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Voorkant Marcuse 'One-Dimensional Man' Herbert MARCUSE
One-Dimensional Man - Studies in the ideology of advanced industrial society - Second Edition (With an introduction by Douglas Kellner)
London-New York: Routledge, 1964/1, 1991/2, 2007, 275 blzn.; ISBN-13: 978 04 1528 9764

[Tijd voor een klassieker uit de 1960-er jaren: Marcuse over de technologische samenleving die zo dominant is dat mensen er 'eendimensionaal' worden: niet meer kritisch kunnen denken, niet meer in verzet willen komen, om de simpele reden dat ze het goed hebben. Dat die samenleving 'objectief' niet deugt wordt niet meer gezien, of hooguit door een kleine groep van kunstenaars, schrijvers en groepen mensen die in de hoek zitten waar de klappen vallen. Dit boek is wat mij betreft een voorbeeld van technologisch determinisme als bij Heidegger en Ellul. Het begin van het boek - zeg: tot en met hoofdstuk 3 - is het beste te volgen voor gewone stervelingen, daarna wordt het een oefening in geduld vanwege het abstracte en vage taalgebruik. Een beetje onbegrijpelijk dat dit boek gezien wordt als een aanjager van de studentenbeweging van de 1960-er jaren.]

(xi) Introduction to the second edition (Douglas Kellner)

Het boek is oorspronkelijk gepubliceerd in 1964.

"First published in 1964, it was immediately recognized as a significant critical diagnosis of the present age and was soon taken up by the emergent New Left as a damning indictment of contemporary Western societies, capitalist and communist."(xi)

"On one hand, One-Dimensional Man is an important work of critical social theory that continues to be relevant today as the forces of domination that Marcuse dissected have become even stronger and more prevalent in the years since he wrote the book."(xii)

"Thus, One-Dimensional Man is also Marcuse's major philosophical work, articulating his Hegelian-Marxian concept of philosophy and critique of dominant philosophical and intellectual currents: positivism, analytic philosophy, technological rationality, and a variety of modes of conformist thinking."(xiii)

In de 1920er / 1930er jaren studeerde Marcuse bij Heidegger. Vanwege diens affiliatie met de opkomende Nazi-partij in Duitsland brak Marcuse later met hem. Maar fenomenologie en existentiefilosofie zijn door die achtergrond herkenbaar in Marcuse's werk, ook al probeert hij dat denken samen te brengen met marxisme en later met psychoanalyse.

"In particular, Marcuse develops a conception of a technological world, similar in some respects to that developed by Heidegger, and, like Husserl and Heidegger, sees technological rationality colonizing everyday life, robbing individuals of freedom and individuality by imposing technological imperatives, rules, and structures upon their thought and behavior."(xiv)

Ook van grote invloed is zijn werk aan het Frankfurt Institut für Sozialforschung waar hij met Horkheimer werkte aan de kritische theorie (in Frankfurt, en in ballingschap in Genève, New York, etc.).

 

"He began his work with the Institute by producing a critique of fascist ideology; having turned away from his former teacher, he now appraised Heidegger's work as part of the new tendency toward totalitarian thought that was dominant in Germany and which threatened the rest of the world as well."(xv)

"This concern with critical reason and Hegelian and Marxian modes of dialectical thinking is evident in Reason and Revolution (1941), Marcuse's first major work in English, in which he traces the rise of modern social theory through Hegel, Marx, and positivism."(xvi)

"The contrast between one-dimensional and dialectical thinking is made already in his 1930s essays. For Marcuse, one-dimensional thought and action derive their standards and criteria from the existing society, eschewing transcendent standards and norms. Critical and dialectical thinking, by contrast, postulates norms of criticism, based on rational potentials for human happiness and freedom, which are used to negate existing states of affairs that oppress individuals and restrict human freedom and well-being. Dialectical thought thus posits the existence of another realm of ideas, images, and imagination that serves as a potential guide for a social transformation that would realize the unrealized potentialities for a better life. Marcuse believes that great philosophy and art are the locus of these potentialities and critical norms, and he decodes the best products of Western culture in this light."(xvi-xvii)

"The Frankfurt School critical social theorists were among the first to analyze the new configurations of the state and economy in contemporary capitalist societies, to criticize the key roles of mass culture and communications, to analyze new modes of technology and forms of social control, to discuss new modes of socialization and the decline of the individual in mass society, and — vis-à-vis classical Marxism — to analyze and confront the consequences of the integration of the working classes and the stabilization of capitalism for the project of radical social change. Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man is perhaps the fullest and most concrete development of these themes within the tradition of Frankfurt School Critical Theory."(xviii-xix)

Marcuse was vele jaren bezig met de uitwerking van de thema's in dit boek, zoals de aantasting van een kritische individuele rationaliteit door de technologische rationaliteit omdat het kapitalisme mensen dwong zich aan te passen aan het systeem (conformisme, eendimensionaliteit); het zoeken naar (een theorie van) maatschappelijke verandering (met Franz Neumann en in afwijking van de cultuurkritiek van Horkheimer / Adorno); de integratie van filosofie, sociale en politieke wetenschappen en het bekritiseren van zogenaamde neutrale sociale wetenschap; het totalitarisme; rationaliteit. Met WOII kwam de klad in veel plannen en ook erna bleef het voorlopig bij het schetsmatig uitwerken van ideeën.

"In general, the characteristic themes of Marcuse's post-Second World War writings build on the Frankfurt School's analyses of the role of technology and technological rationality, administration and bureaucracy, the capitalist state, mass media and consumerism, 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 democracy, as well as the stabilization of capitalism."(xxiv)

Er zijn wat verschillende opvattingen over hoe je One-Dimensional Man moet interpreteren en over wat 'eendimensionaal' in die context betekent.

"Thus, I would propose interpreting 'one-dimensional' as conforming to existing thought and behavior and lacking a critical dimension and a dimension of potentialities that transcend the existing society. In Marcuse's usage the adjective 'one-dimensional' describes practices that conform to pre-existing structures, norms, and behavior, in contrast to multidimensional discourse, which focuses on possibilities that transcend the established state of affairs. (...)
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. The private space, the dimension of negation and individuality, in which one may become and remain a self, is being whittled away by a society which shapes aspirations, hopes, fears, and values, and even manipulates vital needs."(xxvii)

"Marcuse is thus a radical individualist who is deeply disturbed by the decline of the traits of authentic individuality that he so highly values. One-dimensional society and one-dimensional man are the results of a long historical erosion of individuality which Marcuse criticized over several decades. One-Dimensional Man can thus be interpreted as an extended protest against the decline of individuality in advanced industrial society. The cognitive costs include the loss of an ability to perceive another dimension of possibilities that transcend the one-dimensional thought and society. (...)
Marcuse is again reworking here the Hegelian-Marxian theme of reification and alienation, where the individual loses the power of comprehending and transforming subjectivity as it becomes dominated by alien powers and objects. For Marcuse, the distinguishing features of a human being are free and creative subjectivity. If in one's economic and social life one is administered by a technical labor apparatus and conforms to dominant social norms, one is losing one's potentialities of self-determination and individuality. Alienated from the powers of being-a-self, one-dimensional man thus becomes an object of administration and conformity."(xxviii-xxix)

Het boek roept vragen op over in hoeverre radicale sociale verandering en emancipatie van mensen nog mogelijk zijn.

"There are tensions in the book, however, between the development of a more general theory of 'advanced industrial society' and a more specific critique of contemporary capitalist societies, especially U.S. society, from which he derives most of his examples. Marcuse draws on the social analyses of C. Wright Mills, Daniel Bell, Vance Packard, and critical journalists like Fred Cook for examples of the trends that he sees in contemporary U.S. society. Yet he also draws on European theories, such as French theories of the technological society and the new working class, and he depicts trends in contemporary communist societies that he believes are similar to those in capitalist ones. Thus one can read the book as a general theory of contemporary advanced industrial, or technological, societies, or as a more specific analysis and critique of contemporary U.S. society during a period of affluence and muted social opposition."(xxix)

Hoewel Marcuse vanaf het begin kritisch staat tegenover de ontwikkelingen in het communisme, wil hij niet mee doen aan de Koude Oorlog - mentaliteit waarin alleen het kapitalisme maar geprezen wordt.

"Marcuse perceives destructive tendencies in advanced capitalism's most celebrated achievements and sees irrationality in its self-proclaimed rationality. He maintains that the society's prosperity and growth are based on waste and destruction, its progress fueled by exploitation and repression, while its freedom and democracy are based on manipulation. Marcuse slices through the ideological celebrations 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 fetishism in its consumerism, and the danger and insanity in its military-industrial complex.(...)
For Marcuse, commodities and consumption play a far greater role in contemporary capitalist society than that envisaged by Marx and most orthodox Marxists. Marcuse was one of the first critical theorists to analyze the consumer society through analyzing how consumerism, advertising, mass culture, and ideology integrate individuals into and stabilize the capitalist system. In describing how needs are produced which integrate individuals into a whole universe of thought, behavior, and satisfactions, he distinguishes between true and false needs and describes how individuals can liberate themselves from the prevailing needs and satisfactions to live a freer and happier life. He claims that the system's widely touted individualism and freedom are forms from which individuals need to liberate themselves in order to be truly free."(xxx-xxxi)

"The scientific and technological rationalities that Marcuse describes are even more powerful today with the emergence of computerization, the proliferation of media and information, and the development of new techniques and forms of social control. And yet the society is more irrational than previously."(xxxii)

"In his writings after One-Dimensional Man, Marcuse focuses more on social contradictions, struggles, and the disintegrating factors in existing societies, capitalist and communist."(xxxiii)

"Marcuse always stresses liberation, and his thought is animated by a utopian vision that life could be as it is in art and dreams if only a revolution would take place that would eliminate its repressive features."(xxxiv)

"Marcuse died in 1979. Had he lived through the eras of Reagan and Bush no doubt he would have insisted that One-Dimensional Man is more relevant than ever after a decade of conservative hegemony, rampant capitalism, and a series of U.S. military interventions and covert operations in Grenada, Nicaragua, Panama, and many parts of the world, culminating in the Persian Gulf war. Marcuse was a sharp critic of militarism and a lover of life who hated death and killing. He feared that more sophisticated technologies would 'instrumentalize' war and produce ever more brutal forms of destruction — a vision amply confirmed in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars.
Indeed, One-Dimensional Man provides a model analysis of the synthesis of business, the state, the media, and other cultural institutions under the hegemony of corporate capital which characterizes the U.S. economy and polity in the 1980s and early 1990s."(xxxvii)

(xxxix) Introduction to the first edition - The paralysis of criticism: society without opposition

Deze inleiding sluit aan bij het idee van een mogelijke atoomramp - een idee dat dient om de angst er in te houden bij de burgers terwijl er niet gezocht wordt naar de oorzaken voor die mogelijkheid. Aan de samenleving kan het toch niet liggen gezien de toenemende welvaart?

"And yet this society is irrational as a whole. Its productivity is destructive of the free development of human needs and faculties, its peace maintained by the constant threat of war, its growth dependent on the repression of the real possibilities for pacifying the struggle for existence — individual, national, and international. This repression, so different from that which characterized the preceding, less developed stages of our society, operates today not from a position of natural and technical immaturity but rather from a position of strength. The capabilities (intellectual and material) of contemporary society are immeasurably greater than ever before — which means that the scope of society's domination over the individual is immeasurably greater than ever before. Our society distinguishes itself by conquering the centrifugal social forces with Technology rather than Terror, on the dual basis of an overwhelming efficiency and an increasing standard of living."(xl)

Een kritische theorie van de huidige samenleving hanteert bepaalde maatstaven en waardeoordelen, nl. een mensenleven is waard om geleefd te worden, en een samenleving heeft bepaalde mogelijkheden (materiële en immateriële bronnen) om een mensenleven te verbeteren die zo optimaal mogelijk ingezet moeten worden. De vraag naar wat dan 'optimaal' is betekent dat een kritische theorie moet abstraheren van de bestaande maatschappelijke situatie: de huidige situatie is niet per se de beste, meest optimale situatie. Welke mogelijkheden blijven bijvoorbeeld onbenut? Welke alternatieven zijn er om de bestaande mogelijkheden beter te benutten? Het vervelende is alleen dat de huidige industriële samenleving al die kritische vragen van hun basis berooft door elke kritiek die tot maatschappelijke verandering zou kunnen leiden met het bestaande systeem te verzoenen ('containment'). En toch blijven kwalitatieve veradenringen noodzakelijk. Voor wie? Voor de samenleving als geheel. Waarom? Vanwege de vele problemen die er zijn.

"The union of growing productivity and growing destruction; the brinkmanship of annihilation; the surrender of thought, hope, and fear to the decisions of the powers that be; the preservation of misery in the face of unprecedented wealth constitute the most impartial indictment — even if they are not the raison d'être of this society but only its by-product: its sweeping rationality, which propels efficiency and growth, is itself irrational.
The fact that the vast majority of the population accepts, and is made to accept, this society does not render it less irrational and less reprehensible. The distinction between true and false consciousness, real and immediate interest still is meaningful. But this distinction itself must be validated. Men must come to see it and to find their way from false to true consciousness, from their immediate to their real interest. They can do so only if they live in need of changing their way of life, of denying the positive, of refusing. It is precisely this need which the established society manages to repress to the degree to which it is capable of 'delivering the goods' on an increasingly large scale, and using the scientific conquest of nature for the scientific conquest of man. Confronted with the total character of the achievements of advanced industrial society, critical theory is left without the rationale for transcending this society."(xliii-xliv)

Oude begrippen moeten daarom opnieuw doordacht worden.

"One-Dimensional Man will vacillate throughout between two contradictory hypotheses: (1) that advanced industrial society is capable of containing qualitative change for the foreseeable future; (2) that forces and tendencies exist which may break this containment and explode the society. I do not think that a clear answer can be given. Both tendencies are there, side by side — and even the one in the other."(xlv)

"Technology serves to institute new, more effective, and more pleasant forms of social control and social cohesion. The totalitarian tendency of these controls seems to assert itself in still another sense — by spreading to the less developed and even to the preindustrial areas of the world, and by creating similarities in the development of capitalism and communism.
In the face of the totalitarian features of this society, the traditional notion of the 'neutrality' of technology can no longer be maintained. Technology as such cannot be isolated from the use to which it is put; the technological society is a system of domination which operates already in the concept and construction of techniques.(...)
As a technological universe, advanced industrial society is a political universe, the latest stage in the realization of a specific historical project — namely, the experience, transformation, and organization of nature as the mere stuff of domination."(xlvi)

"In the medium of technology, culture, politics, and the economy merge into an omnipresent system which swallows up or repulses all alternatives. The productivity and growth potential of this system stabilize the society and contain technical progress within the framework of domination. Technological rationality has become political rationality."(xlvii)

Marcuse gebruikt vele bronnen: wetenschappelijke rapporten maar ook meer journalistieke bronnen.

"I should like to emphasize the vital importance of the work of C. Wright Mills, and of studies which are frequently frowned upon because of simplification, overstatement, or journalistic ease — Vance Packard's The Hidden Persuaders, The Status Seekers, and The Waste Makers, William H. Whyte's The Organization Man, Fred J. Cook's The Warfare State belong in this category. To be sure, the lack of theoretical analysis in these works leaves the roots of the described conditions covered and protected, but left to speak for themselves, the conditions speak loudly enough."(xlvii)

(1) Part I - One-Dimensional Society

(3) 1 - The new forms of control

[Het boek begint met een prachtige paradoksale zin:]

"A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical progress."(3)

[Al in de eerste bladzijden wordt de kern van het besproken probleem weergegeven.]

Vrijheid is een probleem geworden in de hoogindustriële samenleving. De stijgende welvaart laat als het ware zien dat de vrijheid om vraagtekens te zetten bij aspecten van de samenleving overbodig is geworden. Waarom zou je immers bekritiseren wat goed lijkt te werken?

"To the degree to which freedom from want, the concrete substance of all freedom, is becoming a real possibility, the liberties which pertain to a state of lower productivity are losing their former content. Independence of thought, autonomy, and the right to political opposition are being deprived of their basic critical function in a society which seems increasingly capable of satisfying the needs of the individuals through the way in which it is organized. Such a society may justly demand acceptance of its principles and institutions, and reduce the opposition to the discussion and promotion of alternative policies within the status quo. In this respect, it seems to make little difference whether the increasing satisfaction of needs is accomplished by an authoritarian or a non-authoritarian system. Under the condi- tions of a rising standard of living, non-conformity with the system itself appears to be socially useless, and the more so when it entails tangible economic and political disadvantages and threatens the smooth operation of the whole."(4)

Precies die technische mogelijkheden die mensen zouden kunnen bevrijden van de noodzaak om te werken maken dat er een totalitair systeem ontstaat waarin van vrijheid helemaal geen sprake meer is.

[Kernprobleem is het probleem van De Gelukkige Slaaf of hoe je het ook wilt noemen. Dat zal wel steeds terug komen. Dat je zoals de Luddisten een systeem bestreed dat mensen tot grote armoede en ellende veroordeelde dat accepteerde een groot deel van het gewone volk. Degenen die dat veroordeelden waren de rijke uitbuiters die daar last van kregen. Het was bijna een persoonlijke strijd tussen twee maatschappelijke groepen die elkaar vrijwel letterlijk in de ogen keken. Maar nu heeft iedereen het goed, toch? Dus ligt het voor de hand dat je tevreden bent, ook al wordt je leven volledig bepaalt door het economisch systeem. Dus protesteer je nergens meer tegen en pas je je aan. Waarom zou je een systeem bestrijden waarmee mensen blijkbaar tevreden zijn?]

[Je moet dan minstens laten zien dat mensen onterecht gelukkig en tevreden zijn en dat ze zichzelf en anderen benadelen door zich aan het systeem aan te passen. Dat kan alleen vanuit bepaalde waarden en normen voor wat 'het goede leven', 'de goede samenleving' is. Je kunt nooit ontsnappen aan een presentatie van wat goed en wat slecht is wanneer je een samenleving of een economisch systeem of gedrag van mensen ter discussie stelt. Milieuvervuiling, verspilling, egoïsme en gebrek aan solidariteit, aantasting van de leefsfeer, van de privacy, en zo verder, er zijn genoeg zaken die in het huidige economische systeem niet zo fraai zijn en die kunnen dienen als een uitgangspunt voor kritiek op dat systeem. Maar je zult moeten leren je normatieve standpunten te onderbouwen en overtuigend te maken. Het is daarom noodzakelijk om de normatieve rationaliteit te ontwikkelen die voortdurend de morele grenzen van de instrumentele rationaliteit verkent, maar niet alleen om te 'begrenzen', ook om echte alternatieven te beschrijven.]

[Van de andere kant: mensen zijn niet altijd alleen maar makke schapen. Het is nog steeds zo dat 'het volk' verontwaardigd kan raken. De hebzucht van managers en bankiers die blijkt uit de bonussen veroorzaakt nog steeds rimpels op het al te gladde water van het kapitalisme, vooral als dat samengaat met de aantasting van de eigen inkomens. Ook zullen mensen altijd bezorgd reageren op zaken die direct hun gezondheid en met name die van hun kinderen in gevaar brengen. En er zijn waarschijnlijk nog wel meer zaken te noemen. We zouden eigenlijk precies moeten weten welke maatschappelijke groepen zich waarover druk maken.]

"Freedom of enterprise was from the beginning not altogether a blessing. As the liberty to work or to starve, it spelled toil, insecurity, and fear for the vast majority of the population. If the individual were no longer compelled to prove himself on the market, as a free economic subject, the disappearance of this kind of freedom would be one of the greatest achievements of civilization. The technological processes of mechanization and standardization might release individual energy into a yet uncharted realm of freedom beyond necessity. The very structure of human existence would be altered; the individual would be liberated from the work world's imposing upon him alien needs and alien possibilities. The individual would be free to exert autonomy over a life that would be his own. If the productive apparatus could be organized and directed toward the satisfaction of the vital needs, its control might well be centralized; such control would not prevent individual autonomy, but render it possible.
This is a goal within the capabilities of advanced industrial civilization, the 'end' of technological rationality. In actual fact, however, the contrary trend operates: the apparatus imposes its economic and political requirements for defense and expansion on labor time and free time, on the material and intellectual culture. By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian. For 'totalitarian' is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a non-terroristic economic-technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests. It thus precludes the emergence of an effective opposition against the whole. Not only a specific form of government or party rule makes for totalitarianism, but also a specific system of production and distribution which may well be compatible with a 'pluralism' of parties, newspapers, 'countervailing powers', etc."(4-5)

[Hier zie je dus dat Marcuse heel erg goed weet wat hij zou willen: persoonlijke autonomie, je eigen richting en je eigen behoeften bepalen, niet gedwongen zijn in schijnvrijheid je arbeid te verkopen. Maar het systeem is totalitair en geeft daarvoor niet de ruimte.]

"The brute fact that the machine's physical (only physical?) power surpasses that of the individual, and of any particular group of individuals, makes the machine the most effective political instrument in any society whose basic organization is that of the machine process. But the political trend may be reversed; essentially the power of the machine is only the stored-up and projected power of man. To the extent to which the work world is conceived of as a machine and mechanized accordingly, it becomes the potential basis of a new freedom for man."(6)

Marcuse blijkt zich zeer bewust van de rol van 'de machine', van de technologie. Maar die kan ook ingezet worden om mensen te bevrijden. Wel is het nodig de visie op de traditionele vrijheden aan te passen aan een totaal veranderde samenleving. De insteek moet zijn te zeggen 'vrijheid waarvan?'

"Such new modes can be indicated only in negative terms because they would amount to the negation of the prevailing modes. Thus economic freedom would mean freedom from the economy — from being controlled by economic forces and relationships; freedom from the daily struggle for existence, from earning a living. Political freedom would mean liberation of the individuals from politics over which they have no effective control. Similarly, intellectual freedom would mean the restoration of individual thought now absorbed by mass communication and indoctrination, abolition of 'public opinion' together with its makers. The unrealistic sound of these propositions is indicative, not of their utopian character, but of the strength of the forces which prevent their realization."(6)

"We may distinguish both true and false needs. 'False' are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his repression: the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice. Their satisfaction might be most gratifying to the individual, but this happiness is not a condition which has to be maintained and protected if it serves to arrest the development of the ability (his own and others) to recognize the disease of the whole and grasp the chances of curing the disease. The result then is euphoria in unhappiness. Most of the prevailing needs to relax, to have fun, to behave and consume in accordance with the advertisements, to love and hate what others love and hate, belong to this category of false needs.
Such needs have a societal content and function which are determined by external powers over which the individual has no control; the development and satisfaction of these needs is heteronomous. No matter how much such needs may have become the individual's own, reproduced and fortified by the conditions of his existence; no matter how much he identifies himself with them and finds himself in their satisfaction, they continue to be what they were from the beginning — products of a society whose dominant interest demands repression. (...)
The only needs that have an unqualified claim for satisfaction are the vital ones — nourishment, clothing, lodging at the attainable level of culture. The satisfaction of these needs is the prerequisite for the realization of all needs, of the unsublimated as well as the sublimated ones."(7-8)

[Dus ook hier zie je waar Marcuse naar toe wil, zie je welke waarden hij heeft. Van daaruit kan hij dus zeggen wat echte behoeften en schijnbehoeften zijn. De echte behoeften zijn de levensbehoeften: voedsel, kleding, onderdak. Schijnbehoeften zijn heteronome behoeften die bepaalde belangengroepen aan mensen opleggen: almaar lol willen hebben, willen hebben wat de advertenties laten zien, er bij willen horen en leuk of niet leuk vinden wat anderen wel of niet leuk vinden. Dat mensen er tevreden mee zijn, zegt niets. Hier dus het Gelukkige Slaaf-idee: 'euphoria in unhappiness' of 'repressive satisfaction' zoals Marcuse zo mooi zegt, is niet wat hij wil, omdat dat een zieke samenleving in stand houdt. De vraag is: heeft hij voldoende aangetoond wat echte behoeften en schijnbehoeften zijn? Weet hij werkelijk wat goed voor ons is? Marcuse ziet heel goed het probleem:]

"'Truth' and 'falsehood' of needs designate objective conditions to the extent to which the universal satisfaction of vital needs and, beyond it, the progressive alleviation of toil and poverty, are universally valid standards. But as historical standards, they do not only vary according to area and stage of development, they also can be defined only in (greater or lesser) contradiction to the prevailing ones. What tribunal can possibly claim the authority of decision?
In the last analysis, the question of what are true and false needs must be answered by the individuals themselves, but only in the last analysis; that is, if and when they are free to give their own answer. As long as they are kept incapable of being autonomous, as long as they are indoctrinated and manipulated (down to their very instincts), their answer to this question cannot be taken as their own. By the same token, however, no tribunal can justly arrogate to itself the right to decide which needs should be developed and satisfied. Any such tribunal is reprehensible, although our revulsion does not do away with the question: how can the people who have been the object of effective and productive domination by themselves create the conditions of freedom?quot;(8-9)

[Het is inderdaad paradoxaal. En hoe weet Marcuse dat HIJ niet gemanipuleerd is in zijn behoeften en standpunten? Hoe kan het bestaan dat er in zo'n repressieve samenleving groepen mensen zijn die zich blijkbaar al bevrijd hebben van de manipulaties van het systeem?]

"Here, the social controls exact the overwhelming need for the production and consumption of waste; the need for stupefying work where it is no longer a real necessity; the need for modes of relaxation which soothe and prolong this stupefication; the need for maintaining such deceptive liberties as free competition at administered prices, a free press which censors itself, free choice between brands and gadgets."(9)

[Ook hier weer Marcuse's waarden: tegen verspilling, afstompend werk, afstompende ontspanning, zelfcensuur in de pers, de enige vrije keuze die tussen verschillenden merken van een product.]

"If the worker and his boss enjoy the same television program and visit the same resort places, if the typist is as attractively made up as the daughter of her employer, if the Negro owns a Cadillac, if they all read the same newspaper, then this assimilation indicates not the disappearance of classes, but the extent to which the needs and satisfactions that serve the preservation of the Establishment are shared by the underlying population."(10)

"We are again confronted with one of the most vexing aspects of advanced industrial civilization: the rational character of its irrationality. Its productivity and efficiency, its capacity to increase and spread comforts, to turn waste into need, and destruction into construction, the extent to which this civilization transforms the object world into an extension of man's mind and body makes the very notion of alienation questionable. The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment. The very mechanism which ties the individual to his society has changed, and social control is anchored in the new needs which it has produced."(11)

[Maar: waarom is de industriële samenleving irrationeel en vervreemdend? waarom is het slecht dat mensen hun ziel en zaligheid leggen in hun bezittingen? Wat zou dus rationeel zijn en wat zou de vervreemding opheffen? Dat moet nog veel duidelijker gemaakt worden.]

"The prevailing forms of social control are technological in a new sense. To be sure, the technical structure and efficacy of the productive and destructive apparatus has been a major instrumentality for subjecting the population to the established social division of labor throughout the modern period. Moreover, such integration has always been accompanied by more obvious forms of compulsion: loss of livelihood, the administration of justice, the police, the armed forces. It still is. But in the con- temporary period, the technological controls appear to be the very embodiment of Reason for the benefit of all social groups and interests — to such an extent that all contradiction seems irrational and all counteraction impossible."(11)

Opnieuw: Marcuse heeft veel oog voor de rol van de technologie. Technische middelen speelden altijd al een rol bij de onderdrukking en manipulatie van mensen. Alleen is technologie inmiddels dominant geworden waardoor haar invloed omgeven is met waarden als 'is in het voordeel van alle sociale groepen' 'is rationeel'. Ze doodt elk kritisch geluid, elk negatief denken, elk verzet. Mensen worden opgeslokt door hun vervreemde bestaan, worden eendimensionaal.

"It is a good way of life — much better than before — and as a good way of life, it militates against qualitative change. Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior in which ideas, aspirations, and objectives that, by their content, transcend the established universe of discourse and action are either repelled or reduced to terms of this universe. They are redefined by the rationality of the given system and of its quantitative extension."(14)

Volgt een kritiek op het 'operationele denken' (Bridgman), in feite op het radicale empirisme / positivisme in filosofie en wetenschap, op het instrumentele denken. Echte kritiek verstomt. En ondanks de nadruk op meetbaarheid en zo verder is er alle ruimte voor irratrionaliteit in de samenleving.

"... a positivism which, in its denial of the transcending elements of Reason, forms the academic counterpart of the socially required behavior."(16)

"The reign of such a one-dimensional reality does not mean that meterialism rules, and that the spiritual, metaphysical, and bohemian occupations are petering out. On the contrary, there is a great deal of 'Worship together this week', 'Why not try God', Zen, existentialism, and beat ways of life, etc. But such modes of protest and transcendence are no longer contradictory to the status quo and no longer negative. They are rather the ceremonial part of practical behaviorism, its harmless negation, and are quickly digested by the status quo as part of its healthy diet."(17)

Zowel in het kapitalisme als in het communisme stopt het nadenken daar waar het 'gevaarlijk', echt kritisch wordt. Niets nieuws: filosofen zijn alleen in theorie radicaal gebleken en steunden altijd het establishment.

"Such limitation of thought is certainly not new. Ascending modern rationalism, in its speculative as well as empirical form, shows a striking contrast between extreme critical radicalism in scientific and philosophic method on the one hand, and an uncritical quietism in the attitude toward established and functioning social institutions."(17)

"The 'cunning of Reason' works, as it so often did, in the interest of the powers that be. The insistence on operational and behavioral concepts turns against the efforts to free thought and behavior from the given reality and for the suppressed alternatives. Theoretical and practical Reason, academic and social behaviorism meet on common ground: that of an advanced society which makes scientific and technical progress into an instrument of domination."(18)

"Validated by the accomplishments of science and technology, justified by its growing productivity, the status quo defies all transcendence. Faced with the possibility of pacification on the grounds of its technical and intellectual achievements, the mature industrial society doses itself against this alternative. Operationalism, in theory and practice, becomes the theory and practice of containment."(19)

"Organization for peace is different from organization for war; the institutions which served the struggle for existence cannot serve the pacification of existence. Life as an end is qualitatively different from life as a means."(19)

"When this point is reached, domination — in the guise of affluence and liberty — extends to all spheres of private and public existence, integrates all authentic opposition, absorbs all alternatives. Technological rationality reveals its political character as it becomes the great vehicle of better domination, creating a truly totalitarian universe in which society and nature, mind and body are kept in a state of permanent mobilization for the defense of this universe."(20)

(21) 2 - The closing of the political universe

Nog eens een overzicht van hoe Marcuse de samenleving ziet:

"The society of total mobilization, which takes shape in the most advanced areas of industrial civilization, combines in productive union the features of the Welfare State and the Warfare State. Compared with its predecessors, it is indeed a 'new society'. Traditional trouble spots are being cleaned out or isolated, disrupting elements taken in hand The main trends are familiar: concentration of the national economy on the needs of the big corporations, with the government as a stimulating, supporting, and sometimes even controlling force; hitching of this economy to a world-wide system of military alliances, monetary arrangements, technical assistance and development schemes; gradual assimilation of blue-collar and white-collar population, of leadership types in business and labor, of leisure activities and aspirations in different social classes; fostering of a pre-established harmony between scholarship and the national purpose; invasion of the private household by the togetherness of public opinion; opening of the bedroom to the media of mass communication."(21)

In de politieke sfeer zie je een vergelijkbare trend: de convergentie van tegengestelde opvattingen, vooral bij een tweepartijenstelsel. Ook de vakbonden zijn er inmiddels een geaccepteerd onderdeel van en zelfs de Westerse communistische partijen zoals in Italië en Frankrijk.

"Those whose life is the hell of the Affluent Society are kept in line by a brutality which revives medieval and early modern practices. For the other, less underprivileged people, society takes care of the need for liberation by satisfying the needs which make servitude palatable and perhaps even unnoticeable, and it accomplishes this fact in the process of production itself."(26)

Marx' opvattingen over klassenstrijd en sociale verandering door een politieke revolutie passen niet meer bij de huidige samenleving. Handarbeid speelt nauwelijks meer een rol door de mechanisatie / automatisering van het werk, er is sprake van een verschuiving van spierkracht naar technische en mentale vaardigheden, 'blue-collar' wordt 'white-collar'.

"In the present situation, the negative features of automation are predominant: speed-up, technological unemployment, strengthening of the position of management, increasing impotence and resignation on the part of the workers."(33)

"The new technological work-world thus enforces a weakening of the negative position of the working class: the latter no longer appears to be the living contradiction to the established society. This trend is strengthened by the effect of the technological organization of production on the other side of the fence: on management and direction. Domination is transfigured into administration."(35)

"A vicious circle seems indeed the proper image of a society which is self-expanding and self-perpetuating in its own preestablished direction — driven by the growing needs which it generates and, at the same time, contains."(37)

"Is there any prospect that this chain of growing productivity and repression may be broken?"(37)

[Dat gaat Marcuse bekijken en daarbij kijkt hij zowel naar het westerse kapitalisme als naar het communisme van de Sowjet-Unie van indertijd waarover hij ook een apart boek schreef. Er zijn centrifugale krachten zoals de automatisering:]

"It seems that automation to the limits of technical possibility is incompatible with a society based on the private exploitation of human labor power in the process of production."(39)

"Automation indeed appears to be the great catalyst of advanced industrial society. (...) Automation, once it became the process of material production, would revolutionize the whole society. The reification of human labor power, driven to perfection, would shatter the reified form by cutting the chain that ties the individual to the machinery — the mechanism through which his own labor enslaves him. 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."(40)

[Automatisering kan het kapitalisme zo gezegd maken of breken, maar kan ook dienen om de arbeiders te bevrijden van de slavernij van de arbeid. Zo dacht Marcuse indertijd. Zeker is dat de automatisering van grote betekenis is (geweest) voor de positie van bedrijven, voor de ontwikkeling van multinationale bedrijven, voor de globalisering van de economie. Maar of het de arbeider inmiddels bevrijd heeft waag ik te betwijfelen. Ja, van het zware handwerk misschien. Maar daar waren andere machines ook al 'mee bezig'. Het werken is van karakter veranderd, is minder fysiek geworden en daarom ook fysiek minder zwaar, is meer dienstverlening en mentaal belastend geworden. Mensen werken niet minder hard, maar wel anders. De uitbuiting is minder duidelijk en daarom is het politieke verzet ook minder duidelijk of afwezig.]

[Marcuse's analyse (p.42-p.48) van de Sowjet-Unie van toen is inmiddels natuurlijk achterhaald: ja, ze zijn daar volledig overgegaan op het kapitalisme, en zeer waarschijnlijk hebben ze daar elke achterstand in industrialisering ingehaald; politiek gezien is het voor een groot deel nog een schijndemocratie waarin inderdaad de oude bureaucratie nog een grote rol speelt, maar in feite is dat ook niet zo heel veel anders dan in westerse landen, er wordt alleen minder toneel gespeeld en daarom lijkt het meer dictatoriaal. Nog over het Sowjet Marxisme:]

"Indeed, society must first create the material prerequisites of freedom for all its members before it can be a free society; it must first create the wealth before being able to distribute it according to the freely developing needs of the individual; it must first enable its slaves to learn and see and think before they know what is going on and what they themselves can do to change it. And, to the degree to which the slaves have been preconditioned to exist as slaves and be content in that role, their liberation necessarily appears to come from without and from above. They must be 'forced to be free', to 'see objects as they are, and sometimes as they ought to appear', they must be shown the 'good road' they are in search of. [Hier wordt Rousseau aangehaald - GdG]
But with all its truth, the argument cannot answer the timehonored question: who educates the educators, and where is the proof that they are in possession of 'the good?' The question is not invalidated by arguing that it is equally applicable to certain democratic forms of government where the fateful decisions on what is good for the nation are made by elected representatives or rather endorsed by elected representatives) — elected under conditions of effective and freely accepted indoctrination. Still, the only possible excuse (it is weak enough!) for 'educational dictatorship' is that the terrible risk which it involves may not be more terrible than the risk which the great liberal as well as the authoritarian societies are taking now, nor may the costs be much higher."(44)

Ook in de Derde Wereld-landen voltrekt zich vanuit achterstand een industrialisering.

"In terms of the preceding discussion: is there any evidence that the former colonial or semi-colonial areas might adopt a way of industrialization essentially different from capitalism and present-day communism? Is there anything in the indigenous culture and tradition of these areas which might indicate such an alternative?"(49)

"The machine process (as social process) requires obedience to a system of anonymous powers — total secularization and the destruction of values and institutions whose desanctification has hardly begun."(50)

[Vermoedelijk is dat nog steeds waar. De globalisering van het kapitalisme op de schaal van de laatste decennia is niet iets wat Marcuse al kon waarnemen, maar is inmiddels duidelijk. En dat kapitalisme blijkt inderdaad in strijd met allerlei religieuze en lokale waarden - het verklaart waarschijnlijk heel veel van het verzet in Islamistische landen tegen het Westen bijvoorbeeld. Ik kan niet beoordelen in hoeverre al die landen al geïndustrialiseerd zijn, maar het is gaande en de samenleving die er uiteindelijk ontstaat is niet veel anders dan die in het Westen - denk aan Japan, Korea. Misschien is het verschil tussen de steden en het platteland er groter.]

"Can one reasonably assume that, under the impact of the two great systems of total technological administration, the dissolution of this resistance will proceed in liberal and democratic forms? That the underdeveloped countries can make the historical leap from the pre-technological to the post-technological society, in which the mastered technological apparatus may provide the basis for a genuine demo- cracy? On the contrary, it rather seems that the superimposed development of these countries will bring about a period of total administration more violent and more rigid than that traversed by the advanced societies which can build on the achievements of the liberalistic era. To sum up: the backward areas are likely to succumb either to one of the various forms of neo-colonialism, or to a more or less terroristic system of primary accumulation."(50)

[Zoals Marcuse niet zo geloofde in een totaal andere ontwikkeling onder het communisme, zo geloofde hij ook niet in een totaal andere ontwikkeling in de Derde Wereld. En hij heeft gelijk gekregen. Verzet is er ook, maar dat is toch vaak marginaal en wordt even vaak met harde hand onderdrukt door de machtigen en de rijken.]

"By way of summary: the prospects of containment of change, offered by the politics of technological rationality, depend on the prospects of the Welfare State. Such a state seems capable of raising the standard of administered living, a capability inherent in all advanced industrial societies where the streamlined technical apparatus — set up as a separate power over and above the individuals — depends for its functioning on the intensified development and expansion of productivity. Under such conditions, decline of freedom and opposition is not a matter of moral or intellectual deterioration or corruption. It is rather an objective societal process insofar as the production and distribution of an increasing quantity of goods and services make compliance a rational technological attitude.
However, with all its rationality, the Welfare State is a state of unfreedom because its total administration is systematic restriction of (a) 'technically' available free time; (b) the quantity and quality of goods and services 'technically' available for vital individual needs; (c) the intelligence (conscious and unconscious) capable of comprehending and realizing the possibilities of self-determination.
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 relations, indoctrination, planned obsolescence are no longer unproductive overhead costs but rather elements of basic production costs. In order to be effective, such production of socially necessary waste requires continuous rationalization — the relentless utilization of advanced techniques and science."(51)

"Rejection of the Welfare State on behalf of abstract ideas of freedom is hardly convincing. The loss of the economic and political liberties which were the real achievement of the preceding two centuries may seem slight damage in a state capable of making the administered life secure and comfortable. If the individuals are satisfied to the point of happiness with the goods and services handed down to them by the administration, why should they insist on different institutions for a different production of different goods and services? And if the individuals are preconditioned so that the satisfying goods also include thoughts, feelings, aspirations, why should they wish to think, feel, and imagine for themselves? True, the material and mental commodities offered may be bad, wasteful, rubbish — but Geist and knowledge are no telling arguments against satisfaction of needs."(53)

[Zoals gezegd leidt dit er toe dat alle fundamentele kritiek op het systeem verstomt:]

"The countervailing powers do not include those which counter the whole. They tend to make the whole immune against negation from within as well as without; the foreign policy of containment appears as an extension of the domestic policy of containment."(54)

"Neither the growing productivity nor the high standard of living depend on the threat from without, but their use for the containment of social change and perpetuation of servitude does. The Enemy is the common denominator of all doing and undoing. And the Enemy is not identical with actual communism or actual capitalism — he is, in both cases, the real spectre of liberation."(55)

[Inderdaad. Want als het niet het communisme en een Koude Oorlog zijn dan zijn het wel terrorisme en de War on Terror die mensen blind moeten maken voor de feilen in het economisch systeem. Het fraaie gepraat over de mogelijkheid van pluralisme in deze samenleving blijkt al net zo'n ideologie als het eeuwige gezeur over 'de vrijheid', het 'vrije Westen' en zo verder. In feite is er helemaal geen sprake van pluralisme of vrijheid. Er is eigenlijk zelfs geen sprake van democratie.]

"Democracy would appear to be the most efficient system of domination."(56)

 

(59) 3 - The conquest of the unhappy consciousness

Dit hoofdstuk behandelt hoe de vooruitgang in technologische rationaliteit eveneens de kritische en transcenderende elementen in de hogere cultuur elimineert, waarbij de aandacht hier vooral uitgaat naar literatuur. Dat proces noemt Marcuse desublimatie. Waar de hogere cultuur voorheen nog de droom in stand hield en kritiek leverde op de werkelijkheid, is die droom inmiddels ingehaald door de werkelijkheid. Kunst werd van tweedimensionaal eendimensionaal.

"What has been invalidated is their subversive force, their destructive content — their truth. In this transformation, they find their home in everyday living. The alien and alienating oeuvres of intellectual culture become familiar goods and services. Is their massive reproduction and consumption only a change in quantity, namely, growing appreciation and understanding, democratization of culture?"(64)

[Ik vind het verhaal van Marcuse hier eindeloos generaliserend en ook nogal elitair. Alsof kunst altijd de feilen van de samenleving aan de kaak stelde of de vervreemding liet zien, alsof kunstenaars allemaal symbool stonden voor The Great Refusal. Ik denk dat de meeste makers van kunst vrijwel altijd netjes geïntegreerd waren in de samenleving: ze kwamen vaak uit de bovenlaag en werkten ook voor die bovenlaag waarvan ze voor hun inkomen afhankelijk waren. Hoeveel kunstenaars stelden werkelijk maatschappelijke wantoestanden aan de kaak of slaagden er in om mensen zo te vervreemden dat ze ineens anders naar de werkelijkheid gingen kijken of naar een andere werkelijkheid gingen verlangen? Ik vrees dat er niet zo heel veel veranderd is in de rol die kunstenaars hebben in de samenleving ... En ik zie niet zo dat de massificatie van kunst daar iets aan af doet.]

[Een ander vervelend aspect is dat het taalgebruik van Marcuse hier een stuk vager en psychoanalytischer wordt - ik krijg werkelijk heel positivistische neigingen wanneer ik dit allemaal lees.]

"Artistic alienation succumbs, together with other modes of negation, to the process of technological rationality."(68)

"The liquidation of high culture is a by-product of the conquest of nature, and of the progressing conquest of scarcity."(74)

"Thus diminishing erotic and intensifying sexual energy, the technological reality limits the scope of sublimation. It also reduces the need for sublimation. In the mental apparatus, the tension between that which is desired and that which is permitted seems considerably lowered, and the Reality Principle no longer seems to require a sweeping and painful transformation of instinctual needs. The individual must adapt himself to a world which does not seem to demand the denial of his innermost needs — a world which is not essentially hostile."(77)

"This mobilization and administration of libido may account for much of the voluntary compliance, the absence of terror, the pre-established harmony between individual needs and socially-required desires, goals, and aspirations. The technological and political conquest of the transcending factors in human existence, so characteristic of advanced industrial civilization, here asserts itself in the instinctual sphere: satisfaction in a way which generates submission and weakens the rationality of protest."(78)

"This society turns everything it touches into a potential source of progress and of exploitation, of drudgery and satisfaction, of freedom and of oppression. Sexuality is no exception."(81)

(87) 4 - The closing of the universe of discourse

Over de rol die taal speelt in het creëren van de eendimensionale samenleving. Het volk legt soms wel de vinger op de gevoelige plek met haar slang en door de dingen bij hun naam te noemen.

"However, the defense laboratories and the executive offices, the governments and the machines, the time-keepers and managers, the efficiency experts and the political beauty parlors (which provide the leaders with the appropriate make-up) speak a different language and, for the time being, they seem to have the last word. It is the word that orders and organizes, that induces people to do, to buy, and to accept."(89)

"That a political party which works for the defense and growth of capitalism is called 'Socialist', and a despotic government 'democratic', and a rigged election 'free' are familiar linguistic — and political — features which long predate Orwell."(92)

[Orwell's 1984 schildert inderdaad op een fraaie manier hoe machthebbers manipuleren met taal. En Marcuse heeft ongetwijfeld gelijk dat het taalgebruik in politiek en media niet deugt en oppervlakkig is. Alleen is zijn verhaal hier zo vaag dat je ook daar de nodige vraagtekens bij kunt zetten. Retoriek en propaganda zijn er altijd geweest - denk aan Plato. Macht is manipulatie en dus het debiteren van leugens of het geheim houden van informatie om kritiek te voorkomen. Niks nieuws. Ik zie Marcuse niet uitleggen wat er nu dan zo anders is.]

"The unification of opposites which characterizes the commercial and political style is one of the many ways in which discourse and communication make themselves immune against the expression of protest and refusal."(93)

"This language speaks in constructions which impose upon the recipient the slanted and abridged meaning, the blocked development of content, the acceptance of that which is offered in the form in which it is offered."(94)

[Als voorbeelden van hoe vaag Marcuse kan schrijven. Wat is repressieve taal nu eigenlijk? En hoe werkt dat? Het herhalen van vaste, bijna hypnotiserende formules door politici - Marcuse noemt het op p.94 - is één van de oude trucs van retorici. Dat dat nu ook gebeurt in advertenties en in de media is misschien anders, het maakt het een allesoverheersend soort taalgebruik. Maar in essentie is het niet echt nieuw allemaal.]

"This language, which constantly imposes images, militates against the development and expression of concepts. In its immediacy and directness, it impedes conceptual thinking; thus, it impedes thinking."(98)

"The prevalent tendencies of speech, which repulse these distinctions, are expressive of the changes in the modes of thought discussed in the earlier chapters — the functionalized, abridged and unified language is the language of one-dimensional thought. In order to illustrate its novelty, I shall contrast it briefly with a classical philosophy of grammar which transcends the behavioral universe and relates linguistic to ontological categories."(98)

[Die laatste zin is bijvoorbeeld onbegrijpelijk. En de 'uitleg' die volgt ook.]

"If the linguistic behavior blocks conceptual development, if it militates against abstraction and mediation, if it surrenders to the immediate facts, it repels recognition of the factors behind the facts, and thus repels recognition of the facts, and of their historical content. In and for the society, this organization of functional discourse is of vital importance; it serves as a vehicle of coordination and subordination. The unified, functional language is an irreconcilably anti-critical and anti-dialectical language. In it, operational and behavioral rationality absorbs the transcendent, negative, oppositional elements of Reason.
I shall discuss these elements in terms of the tension between the 'is' and the 'ought', between essence and appearance, potentiality and actuality — ingression of the negative in the positive determinations of logic."(100)

[Als Marcuse's eigen woorden de taal moeten vormen die NIET eendimensionaal is, dan word ik graag een voorstander van het functionele, ahistorische, operationele taalgebruik of hoe hij het ook allemaal noemt. Wat is nu toch dialectisch, kritisch taalgebruik? Taal is een middel, het hangt allemaal op waar je dat middel voor gebruikt, je kunt taal gebruiken voor onderdrukking en je kunt taal gebruiken om mensen te emanciperen. Wat een open deur .... ]

"I have illustrated the contrast between the two languages by referring to the style of Marxian theory, but the critical, cognitive qualities are not the exclusive characteristics of the Marxian style. They can also be found (though in different modes) in the style of the great conservative and liberal critique of the unfolding bourgeois society. For example, the language of Burke and Tocqueville on the one side, of John Stuart Mill on the other is a highly demonstrative, conceptual, 'open' language, which has not yet succumbed to the hypnotic-ritual formulas of present-day neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism."(104)

[Gesloten taalgebruik is autoritair en commandeert, het legt niets uit, zegt Marcuse. Ik zou zeggen: autoritaire mensen drukken zich uit in bevelen en doen geen moeite om de standpunten die ze innemen toe te lichten. Door het almaar over de taal te hebben verdwijnen degenen die de taal als middel gebruiken naar de achtergrond. Het gaat niet om de taal, maar om het achterliggende denken / voelen, de hele benadering van de werkelijkheid waarmee iemand komt.
Wanneer de software van de sociale media het bijvoorbeeld over 'vrienden' heeft, gebruikt ze de term inderdaad volkomen leeg, het gaat immers niet om vrienden maar om mensen die in je lijstje van contacten / volgers staan. En ja dat is ergerlijk, net zoals 'Vind ik leuk' oppervlakkig en ergerlijk is, omdat je er niet echt mee kunt reageren. Maar de achterliggende benadering is het die me nog het meest zorgen baart en die leidt tot dat soort uitdrukkingen, de benadering dat je 'er bij moet horen', de benadering dat mensen alleen maar aardig gevonden willen worden, de benadering dat je altijd positief moet zijn. Zo ook met het kwantitatieve taalgebruik in de wetenschap - en ver daar buiten - of in het management van bedrijven waarover Marcuse het verderop heeft. Het is de benadering op de achtergrond die akelig is - eenzijdig, reductionistisch, met meetbaarheid en wiskunde als dogma. De taal volgt gewoon die benadering.]

"This language controls by reducing the linguistic forms and symbols of reflection, abstraction, development, contradiction; by substituting images for concepts. It denies or absorbs the transcendent vocabulary; it does not search for but establishes and imposes truth and falsehood.(106)"()

(125) Part II - One-Dimensional Thought

(127) 5 - Negative thinking

"The totalitarian universe of technological rationality is the latest transmutation of the idea of Reason. In this and the following 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."(128)

[Nou, dat belooft wat ... :-( Nog meer abstract geklets waarschijnlijk.]

"To be sure, this is still the dictum of the philosopher; it is he who analyzes the human situation. He subjects experience to his critical judgment, and this contains a value judgment — namely, that freedom from toil is preferable to toil, and an intelligent life is preferable to a stupid life. It so happened that philosophy was born with these values. Scientific thought had to break this union of value judgment and analysis, for it became increasingly clear that the philosophic values did not guide the organization of society nor the transformation of nature. They were ineffective, unreal."(130-131)

Volgt een lang verhaal over formele tegenover dialectische logica door de eeuwen heen.

[Ik ben er door heen gelopen, maar vind het volkomen oninteressant. Het is grotendeels metafysica, en als ik me niet vergis hoor ik naast Hegel toch ook nog steeds stiekem Heidegger. Het is me volkomen onduidelijk wat Marcuse nu eigenlijk duidelijk wil maken. Dat het formele denken de samenleving eendimensionaal heeft gemaakt? Dat het dialectische denken oog heeft voor de tegenstellingen en conflicten in de werkelijkheid en daarom tweedimensionaal is? Ik heb niet heel veel vertrouwen in iemand die zo onhelder schrijft en zo weinig concreet kan worden.]

(147) 6 - From negative to positive thinking

"In the social reality, despite all change, the domination of man by man is still the historical continuum that links pre-technological and technological Reason. However, the society which projects and undertakes the technological transformation of nature alters the base of domination by gradually replacing personal dependence (of the slave on the master, the serf on the lord of the manor, the lord on the donor of the fief, etc.) with dependence on the 'objective order of things' (on economic laws, the market etc.). 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 distributing 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.
At this stage, it becomes clear that something must be wrong with the rationality of the system itself. What is wrong is the way in which men have organized their societal labor."(147-148)

"The quantification of nature, which led to its explication in terms of mathematical structures, separated reality from all inherent ends and, consequently, separated the true from the good, science from ethics."(150)

[Alles wat niet voldoet aan de moderne wetenschappelijke methoden wordt niet serieus genomen.]

"Outside this [scientific - GdG] rationality, one lives in a world of values, and values separated out from the objective reality become subjective. The only way to rescue some abstract and harmless validity for them seems to be a metaphysical sanction (divine and natural law). But such sanction is not verifiable and thus not really objective. Values may have a higher dignity (morally and spiritually), but they are not real and thus count less in the real business of life — the less so the higher they are elevated above reality.
The same de-realization affects all ideas which, by their very nature, cannot be verified by scientific method. No matter how much they may be recognized, respected, and sanctified, in their own right, they suffer from being non-objective. But precisely their lack of objectivity makes them into factors of social cohesion. Humanitarian, religious, and moral ideas are only 'ideal'; they don't 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.
If the Good and the Beautiful, Peace and Justice cannot be derived either from ontological or scientific-rational conditions, they cannot logically daim universal validity and realization. In terms of scientific reason, they remain matters of preference, and no resuscitation of some kind of Aristotelian or Thomistic philosophy 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."(151)

Volgt een heel stuk [bedenkelijke] wetenschapsfilosofie.

"I have pointed out that the elements of this subversion, the notions of another rationality, were present in the history of thought from its beginning. The ancient idea of a state where Being attains fulfillment, where the tension between 'is' and 'ought' is resolved in the cycle of an eternal return, partakes of the metaphysics of domination. But it also pertains to the metaphysics of liberation — to the reconciliation of Logos and Eros. This idea envisages the coming-to-rest of the repressive productivity of Reason, the end of domination in gratification."(170-171)

[Om maar duidelijk te maken waarom ik Marcuse's verhaal onhelder vind. Ik heb dit hoofdstuk snel doorgelezen, verder heb ik er niets over te zeggen.]

(174) 7 - The triumph of positive thinking

"The philosophical analysis is of no such immediate application. Compared with the realizations of sociology and psychology, the therapeutic treatment of thought remains academic. Indeed, exact thinking, the liberation from metaphysical spectres and meaningless notions may well be considered ends in themselves. Moreover, the treatment of thought in linguistic analysis is its own affair and its own right. Its ideological character is not to be prejudged by correlating the struggle against conceptual transcendence beyond the established universe of discourse with the struggle against political transcendence beyond the established society."(175)

[En waarom zou een filosofische analyse niet onmiddellijk toegepast kunnen worden? Waarom zou die niet van betekenis kunnen zijn voor de alledaagse praktijk? Het zou niet slecht geweest zijn wanneer Marcuse zijn eigen metafysische spookbeelden had bestreden met een goede linguïstische analyse - het soort analyses dat hij verderop afwijst omdat ze niet de negatie en contradictie hebben om de huidige samenleving te transcenderen. Wat kortzichtig! Marcuse is wat mij betreft het zoveelste voorbeeld van een schrijver die een slecht, vaag, speculatief, oncontroleerbaar taalgebruik hanteert omdat hij beïnvloed is door Hegel en Heidegger. Zou zo iemand nu nooit eens tegen zichzelf zeggen: wat beweer ik nu eigenlijk en kunnen andere mensen dat wel begrijpen? ben ik wel helder genoeg geweest? en zo verder. Niet dat het taalgebruik in de taalanalytische filosofie nu zo veel beter is, dat is in veel gevallen juist weer pseudo-exact en reductionistisch en net zo abstract en zonder enige praktische betekenis. Maar dat hoeft natuurlijk niet. Voor Marcuse lijkt alles zwart of wit. Maar taalanalyse hoeft niet positivistisch te zijn, hoeft geen ideologische versluiering te zijn. En zijn eigen filosofische analyse hoeft niet helder en vruchtbaar te zijn, omdat hij zich hult in metafysich 'conceptueel' taalgebruik.]

"Since its first usage, probably in the school of Saint-Simon, the term 'positivism' has encompassed (1) the validation of cognitive thought by experience of facts; (2) the orientation of cognitive thought to the physical sciences as a model of certainty and exactness; (3) the belief that progress in knowledge depends on this orientation. Consequently, positivism is a struggle against all metaphysics, transcendentalisms, and idealisms as obscurantist and regressive modes of thought. To the degree to which the given reality is scientifically comprehended and transformed, to the degree to which society becomes industrial and technological, positivism finds in the society the medium for the realization (and validation) of its concepts — harmony between theory and practice, truth and facts. Philosophic thought turns into affirmative thought; the philosophic critique criticizes within the societal framework and stigmatizes non-positive notions as mere speculation, dreams or fantasies.
The universe of discourse and behavior which begins to speak in Saint-Simon's positivism is that of technological reality. In it, the object-world is being transformed into an instrumentality. Much of that which is still outside the instrumental world — unconquered, blind nature — now appears within the reaches of scientific and technical progress. The metaphysical dimension, formerly a genuine field of rational thought, becomes irrational and unscientific. On the ground of its own realizations, Reason repels transcendence. At the later stage in contemporary positivism, it is no longer scientific and technical progress which motivates the repulsion; however, the contraction of thought is no less severe because it is self-imposed — philosophy's own method. The contemporary effort to reduce the scope and the truth of philosophy is tremendous, and the philosophers themselves proclaim the modesty and inefficacy of philosophy. It leaves the established reality untouched; it abhors transgression."(177)

Hij geeft af op Austin en Wittgenstein en Ryle [anders kan ik het niet noemen] als:

"... ademic sado-masochism, self-humiliation, and self-denunciation of the intellectual whose labor does not issue in scientific, technical or like achievements. These affirmations of modesty and dependence seem to recapture Hume's mood of righteous contentment with the limitations of reason which, once recognized and accepted, protect man from useless mental adventures but leave him perfectly capable of orienting himself in the given environment. However, when Hume debunked substances, he fought a powerful ideology, while his successors today provide an intellectual justification for that which society has long since accomplished — namely, the defamation of alternative modes of thought which contradict the established universe of discourse."(178)

"Throughout the work of the linguistic analysts, there is this familiarity with the chap on the street whose talk plays such a leading role in linguistic philosophy. The chumminess of speech is essential inasmuch as it excludes from the beginning the highbrow vocabulary of 'metaphysics'; it militates against intelligent non-conformity; it ridicules the egghead. The language of John Doe and Richard Roe is the language which the man on the street actually speaks; it is the language which expresses his behavior; it is therefore the token of concreteness. However, it is also the token of a false concreteness. The language which pro- vides most of the material for the analysis is a purged language, purged not only of its 'unorthodox' vocabulary, but also of the means for expressing any other contents than those furnished to the individuals by their society. The linguistic analyst finds this purged language an accomplished fact, and he takes the impoverished language as he finds it, insulating it from that which is not expressed in it although it enters the established universe of discourse as element and factor of meaning."(178-179)

[Ik had dit beter kunnen plaatsen en kunnen accepterren wanneer Marcuse zelf een helder verhaal had. Maar het gegeven dat hij de technologische samenleving bekritiseert en wil transcenderen maakt hem nog niet helder. De taalanalytische filosofie zou zich bezig houden met het eendimensionale taalgebruik van de man en vrouw in de straat en dus nooit de samenleving kunnen transcenderen. Maar in de eerste plaats heeft Marcuse weinig overtuigends geschreven over dat eendimensionale taalgebruik tegenover zijn eigen conceptuele taalgebruik. En in de tweede plaats is het niet erg voor de hand liggend dat zijn eigen filosofische analyses meer zoden aan de dijk zetten waar het gaat om het veranderen van de samenleving. Ik vind dit soort standpunten wel erg gemakkelijk en ze klinken me ook behoorlijk elitair in de oren. En nogmaals: ik ben zelf ook geen fan van de taalanalytische filsofie in veel van zijn uitingen en ook ik vind dat het daar vaak nergens over gaat. Maar ik ben wel een fan van helderheid en controleerbaarheid en nut voor de alledaagse praktijk.]

"One might ask what remains of philosophy? What remains of thinking, intelligence, without anything hypothetical, without any explanation? However, what is at stake is not the definition or the dignity of philosophy. It is rather the chance of preserving and protecting the right, the need to think and speak in terms other than those of common usage — terms which are meaningful, rational, and valid precisely because they are other terms. What is involved is the spread of a new ideology which undertakes to describe what is happening (and meant) by eliminating the concepts capable of understanding what is happening (and meant).
To begin with, an irreducible difference exists between the universe of everyday thinking and language on the one side, and that of philosophic thinking and language on the other. In nor- mal circumstances, ordinary language is indeed behavioral — a practical instrument. When somebody actually says 'My broom is in the corner', he probably intends that somebody else who had actually asked about the broom is going to take it or leave it there, is going to be satisfied, or angry. In any case, the sentence has fulfilled its function by causing a behavioral reaction: 'the effect devours the cause; the end absorbs the means'.
In contrast, if, in a philosophic text or discourse, the word 'substance', 'idea', 'man', 'alienation' becomes the subject of a proposition, no such transformation of meaning into a behavioral reaction takes place or is intended to take place. The word remains, as it were, unfulfilled — except in thought, where it may give rise to other thoughts. And through a long series of mediations within a historical continuum, the proposition may help to form and guide a practice. But the proposition remains unfulfilled even then — only the hubris of absolute idealism asserts the thesis of a final identity between thought and its object. The words with which philosophy is concerned can therefore never have a use "as humble . . . as that of the words 'table', 'lamp', 'door'.
Thus, exactness and clarity in philosophy cannot be attained within the universe of ordinary discourse. The philosophic concepts aim at a dimension of fact and meaning which elucidates the atomized phrases or words of ordinary discourse 'from without' by showing this 'without' as essential to the understanding of ordinary discourse. Or, if the universe of ordinary discourse itself becomes the object of philosophic analysis, the language of philosophy becomes a 'meta-language'. Even where it moves in the humble terms of ordinary discourse, it remains antagonistic. It dissolves the established experiential context of meaning into that of its reality; it abstracts from the immediate concreteness in order to attain true concreteness."(183)

[Ik vind het allemaal erg pretentieus. Wie zegt dat die filosofische begrippen betekenisvol en rationeel zijn? Wie zegt dat alledaags denken en filosofisch denken eindeloos ver uit elkaar moeten liggen? Hoe kunnen filosofische begrippen tegelijkertijd geen gedrag teweegbrengen maar wel een praktijk helpen vormen? En zo verder.]

"What is this universal, larger context in which people speak and act and which gives their speech its meaning — this context which does not appear in the positivist analysis, which is a priori shut off by the examples as well as by the analysis itself? 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 massacres. 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."(184-185)

[Dit maakt het helemaal nog meer pretentieus. Goed, als het over die werkelijkheid moet gaan - en dat lijkt mij ook -, laat het daar dan over gaan. Maar houdt dan op je in nevelen te hullen en op een pedante manier je pijlen te richten op filosofen die zich met andere dingen bezig houden. En schrijf zelf op een zo helder mogelijke wijze, eentje die werkelijk een bijdrage kan leveren aan het begrijpen van de 'echte werkelijkheid'.]

"For precisely the setting aside of a special reservation in which thought and language 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 unfitting ideas. Whatever truth may be contained in literature is a 'poetic' truth, whatever truth may be contained in critical idealism is a 'metaphysical' truth — its validity, if any, commits nei- ther ordinary discourse and behavior, nor the philosophy adjusted to them."(189)

(205) Part III - The Chance of the Alternatives

(207) 8 - The historical commitment of philosophy

"The commitment of analytic philosophy to the mutilated reality of thought and speech shows forth strikingly in its treatment of universals. The problem was mentioned before, as part of the inherent historical and at the same time transcendent, general character of philosophic concepts. It now requires a more detailed discussion. Far from being only an abstract question of epistemology, or a pseudo-concrete question of language and its use, the question of the status of universals is at the very center of philosophic thought. For the treatment of universals reveals the position of a philosophy in the intellectual culture — its historical function."(207)

"Contemporary linguistic analysis shirks this task by interpreting concepts in terms of an impoverished and preconditioned mind. What is at stake is the unabridged and unexpurgated intent of certain key concepts, their function in the unrepressed understanding of reality — in non-conformist, critical thought."(214)

[En zo voort en zo verder. Nog steeds die scheldpartij op de taalanalytische filosofie.]

(229) 9 - The catastrophe of liberation

"The tolerance of positive thinking is enforced tolerance - enforced not by any terroristic agency but by the overwhelming, anonymous power and efficiency of the technological society. As such it permeates the general consciousness — and the consciousness of the critic. The absorption of the negative by the positive is validated in the daily experience, which obfuscates the distinction between rational appearance and irrational reality."(230)

[Wie dit even in een paar zinnen kan uitleggen, is welkom.]

"Technological civilization establishes a specific relation between art and technics I mentioned above the notion of a reversal of the Law of the Three Stages and of a 'revalidation' of metaphysics I of the scientific and technological transformation of the world. The same notion may now be extended to the relation between science-technology and art. The rationality of art, its ability to 'project' existence, to define yet unrealized possibilities could then be envisaged as validated by and functioning in the scientific-technological transformation of the world. Rather than being the handmaiden of the established apparatus, beautifying its business and its misery, art would become a technique for destroying this business and this misery."(243-244)

[Ja, maar dat is kunst nooit geworden, integendeel, de meeste kunst is tegenwoordig precies wat Marcuse zegt: de 'handmaiden of the established apparatus'.]

(251) 10 - Conclusion

"The advancing one-dimensional society alters the relation between the rational and the irrational. Contrasted with the fantastic and insane aspects of its rationality, the realm of the irrational becomes the home of the really rational — of the ideas which may 'promote the art of life'. If the established society manages all normal communication, validating or invalidating it in accordance with social requirements, then the values alien to these requirements may perhaps have no other medium of communication than the abnormal one of fiction. The aesthetic dimension still retains a freedom of expression which enables the writer and artist to call men and things by their name — to name the otherwise unnameable."(251)

"In reducing and even canceling the romantic space of imagination, society has forced the imagination to prove itself on new grounds, on which the images are translated into historical capabilities and projects."(253)

[Wat Marcuse schrijft over 'rationeel' en 'irrationeel' is nog het meest onhelder. Binnen de repressieve eendimensionale samenleving vormen de kunstenaars en schrijvers dus de laatste groep die kritiek kunnen leveren? In hun werk spreekt de Rede? En wat betekent dat dan?]

"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?"(255)

"And yet, the facts are all there which validate the critical theory of this society and of its fatal development: the increasing irrationality of the whole; waste and restriction of productivity; the need for aggressive expansion; the constant threat of war; intensified exploitation; dehumanization. And they all point to the historical alternative: the planned utilization of resources for the satisfaction of vital needs with a minimum of toil, the transformation of leisure into free time, the pacification of the struggle for existence.
But the facts and the alternatives are there like fragments which do not connect, or like a world of mute objects without a subject, without the practice which would move these objects in the new direction. Dialectical theory is not refuted, but it cannot offer the remedy. It cannot be positive. To be sure, the dialectical concept, in comprehending the given facts, transcends the given facts. This is the very token of its truth. It defines the historical possibilities, even necessities; but their realization can only be in the practice which responds to the theory, and, at present, the practice gives no such response."(256-257)

"Confronted with the omnipresent efficiency of the given system of life, its alternatives have always appeared utopian. And insight into necessity, the consciousness of the evil state, will not suffice even at the stage where the accomplishments of science and the level of productivity have eliminated the utopian features of the alternatives — where the established reality rather than its opposite is utopian."(258)

"The totalitarian tendencies of the one-dimensional society 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.
However, underneath the conservative popular base is the substratum of the outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other races and other colors, the unemployed and the unemployable. They exist outside the democratic process; their life is the most immediate and the most real need for ending intolerable conditions and institutions. Thus their opposition is revolutionary even if their consciousness is not. Their opposition hits the system from without and is therefore not deflected by the system; it is an elementary force which violates the rules of the game and, in doing so, reveals it as a rigged game. When they get together and go out into the streets, without arms, without protection, in order to ask for the most primitive civil rights, they know that they face dogs, stones, and bombs, jail, concentration camps, even death. Their force is behind every political demonstration for the victims of law and order. The fact that they start refusing to play the game may be the fact which marks the beginning of the end of a period."(260-261)

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