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The One Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse

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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 army He went to the University of Freiburg to pursue his studies Marcuse 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 from Marcuse 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)

6 Marcuse Speech at Berlin University

7 Frankfurt School Included a number of talented theorists such as: T.W. Adorno, Erich Fromm, Walter Benjamin, and Jurgen Habermas Neo-Marxist: Theory based on Marxism and Hegelian philosophy Questioned Why class consciousness didn’t develop as predicted by Marx Utilized also the insights of psychoanalysis, sociology, existential philosophy, and other disciplines.

8 “Critical” Theory Approach of the Frankfurt School Critical of what?
Capitalism Not solely as a source of economic exploitation But as a source of cultural domination Is 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 control Is it still relevant today? Perhaps even more so

10 Technological Rationality
Classical liberalism fostered the ideal of individual rationality over superstition and irrationality Human 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 Totalitarian Individuals are profoundly integrated into consumer capitalist thought and behavior “mechanics of conformity” Necessary for the smooth functioning of this one-dimensional society Critical 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 society Man sees society outside himself and evaluates it based on its own standards Man becomes alienated from his individuality The greater the mass culture, the less individuality available

13 Totalitarian We don’t have the freedom to be critical of this system because we are so immersed in it Values, aspiration, ideals that don’t fit are repressed Robs humans of their individuality in order to make production more efficient Decreases the amount of freedom available for individuals

14 Freedom Economic, 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 marketplace but we can’t not engage in economic competition

15 Freedom We have political choice in elections
but only between preordained options We have freedom of thought but only within the parameters of the mass culture in which we are indoctrinated We have sexual freedom but 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 rationality Individual critical thought must now be repressed so it won’t interfere with incredible capitalist successes

17 False Needs For Marcuse, commodities and consumption play a far greater role in contemporary capitalist society than that envisaged by Marx Perpetuate toil, aggression, misery, injustice by ensuring we are all concerned with relaxing, having fun, behaving, and, above all, consuming in accordance with mass ideals Examples?

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 free When you have more, you simply have more (false) needs examples?

19 Very Rational Can’t distinguish between true and false needs
The more rational, productive, and technical…. The more repressive And 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 motivated Marcuse recognized the key role of television even in 1964 Consumerism, 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 distribution Construct 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 Justice Concerns for justice in modern society have been eclipsed by our immersion in a cycle of need creation and satisfaction Exchange freedom for increases in living conditions “Progress” is often fueled by exploitation, repression, and destruction People don’t want fairness, They want TVs

23 Progress Progress is not just in itself
To be just, progress must move towards just ends The 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 ourselves This commodification of life becomes very Self-Repressive Controlled by our need to satisfy false needs How 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 life Cycle of rationalization and domination If 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 realm Emphasize intrinsic desires (sexuality) and aesthetics (nature, art) Me: the only justifiable foundation for one’s life is neither politics nor religion but aesthetics

27 Questions Is 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)?

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