Herbert Marcuse - Philosophy and Views

Philosophy and Views

Leszek Kołakowski described Marcuse's views as essentially anti-Marxist, in that they ignored Marx's critique of Hegel and discarded the historical theory of class struggle entirely in favor of an inverted Freudian reading of human history where all social rules could and should be discarded to create a "New World of Happiness". Kołakowski concluded that Marcuse's ideal society "is to be ruled despotically by an enlightened group have realized in themselves the unity of Logos and Eros, and thrown off the vexatious authority of logic, mathematics, and the empirical sciences." His famous concept repressive desublimation refers to his argument that postwar mass culture, with its profusion of sexual provocations, serves to reinforce political repression. If people are preoccupied with unauthentic sexual stimulation, their political energy will be "desublimated"; instead of acting constructively to change the world, they remain repressed and uncritical. Obviously, Marcuse advanced the prewar thinking of critical theory toward a critical account of the "one-dimensional" nature of bourgeois life in Europe and America. His thinking could, therefore, also be considered an advance of the concerns of earlier liberal critics like David Riesman.

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