One-Dimensional Man

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  • The rule of law, no matter how restricted, is still infinitely safer than rule above or without law
  • The most powerful, of course, is the danger that preparation for total nuclear war may turn into its realization: the deterrent also serves to deter efforts to eliminate the need for the deterrent.


Ch 10

  • The totalitarian tendencies of the one-dimensional soci-

ety render the traditional ways and means of protest ineffective--perhaps even dangerous because they preserve the illusion of popular sovereignty. This illusion contains some truth: "the people," previously the ferment of social change, have "moved up" to become the ferment of social cohesion. Here rather than in the redistribution of wealth and equalization of classes is the new stratification characteristic of advanced industrial society.

  • The facile historical parallel with the barbar-

ians threatening the empire of civilization prejudges the issue; the second period of barbarism may well be the continued empire of civilization itself

  • It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given

to us.

  • The enchained possibilities of advanced industrial societies

are: development of the productive forces on an enlarged scale, extension of the conquest of nature, growing satisfaction of needs for a growing number of people, creation of new needs and faculties. But these possibilities are gradually being realized through means and institutions which cancel their liberating potential, and this process affects not only the means but also the ends. The instruments of productivity and progress, organized into a totalitarian system, determine not only the actual but also the possible utilizations.

  • Thus the question once

again must be faced: how can the administered individuals- who have made their mutilation into their own liberties and satisfactions, and thus reproduce it on an enlarged scale-- liberate themselves from themselves as well as from their masters? How is it even thinkable that the vicious circle be broken?

  • Self-determination will be real to the

extent to which the masses have been dissolved into individuals liberated from all propaganda, indoctrination, and manipula- tion, capable of knowing and comprehending the facts and of evaluating the alternatives.

  • Auschwitz continues to haunt, not the memory but the

accomplishments of man-the space flights; the rockets and missiles; the "labyrinthine basement under the Snack Bar"; the pretty electronic plants, clean, hygienic and with flower beds; the poison gas which is not really harmful to people; the secrecy in which we all participate. This is the setting in which the great human achievements of science, medicine, technology take place; the efforts to save and ameliorate life are the sole promise in the disaster.

Ch 9

  • In the contemporary era, the conquest of scarcity is still

confined to small areas of advanced industrial society. Their prosperity covers up the Inferno inside and outside their bor- ders; it also spreads a repressive productivity and "false needs." It is repressive precisely to the degree to which it promotes the satisfaction of needs which require continuing the rat race of catching up with one's peers and with planned obsolescence, enjoying freedom from using the brain, working with and for the means of destruction. The obvious comforts generated by this sort of productivity, and even more, the support which it gives to a system of profitable domination, facilitate its importa- tion in less advanced areas of the world where the introduction of such a system still means tremendous progress in technical and human terms.

  • Under these circumstances, liberation from the affluent soci-

ety does not mean return to healthy and robust poverty, moral cleanliness, and simplicity. On the contrary, the elimination of profitable waste would increase the social wealth available for distribution, and the end of permanent mobilization would reduce the social need for the denial of satisfactions that are the individual's own--denials which now find their compensation in the cult of fitness, strength, and regularity.

  • Today, in the prosperous warfare and welfare state, the human

qualities of a pacified existence seem asocial and unpatriotic- qualities such as the refusal of all toughness, togetherness, and brutality; disobedience to the tyranny of the majority; profession of fear and weakness (the most rational reaction to this society!); a sensitive intelligence sickened by that which is being per- petrated; the commitment to the feeble and ridiculed actions of protest and refusal.

  • A new standard of living, adapted to the pacification of exist-

ence, also presupposes reduction in the future population. It is understandable, even reasonable, that industrial civilization con- siders legitimate the slaughter of millions of people in war, and the daily sacrifices of all those who have no adequate care and protection, but discovers its moral and religious scruples if it is the question of avoiding the production of more life in a society which is still geared to the planned annihilation of life in the National Interest, and to the unplanned deprivation of life on behalf of private interests. These moral scruples are understand- able and reasonable because such a society needs an ever- increasing number of customers and supporters; the constantly regenerated excess capacity must be managed.

  • The crime is that of a society in which the growing popula-

tion aggravates the struggle for existence in the face of its pos- sible alleviation. The drive for more "living space" operates not only in international aggressiveness but also within the nation

  • To be sure, such a situation would be an unbearable night-

mare. While the people can support the continuous creation of nuclear weapons, radioactive fallout, and questionable food- stuffs, they cannot (for this very reason!) tolerate being deprived of the entertainment and education which make them capable of reproducing the arrangements for their defense and/ or destruc- tion. The non-functioning of television and the allied media might thus begin to achieve what the inherent contradictions of capitalism did not achieve--the disintegration of the system. The creation of repressive needs has long since become part of socially necessary labor-necessary in the sense that without it, the established mode of production could not be sustained. Nei- ther problems of psychology nor of aesthetics are at stake, but the material base of domination.

  • Civilization has achieved this "other," liberating trans-

formation in its gardens and parks and reservations. But outside these small, protected areas, it has treated Nature as it has treated man-as an instrument of destructive productivity.

  • Materialism, which is not tainted by such ideological abuse of

the soul, has a more universal and realistic concept of salvation. It admits the reality of Hell only at one definite place, here on earth, and asserts that this Hell was created by Man (and by Nature). Part of this Hell is the ill-treatment of animals-the work of a human society whose rationality is still the irrational

  • But at this point, a strong caveat must be stated-a warning

against all technological fetishism. Such festishism has recently been exhibited mainly among Marxist critics of contemporary industrial society-ideas of the future omnipotence of techno- logical man, of a "technological Eros," etc. The hard kernel of truth in these ideas demands an emphatic denunciation of the mystification which they express. Technics, as a universe of instrumentalities, may increase the weakness as well as the power of man. At the present stage, he is perhaps more powerless over his own apparatus than he ever was before.

  • The terrible phrases (and realities of) "engineers of the soul,"

"head shrinkers," "scientific management," "science of con- sumption," epitomize (in a miserable form) the progressing rationalization of the irrational, of the "spiritual" -the denial of the idealistic culture. But the consummation of technological rationality, while translating ideology into reality, would also transcend the materialistic antithesis to this culture. For the translation of values into needs is the twofold process of ( 1) material satisfaction (materialization of freedom) and (2) the free development of needs on the basis of satisfaction (non- repressive sublimation). In this process, the relation between the material and intellectual faculties and needs undergoes a funda- mental change. The free play of thought and imagination assumes a rational and directing function in the realization of a pacified existence of man and nature. And the ideas of justice, freedom, and humanity then obtain their truth and good con- science on the sole ground on which they could ever have truth and good conscience--the satisfaction of man's material needs, the rational organization of the realm of necessity.

  • For example, what is calculable is the minimum of labor with

which, and the extent to which, the vital needs of all members of a society could be satisfied-provided the available resources were used for this end, without being restricted by other inter- est. and without impeding the accumulation of capital necessary for the dcevelopment of the respective society. In other words; quantifiable is the available range of freedom from want. Or, calculable is the degree to which, under the same conditions, care could be provided for the ill, the infirm, and the aged-that is, quantifiable is the possible reduction of anxiety, the possible freedom from fear

  • On the con-

trary, the historical achievement of science and technology has rendered possible the translation of values into technical tasks-the materialization of values. Consequently, what is at stake is the redefinition of values in technical terms, as elements in the techno- logical process.

  • At the advanced stage of industrial civilization, scientific

rationality, translated into political power, appears to be the decisive factor in the development of historical alternatives. The question then arises: does this power tend toward its own negation-that is, toward the promotion of the "art of life"? Within the established societies, the continued application of scientific rationality would have reached a terminal point with the mechanization of all socially necessary but individually repressive labor ("socially necessary" here includes all perform- ances which can be exercised more effectively by machines, even if these performances produce luxuries and waste rather than necessities). But this stage would also be the end and limit of the scientific rationality in its established structure and direction. Further progress would mean the break, the turn of quantity into quality. It would open the possibility of an essentially new human reality -namely, existence in free time on the basis of fulfilled vital needs. Under such conditions, the scientific project itself would be free for trans-utilitarian ends, and free for the "art of living" beyond the necessities and luxuries of domina- tion. In other words, the completion of the technological reality would be not only the prerequisite, but also the rationale for transcending the technological reality.

  • Thus, the

speculations about the Good Ufe, the Good Society, Permanent Peace obtain an increasingly realistic content; on technological grounds, the metaphysical tends to become physical.

  • Here is the original link (within the universe of domination

and scarcity) between science, art, and philosophy. It is the con- sciousness of the discrepancy between the real and the possible, between the apparent and the authentic truth, and the effort to comprehend and to master this discrepancy. One of the primary forms in which this discrepancy found expression was the dis- tinction between gods and men, finiteness and infinity, change and permanence.3 Something of this mythological interrelation between the real and the possible survived in scientific thought, and it continued to be directed toward a more rational and true reality. Mathematics was held to be real and "good" in the same sense as Plato's metaphysical Ideas. How then did the development of the former become science, while that of the latter remained metaphysics?

  • Such qualitative change would be transition to a higher stage

of civilization if technics were designed and utilized for the pacification of the struggle for existence. In order to indicate the disturbing implications of this statement, I submit that such a new direction of technical progress would be the catastrophe of the established direction, not merely the quantitative evolution of the prevailing (scientific and technological) rationality but rather its catastrophic transformation, the emergence of a new idea of Reason, theoretical and practical.

  • True, a totalitarian administration may promote the efficient exploitation of resources; the nuclear-military establishment

may provide millions of jobs through enormous purchasing power; toil and ulcers may be the by-product of the acquisition of wealth and responsibility; deadly blunders and crimes on the part of the leaders may be merely the way of life. One is willing to admit economic and political madness-and one buys it. But this sort of knowledge of "the other side" is part and parcel of the solidification of the state of affairs, of the grand unification of opposites which counteracts qualitative change, because it pertains to a thoroughly hopeless or thoroughly preconditioned existence that has made its home in a world where even the irrational is Reason.

Ch 7

  • For example,

the scientific approach to the vexing problem of mutual annihilation-the mathematics and calculations of kill and over- kill, the measurement of spreading or not-quite-so-spreading fallout, the experiments of endurance in abnormal situations-is mystifying to the extent to which it promotes (and even demands) behavior which accepts the insanity. It thus counter- acts a truly rational behavior-namely, the refusal to go along, and the effort to do away with the conditions which produce the insanity.

  • It is not clear, however, which side is engaged in mythology.

To be sure, mythology is primitive and immature thought. The process of civilization invalidates myth (this is almost a definition of progress), but it may also return rational thought to mythological status. In the latter case, theories which iden- tify and project historical possibilities may become irrational, or rather appear irrational because they contradict the rationality of the established universe of discourse and behavior

  • But whether or not they are integrated into science, philo-

sophic concepts remain antagonistic to the realm of ordinary discourse, for they continue to include contents which are not fulfilled in the spoken word, the overt behavior, the perceptible conditions or dispositions, or the prevailing propensities. The philosophic universe thus continues to contain "ghosts," "fic- tions," and "illusions" which may be more rational than their denial insomuch as they are concepts that recognize the limits and the deceptions of the prevailing rationality. They express the experience which Wittgenstein rejects-namely, that "contrary to our preconceived ideas, it is possible to think 'such-and- such'-whatever that may mean."

  • This new form of the doctrine of the "double

truth" sanctions a false consciousness by denying the relevance of the transcendent language to the universe of ordinary lan- guage, by proclaiming total non-interference. Whereas the truth value of the former consists precisely in its relevance to and interference with the latter.

  • For precisely the

setting aside of a special reservation in which thought and lan- guage are permitted to be legitimately inexact, vague, and even contradictory is the most effective way of protecting the normal universe of discourse from being seriously disturbed by unfit- ting ideas.

  • Whether exactness is sought in the analytic purity

of logic and mathematics, or in conformity with ordinary language------on both poles of contemporary philosophy is the same rejection or devaluation of those elements of thought and speech which transcend the accepted system of validation.

  • linguistic analysis

speaks for itself and defines its own attitude to reality. It identi- fies as its chief concern the debunking of transcendent concepts;

  • Husserl starts with the fact that the mathematization of nature

resulted in valid practical knowledge: in the construction of an "ideational" reality which could be effectively "correlated" with the empirical reality (p. 19; 42). But the scientific achievement referred back to a pre-scientific practice, which constituted the original basis (the Sinnesfundament) of Galilean science. This pre- scientific basis of science in the world of practice (Lebenswelt), which determined the theoretical structure, was not questioned by Galilee; moreover, it was concealed (verdeckt) by the further development of science. The result was the illusion that the mathematization of nature created an "autonomous ( eigenstiindige) absolute truth" (p. 49 f.), while in reality, it remained a specific method and technique for the Lebenswelt. The ideational veil (Ideen- kleid) of mathematical science is thus a veil of symbols which represents and at the same time masks (vertritt and verkleidet) the world of practice (p. 52).

  • This larger context of experience, this real empirical world,

today is still that of the gas chambers and concentration camps, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of American Cadilacs and German Mercedes, of the Pentagon and the Kremlin, of the nuclear cities and the Chinese communes, of Cuba, of brainwashing and mas- sacres. But the real empirical world is also that in which all these things are taken for granted or forgotten or repressed or unknown, in which people are free. It is a world in which the broom in the corner or the taste of something like pineapple are quite important, in which the daily toil and the daily comforts are perhaps the only items that make up all experience. And this second, restricted empirical universe is part of the first; the powers that rule the first also shape the restricted experience.

Ch 6

  • 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-a link which tends to be fatal to this universe as a whole. Nature, scientifically comprehended and mastered, reappears in the technical apparatus of production and destruction which sustains and improves the life of the indi- viduals while subordinating them to the masters of the appara- tus. Thus the rational hierarchy merges with the social one.

  • In this universe, technology also provides the great rational-

ization of the unfreedom of man and demonstrates the "tech- nical" impossibility of being autonomous, of determining one's own life. For this unfreedom appears neither as irrational nor as political, but rather as submission to the technical apparatus which enlarges the comforts of life and increases the productiv- ity of labor. Technological rationality thus protects rather than cancels the legitimacy of domination, and the instrumentalist horizon of reason opens on a rationally totalitarian society:

  • One might call autocratic a philosophy of technics which takes the tech-

nical whole as a place where machines are used to obtain power. The machine is only a means; the end is the conquest of nature, the domestication of natural forces through a primary enslavement: The machine is a slave which serves to make other slaves. Such a domineering and enslaving drive may go together with the quest for human freedom. But it is difficult to liberate oneself by transferring slavery to other beings, men, animals, or machines; to rule over a population of machines subjecting the whole world means still to rule, and all rule implies acceptance of schemata of subjection." Gilbert Simondon

  • If the Good and the Beautiful, Peace and Justice cannot be

derived either from ontological or scientific-rational conditions, they cannot logically claim universal validity and realization. In terms of scientific reason, they remain matters of preference, and no resuscitation of some kind of Aristotelian or Thomistic philo- sophy can save the situation, for it is a priori refuted by scientific reason. The unscientific character of these 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.

  • We live and die rationally and productively. We know that

destruction is the price of progress as death is the price of life, that renunciation and toil are the prerequisites for gratification and joy, that business must go on, and that the alternatives are Utopian. This ideology belongs to the established societal apparatus; it is a requisite for its continuous functioning and part of its rationality.

  • To be sure, the "objective order of things"

is itself the result of domination, but it is nevertheless true that domination now generates a higher rationality-that of a society which sustains its hierarchic structure while exploiting ever more efficiently the natural and mental resources, and distribut- ing the benefits of this exploitation on an ever-larger scale. The limits of this rationality, and its sinister force, appear in the progressive enslavement of man by a productive apparatus which perpetuates the struggle for existence and extends it to a total international struggle which ruins the lives of those who build and use this apparatus.

  • it is the structure of the slave or serf society

which this philosophy does not transcend. Thus it leaves history behind, unmastered, and elevates truth safely above the histor- ical reality.

Ch 5

  • it is the structure of the slave or serf society

which this philosophy does not transcend. Thus it leaves history behind, unmastered, and elevates truth safely above the histor- ical reality.

  • Philosophy envisages the equality of man but, at the same time,

it submits to the factual denial of equality. For in the given reality, procurement of the necessities is the life-long job of the majority, and the necessities have to be procured and served so that truth (which is freedom from material necessities) can be.

  • Society still is organized

in such a way that procuring the necessities oflife constitutes the full-time and life-long occupation of specific social classes, which are therefore unfree and prevented from a human existence.

  • Society still is organized

in such a way that procuring the necessities oflife constitutes the full-time and life-long occupation of specific social classes, which are therefore unfree and prevented from a human existence.

  • until the achievements of advanced industrial civilization lead

to the triumph of the one-dimensional reality over all contradiction

  • The closed operational universe of advanced industrial civil-

ization with its terrifying harmony of freedom and oppression, productivity and destruction, growth and regression is pre- designed in this idea of Reason as a specific historical project

  • The totalitarian universe of technological rationality is the

latest transmutation of the idea of Reason. In this and the follow- ing chapter, I shall try to identify some of the main stages in the development of this idea-the process by which logic became the logic of domination. Such ideological analysis can contribute to the understanding of the real development inasmuch as it is focused on the union (and separation) of theory and practice, thought and action, in the historical process-an unfolding of theoretical and practical Reason in one.

Ch 4

  • The institutions of

free speech and freedom of thought do not hamper the mental coordination with the established reality.

  • In the sale of equipment for relax-

ing entertainment in bomb shelters, in the television show of competing candidates for national leadership, the juncture between politics, business, and fun is complete.

  • The new touch of the magic-ritual language rather is that people

don't believe it, or don't care, and yet act accordingly.

  • where direct control

"from below" would interfere with the progress of mass pro- duction, and where the fight against the bureaucracy would weaken the efficacy of the only real force that can be mobilized against capitalism on an international scale

  • "there is no longer any delay between the naming and the judgment, and the

closing of the language is complete."

  • The mediation of the past with the

present discovers the factors which made the facts, which determined the way of life, which established the masters and the servants; it projects the limits and the alternatives.

  • Recogni-

tion and relation to the past as present counteracts the func- tionalization of thought by and in the established reality.

  • Remembrance

of the past may give rise to dangerous insights,

  • The functional language is a radically anti-historicallanguage:

operational rationality has litde room and litde use for historical reason.

  • if the

foundations of democracy are harmoniously abrogated in dem- ocracy, then the old historical concepts are invalidated by up-to- date operational redefinitions

  • A universe of

discourse in which the categories of freedom have become interchangeable and even identical with their opposites is not only practicing Orwellian or Aesopian language but is repulsing and forgetting the historical reality-the horror of fascism; the idea of socialism; the preconditions of democracy; the content of freedom.

  • The suppression of this dimension in the societal universe of

operational rationality is a suppression of history, and this is not an academic but a political affair

  • This language, which constantly imposes images, mili-

tates against the development and expression of concepts. In its immediacy and directness, it impedes conceptual thinking; thus, it impedes thinking.

  • The Happy Consciousness-the belief that the real is rational

and that the system delivers the goods-reflects the new con- formism which is a facet of technological rationality translated into social behavior. It is new because it is rational to an unprecedented degree. It sustains a society which has reduced- and in its most advanced areas eliminated-the more primitive irrationality of the preceding stages, which prolongs and improves life more regularly than before. The war of annihilation has not yet occurred; the Nazi extermination camps have been abolished. The Happy Consciousness repels the connection. Tor- ture has been reintroduced as a normal affair, but in a colonial war which takes place at the margin of the civilized world. And there it is practiced with good conscience for war is war. And this war, too, is at the margin-it ravages only the "underdeveloped" countries. Otherwise, peace reigns

Ch 3

  • It seems that even the most hideous transgressions can be

repressed in such a manner that, for all practical purposes, they have ceased to be a danger for society. Or, if their eruption leads to functional disturbances in the individual (as in the case of one Hiroshima pilot), it does not disturb the fun

  • "The world of the concentration camps . . . was not an

exceptionally monstrous society. What we saw there was the image, and in a sense the quintessence, of the infernal society into which we are plunged every day."'

  • Freed from the sublimated form which was the very token of

its irreconcilable dreams-a form which is the style, the lan- guage in which the story is told-sexuality turns into a vehicle for the bestsellers of oppression. It could not be said of any of the sexy women in contemporary literature what Balzac says of the whore Esther: that hers was the tenderness which blossoms only in infinity. This society turns everything it touches into a poten- tial source of progress and of exploitation, of drudgery and satis- faction, of freedom and of oppression. Sexuality is no exception.

  • As modern classics, the avant-garde and the beatniks share in the

function of entertaining without endangering the good con- science of the men of good will. This absorption is justified by technical progress; the refusal is refuted by the alleviation of misery in the advanced industrial society. The liquidation of high culture is a by-product of the conquest of nature, and of the progressing conquest of scarcity.

  • The truth of literature and art has always been granted (if it

was granted at all) as one of a "higher" order, which should not and indeed did not disturb the order of business.

  • /The vamp, the national hero, the beatnik, the

neurotic housewife, the gangster, the star, the charismatic tycoon perform a function very different from and even contrary to that of their cultural predecessors. They are no longer images of another way of life but rather freaks or types of the same life, serving as an affirmation rather than negation of the established order.

Ch 2

  • capitalism and communism continue to

compete without military force, on a global scale and through global institutions. This pacification would mean the emergence of a genuine world economy-the demise of the nation state, the national interest, national business together with their inter- national alliances. And this is precisely the possibility against which the present world is mobilized

  • The most powerful, of course, is the danger that

preparation for total nuclear war may turn into its realization: the deterrent also serves to deter efforts to eliminate the need for the deterrent.

  • The most powerful, of course, is the danger that

preparation for total nuclear war may turn into its realization: the deterrent also serves to deter efforts to eliminate the need for the deterrent.

  • At this stage

of the regimented market, is competition alleviating or intensi- fying the race for bigger and faster turnover and obsolescence? Are the political parties competing for pacification or for At this stage of the regimented market, is competition alleviating or intensi- fying the race for bigger and faster turnover and obsolescence? Are the political parties competing for pacification or for stronger and more costly armament industry? Is the production of "affluence" promoting or delaying the satisfaction of still unfulfilled vital needs?

  • And the Enemy is not identical with actual commun-

ism or actual capitalism-he is, in both cases, the real spectre of liberation.

  • The rule of

law, no matter how restricted, is still infinitely safer than rule above or without law.

  • True, the material and mental

commodities offered may be bad, wasteful, rubbish-but Geist and knowledge are no telling arguments against satisfaction of needs.

  • Rejection of the Welfare State on behalf of abstract ideas of

freedom is hardly convincing.

  • The growing productivity oflabor creates an increasing surplus-

product which, whether privately or centrally appropriated and distributed, allows an increased consumption-notwithstanding the increased diversion of productivity. As long as this constella- tion prevails, it reduces the use-value of freedom; there is no reason to insist on self-determination if the administered life is the comfortable and even the "good" life

  • Late industrial society has increased rather than reduced the

need for parasitical and alienated functions (for the society as a whole, if not for the individual). Advertising, public rela- tions, indoctrination, planned obsolescence are no longer unproductive overhead costs but rather elements of basic production costs

  • The question is not whether the communist bureaucracies

would "give up" their privileged position once the level of a possible qualitative change has been reached, but whether they will be able to prevent the attainment of this level. In order to do so, they would have to arrest material and intellectual growth at a point where domination still is rational and profitable, where the underlying population can still be tied to the job and to the interest of the state or other established institutions.

  • Indeed, society must first

create the material prerequisites of freedom for all its members before it can be a free society;

  • At the present stage of advanced capitalism, organized labor

righdy opposes automation without compensating employ- ment. It insists on the extensive utilization of human labor power in material production, and thus opposes technical pro- gress. However, in doing so, it also opposes the more efficient utilization of capital; it hampers intensified efforts to raise the productivity of labor. In other words, continued arrest of automation may weaken the competitive national and inter- national position of capital, cause a long-range depression, and consequendy reactivate the conflict of class interests.

  • Complete automation in the realm of necessity

would open the dimension of free time as the one in which man's private and societal existence would constitute itself. This would be the historical transcendence toward a new civilization.

  • As the productive establishments rely on the military for self-

preservation and growth, so the military relies on the corpora- tions "not only for their weapons, but also for knowledge of what kind of weapons they need, how much they will cost, and how long it will take to get them.

  • The productive apparatus and the goods and services which it

produces "sell" or impose the social system as a whole.

  • And the spontaneous reproduction of superimposed needs by the

individual does not establish autonomy; it only testifies to the efficacy of the controls.

  • Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves

Chapter 0

  • We submit to the peaceful production of the means

of destruction, to the perfection of waste, to being educated for a defense which deforms the defenders and that which they defend.


  • For, quoting Walter Benjamin at the end of One-Dimensional

Man, "It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us."

  • M claims - the system's widely touted individualism and freedom are forms

from which individuals need to liberate themselves in order to be truly free.

  • 'maker movement' narrative - do stupid shit and become a maker - so you can be plugged right back into the system because you don't have real productive power but are only playing
  • Marcuse slices through the ideological celebra-

tions of capitalism and sharply criticizes the dehumanization and alienation in its opulence and affluence, the slavery in its labor system, the ideology and indoctrination in its culture, the fetish- ism in its consumerism, and the danger and insanity in its military-industrial complex.

  • In Marcuse's analysis, "one-dimensional man" has lost, or is

losing, individuality, freedom, and the ability to dissent and to control one's own destiny.

  • Marcuse took

over the term "organized capitalism" developed by the Austro- Marxist Rudolf Hilferding to describe the administrative- bureaucratic apparatus which organizes, manages, and stabilizes capitalist society. 16

  • In Marcuse' s view, the powers of reason and freedom are declin-

ing in "late industrial society": "With the increasing concen- tration and effectiveness of economic, political, and cultural controls, the opposition in all these fields has been pacified, co-ordinated, or liquidated." Indeed, reason has become an instrument of domination: "It helps to organize, administer, and anticipate the powers that be, and to liquidate the 'power of Negativity.' Reason has identified itself with the reality: what is actual is reasonable, although what is reasonable has not yet become actuality."

  • In general, the characteristic themes ofMarcuse's post-Second

World War writings build on the Frankfurt School's analyses of the role of technology and technological rationality, administra- tion and bureaucracy, the capitalist state, mass media and con- sumerism, and new modes of social control, which in their view produced both a decline in the revolutionary potential of the working class and a decline of individuality, freedom, and dem- ocracy, as well as the stabilization of capitalism. In a 19 54 epi- logue to the second edition of Reason and Revolution, Marcuse claims that: "The defeat of Fascism and National Socialism has not arrested the trend towards totalitarianism. Freedom is on the retreat-in the realm of thought as well as in that of society."

  • For Marcuse, dialectical thinking involved the ability to abstract one's

perception and thought from existing forms in order to form more general concepts. This conception helps explain the dif- ficulty of One-Dimensional Man and the demands that it imposes upon its reader.

  • Uncritical thinking derives its beliefs, norms, and values from

existing thought and social practices, while critical thought seeks alternative modes of thought and behavior from which it creates a standpoint of critique. Such a critical standpoint requires developing what Marcuse calls "negative thinking," which "negates" existing forms of thought and reality from the perspective of higher possibilities. This practice presupposes the ability to make a distinction between existence and essence, fact and potentiality, and appearance and reality. Mere existence would be negated in favor of realizing higher potentialities while norms discovered by reason would be used to criticize and overcome lower forms of thought and social organization. Thus grasping potentialities for freedom and happiness would make possible the negation of conditions that inhibited individuals' full development and realization. In other words, perceiving the possibility of self-determination and constructing one's own needs and values could enable individuals to break with the existing world of thought and behavior. Philosophy was thus to supply the norms for social criticism and the ideal of liberation which would guide social change and individual self- transformation

  • Marcuse and Neumann propose, by contrast, integrating philosophy, sociology, and political theory in a theory of social change for the present age.
  • In the theses, Marcuse

anticipates many of the key positions of One-Dimensional Man, including the integration of the proletariat, the stabilization of capitalism, the bureaucratization of socialism, the demise of the revolutionary left, and the absence of genuine forces of progressive social change.


  • Happy Consciousness - good explanation on Quora - [1]