictured here. My brave partner hauls a wire cart on wheels up hill and down to local market, fair weather and foul (as now), that's the extent of it. So on occasions like this we're left out. We don't own credit cards. We don't have a smartphone, so we couldn't sit on the floor of a store and comparison shop. But I have been able to suss out the m.o., and from what I've learnt I am convinced that the final conversion has taken place, the vast majority of Americans have been programmed into disposable purchasing units, and all you have to do is say the word "discount" and they will worship in hordes, much as in the day of pilgrimages, and robotically buy up any and every kind of useless junk, on the supposition they're getting a "deal". Said junk ends up soon enough in landfill or worse, floating in that vast orbiting glob of indestructible plastics located somewhere off the coast of Oregon.

All this is said to be "good for the economy" -- but certainly not in the original sense of household, earth household.

Mose23 said...

The footage we've seen here says nothing about autonomy. Rewired at the root, they follow the path of their created wants.

That old vicious sod Lenin's question came to mind: "Freedom, yes, but for whom? To do what?"

TC said...

The overwhelming pressure of fabricated need seems to provide the steroidal energy of these "holidays" in which the old impulse toward actual human contact is more or less effectively displaced by a continuous irresistible distracting attraction to... stuff.