Freedom of Choice: Truth or Illusion?

Via Andrea Balt
on Apr 29, 2012
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Or more like Free to choose your prison?

Click to make huge.

 (Via Reddit)

Still freedom hungry? Let’s make a Noam Chomksy sandwich. I’ll have radical democracy + linguistics + misuse of mass media.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”


“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.”


Neoliberal democracy. Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless. In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future.”


*Bonus: Creative activism. Morgan Spurlock turns himself into an ad.

“You have a couple of choices. One choice is to allow yourself to be co-opted a little bit. You dip your toe in the water. Pretty soon you put your foot in the water, pretty soon you’re swimming. And you don’t think you’re changing, you just say okay, I’ll do it a little more. You end up swimming. That’s what they’re anticipating. The other option is to resist. And maybe end up in Montana, you know, growing your own food.”

~ Noam Chomsky (interview with Morgan Spurlock in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold)


But… I am not a product.

“I’m a human being, goddammit. My life has value!”

Network (1976) Howard Beale, the mad prophet of the airwaves. {We’ve got a huge problem when madness rings as true today as it did 40 years ago.}


Now is a good time to breathe…

The good news is that real life is still unscripted. And if you don’t like prison, you better spend your time loving and working a way out.


~ Like elephant culture & enlightened society on Facebook. ~


About Andrea Balt

Co-Founder / Editor in Chief of Rebelle Society, Wellness Alchemist at Rebelle Wellness & Creativity Curator at Creative Rehab. Unfinished book with a love for greens, bikes and poetry; raised by wolves & adopted by people; not trying to make art but to Be Art. Holds a BA in Journalism & Mass Communication, an MFA in Creative Writing & a Holistic Health Coach degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. In her work she tries to reflect the wholeness of the human experience by combining Art & Health + Brains & Beauty + Darkness & Brilliance into a more alive, unabridged and unlimited edition of ourselves. She is also on a quest to reinstate Creativity as one of our essential Human Rights to (hopefully and soon) be included in the UN Declaration. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram and sign up for her Monthly Stroke of Renaissance.


42 Responses to “Freedom of Choice: Truth or Illusion?”

  1. MamasteNJ says:

    I heart your revolution Batman!
    ~Mamaste (yes Mamaste, goddamnit!)

  2. jamesvincentknowles says:

    You've hit the nail squarely on the head. Just remember, we allowed it to become this way. "The masses have never thirsted after truth. They demand illusions, & cannot do without them. They constantly give what is unreal precedence over what is real; they are almost as strongly influenced by what is untrue as by what is true. They have an evident tendency not to distinguish between the two." *S. Freud

  3. Eric says:

    "The principal aim of the new liberalism–the ideological belief in the free or self-regulating market–is to legitimate, through democratic institutions, the removal of ANY democratic control over economic life. This metaphysical belief in market forces and self-regulation has gained the upper hand and is slowly beginning to replace, or at least severely limit, the scope of traditional democratic controls…when the Market eclipses both politics and labor, as citizens, might our only obligation to society be to actively and regularly partake in the markets to keep them fluid?" ~Sanford Kwinter

  4. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Good ol' Noam is excellent on identifying the problem, weak on solutions. This is a common defect of people who are so much smarter than the rest of us. They just can't stand contemplating the choices we make, to see us consuming at the malls and wallowing in illusion.

    But what's their solution? For Noam, et al, there are really only two, or a mixture of the two: communism or fascism. Another of those so much smarter than the rest of us, a classical liberal (often called neoliberal here on ele?) is Von Mises. With excellent examples of both right before him in 1930s Europe, he gave us the most elegant definitions. Communism is state ownership of the means of production; fascism is private ownership but with state direction. They lead pretty much to the same thing. Guess which we have now in America, with our wars and nationalism and crony capitalism?

    Beware of this common mistake of intellectual's: blaming crony capitalism (ie, fascism) on neoliberalism. Neo-liberals are the most consistent and powerful voices against crony capitalism, not to mention wars and the American Gulag (the imprisonment of millions for victimless crimes). While liberals are so upset about the petty, consumerist, illusion-bound choices that the not-so-smart common people make, they are lukewarm on these three big issues. That makes liberals de facto supporters or our fascist state.

  5. Suri_K8 says:

    And so the alternative is …become a farmer and make your own toothpaste ?? if living like this is an illusion then waking up and and not living in an illusion would be..???

  6. Hey, Andrea. Would love to see you tie these ideas directly to contemporary yoga culture. A necessary and “fun” task! Here’s something on a similar kinda note we put up today.


    The B

  7. oz_ says:

    Andrea, thank you so much for posting this controversial piece. Fantastic collation of images, quotes and video. I don't always agree with Chomsky, but when he nails something, he really nails it. And here, he has (IMHO) outlined The Core Problem against which ANY response must be measured:

    "The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless."

    It is so useful to have such 'yardsticks' in mind, so that when someone proposes a "solution," we can ask: does this solution work to undo that atomization, does it incentivize individuals to become engaged, does it empower them AS individuals and does it combat the sense of demoralization?

    In fact, a more concise way of saying this is: does this proposed solution build real community? Because real community does all of this. And public policy in this nation for more than a century – and increasingly egregiously for the past 3 decades – has in fact worked in precisely the opposite direction. Real community is NOT bureaucratic, and it is NOT rigidly hierarchical. Which of course is where Chomsky's advocacy of participatory democracy comes in, on the political side.

    Thanks for bringing such an important and engaging discussion to the table.

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