i think these notions of nietzsche and zizek both mean to move beyond the dichotomy of more or less complete free will, on the one hand, and predetermination on the other. instead of this either/or, zizek and nietzsche wish to suggest that there is a way of feeling both that my choice is highly conditioned by forces beyond my control and that i am free to affirm it or disavow it. the point revolves around a distinction between two ways of thinking about free will: 1) as a quasi god-like power to sovereign self-determination, or 2) as the relatively marginal freedom to affirm or disavow the fate determined by circumstances beyond my control. i think nietzsche and zizek agree that #1 is an illusion, albeit an illusion that’s hard to avoid, since voluntarily rejecting it implicitly affirms it no less than overtly affirming it does. hence the only way to shake loose the illusion of free will #1 is by recognizing contingencies of fate which are beyond our control but also strongly influence who we are. nietzsche’s sections on intellectual conscience and physics are about being honest with ourselves about the radical complexity of the world, of the causal conditions impinging on our choices from all sides (think of the sublimity of reality post below: how could one pretend to master one’s reality when it’s so complex?). the only freedom that we have any real chance of exercising is the freedom to affirm or disavow the fate we find ourselves confronted with. the chance to exercise this freedom #2 only arises when we acknowledge what is always the case anyway, which is that the illusory freedom #1 hides all those predetermining conditions of our behavior; hence the importance of disappointment, or for nietzsche illness, brief habits, perspectivism, style, etc. but although freedom #2 may seem like a marginal power in comparison with #1, exercising it makes a huge and real, effective difference (whereas the power of #1 was always only illusory anyway): to make your fate the object enthusiastic relishing rather than resentment or denial is to transform it utterly. so much modern art starting with the romantics is about changing the world not by force of will but by effecting this subtle shift in attitude or perspective upon a world too complex to allow for unproblematic belief in free will.