Readings for October 27th, 2018:
Pg. 3–105, Introduction and Part I , Sections 1–4 ending with “The Dialectic of Civilization,” in Hebert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization : A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud ( Beacon Press, 1966 edition)
Political Preface 1966:
Eros and Civilization: the title expressed an optimistic, euphemistic, even positive thought, namely, that the achievements of advanced industrial society would enable man to reverse the direction of progress, to break the fatal union of productivity and destruction, liberty and repression — in other words, to learn the gay science (gaya sciencia) of how to use the social wealth for shaping man’s world in accordance with his Life Instincts, in the concerted struggle against the purveyors of Death. This optimism was based on the assumption that the rationale for the continued acceptance of domination no longer prevailed, that scarcity and the need for toil were only “artificially” perpetuated — in the interest of preserving the system of domination. I neglected or minimized the fact that this “obsolescent” rationale had been vastly strengthened (if not replaced) by even more efficient forms of social control. The very forces which rendered society capable of pacifying the struggle for existence served to repress in the individuals the need for such a liberation. Where the high standard of living does not suffice for reconciling the people with their life and their rulers, the “social engineering” of the soul and the “science of human relations” provide the necessary libidinal cathexis. In the affluent society, the authorities are hardly forced to justify their dominion. They deliver the goods; they satisfy the sexual and the aggressive energy of their subjects. Like the unconscious, the destructive power of which they so successfully represent, they are this side of good and evil, and the principle of contradiction has no place in their logic.