The Power of the Market Poli 110J 6.2 The instrumentalization of man.
Presentation on theme: "Power and Culture Poli 110J 10 The instrumentalization of man."— Presentation transcript:
Power and Culture Poli 110J 10 The instrumentalization of man
Freudian terms Id/ego/superego Eros/erotic – joining together, not necessarily sexual Pleasure Principle – the id seeks pleasure above all Reality Principle –the ids pleasure-seeking is thwarted by the external conditions in the world Sublimationerotic energy redirected away from sex due to reality principle Thanatosthe drive to destroy, aggression
High culture is dead This is good: it was based in an unjust distribution of wealth and power This is bad: with it, another source of negative thought has been lost
The problem with the Classics The mass distribution of the classics is good, but the context changes their meaning, no longer high culture They are no longer works of penetrating analysis, criticism, or protest. They become classics – Coming to life as classics, they come to life as other than themselves; they are deprived of their antagonistic force, of the estrangement which was the very dimension of their truth. (64)
The Architecture of Domination Architecture reflects this: the places of what is left of high culture are no longer set apart. Rather, they are fully integrated, a fitting part of the shopping center… Domination has its own aesthetics, and democratic domination has its democratic aesthetics. (65)
By Contrast No matter how close and familiar the temple or cathedral were to the people who lived around them, they remained in terrifying or elevating contrast to the daily life of the slave, the peasant, and the artisanand perhaps even to that of their masters. (63)
The Great Refusal in Art Art is fundamentally about negation: Literature and art were essentially alienation, sustaining and protecting the contradiction the unhappy consciousness of the divided world, the defeated possibilities, the hopes unfulfilled, the promises betrayed. (61)
The Great Refusal in Art To live ones love and hatred, to live that which one is means defeat, resignation, and death. The crimes of society, the hell that man has made for man become unconquerable cosmic forces. (61) – Romanticism
The Great Refusal in Art Fiction calls the facts by their name and their reign collapses; fiction subverts everyday experience and shows it to be mutilated and false. (62) This incompatibility is the token of their truth. (60)
Refusal Refused But now: What has been invalidated is their subversive force, their destructive content their truth. (61) The absorbent power of society depletes the artistic dimension by assimilating its antagonistic contents.
Refusal Refused The works of alienation are themselves incorporated into this society and circulate as part and parcel of the equipment which adorns and psychoanalyzes the prevailing state of affairs. Thus they become commercialsthey sell, comfort, or excite. (64) – He meant this metaphorically – All You Need is Love and car insurance
Refusal Refused In the realm of culture, the new totalitarianism manifests itself precisely in a harmonizing pluralism, where the most contradictory works and truths peacefully coexist in indifference. (61) – 31 flavors of teenage rebellion The death of punk Tolerance? As modern classics, the avant-garde and the beatniks share in the function of entertaining without endangering the good conscience of men of good will (70)
Sex & the Totalitarian Like art, sex is liberalized but controlled: Society can afford to grant more than before because its interests have become the innermost drives of its citizens, and because the joys which it grants promote social cohesion and contentment. (72)
Sex & the Totalitarian The current society limits the scope of sublimation. It also reduces the need for sublimation. – Trades repression for a limited pleasure, which reinforces the one-dimensional unfreedom of society
Sex & the Totalitarian Sexual display & relationships are acceptable in the workplace, but the body remains, and sex become, an instrument of labor which is made more susceptible to (controlled) satisfaction. (74-75)
The power of Eros While the liberation of sexuality lessens unhappiness, it also renders love, art, & sex non-critical. The sublimated sexuality gains power & focus beyond the body, It is beyond good and evil, beyond social morality, and thus it remains beyond the reaches of the established Reality Principle, which this Eros refuses and explodes. (77) – Love, sex, art
Totalitarian-style When sex need no longer be sublimated, What happens is surely wild and obscene, virile and tasty, quite immoraland precisely because of that, perfectly harmless. (77) – The Happy Consciousness is unaware that it is not free, that it is not capable of imagining a better, or even a different world. – That which was socially subversive now reinforces society
A cure for transcendence Reducing the transcendent to the one- dimensional world: Tragedy and romance, archetypal dreams and anxieties are being made susceptible to technical solution and dissolution. The psychiatrist takes care of the Don Juans, Romeos, Hamlets, Fausts, as he takes care of Oedipushe cures them. (71) – Sex, love, revenge, ambition, justice all vanish as critical ideas – The deliberate refusal of established ways of life (127)
Negative & Positive Thought Negative: critical, refutes the empirical world Positive: incapable of criticism, affirms the empirical world
The Power of Negative Thinking …That which is cannot be true. What is real is rational – Reason = Truth = Reality – Reason is the subversive power, and the power of the negative that establishes as theoretical and practical Reason, the truth for men and things that is the conditions in which men and things become what they really are. (123) In their ESSENCE
Being = Truth. – A thing is most true when it is most itself – If man has learned to see and know what he really is, he will act in accordance with truth. (125) What does it mean to be human?
Non-truth = a threat to truth, and thus a threat to being (destructive) – Thus, the struggle for Truth is for the salvation of Being from destruction But it is critical, and can itself appear destructive when it attacks an established reality as untrue. – Socrates vs. Athens
Negative thought is historically concrete Analyzed in the condition in which he finds himself in his universe, man seems to be possessed of certain faculties and powers which would enable him to lead a good life…
Negative thought is historically concrete …a life which is as much as possible free from toil, dependence, and ugliness. To attain such a life is to attain the best life: to live in accordance with the essence or nature of man. (126) – The telos of humanity – Humans look around themselves and ask, is this True? A response to the conditions in which one finds oneself
Negative thought is about truth Seen in the light of a truth which appears in them falsified or denied, the given facts themselves appear false and negative. – Example: Man is not (in fact) free, endowed with inalienable rights, etc., but he ought to be, because he is free in the eyes of God, by nature, etc. (133)
Thus, the realization of truth involves a subversion of the established order, for thinking in accordance with truth is the commitment to exist in accordance with truth. – Platos cave
Abstraction By virtue of its distance from empirical reality, truth necessarily takes on the character of abstraction. But this abstraction is grounded in historical reality: the very distance from fact indicates that which truth criticizes.
Abstraction But: the drive toward criticism, applied to thought itself, leads to its purification, the (apparent) permanent split between reason & historical practice. – Thus, the judgments passed on the given reality are replaced by propositions defining the general forms of thought, objects of thought, and relations between thought & objects. (135)
Prediction and Control Thus, formal logic: – Indifferent toward its objects Humans, blenders, economic principles treated by same rules – Non-contradiction the primary good – Eliminates conflict between appearance and essence a thing IS what it appears to be – Aimed at prediction and control – Non-transcendent (non-critical) in its very structure
Essence, negative truth cannot be operationalized – How could you demonstrate quantitatively that humans are those creatures which deserve a life which is as much as possible free from toil, dependence, and ugliness?
Positive thought thus abandons the tension between is and ought New scientific truth which they oppose to the accepted one does not contain in itself the judgment that condemns the established reality. (140) Non-critical
New ontology The mathematical and operational become defined as truth, the only real rationality – Outside this rationality, one lives in a world of values, and values separated out from the objective reality become subjective. – Values may have a higher dignity (morally and spiritually), but they are not real and thus count less in the real business of life. (147)
The same de-realization affects all ideas which, by their very nature, cannot be verified by scientific method. (147) Humanitarian, religious, and moral ideas are only ideal; they dont disturb unduly the established way of life, and are not invalidated by the fact that they are contradicted by a behavior dictated by the daily necessities of business and politics. (148) – They become matters not of truth, but of preference
The unscientific character of these [critical] ideas fatally weakens the opposition to the established reality; the ideas become mere ideals, and their concrete, critical content evaporates into the ethical or metaphysical atmosphere. (148)
Under an unopposed formal & positivist thought, nature (the world, its objects and systems) and even human beings become understood in instrumental terms. – Power, efficiency, control – It is not technical society that produces this thought, but this thought that produces technical society – When technics becomes the universal form of material production, it circumscribes an entire culture; it projects a historical totality. A world. (154)
Technical thought is not neutral The scientific method of abstraction from concreteness, the quantification of qualities which yield exactness as well as universal validity is a specific method of seeing the world. In this project, universal quantifiability is a prerequisite for the domination of nature and of humanity. (164)
The point which I am trying to make is that science, by virtue of its own method and concepts, has projected and promoted a universe in which the domination of nature has remained linked to the domination of man. It sustains and improves the life of individuals while subordinating them to the masters of the apparatus. (166)
The process of technological reality is a political process, in which man and nature become fungible objects of organization. – In the scientific method, all things are to be analyzed, studied, and manipulated according to the same principles of thought
The social position of the individual, and the way that he or she relates to others, is determined by objective economic & political processes, laws that appear as calculable manifestations of (scientific) rationality. (169)
What is Reason? What is rational? Can nuclear war be rationally chosen? For Marcuse, a strong, two-dimensional rationality is aimed always at truth and Being. This is the mark of the rational. In this light, to speak of the rational choice for nuclear war is only to highlight the basic insanity of technical society.