by Herbert Marcuse, Beacon Press, 1964, 0-8070-1575-X
[p1] A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom
prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical
The rights and liberties which were such
vital factors in the origins and earlier stages of industrial society
yield to a higher stage of this society: they are loing their
traditional rationale and content.
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 fomer content.
[p3] By virtue of the
way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial
society tends to be totalitarian.
Today political power asserts itself
through its power over the machine process and over the techinical
organization of the apparatus.
[p5] 'False' [needs] are those which are
superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in
The prevalence of repressive needs ... accepted in
ignorance and defeat ... must be undone in the interest of the happy
individual as well as all those whose misery is the price of his
[p9] The intellectual and emotional refusal 'to go along' appears
neurotic and impotent.
[p11] The efficiency of the system blunts
the individuals' recognition that it contains no facts which do not
communicate the repressive power of the whole.
[p12] 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.
[p14] 'free' are the
institutions which operate ... in the countries of the Free World
[p17] Validated by the accomplishments of science and technology,
justified by its growing productivity, the status quo defies all
Operationalism, in theory and practice, becomes the
theory and practice of containment.
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.
[p19] The society of total mobilization, which takes shape in the
most advanced areas of industrial civilization, combines in
preductive union the features of the Welfare State and the Warfare
[p21] [T]here arises a universe of administration in which
depressions are conrolled and conflicts stabilized by the beneficial
effects of growing productivity and threatening nuclear war.
The classical Marxian theory...: the proletariat destroys the political
apparatus of capitalism but retains the technological apparatus
However, the productive apparatus embodies technological rationality
[p23] [T]he notion that the liberating historical
forces deelop within the established society is a cornerstone of
[T]his 'space within' is being barred by a society
in which subjects as well as objects constitute instrumentalities in
a whole that has its raison d'etre in the accomplishments of its
[p24] The laboring classes...are undergoing a decisive
(1) Mechanization is increasingly reducing the
quantity and intensity of physical energy expended in labor.
Now the ever-more-complete mechanization of labor in advanced
capitalism, while sustaining exploitation, modifies the attitude and
the status of the exploited.
[p27] (2) The assimilating trend shows forth
in the occupational stratification[:] the 'blue-collar' work force
declines in relation to the 'white-collar' element
[p29] (3) These
changes ... become manifest in the widely discussed 'social and
cultural integration' of the laboring class with capitalist society.
[p31] (4) [Enforcing] a weakening of the negative position of the
working class: the latter no longer appears to be the living
contradiction to established society.
[p33] As the productive
establishments rely on the military for self-preservation and growth,
so the military relies on the corporations '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.'
[p36] Automation, once it became the process of material
production, would revolutionize the whole society.
labor rightly opposes automation without compensating employment.
[C]ontinued arrest of automation way weaken the copetitive national
and international position of copital, cause a long-range depression,
and consequently reactivate the conflict of class interests.
In view of increasing ... white-collar element ... political
radicalization would have to be accompanied by the emergence of an
independent political consciousness and action amoung the
white-collar groups--a rather unlikely development To counter this,
the political apparatus must invest more in welfare programs
(military subsidies as well as social). I believe that the
dominant interests will gradually and hesitantly accept these
[p39] Soviet society is at an earlier stage of industrialization.
Its economic and its political institutions are essentially different
(total nationalization, and dictatorship)
backwardness ... compels Soviet industrialization to proceed without
planned waste and obsolescence.
[p40] [S]ociety must first create the
material prerequisites of freedom for all its members before it can
be a free society.
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.
Who educates the educators, and where is the proof that they are in
possesion of 'the good?' Who says elected representatives can do the
right thing either?
[p41] The second phase Control of the
productive process by the 'immediate producers' is supposed to
initiate the development which distiguishes the history of free men
from the prehistory of man.
[p42] [T]he actual development in
present-day communist society postpones (or is compelled to postpone,
by the international situation) the qualititive change to the second
phase, and the transition from capitalism to socialism appears, in
spite of the revolution, still as quantitative change.
[p43] The more the rulers are capable of delivering the goods of
consumption, the more firmly will the underlying population be tied
to the various ruling bureaucracies.
[p44] One can dispense with
the notion of an innate 'power-drive' in human nature.
[d]istribution of the necessities of life regardless of work
perfromance, reduction of working time to a minimum, universal
all-sided education toward exchangeability of functions?
need for the all-out utilization of technical progress ... may prove
stronger than the resistance of the vested bureaucracies
[p48] [T]he prospects of containment of change, offered by the
politics of technological rationality, depend on the prospects of the
[p49] [T]he Welfare State is a state of unfreedom
because its total administration is systamitc restriction of (a)
[free time]; (b) [goods] for vital needs; (c) the intelligence
capable ... of self-determination.
Late industrial society causes
a rising standard of living and good life.
political forces within society are arrested, and qualitative
change appears possible only as a change from without.
[p50] At the most advanced stage of capitalism, [the society prior
to a Welfare State] is a system of subdued pluralism, in which the
competing institutions concur in solidying the power of the whole
over the individual. Still, for the administered individual,
pluraistic administration is far better than total administration.
[p51] Advanced industrial society is indeed a system of
countrevailing powers. But theses forces cancel each other out in a
higher unification--in the common interest to defend and extend the
established position, to combat the historical alternatives, to
contain qualitative change.
[p51] 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.
[p52] Democracy would appear to be the most
efficient system of domination.
[p55] The fateful interdependence
of the only two 'soveregn' social systems in the contemporary world
is expressive of the fact that the conflict between progress and
politics, between man and ihs masters has become total. They both
struggle against a form of life which would dissolve the basis for
[p56] The achievements and the failures of this society invalidate
its higher culture.
Man today can do more than the culture heros
and half-gods; he has solved many insoluble problems. But he has
also betrayed the hope and destroyed the truth which were preserved in
the sublimations of higher culture.
[p57] Today's novel feature is
the flattening out of the antagonism between culture and social
reality through the obliteration of the oppositional, alien, and
transcendent elements in the higher culture by virtue of which it
constituted another dimension of reality.
occurs through [the] wholesale incorporation [of 'cultural values']
into the established order.
[p165] [T]he inherent limit of the established science and
scientific methhod, by virtue of which they extend, rationalize , and
insure the prevailing Lebenswelt without altering its existential
structure---that is without envisaging a qualitatively new mode
of 'seeing' and qualitatively new relations between men and between
man and nature.
[T]he instrumentalist horizon...created a new wold
of theoretical and practical Reason, but it has remained committed to
a specific historical world which has its evident limits--in theory
as well as in proctice, in its pure as well as applied methods.
[p166] [S]cience, by virtue of its own method and concepts, has
projected and promoted a universe in which domination of nature has
remained linked to the domination of man--a link which tends to be
fatal to this universe as a whole.
[p169] The world tends become the stuff of total administration,
which absorbs even the administrators. The web of domination has
become the web of Reason itself, and this society is fatally
entangled in it.
[p178] 'The problems are solved, not by giving new information,
but by arranging what we have always known.'
poverty of philosophy, committed with all its concepts to the given
state of affairs, distrusts the possibilities of a new experience.
Subjection to the rule of the exstablished facts is total--only
linguistic facts, to be sure , bute the society speaks in its
language, and we are told to obey.
[p206] The disharmony between the individual and the social needs,
and the lack of representative institutions in which the individuals
work for themselves and speak for themselves, lead to the reality of
such universals as the Nation, the Party, the Constitution, the
Corporation, the Church--a reality which is not identical with any
particular identifiable entity (individual, group, or institution).
Such universals express various degrees and modes of reification.
Their independence, althought real, is a spurious one inasmuch as it
is that of particular powers which have organized the whole of
[p211] The protest against the vague, obscure, metaphysical
character of such universals, the insistence of familiar concreteness
and protective security of ocmmon and scientific sense still reveal
somethhing of thet primordial anxiety which guided the recorded
origins of philisophic thought in its evolution from lreligion to
mythology, and from mythology to logic; defense and security still
are large atimes in the intellectual as well as national budget.
[p218] The objects of thought and perception as they appear to the
individuals prior to all 'subjective' interpretation have in common
certain primary qualities, pertaining to these two layers of reality:
(1) to the physical (natural) structure of matter, and (2) to form
which matter has acquired in the collective historical proctice that
has made it (matter_0 into objects for a subject. The two layers
or aspects of objectivity (physical and historical) are interrelated
in such a way that they cannot be insulated from each other; the
historical aspect can never be eliminated so radically that only the
'absolute' physical layer remains.
[p221] Continuity is preserved through rupture: quantitative
development becomes qualitative change if it attains the very
structure of an established system; the established rationality
becomes irrational when, in the course of its internal development,
the potentialities of the system have outgrown its institutions.
Such internal refuration pertains to the historical character of
reality, and the same character confers upon the concepts which
comprehend this reality their critical intent. They recognize and
anticipate the irrational in the established reality--they project the
[p227] Critical thought strives to define the irrational character
of the establised rationality (which becomes increasingly obvious)
and to define the tendecncies which cause this rationality to
generate its own transformation. 'Its own' because, as hitorical
totality, it has developed forces and capabilities which themselves
become projects beyond the established totality.
[p233] Instead of being separated from science and scientific
method, and left to subjective preference and irrational,
transcendental sanction, formerly metaphysical ideas of liberation
may becom the proper object of scienc. But this development
confronts science with the unpleasant task of becoming
political--of recognizing scientific consciousness as political
consciousness, and the scientifc enterprise as political enterprise.
For the transformation of values into needs, of final causes into
technical possibilities is a new stage in the conquest of oppressive,
unmastered forces in society as well as in nature.
[p237] All joy and al happiness derive from the ability to
transcend Nature--a transcendence in which the mastery of Nature is
itself subordinated to liberation and pacification of existence.
[p238] Glorification of the natural is part of the ideology which
protects an unnatural society in its struggle against liberation.
The defamation of birth control is a striking example.
Civilization produces the means for freeing Nature from its own brutatility,
own insufficiency, its own blindness, by virtue of the cognitive and
transforming power of Reason. And Reason can fulfill this function
only as post technological rationality, in which technics is itself
the instrumentality of pacification, organon of the 'art of life.'
The function of Reason then converges with the function of Art.
[p240] Thus, the artistic transformation violates the natural
object, but the iolated is itself oppressive; thus the aesthetic
transformation is liberation.
[p240] But outside of these small, protected areas [gardens,
parks, & reservations], it has treated Nature as it has treated
man--as an instrument of destructive productivity.
[p244] This sort of privacy--the sole condition that, on the basis
of satisfied vital needs, can give meaning to freedom and
independence of thought--has long since become the most expensive
commodity, available only to the very rich (who don't use it).
[p245] The degree to which the population is allowed to break the
peace wherever there still is peace and silence, to be ugly and to
uglify things, to ooze familiarity, to offend against good form is
frightening. It is frightening becaus it expresses the lawful and
even organized effort ot reject the Other in his own right, to
prevent autonomy even in a small, reserve sphere of exstence. In the
overdeveloped countries, an even-larger part of the population
becomes one huge captive audience--captured not by a totalitarian
regime but by the liberties of the citizens whose media of amusement
and elevation compel the Other to partake of their sounds, sights,