The ordeal we face is not lockdown and isolation, but what happens when our societies start to move again

Authoritarians are exploiting this crisis, writes Slavoj Zizek. If China succeeds in Hong Kong, the violent takeover of Taiwan could be the next step – then a full scale Pacific war

Wednesday 27 May 2020 12:55
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Police fire tear gas on protesters during a planned protests against a proposal to enact a new security legislation in Hong Kong
Police fire tear gas on protesters during a planned protests against a proposal to enact a new security legislation in Hong Kong

In a documentary on life in the Chernobyl zone after the accident, an ordinary farmers’ family is shown simply continuing to live in their hut, defying the orders to evacuate and forgotten by the state authorities. They don’t believe in any mysterious nuclear rays – nature is there and life just goes on for them. They were lucky, they said: radiation didn’t seriously affect them.

Does their stance not recall the famous scene from The Matrix in which Neo is given the option to take the blue pill or the red pill? The blue pill would allow him go on living in our common reality, while the red pill would awaken him into the true state of things: our reality is a collective virtual dream manipulated by a gigantic artificial intelligence, and our bodies are actually used as human batteries to provide the energy for the AI machine.

The Chernobyl farmers chose the blue pill, and got away with it… or did they? From the perspective of the farmers, it is the world around them which swallowed the blue pill and believed in the grand lie about radioactive rays while they refused to be seduced by this panic and remained firmly rooted in their daily reality.

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