Presentation on theme: "The One Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse"— Presentation transcript:
1 The One Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse The New Forms of Control
2 Biography Born in 1898 in Berlin Served in World War I with the German armyHe went to the University of Freiburg to pursue his studiesMarcuse became a member of the Social Democratic Party while he still was a student
3 Biography Marcuse received his Ph.D. in Literature in 1922 He conducted philosophical research in the University fromMarcuse founded the Institute for Social Research in 1923 (Frankfurt Institut fur Sozialforschung) “Frankfurt School”Marcuse came to the U.S. in 1934; why?Taught at Columbia University and became a citizen in 1940
4 Biography He was an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army during WWII Returned to teaching in 1951:Columbia and Harvard ( )Brandeis University ( )UCSD ( )Marcuse died on July 29, 1979, Starnberg , West Germany
5 Major Writings Eros and Civilization (1955) One-Dimensional Man (1964) Counterrevolution and Revolt (1972)Studies in Critical Philosophy (1972)
7 Frankfurt SchoolIncluded a number of talented theorists such as: T.W. Adorno, Erich Fromm, Walter Benjamin, and Jurgen HabermasNeo-Marxist: Theory based on Marxism and Hegelian philosophyQuestioned Why class consciousness didn’t develop as predicted by MarxUtilized also the insights of psychoanalysis, sociology, existential philosophy, and other disciplines.
8 “Critical” Theory Approach of the Frankfurt School Critical of what? CapitalismNot solely as a source of economic exploitationBut as a source of cultural dominationIs society doing the best it can?On what basis can you criticize?
9 One Dimensional Man Written in the 1950s and 1960s Published in 1964 Powerful critique of new modes of domination and controlIs it still relevant today?Perhaps even more so
10 Technological Rationality Classical liberalism fostered the ideal of individual rationality over superstition and irrationalityHuman thought must now be rational, means-ends, technical, operationalized, etc.The political and economic system relies on and fosters this type of technological rationality
11 TotalitarianIndividuals are profoundly integrated into consumer capitalist thought and behavior “mechanics of conformity”Necessary for the smooth functioning of this one-dimensional societyCritical thought is undermined by the “advances” engendered by the development of modern industry and technological rationality
12 Totalitarian Man has freedom in his inner consciousness but Man is integrated into society and thus has the same standards as societyMan sees society outside himself and evaluates it based on its own standardsMan becomes alienated from his individualityThe greater the mass culture, the less individuality available
13 TotalitarianWe don’t have the freedom to be critical of this system because we are so immersed in itValues, aspiration, ideals that don’t fit are repressedRobs humans of their individuality in order to make production more efficientDecreases the amount of freedom available for individuals
14 FreedomEconomic, Social, and Political freedoms are highly touted but are actually subtle instruments of domination; How so?We think we are free, but only within the parameters imposed by technological rationality; for instance:We have economic choice in the marketplacebut we can’t not engage in economic competition
15 Freedom We have political choice in elections but only between preordained optionsWe have freedom of thoughtbut only within the parameters of the mass culture in which we are indoctrinatedWe have sexual freedombut limited to the range of advice offered in Cosmopolitan
16 One-Dimensional One dimensional man thinks only in what one dimension? The satisfaction of needs through technological rationalityIndividual critical thought must now be repressed so it won’t interfere with incredible capitalist successes
17 False NeedsFor Marcuse, commodities and consumption play a far greater role in contemporary capitalist society than that envisaged by MarxPerpetuate toil, aggression, misery, injustice by ensuring we are all concerned with relaxing, having fun, behaving, and, above all, consuming in accordance with mass idealsExamples?
18 Created Needs Needs are created for us Not the needs of earlier generations (food, shelter, etc.)While we are not starving, we are not necessarily freeWhen you have more, you simply have more (false) needsexamples?
19 Very Rational Can’t distinguish between true and false needs The more rational, productive, and technical….The more repressiveAnd thus the more unimaginable the ability to break this repression
20 Role of the Media What is the role of the media? Primary means by which people are strategically motivatedMarcuse recognized the key role of television even in 1964Consumerism, advertising, mass culture integrate individuals into and stabilize the capitalist system “mass cool”Also creates hostility to oppositional thought or action; examples?
21 Political Freedom Democracy based on manipulation Rather than address big issues like wealth generation and distributionConstruct political needs in incremental amounts which politicians are in a position to satisfy; examples?Attacks on feminism/welfare, WTO, etc.Keeps the public servile but remote from the political process
22 JusticeConcerns for justice in modern society have been eclipsed by our immersion in a cycle of need creation and satisfactionExchange freedom for increases in living conditions“Progress” is often fueled by exploitation, repression, and destructionPeople don’t want fairness,They want TVs
23 Progress Progress is not just in itself To be just, progress must move towards just endsThe just ends of progress means moving towards satisfying the vital needs of everyone
24 Commodification of life The emphasis on technological rationality encourages us to think about everything in these terms, even ourselvesThis commodification of life becomes very Self-RepressiveControlled by our need to satisfy false needsHow do we “commodify” ourselves and our lives?
25 Self-Repressive Why are you in school? What drives your dating habits? If you now think of these things solely in instrumental terms, this will set the tone for the rest of your lifeCycle of rationalization and dominationIf you driven by social status and money, both your freedom and your critical potential is diminished
26 Redemption? How can we escape this cycle? What areas of life are not so easily colonized by this totalitarian technological rationality?Marcuse argues we must go back to a pre-rational realmEmphasize intrinsic desires (sexuality) and aesthetics (nature, art)Me: the only justifiable foundation for one’s life is neither politics nor religion but aesthetics
27 QuestionsIs the mind of men is becoming increasingly dominated by one dimensional thought?To what degree are we aware of this process?Are we better off not knowing; is ignorance bliss (the Matrix)?